used to wake up at the crack of dawn, so he was almost always the first person to read my posts and comment on them. He was always very encouraging in my quest to grok, and I wish he were here today to help me grapple with this post.
For you see, I just finished reading Flyboys.
I agree with nearly every review I've read that Bradley was a bit clumsy in trying to make the US and Japan equals in barbarity. At least I know I'm not the only one who ruffled at the fact that the first chapter of the book lays out America's "government policy of ethnic cleansing." But in his attempt to be fair and balanced with the war in the Pacific, Bradley did manage to do one thing: make me feel utterly and completely anti-war.
I cried myself to sleep every night I was reading this book. Bradley managed to bring the horrors of war to life in a way I've never quite experienced. Maybe it was the cannibalism that put me over the top. Maybe it was Jimmy Dye's white scarf. Maybe it was the fact that I personally think we're currently fighting an enemy that's more ruthless than the Japanese. But something in this book hit me in the gut, and I can't stop thinking about it.
My husband warned me about writing a post wherein I call myself anti-war. But I said that, if a blog named Trying to Grok isn't a place where I can be honest about my thoughts, then what's the point of writing on it? And so I confess that I see myself as anti-war. Except that anti-war doesn't really mean what the plain-faced words would seem.
I don't mean anti-war in the Sheryl Crow's Sequined T-Shirt way that most people mean when they call themselves anti-war. Most of those people actually mean anti-Bush. And I certainly haven't lost all my brain cells and begun to think that there actually ever could be a world without war either. I know there's no such thing as NO WAR, regardless of how many bumper stickers are printed.
But when you read about POWs having their heads chopped off and then being eaten by the enemy, when you read about the napalm that fell on Tokyo, when you read about the absolutely ghastly things that went on in the Pacific, you all of a sudden can grok a sentence you've heard over and over but never really gave much thought.
War is hell.
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War IS hell. And in my mind any balanced well thought out human being is ANTI-WAR. We don't want it to be the first course of action, we don't want the suffering for anyone.
But we also know, if that's what it takes at the end of the line, then hell it is.....
Posted by: Tammi at October 10, 2006 08:50 AM (Bitcf)
I agree completely with Tammi. Any decent, thinking human being is anti war.
But, as long as human kind has existed and as long as we do exist there will be evil. Sometimes we have to respond to that evil. The trick is, not to end up becoming what we are trying to stop.
Posted by: Pamela at October 10, 2006 10:14 AM (aZt2+)
you grok perfectly well, little nestling.
Posted by: MajMike at October 10, 2006 11:17 AM (NMK3S)
War is hell, and only the dead have seen the end of it. I think you have groked this to the nth degree. I think that all people that try to grok this, will truly wish for a world with out war. And we honestly thing that it would be better if force was not ever used. But if you truly grok the way the world is you understand that some times, the only way for freedom to live, and grow. Is by force, and if you foe is another mindset, such as it is now with Islam. War is the only answer, and Victory is the only choice.
Posted by: dagamore at October 10, 2006 10:18 PM (7IZfE)
My father was in Burma in WWII. He saw many things which the Japanese did which violated all the Geneva Conventions, all the rules of war. Their ruthlessness was matched only by their disregard for other human life.
He never saw Japanese POWs mistreated. During combat he and his men ruthlessly and determinedly killed them in any way which they could to save their own lives. After the shooting and bombing stopped, no Japanese POW was mistreated. No "ethnic cleansing" ever occurred. No atrocities were committed.
I am sure some did occur on the US side in that war. LCDR Dudley "Mush" Morton machine gunned Japanese survivors in the sea after sinking a troop transport. He was not prosecuted, nor should he have been. But it was killing defenseless Jap soliders who would likely have drowned anyway. He kept them from being rescued and sent to war against us again later in the war. There are many other cases of slaughter in the middle of combat. There are none documented of killing after surrender. That is the difference.
Those cases do not excuse the wholesale rape and murder by Japanese forces in China (Nanking, over 200,000 Chinese and foreigners alone were killed in Nanking in 1937), on the Bataan Death March, in the Philippines, Singapore, Korea, and numerous Island and Pacific Ocean inhabitants were killed without provocation by the Japanese. (And also by the Russians and German armies in WWII)
Today's filmmakers want our country to be seen as the same as everyone else. We are NOT. Our civilization is better than theirs because we care more about them than they do about themselves. Our civilization is better because we give more for their welfare than others do. And our civilization is better because we defend our ideals in the face of the greatest adversity, anywhere. No other country is so vilified. No other country will rise to defend itself when its freedoms are endangered. And no other country so exemplifies the difference between right and wrong as America today.
If Flyboys paints a picture of Americans as killers of defenseless women and children for no other reason than ethnic or racial hatred, then it is nothing beyond wrong. Dresden and Tokyo were firebombed because they made significant contributions to the war efforts of our enemies, were valid military targets, and the weapons of the day did not allow any more precise methods of bombing to be accomplished. Even the atomic bomb on Nagasaki was dropped off target in its day, leading to complaints that we didn't destroy the target we were trying to at the time. (It was Nagasaki, it was just dropped off the center of the bullseye.)
America is not anything like the Evil regimes we fought. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong or stupid.
And I'm not ashamed to say it.
Posted by: Subsunk at October 11, 2006 06:28 AM (PaSM8)
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