Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bad Behavior of American Soldiers

10:30:55 AM EDT

Bob Herbert of NYT has the righteous anger. He thinks people don't care, so he keeps bringing the hammer down. I have to admit that I am affected by this sort of thing. The clash of civilizations is not a pretty thing. Most folks could not keep civilized without a lot of incentives. Normal people are close to murder on numerous occasions. Abnormal people run free on the streets of our cities. Motorcycle gangs! Purse snatchers! Pit bulls! Cell phones! All in all, however, I'll take the coke bottles over the wood chipper.

But think about this. The American military men loathed the Germans and Japanese passionately when they occupied the enemy countries. Nevertheless, they refrained from violence to a remarkable degree. In Japan, at least, there were probably more murders of Americans than Japanese civilians. The occupation was a time of rebirth for both countries. Within a few years, thousands of these implacable enemies had intermarried, and the nations themselves had become uncoerced allies.

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At Wednesday, May 11, 2005 3:21:00 PM, Blogger Lichanos said...

I would say a main reason for this is that the Japanese and Germans were defeated, flat out. There was no terrorist insurgency. Guerrilla wars breed human cruelty as much as civil wars do. As for allies, better us than Stalin, for sure!

During the war, Americans routinely shot Japanese prisoners, as the Japanese did with Americans. Not so in Germany. Different cultures, different effects.

As for "clash of civilizations," do you think that's what's going on? Seems to me that the Arab world is pretty flat on its back. It's people are poor, terrorized, badly housed, educated, and have little political expression. They are ruled by corrupt elites with no vision of the future. All they have 'going' for them these days is oil, and a healthy cadre of fanatically motivated killers. As for the oil, if we weren't so lazy, we could have them by the balls on that one too. (We don't have to stop importing ALL their oil, just a chunck of it.) So, where is this grand clash?

One blogger calls his site "Gates of Vienna." I don't see the parallel. The Arab world is weak and certainly not on the march. Terror is horrible, but it doesn't really threaten the basic world order. It's always the weapon of choice of the weak, because as far as violent actions go, it's their only weapon.

If you want to watch out for a real clash, I'd watch China and the USA, et al, in the next 20 or 30 years.

At Friday, May 13, 2005 1:22:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Japan was a Shinto culture with deep roots. Three things made it amenable to pacification: 1) the stunning impact of the Atomic Bomb, 2) the command by the Emperor to cooperate, 3) the amazing power of MacArthur's personality. If not for these things, it would have continued like the Man/Kzin wars until evolution took effect. My barber, who was in Japan in 1945, tells me that hundreds of marines were lured and ambushed in Japan in spite of the Emperor's request.

The culture of Iraq was ruled by an amalgam of Baathism and fanatic Wahabiism. There were enough people who benefited from this system, insane as it was, that they constitute an implacable bedrock of resistance to everything we stand for. I have, in another post, compared this to a KKK culture.

The wider Arab culture is by no means weak, merely unarmed. Things can change. The airplane thing was one way to level the playing field for just a day. Very few expected that event. How do we know that there are not other ways to attack us that we haven't imagined? On the other side of the coin, how many kamikaze soldiers do you think we could generate within our borders?

We are actually taking a real risk by freeing the Iraqis. They might, like the Chinese, take those parts of Western culture that will give them strength, but ignore the rest. I think it's a chance worth taking, partly because the risk of not doing anything is worse, and partly because China is still out there. We need the allies.


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