Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How are Tea Party types like the Japanese military in WWII??

I've been reading comment threads on op-ed pieces in the Washington Post. Many comments, coming from  the far right wing of the right wing, remind me of something I read in John Toland's "The Rising Sun," the definitive account of the Japanese in WWII.

After Hiroshima got nuked, a majority of the high command rationalized it away and refused to surrender. And then, even after Nagasaki got nuked as well, when they realized the jig was up, not only did many stiff oppose surrendering--a group of junior officers led a coup attempt to prevent the Emperor's surrender message from being broadcast.

All of these people considered themselves the truest of the true patriots....people who loved their country and their Emperor more than life itself (when the coup failed, a number of them committed hara-kiri).

Yet this group of people betrayed Japan when they led it down the warpath, betrayed it when they attacked America, betrayed it when they tried to prevent Japan from surrendering--and came horrifyingly close to preventing Japan from surrendering (i.e. compromising in any way), even after Nagasaki.

Nations can be betrayed by intentional traitors, selling our their country for money or an ideology that leads them to hate their own country. I have known left wingers like that, to be honest.

But nations can also be betrayed by people who would never dream of intentionally betraying their country...who see themselves as patriotic to their bones...and who see all who disagree with them as traitors.

And one of the great ironies of history is how often such people have brought their nations to ruin.

During the Vietnam war, there were Americans who watched and read the forced confessions of POWs and told the North Vietnamese when the POWs included coded messages Americans would recognize but North Vietnamese would not.

Those were intentional traitors, and they were responsible for suffering and even deaths of Americans.

Then you have JFK, Johnson, Nixon and McNamara--patriots all. Yet in the scathing military analysis of the Vietnam war conducted at the behest of the American College of War by Col. Harry G. Summers, "On Strategy," Summers shows how profoundly those patriotic leaders harmed America--and killed vastly more Americans--than the handful of intentional leftist traitors accomplished.

So yes, there are leftists who really, truly hate America, and who do what they can to harm it. There are also people who may or may not hate America, but who certainly place their ethnic group's advancement far over that of our nation.

But when it comes to harming America, they're pikers compared to today's equivalent of Johnson/Nixon/McNamara; namely Bush II, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al.

The judgment of history is already coming in. America's hundreds of presidential historians are polled every few years on how they'd rank America's presidents. The last one, conducted in 2010, ranked Bush II 6th from the bottom (Obama ranked 15, well below Eisenhower & FDR, but 2 up from Reagan).

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