To win, we must fight totally, unflinchingly, brutally, regardless of sacrifice, like we did in WWII. Can we do it again now?
Among the many ridiculous ideas that we are now required to accept as fact is the idea that the internment of American and Canadian citizens of Japanese descent was, to say the least, misguided. The people so treated were offered formal apologies and compensation. And yet, this policy was every bit as justified as it was prudent. With its bold and unscrupulous actions against British and American interests in the Pacific including the Pearl Harbor attack and the attack on the British garrison in Singapore, the Japanese had more than demonstrated their ability and willingness to pose a deadly threat to British and American interests in the Asia-Pacific theater. Furthermore, it was known that the Japanese had many plans in place to infiltrate the coastal communities of the US and Canada for the purpose of intelligence gathering and sabotage of critical military installations. Had the American counterattack in the Pacific been even slightly less successful, these plans would have doubtlessly become operational.
Beyond the question of where would the loyalty of Japanese citizens lie when faced with their countrymen on American soil with full military regalia, we are left with the necessity to positively identify civilians of Japanese appearance as possible enemy combatants, a virtual impossibility in the presence of Americans of Japanese descent, but a viable strategy once these people have been removed. As can be well-attested from watching Hollywood movies form the early 1940’s, the mood in America when it came to Japan and Japanese was ugly. There is simply no telling what feelings additional and very possible, even likely, Japanese victories would have spurred among the non-Japanese inhabitants of American and Canadian communities along the Pacific Coast. It is quite conceivable that peaceful second and third generation Japanese-Americans and Japanese Canadians would have suffered fates that are much worse than temporary internment. The internment policy was thus a prudent and necessary one for winning the war while maintaining civil order. It was essential for survival.
During the 1948-1949 Israeli War of Independence, the Jewish forces fighting for the control of my hometown, the strategically critical port city of Haifa, found themselves in control of the Jewish neighborhoods on the slopes of Mount Carmel, while a large Arab population was situated in the older Lower City below them, along the Mediterranean coast. This Arab population contained civilians with many elderly, women, and children, as well as armed elements of various Arab militias. Control of Haifa Port was an immediate necessity because it was the only deep water port available at the time through which sorely needed arms procured by Israeli emissaries in post WWII Europe could be imported. Israel, only a few days old, was vastly outnumbered and suffering casualties at a rate that was clearly unsustainable for much longer. Something had to be done. And it was. Acting on orders from Ben-Gurion and the top military command, Israeli forces opened fire from their superior positions on higher ground on the mix of civilian and combatant population below. The fire was highly inaccurate, mostly from homemade “Davidka” mortars and its main purpose was to terrorize the Arab population of Haifa to take to the sea and flee.
In this, the Israeli forces were successful. Coming under incessant and massive shelling, suffering massive casualties, the Arabs took to anything that could float and fled, mostly south towards the then Egyptian-held Gaza Strip, where many of their descendants still reside. The Lower City of Haifa with its all-important port were soon in Jewish hands. Whole city blocks were abandoned by their owners and inhabitants. One of the first laws passed by the Knesset once the War of Independence was won transferred the deeds for such abandoned properties across the entire country to the state, to be disposed of as it wished. Today, these buildings still stand, often housing shops and restaurants on the ground floor and offices above. If one looks closely, it is still possible to find bullet and shrapnel marks dotting the pollution-stained cream limestone walls.
In 1941, in 1948, the US and Israel made the conscious decision that their survival trumped everything else; it was more important for them to win and survive than for any other group of people to live in comfort or even live at all. This unconditional will to survive was fundamental to Truman’s decision to bomb Japan with nuclear weapons and for Israeli actions that targeted Arab civilians for expulsion. The unconditional will to survive is not about avoiding annihilation. It is all about winning. It is all about securing the best possible outcome for oneself regardless of costs to others. This drive to victory is part and parcel of survival because decisive victories delay the inevitable time when one’s survival is threatened again. This unconditional will to survive and secure the best possible outcome regardless of cost was the reason that the Allies, the US and Britain, subjected Japanese and German cities to campaigns of annihilation by firebombing. These campaigns, just like the internment of Japanese-Americans and just like the bombardment of Haifa Arabs were fully morally and ethically justified and not only because they were directed against aggressors.
As a matter of fact, the question of “who first started it” is as tedious as it is irrelevant. Was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a military installation, justified by the American policy of starving Japan of crucial raw materials? Was Germany given no chance but to start WWII by the humiliating and impossible reparations placed upon it by the winning coalition of WWI? Was the declaration of independence by the Jewish population in what used to be British Mandatory Palestine itself an act of aggression against the Arab population and their violent response to it simply an act of self-defense?
Does might make right? The ancients certainly believed so. To them, victory was granted by the gods and gods afforded it to the righteous. Monotheistic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam hardly differed in this from their pagan predecessors. God awards victory to the righteous and deals defeat to the wicked. Today, this line of reasoning may seem foreign to many of us. We kid ourselves with fake news and fairy tales designed to justify maximizing the gains that are afforded to us by our might and then using these gains to build ever more might. Was America morally superior to the native tribes it annihilated? To Mexico? To Spain? To the USSR? Is it morally superior to China today? With exceedingly rare exceptions like the genocidal Nazi regime in 1930-1940’s Germany, these claims of moral superiority are found in the range of somewhat likely to utterly ridiculous. Today’s America with its rampant censorship and imprisonment of political adversaries of the ruling elites (Paul Manafort comes to mind) has a laughably weak position from which to critique China, Russia, or any other dictatorship.
The real question Americans should be asking themselves 75 years after V-day in Europe is this: do Americans, does America still have the unconditional will to survive that it had back then. Answers to these questions are only found in extremity, so I am withholding judgment, but anecdotal data does not support this conclusion. The main difference between Democrats and Republicans in America today seems to be found only in the conditions they place on their will to survive as Americans. Democrats only value survival if they can maintain open borders, and “diversity”, and sexual perversion, while Republicans want to survive only if their stock portfolios and 401(k)’s don’t take too much of a hit.
Late 1980’s provide us with contrasting examples of both losing and keeping the unconditional will to survive. The Soviet Union, having demonstrated such a will in the face of the German invasion in 1941, showed the opposite in 1989 when it chose to not defend its interests in Eastern Europe, when it’s military chose not to fire on civilians in the Baltic republics. The cost of this loss of vitality was as immediate as it was brutal. Only months separated the decision to hold fire and the utter collapse and disappearance from world stage of the world’s second superpower.
At exactly the same time, thirty years ago in Tienanmen Square, China demonstrated the opposite. It demonstrated an unconditional will to survive, to remain unified, to remain powerful. It took massacring thousands of their own young, promising, and well-meaning citizens. They did it anyway, which is why today they are substantially Russia’s overlord and well on their way to similarly subduing America unless Americans demonstrate, and that in quick order, the unconditional will to survive and to thrive that they were once so famous for.
Oh and by the way, when it comes to the burgeoning trade war between America and China, who do the many millions of Chinese-Americans support? And who will they support when this war goes from exchanging tariffs to exchanging bullets?
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