Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tinfoil Tom

From a recent Time article/interview with actor Tom Hanks:

"Back in World War II we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”

Well there went any respect I might have been harboring for the man for with a mere four sentences he's officially joined the growing ranks of clueless celebrity numbskulls. What's truly brain boggling is that this is from someone who recently participated in a multi-year 100 million dollar mini-series about the fighting in the Pacific during WWII.

The statement "We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different." is born of a particularly fine and special sort of historical ignorance. They were indeed "different" from us in that the Japanese Empire was attempting to subjugate and pillage half the world, while killing millions of innocents in the process, and the United States was not. That's the only difference really worth considering you buffoonish yob. Sure they were reviled you nitwit. They were the ENEMY. And by enemy I do not mean the other side of a chess game or a cricket match. I mean a powerful and merciless military juggernaut that for many years before Pearl Harbor had bombed smashed and murdered its way across much of Asia and the Pacific with India and Australia square in its gunsights.

Aside from the U.S. cutting off raw and scrap material supplies to this juggernaut the main brief the Japanese held against this country is that it might prove a major roadblock in their grandiose dreams of conquest. I doubt there was any serious sort of embedded cultural hatred of the U.S. in Japan that was any worse than the normal sort of extreme Japanese disdain of all "barbarians", i.e. everyone not Japanese. And not even the most bellicose in the Japanese general staff thought that invading the U.S. mainland was remotely practical. So they were not in any wise "out to kill us because our way of living was different." and we in turn did not generally view them as having that attitude. They just wanted us out of the way and the Pearl Harbor attack was supposed to shock the U.S. so much we would sue for peace and allow their pillage of Asia and the western Pacific to proceed without interference. The attack was thoroughgoing, efficiently prosecuted, and of course one of the most profound military blunders of all time but few Americans at the time thought that it was motivated by innate hatred of the people or the culture of this country.

Before the war U.S. opinion of Japan itself was not particularly ugly, in fact it was frequently laudatory, although those of Japanese ancestry certainly had major problems on the west coast. After Pearl Harbor the U.S. propaganda machine swung into action and painted the Japanese as leering subhuman killers of innocents and savage despoilers of whole countries. The concept of "politically correct" had not reared its putrid head in those days and cartoonish characterizations of enemy peoples and combatants was de rigueur on all sides. The U.S. was lamentably not special in this regard but slack must be cut on this score because the Japanese actually were plainly and unquestionably mass killers of innocents and despoilers of whole countries. In fact their savagery was scarcely eclipsed by the Germans so however vicious our propaganda was it was not only well deserved but actually understated things. However cruel and black-hearted we thought the Japanese military was shortly after Pearl Harbor they continued to surprise us throughout the war with savagery no sane American thought even possible.

It was entirely the result of the all too real and stupefyingly wicked Japanese depredations during the war that they reaped the ultimate nuclear whirlwind and that consequence had absolutely nothing to do with propaganda posters of smirking bespectacled Japanese troops bayoneting Chinese babies. And they should thank us really because the nuclear bombings abruptly ended the war and likely saved anywhere from five to ten million lives which would have been snuffed out in a full scale invasion of the main home islands. There are in fact many millions of Japanese alive today precisely because we dropped those nuclear weapons instead of invading the country.

Moving on Mr. Hanks is an unfathomable jackass if he thinks there are any parallels whatsoever between World War Two and the current mutual disregard between the western world and the middle-east. Or at least there are no parallels on the western side. On the middle-eastern side hatred of decadent western culture and its democratic institutions is all too real and clearly supported enthusiastically by millions. Yeah yeah moderate Muslims blah blah blah. Sure there are moderates. Maybe they are in the vast majority but if so they seem especially helpless in reigning in murderous jihadists although admittedly said jihadists appear to be experts in literally explosive intimidation of said putative moderates. Most Americans do not hate Muslims but they should and do properly revile the Islamist human garbage who brought down the twin towers and who routinely attempt to mass murder their co-religionists into submission. Not a lot to love there but even so propaganda posters of caricatured swarthy leering Al Queda suicidists bombing polling places and mosques are notably lacking in American shop windows.

In summation Mr. Hanks the Japanese just wanted us out of their way while radical Islamists do in fact hate our culture and want to conquer and subjugate us by whatever means possible. Not that they are likely to achieve this but that does not make them want it any less or make their murderous depredations any more palatable. Get a grip Hanks, yank that tinfoil hat off, and really respect those men whom your production is portraying by not painting their incredible sacrifices as a mere clash of cultures or a simple matter of mutual disrespect. They hated the Japanese not because they were funny looking little yellow fellows who did not look or talk like us and did not worship the same god but because they were unspeakably savage, implacably resolute, and enthusiastically suicidal enemies not merely of us but also of the peace and freedom of half the globe. If there had been an actual Captain John H. Miller and were he were still alive today he would be very ashamed of you Mr. H.


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