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Yasukuni

124 Comments

Two men carry an Imperial Japanese Army flag at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Friday to mark the 63rd anniversary of the end of World War II.

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I wish they and the other coffin dodgers who share their twisted views would hurry up and shuffle this mortal coil

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Lips - All they're doing is marking the anniversary of the end of the war. They're not calling for the ressurection of the Imperial Army, are they?

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Sarge: Dude... you really gotta pull your head out of your... for this one; they're NOT marking the end of the war, they're showing their support for the Imperial Japan they went to war FOR! I'm sure some of them, in black trucks to boot, would indeed call for the resurrection of the 'glory days' as these pathetic men are doing. I wish they would go to China with these flags and walk down the street... see what happens!

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hmmm, I doubt the idiots who (illegally, thanks to certain laws) parade around in Germany with Nazi regalia seriously think the thrid reich army are coming back. doesnt make them any less depsicable though.

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The wording on the top of the flag reads kaiten tokubetsu kogekitai kikusuitai, in other words a manned-torpedo suicide squad. Once sealed in his torpedo, the pilot had no way to get out again. Torpedos that missed their target were set to self-destruct.

I very much doubt these men are advocating the return of suicide torpedoes. More likely they are remembering the young lads who were brainwashed/coerced into climbing into the kaiten.

(The kaiten by the way were used against the US fleet. Nothing for the Chinese to get upset about.)

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This should be in entertainment.

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Cleo - Thanks for the information. You are a virtual fountain of knowledge!

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No Sarge, just nifty with Google!

What bothers me more than the two old boys with the flag is the bloke in what looks like combat duds over to the left. Much more sinister.

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This is no diferent than memorial day in the states. to honor those that died in the wars of the nation. to say that there are those who commited war crimes there. well to kill a human being in the name of country is still murder. so all nations are guilty of war crimes,

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Yeah, they killed themselves for the Emperor... you know, the descendent of the sun god. This 'courageous' way of thinking exhibited by these torpedo boys is being honored by these flag wavers, so yes, it is indeed revolting that this country can still parade these symbols directly associated with xenophobia and an imaginary sense of racial superiority.

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Cleo is right, the flag is a memorial banner for the "Kikusui" and "Tagiku" Kaiten squads; from the 3rd submarine fleet.

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This 'courageous' way of thinking exhibited by these torpedo boys is being honored by these flag wavers

Or maybe they're just remembering their fallen comrades.

And thanking their lucky stars the war ended before it was their turn.

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The Kaiten auadron of submarine fleet.... that was a suicide attack submarine units something like the Germans Neger class manned torpedoes but the Japanese one was served for suicide attacks like kamikaze. Those old men were still cherished with their old glory..they should not living until today

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Old glory? The Kaitens' (not midget subs) use was never documented in combat. Of anything I think these old men are honouring their fallen comrades, or relatives.

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Cleo: I know all about the suicide torpedos, and if in fact that dude is bringing an old flag in memory of those who killed themselves for the Empire, then I take back what I said, or at least the manner in which I said it. Still, I think there are more tasteful ways of remembering, but what are you going to do?

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August 15th,2008(today) 125 million Japanese will focus on the Olympics, thanks in part to the media...I repeat 125 million....The Emperor of Japan who too, like so many of his mindless herds will focus on Gold and Silver rather than Red; the blood of millions of Japanese souls that died in his name. Today he will not lay a reef on the memorial epitaphs of the youth he sent so carelessly to their deaths, so easily and so mindlessly.

Today, the emperor will stand proudly clapping his hands as yet another olympic athletes receives another medal in the countries honor. I can see the emperor's eyes glistening with pride as the slow dirge of the Japanese national anthem play out over the loud speakers for all the world to hear. I can see the distant fan waving that all too familiar red and white flag bearing the symbol and legacy of his majesty Emperor Akihito. This is Japanese pride !

What you won't see here in Japan, is that same fan waving that same flag here in the countries honor. You see, to wave that Japanese flag in Japan would constitute as an offense, as most Japanese regard it as a symbol of right wing aggression, and Anarchy ! Even visiting Yasukuni Shrine, or even mentioning its name is considered taboo, and is not talked about in social circles. The souls of millions of Japanese men and women lay at the foot of Yasukuni dishonoured and disrespected, not only by 125 million Japanese, but by the emperor himself ! No one dare stand in their honor ;no one sings a song in their name; No one is grateful for their sacrifices; no one is holding a candle lit vigil in their memory ! They died defending the country from foreign aggression. They died following orders; they died honouring the emperor; they died so that millions of spoiled and ungrateful Japanese can live in prosperity and peace. The Soul of Japan died with those millions of Japanese soldiers.

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I think there are more tasteful ways of remembering

They're carrying a banner bearing the name of the squad to which their fallen comrades belonged, to the shrine in which they've been told their comrades are enshrined. I see nothing tasteless in that. They could just place a wreath of flowers I suppose...but who's to tell them how they should remember their pals?

http://www.newsweek.com/id/56428?tid=relatedcl

"Excitement filled from the bottom of my spine through my head. I was not afraid of dying at all. I thought my life could save many other people from dying."

Sounds like a sentiment I've heard elsewhere.

Running around in old-fashioned battle fatigues, blaring military music out of black vans... now that's tasteless.

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They died defending the country from foreign aggression? Huh?

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So as Cleo correctly clarfied that the flag stands for the Kikusui-Tai which employed Kaitens for the Imperial Japanese NAVY (as opposed to the Army), I wonder if the caption will get corrected....

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They died defending the country from foreign aggression? Huh?

That's what they were told.

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I used to think that history was only written by winners. I guess the losers can rewrite history as well. Everybody wants to put a good spin on whatever they were involved in the past. I think in phsychology its called "reverse rationalization". I suppose if they didn't memorialize their war dead, the alternative wouldn't be so great for the national self esteem.

Everybody's gotta be proud of something, I guess.

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yukotojo: well done on your cut and paste job. i read what you wrote, and sorry, i don't feel sad at all.

i thought there was going to be a real battle between the lefties and the righties today. oh well. these old fuddy-duddies can dress up as much as they like and the black trucks can use as many loudspeakers as they wish but china and korea (and russia) aren't intimidated by this nonsense.

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If you think a bunch of old men from the LDP visiting Yasukuni shrine is perniciously cynical, you might be right. Remember that these are the same lot who whimisically cast their vote in favour of supporting the invasion of Iraq. On the contrast you don't see their German counterparts in power exhibiting neither similar behaviour.

Many pro-American individuals who belong to countries that had been at war against Japan seem to believe that the lesson that the Japanese ought to learn from their defeat is that Japan should never infringe upon their countries' interests but not the world at large. Had Japan wasn't hampered by Article 9 of the Constitution, those nations that contributed to the Iraqi invasion and had sent judges to the Tokyo War Crimes Trials that convicted Tojo and the likes for Crimes Against Peace would sooner welcome the same Japanese warring zeal that devoured East Asia to accompany them into Baghdad.

So do you know who suffers the most watching these nationalists parade today? it's not the Korean comfort women or the widow of POWs that died under Japanese custody, it's the Japanese who cannot stand the hypocrisy of the Allies that disapproves Japan's non-commitment to sending their combatants beyond its borders to support the conflicts they wage while at the same time, censuring acts of historical revisionism on Japan's part to justify its role in WWII. The worst part of this affair is that Japan is actually conceding to both crticisms, thus no objective moral lesson can be learned from any conflict.

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NeoJamal

Sheesh....What does Iraq and America invading HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS? Can people actually have a rational discussion on this board without bringing Iraq and Bush into the conversation????????

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Interesting how Germany can honor their dead without a backlash from Europe. Why cant Japan do the same?

The answer is there are very distinct differences between the way the Germans and Japanese handled themselves prior to, during and after the war.

Once you look into those differences, its easy to understand the backlash against Japan on war/historical related issues.

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NeoJamal

Sheesh....What does Iraq and America invading HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS? Can people actually have a rational discussion on this board without bringing Iraq and Bush into the conversation????????

I'm just saying bro, would you support Japanese Nationalism (where Yasukuni is an inseparable institution) if you know that was the principle driving force that wins Japanese support for conflicts that have US and her other allies' interests at stake?

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thanking their lucky stars the war ended before it was their turn.

Now there's a euphamism.

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Interesting how Germany can honor their dead without a backlash from Europe. Why cant Japan do the same?

The answer is there are very distinct differences between the way the Germans and Japanese handled themselves prior to, during and after the war.

Once you look into those differences, its easy to understand the backlash against Japan on war/historical related issues.

Yeah and I contend that the contrary decisions reached by these two Axis countries that are now US allies on the question whether as to support the Iraq War are definitive and perhaps the most important impacts of those historical differences.

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I'm just saying bro, would you support Japanese Nationalism (where Yasukuni is an inseparable institution) if you know that was the principle driving force that wins Japanese support for conflicts that have US and her other allies' interests at stake?

Disagree.....This principle force is Japanese self-interest not nationalism. This picture is nothing more than a far right wing nutbag and not even close to your average Japanese and their opinions, the photo is on the same plane as if the subject was a radical Japanese communist party member, we are talking fringe here. Japan just as all nations foreign policy will always be guided by self interest and as it stands now that self interest means aligning herself with U.S policy for the most part been that has been that way since the end of the war. I'm not up to discussing cold war politics or history up to this point as how Japan has benefited in the broader context of our relations over the years, but I will say that Japan still feels our relationship is in her self interest that is what guides her decisions still today not patriotic ferver for the glory days as this nutbag in the picture hasn't got over yet.

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'Sarge: Dude... you really gotta pull your head out of your... for this one; they're NOT marking the end of the war, they're showing their support for the Imperial Japan they went to war FOR! I'm sure some of them, in black trucks to boot, would indeed call for the resurrection of the 'glory days' as these pathetic men are doing. I wish they would go to China with these flags and walk down the street... see what happens!"

Smith will you please just take a chill pill and stop jumping on everyone with your silly anti-JP hysterics? Nothing in the photograph or the caption suggests that Sarge may be wrong. Likewise nothing supports your speculation either.

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"Interesting how Germany can honor their dead without a backlash from Europe. Why cant Japan do the same? The answer is there are very distinct differences between the way the Germans and Japanese handled themselves prior to, during and after the war."

I don't see any differnce except for after the war.

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Disagree.....This principle force is Japanese self-interest not nationalism. This picture is nothing more than a far right wing nutbag and not even close to your average Japanese and their opinions, the photo is on the same plane as if the subject was a radical Japanese communist party member, we are talking fringe here. Japan just as all nations foreign policy will always be guided by self interest and as it stands now that self interest means aligning herself with U.S policy for the most part been that has been that way since the end of the war. I'm not up to discussing cold war politics or history up to this point as how Japan has benefited in the broader context of our relations over the years, but I will say that Japan still feels our relationship is in her self interest that is what guides her decisions still today not patriotic ferver for the glory days as this nutbag in the picture hasn't got over yet.

If you say that Japan supports US aggression by un-qualified self-interest, then either those polis in the Diet are ignoring their constituents or Japan in general hasn't learned its lesson from WWII.

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"If you say that Japan supports US aggression by un-qualified self-interest, then either those polis in the Diet are ignoring their constituents or Japan in general hasn't learned its lesson from WWII."

Sure they have. You don't see them re-writing their constitution and sending troops in a COMBAT role to Iraq or Afghanistan do you?

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These men have the right to express themselves however they choose.

Of course they only have that right because the comrades they are now memorializing did in fact die in vain.

They only have that right because the nation whose advance they sought to thwart overran them and completely occupied their country.

They only have that right because the survivors from their enemy's armed forces, the ones that the comrades they are now memorializing did their level best to kill, gave them that right.

They gave them that right despite the best efforts and strenuous objections of the leaders whose bidding their fallen comrades sereved.

But those are all inconvenient details so lets all just ignore it and pretend that commemorating the war dead is a wonderful thing no matter what cause they fight for.

If we actually judged people by the cause they tried to further by violence then young men might actually think about more than what country they were born into when it someone asks them to kill.

We couldn't have that.

What kind of world would we live in if people actually thought that going to war in the service of a pernicious cause would result in immortal opprobrium rather than honor? That would truly be horrible. People should not be forced to think before they kill.

Better to just pretend that all warfare is honorable and all who die in ti were noble and that every fallen soldier of every cause deserves exactly as much honor as every other.

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What kind of world would we live in if people actually thought that going to war in the service of a pernicious cause would result in immortal opprobrium rather than honor? That would truly be horrible.

I think most people do think that, don't they?

The problem arises when leaders have the ability to persuade the cannon fodder that theirs is a noble cause and the enemy is a vile heathen out to destroy them.

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they can respect their stupid, idiotic, brainwashed fallen comrades all they want, as all soldiers have the right to do. Lets have the surviving Werhmacht march across Europe waving flags, Al-Qaeda sympathisers can rally at Ground Zero to remember their fallen comrades, The Allies can prance though Dresden throwing flowers. what harm could it do? forgive and forget eh?

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I think most people do think that, don't they?

No. They don't.

Part of the reason for that is that bleeding-hearted saps the world over reinforce the culture of militarism by asserting the propriety of commemorating the war dead irrespective of the cause in which they died.

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No one ever goes to war in a pernicious cause. Each side thinks they're in the right, God is on their side and the other side is heading to Hell. And at least one side is always wrong.

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Sorry, but you are quite simply wrong.

People do in fact go to war for horrible reasons.

Many, but not all times, most of the people involved think that they are right.

One of the reasons that they do is that they don't actually give the problem enough thought.

They know they'll be heroes. They know if they die they will be martyrs.

They know that because everyone always honors the war dead.

No matter what they fought for.

Asserting that this is proper just makes the problem worse. It makes war more likely.

But better that than that we fail to honor those who gave their lives to advance nefarious ends. That would just be ungrateful.

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People do in fact go to war for horrible reasons.

But as you admit, they believe that they're right. And this war, whatever war it is, is always different from every war that has gone before; not because it's really any different, but because this time we really need to fight. Sometimes people may learn or realise the truth or just begin to have doubts, and then the whole thing falls apart.

In fact I do agree with you that if all fallen soldiers were treated with disrespect, you'd soon have empty armies across the globe, which would not be a bad thing; but failing to honour only those who gave their lives to advance nefarious ends won't cut it, since no matter how nefarious the end, the winners are always right; convince people that they're going to win (and who starts a war knowing they're going to lose?) and that the cause is just, and you'll continue to have a plentiful supply of would-be heroes and martyrs. Because it's always the Good Guys who win, by definition.

Or are you seriously suggesting that all war memorial services and ceremonies around the world should stop and people should spit on the Cenotaph and turn the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior into a dog toilet instead?

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When a state of total war is declared in a country the government say what is wanted from the people & it would be an extremely brave or stupid person that tried to stand against that. It matters nothing at all if the war is a just one or not. During WW2 young Japanese men were conscripted, as they were in other countries involved in the war. But unlike other countries their chances of surviving the war if they refused conscription were not as good as they would be by actually joining the military. Any war is dangerous, but in Japan in the 1930s & 40s it was more dangerous to object. Who today can understand that, who can understand a government so powerful that it will kill you if you object to joining a war you believe is wrong? For the Japanese soldier the enemy was both in-front & behind them & that must have built a comradeship way beyond what we might feel we have ever experienced. There is also the total control of all information by the government, just look at North Korea today & it gives you some idea of Japan at the beginning of the war. Even those soldiers that went to war believing in the war did so knowing only what they had been told, they believed because there was nothing else & they fought & died for what they believed. We have hindsight from which to judge their actions, they had no such thing. So they did fight & die for their country & as such are deserving of their country’s respect. It doesn’t matter today if they were lied to then; it matters only what they believed at that time. Some fought because they believed, others because they knew perfectly well what the penal system was like for objectors. Most of us are at this time are outside our own country, so it is a little difficult to know what we would do if our country called on all it’s people to join the military & fight a war that might just lead to our death (& one we might not agree with). We could hide behind our ex-pat status while we thought long & hard about it. Those in country wouldn’t be so lucky, they would be swept up in the “patriotic fervour” of the times, fearing to be seen as the outsider, the coward or the traitor. To judge Japan, the Japanese, the Japanese soldiers & the Japanese who died at that time from the safety & comfort of your computer keyboards is foolish or arrogant. Yes, you can read all the books watch all the films, even listen to the old men, but you cannot & will not ever be able to understand, none of us can, not even the old men who have forgotten the fears that were so real to them THEN.

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Cleo,

I am having some trouble following your logic.

You seem to be suggesting that we should commemorate the war dead regardless of what cause they supported because even though that will likely lead to more wars (which are a bad thing), all war is wrong and no cause is ever morally superior to any other.

That would of course suggest that nothing is wrong under any circumstances. Which would of course make war just fine.

I'm not sure you're making any sense here.

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It matters nothing at all if the war is a just one or not

See if you can follow me here:

Yes it does.

War is not primarily about facing danger or about sharing hardships. It is not about risking one's own life. War is first and foremost about killing. It is the science of premeditated violence of snuffing out and destroying the sacred gift of human life to achieve a political objective.

If you think it doesn't matter what objectives one is trying to achieve by such atrocity, well then I fear that there isn't much in your worldview that does or even could matter.

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Brighteyes

If you would care to put that quote back into context you will see that you totally miss the point, as I believe you wanted to.

If you care to re-read you will, if you wish to, see that everything I wrote was about people who had no say in what their country asked/demanded of them. I made no comments at all about the rights & wrongs of war.

If English is your second language then I will apologise for mis-judging your reasoning, but assuming from you writing English is your first language then I can only believe you deliberately quoted me out of context to make a rather obvious remark about war in general.

What your reason for doing so is I really have no idea.

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See if you can follow me here, Imagawa:

You always have a choice.

Even if that means that you choose between sacrificing your own life or taking that of an innocent, or worse yet, someone whose cause is just, you still have a choice

Once again: War is not just about some abstract "fighting". It is not about the endurance of hardship and danger. It is about killing. It is about killing real live human being and the infliction of misery and hardship. It is about doing profoundly evil things.

Killing is serious business. If you are engaged in it then you had better be damned sure of exactly why you are doing it.

If you want to make the case that some of those who were involved were victims of their governments as much as of their own intellectual and moral shortcomings then go ahead and try to make that case, but never forget that they are incontrovertibly victims of their own shortcomings in intellect, character or both.

The reason for that is that you always have a choice and anyone who opts for killing lightly, is and ought to be subject to the censure of all humanity.

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Many of the dead soldiers would be ashamed of how Japan has twisted and distorted what really happened in those dark years and how they are now enshrined along with such evil, in whose name they were forced to die. They and their families have every right to grieve for they are the real losers. Modern day right-wingists in Japan would not have the courage or intelligence to fight like they did. Lest we forget.

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Brighteyes -

I'm not suggesting that we should or should not commemorate the war dead. I'm questioning your assertion that not honouring 'those who gave their lives to advance nefarious ends' would lead to the end of war.

The winners get to write history, and so of course winners never fight for nefarious ends. Which means that what you're saying boils down to, People who lose wars should not be allowed to honour their dead.

For your idea to work, you would have to ban the commemoration of all war dead; and that simply is never going to happen, because however nefarious the aim the winner is always right in the end; the winner has always fought a just war, and the winner's war dead become martyrs to inspire the next generation of cannon fodder. I'm not saying that it's proper for one side or the other to honour their war dead. I'm simply saying that you're never going to get people to think rationally about what they're doing in the heat of the moment; just as the threat of the death penalty does nothing to lower the murder rate, the threat of eternal ignominy if they lose will not deter people from fighting wars. It will simply make them even more determined to win.

you always have a choice and anyone who opts for killing lightly, is and ought to be subject to the censure of all humanity.

I'm not sure that the first part of that statement is true, and I cannot deny the second part.

When you're led to believe that unless you go out and kill the enemy, he will come into your home and kill you and your family (innocents all), most people would feel there was no choice.

When you're told that you either go and kill the enemy or you and your family face the firing squad at home, most people would feel there was no choice.

When the bombs are already dropping around your ears, most people would probably think that going out to stop those bombs - by stopping the bombers - was by far the lesser of two evils; if the choice is to kill a hardened soldier or let him kill your baby daughter - then for most people, there's no choice.

Of course it isn't always that clear-cut; politicians and military leaders are adept at making people believe things that are not true. Just look at the hysteria in the US in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq; even that was sold as 'we have to get them before their balsa-wood drones fly across the world to get us'. There's a kind of mass hysteria that may indicate a shortcoming in intellect or character or both, but that doesn't alter the fact that hysterical people aren't going to sit down and think things through rationally. If the human race possessed that ability, there would be no wars, ever. Obviously that isn't the case.

I'm not trying to make a case for 'the just war' - I'm a dyed-in-the-wool pacifist, and don't believe there's any such thing - I'm simply trying to understand how ordinary people who do not have more than their share of 'shortcomings in intellect, character or both' can decide in their millions that going to war is a lesser evil than not going. I don't think it all boils down to hordes of people opting for 'killing lightly'.

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Cleo

Hello and good evening. I apologize for not responding to your last post on the other thread from a few weeks back. I am confident, however, that the future will provide us an opportunity to continue on that topic.

As for this one:

You entire response is predicated on two assumptions, one being the assumption that history is written by the victor. As with my question to you the other day about Yasukuni and the soldiers remains:

Are you sure about that? I mean, really sure?

'Cause, if by chance, I or someone else, were to, well, shatter that myth....

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Dan - It's morning here.

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Cleo,

There are so many points that you raise in your post that one hardly knows where to begin.

I suppose the first thing that should be noted is that you have associated me with a position that I never took, namely that not commemorating the war dead would lead to the end of war. I merely asserted that the unthinking commemoration of all war dead certainly contributes to making war more likely. Moreover, that is a position which even if you did not endorse outright, you certainly connived at when you wrote “They're carrying a banner bearing the name of the squad to which their fallen comrades belonged, to the shrine in which they've been told their comrades are enshrined. I see nothing tasteless in that.”

The point here is that there is something not only tasteless but reprehensible about that. These people are not merely remembering the fallen as individual human beings victimized by a cruel fate. They are remembering them as parts of a unit, a machine whose purpose is the taking of human life. They are being remembered as soldiers and sailors, that is to say as trained killers and killers who employed that training striving for the attainment of nefarious ends. When they celebrate that unit, they celebrate both the ends it was intended to achieve and the means by which it was meant to achieve them. In this case both were nefarious, and that is indeed reprehensible.

Your next argument is the product of sheer intellectual sloth. The idea that history is written by the victors has its greatest currency among two groups: losers and fools, among losers because of the obvious political advantage it imparts and among fools because it allows them to pretend to a wisdom they are too lazy to actually attain. When one repeats this empty platitude one reveals one’s ignorance of both history and historiography.

The fact is that the first genuine work of history, Thucydides’s HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR was not only written by a loser, but a disgraced one at that. The classic account of the rise of Rome was not penned by any Senator or Consul, but by Polybius, a defeated Greek. The Franks’ invasion and occupation of Gaul was not the work of any German, but rather of Gregory of Tours, a Latin, that is to say, one of the losers. The idea that our understanding of history is shaped only by military victors is sheer nonsense. Even the popularity of this pablum is evidence enough that it is not true, for what victor would be so foolish as to write it down? The simple fact is that some of the most enduring and effective historical narratives are those that are written by the losers.

It certainly was none of the victors of Versailles that penned the tale of the "stab in the back" that cost the Germans the First World War. It was not Santa Anna who urged Texans to "Remember the Alamo." It was no Muslim who concocted the tale of Elijah carrying a message from the Virgin Mary to Prince Lazar, urging him to choose death over surrender on the Field of Blackbirds in Kosovo Polje. As Albion Tourgee wrote when he observed that Southerners were then in the process of successfully rewriting the history of the American Civil War: “Pathos lies at the bottom of all enduring fiction. Agony is the key to immortality. The ills of fate, irreparable misfortune, untoward but unavoidable destiny: these are the things that make for enduring fame.” The idea that, as you put it, “the winner is always right in the end” has never been accepted by the losers nor has it been adopted by neutral observers. It has, in fact, never even had the undivided support of the victors. From Thucydides to Kodama Yoshio, author of I WAS DEFEATED, losers have never lacked for a voice in the historical record. The very simple fact of the matter is that history is written by the writers and victory has nothing to do with it.

The failure to understand that indicates a failure to come to grips with history, a desire to gain enlightenment on the cheap by dismissing it all as a bunch of politically driven propaganda and lies from which one could never learn anything and which one consequently has no reason to study However as Barack Obama has rightly noted, “cynicism is a sorry excuse for wisdom” and that is certainly the case here. For history is full of scoundrels, ne’er-do-wells, and yes, even fabricators whose greatest desire is to distort the record and deceive future generations, but it is also full of heroes, decent men and women, and people of both courage and integrity. It is a record of struggle and war. It is the story of wars fought for no good reason or for nefarious ends, wars in which each side was as bad as the other as well as wars that were fought over real, important issues in which one side was objectively better than the other. The ability to distinguish one from the other is the fruit of wisdom and study. These can be gained only through constant questioning of both the historical record and one’s own assumptions. They cannot be gained through a simple surrender of one’s conscience to a nation or a state. Neither can it be gained by ignoring the fact that some wars are indeed necessary and sometimes it is our moral obligation to do profoundly evil things in order to prevent even more evil things from coming to pass. You have connived in the first and advocated the second. I can agree to neither of these positions.

It is true that violence solves very little in this world, but empty posturing and moral narcissism solve even less.

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BrightEyes

Oh, so now you're gonna tell us Hirohito wielded power, the White Men did have a Burden the Civil War was about Slavery...

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BTW

It is true that violence often solves very little in this world.

And just as often it does.

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Brighteyes,

Been reading through your posts, quite the slog as I to try to decipher your position as it tends to get masked under all those ten dollars words you use. I'm going to have bow to your superior education a bit here because I'm just a dumb veteran who happened not to be smart enough to question my morals when I joined the military industrial war machine complex in service of my countries nefarious ends.

I'm gathering that anyone the is willing to give their lives in the defense of others no matter what the background for making that choice is something not worthy of respect. I take it if I'm reading your posts right, oh and please fell free to dumb it down a bit in your response if it will help me understand your position better or if I'm reading your views wrong, after all you do have to remember I'm a vet and just dumb cannon fodder that never had the ability to think for myself. I was stripped of that ability when I was in bootcamp and indoctrinated with blind patriotism. But I take it from reading your posts that honoring those that died in service of their country somehow makes war more inevitable and a noble cause so it is more palatable to sell to next generation of cannon fodder to join the war machine.

I find that position very tenious and further more rather patronizing as those that give up their rights to serve others with the FULL knowledge that service may very well entail the ultimate sacrifice of death on the battle field are worthy of honor and respect.

Soldiers do their duty always have and always will no amount of intellectual discussion is going ever to change that.

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Sailwind,

Perhaps I should use less expensive words next time. You seem to be having some trouble digesting the 10 dollar variety.

You see, this idea:

I'm gathering that anyone the is willing to give their lives in the defense of others no matter what the background for making that choice is something not worthy of respect.

which you attributed to me, is the very antithesis (that means "double-plus opposite" in less expensive words) to what I argued which was:

"some wars are indeed necessary and sometimes it is our moral obligation to do profoundly evil things in order to prevent even more evil things from coming to pass."

So sorry if my big words scared you witless. Next time I'll try to be more gentle. Or maybe I'll take Danman's advice and just type slower.

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If you want to make the case that some of those who were involved were victims of their governments as much as of their own intellectual and moral shortcomings then go ahead and try to make that case, but never forget that they are incontrovertibly victims of their own shortcomings in intellect, character or both.

Thanks for clearing up this statement from a earlier post on this thread I apologize if I somehow got out of it my idea that soldiers no matter what country were not worthy of your respect with their shortcomings in intellect and character and all.

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Sailwind,

Apology accepted.

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I lean toward the very general definition stated by journalist Gwynne Dyer: soldiers fight for honor, duty and country. It is the policies of the combatants that I scrutinize. I lean toward the very general definition stated by journalist Gwynne Dyer: soldiers fight for honor, duty and country. It is the policies of the combatants that I scrutinize.

Although the picture evokes a message for today, back during WWII, Gen. MacArthur stated that the Japanese were the strangest adversary the US has ever engaged. The situation back then, is soooooo different from the situation today.

To YukoTojo:

Those who fell in WWII are honored and respected. However, not in a way acceptable to you.

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I lean toward the very general definition stated by journalist Gwynne Dyer: soldiers fight for honor, duty and country. It is the policies of the combatants that I scrutinize. I lean toward the very general definition stated by journalist Gwynne Dyer: soldiers fight for honor, duty and country. It is the policies of the combatants that I scrutinize.

Although the picture evokes a message for today, back during WWII, Gen. MacArthur stated that the Japanese were the strangest adversary the US has ever engaged. The situation back then, is soooooo different from the situation today.

To YukoTojo:

Those who fell in WWII are honored and respected. However, not in a way acceptable to you.

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I lean toward the very general definition stated by journalist Gwynne Dyer: soldiers fight for honor, duty and country. It is the policies of the combatants that I scrutinize. I lean toward the very general definition stated by journalist Gwynne Dyer: soldiers fight for honor, duty and country. It is the policies of the combatants that I scrutinize.

Although the picture evokes a message for today, back during WWII, Gen. MacArthur stated that the Japanese were the strangest adversary the US has ever engaged. The situation back then, is soooooo different from the situation today.

To YukoTojo:

Those who fell in WWII are honored and respected. However, not in a way acceptable to you.

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Brighteyes -

I think you read too much into what exactly the men are commemorating. Would you be as vicious in your comments if they were US vets gathering to remember fallen comrades? Or would you deem that OK because in spite of being arguably the most highly-trained killers in the world, their ends are not 'nefarious'?

Which brings us to our second point of who gets to decide what's nefarious and what isn't. You object to my claim that 'the winners write history' because of reports that have come down to us from long ago, when the world as a different place and war far removed from what it is today. In the past, there were no niceties of 'just war' and 'nefarious war'. Kings attacked their neighbours in order to expand their own power, influence and wealth, and had no need to explain themselves to voters.

Let's look at a few modern wars. If the American Revolution had failed, George Washington and his pals would be in the history books as nefarious traitors to the crown. If Germany had won the 2nd World War, the 3rd Reich would be heroes and we would all be speaking German. If Japan had developed and used the bomb ahead of the US, ....... etc., etc., etc. No doubt some losers would be writing the occasional piece on how they wuz robbed of victory, but they would be as minor as nazi-wannabbees and Japanese black-truck yobboes are today.

I would never suggest that there is nothing to be learned from history and therefore no reason to study it; far from it. Neither though do I think it is wise to accept at face value everything we are told, whoever is doing the chronicling.

sometimes it is our moral obligation to do profoundly evil things in order to prevent even more evil things from coming to pass

OK. But when you do those profoundly evil things and still fail to prevent the even more evil things from coming to pass, you're still stuck with having done profoundly evil things. Your gripe with the men with the flag seems to be that it is tasteless of them to remember their fallen comrades because those comrades were trained killers who died in the act of doing something profoundly evil, ie killing the enemy. Is it beyond your capacity to imagine that if they had been successful in preventing what were to them even more evil things coming to pass (ie defeat at the hands of the enemy, their families butchered by American devils - this is what they were taught, remember, in the fog of war the actual truth is irrelevant -) they would now be heroes, the Americans in H-bombed Los Angeles, Chicago or wherever would be being told to 'get over' their victim status, and we would be asserting that the allies should not be allowed to commemorate their war dead because their attempt to throttle the Great Japanese Empire was nefarious?

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Food in Mouth; tongue in Cheeck Cleo is your new name.

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Reading through all of this one could almost say it is not the soldiers that are evil. It is the leaders of the nations that order the soldiers to fight that are evil. Then logically moving on from this, since the people choose their leaders, the soldiers actions reflect the people's compassion for human lives thereby making the people who fight a war evil!

(and before anyone argues against whether one chooses their own leaders; a tyrant rules only by the consent of his people. Even in the old days when there were kings, the single thing that all rulers feared the most was a peasant revolution! If one doesn't have the strength to stand up and fix what is wrong, they might as well be an accomplice!!)

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Cleo,

Now that BrightEyes has done us the favor of exposing the myth that history is written by the victor, I wonder if you have any comment on the implication of that on your argument -- seeing as how you predicated much of your argument on that canard.

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And Cleo

In the fog of war, only the truth is relevant.

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Cleo,

In your last post you have come very close to achieving high comedy, managing to pull off the difficult feat of not only contradicting an assertion that you made earlier but to actually be wrong in both of them.

Allow me to elaborate.

In an earlier post you wrote: “No one ever goes to war in a pernicious cause. Each side thinks they're in the right, God is on their side and the other side is heading to Hell.”

Now you assert that: “In the past, there were no niceties of 'just war' and 'nefarious war'. Kings attacked their neighbours in order to expand their own power, influence and wealth, and had no need to explain themselves to voters.”

Which is it, does everyone always assert that they were right or did no war worry about the “niceties” of justice in their cause? Don’t bother to answer for it matters little which of your contradicting assertions you attempt to support. They are both wrong and in order to see this one would have to look no further than the Melian Dialog from Thucydides, who, I remind you was not only the first true historian, but was also a disgraced loser.

Alcibades, a prominent leader of democratic Athens and a man who most certainly did have to answer to the voters, led a delegation of his countrymen to the isle Melos, whose surrender to Athens they demanded. Melos had made no aggressive move. Its only crime was to be in Athens’s self-defined sphere of influence without submitting to Athenian hegemony. Addressing the Melian emissary, Alcibiades spoke for his state’s cause:

“For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretences- either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us- and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”

To which the Melians responded:

“As we think, at any rate, it is expedient- we speak as we are obliged, since you enjoin us to let right alone and talk only of interest- that you should not destroy what is our common protection, the privilege of being allowed in danger to invoke what is fair and right, and even to profit by arguments not strictly valid if they can be got to pass current. And you are as much interested in this as any, as your fall would be a signal for the heaviest vengeance and an example for the world to meditate upon.”

So here, we see two things. First both sides, way back “in the past” were indeed acquainted with the idea of a just war. Moreover we see that even understanding such, men, men leading democracies, men who had to answer to the voters, would indeed knowingly go to war without even a pretense of being in the right. Thucydides, the disgraced loser from defeated Athens, has laid Athenian cause laid bare in all its cynicism.

This, I remind you, is in the very first work of history.

Ah, yes, but I suppose that you will now fall back on your groundless assertion that I am speaking “of reports that have come down to us from long ago, when the world as a different place and war far removed from what it is today.”

Because obviously this sort of things cannot happen in modern times. I mean, after all, who has ever seen a book on Vietnam written by an American? Who among those who lived in Japan ever saw a book on the Second World War, written by a Japanese? Oh, that’s right. Everyone.

You know the most absurd thing about your contention is that this discussion in its concrete form stems from Japan’s participation in World War II. The fact is that not only have Japanese written endless volumes on the subject, but Japanese military officers -- many of them war criminals -- were hired BY THE US ARMY to write their side of the story.

Still, in spite of the overwhelming weight of evidence to the contrary, you still feel rather strongly that you are correct here. The problem is that your feelings do not constitute an cogent argument. Nor are they particularly well served by groundless speculation and still less by assertions that are demonstrably false.

I repeat: History is written by the writers. Victory has nothing to do with it.

Now, as to your assertion that I am reading too much into what the men are commemorating, I can only respond that you must be joking.

There is a photo of two men holding the banner of a military unit that fought to further an evil cause and I have said that I find that reprehensible.

You, on the other hand, without any evidence whatsoever have argued that “More likely they are remembering the young lads who were brainwashed/coerced into climbing into the kaiten.”

Then you speculated that “maybe they're just remembering their fallen comrades. And thanking their lucky stars the war ended before it was their turn.”

What we know for certain about these men is this: They are at a right-wing site, on a day laden with meaning for right-wingers, carrying the banner of a military unit whose mission was to kill people in the furtherance of an evil cause.

Everything else, is mere speculation, and all of that speculation is on your part alone.

Next we come to your assertion that “when you do those profoundly evil things and still fail to prevent the even more evil things from coming to pass, you're still stuck with having done profoundly evil things.”

That is so obvious I don’t see why you felt the need to state it. The problem is that you feel that this somehow makes the refusal to do evil things morally superior to the commission of evil acts in all cases. That is not obvious. If you fail to commit an evil act and thus allow an even more evil act to transpire then you are complicit in that greater evil. One is responsible for sins of omission as well as those of commission. It is not always possible to remain pure and unblemished by evil. The task of a moral being is to weigh one’s options and to become compromised by as little evil as possible.

The studied negligence of moral narcissism is not superior to the ugliness of compromise.

Now at last we come to the final and total bankruptcy of your position.

You assert that right and wrong have no place in judgment because what is right and wrong differs according to perception and belief. You have in short based your argument on moral relativism and the rejection of moral absolutes.

The problem with that is that you have on numerous occasions already employed or allowed moral absolutes in your arguments.

To wit: you have agreed with my assertion that waging war requires the commission of “profoundly evil” acts. You have condemned warfare.

Finally, you have tried to establish your own position as superior to mine. However, if the only thing that matters is our subjective understanding of right and wrong then you are in no position to judge my argument for I would not be making it if it were not right to me. As you implicitly deny the validity of a universal truth, you negate the possibility of disputing my argument. That is to say that the premise of argument is inherently contradictory and negates the very validity of making an argument at all.

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Brighteyes -

As for the first part of your argument, I can only answer that that was then, and this is now. Democracy and war in them days were both very different from the democracy and war that we have today.

'History is written by the winners' does not mean simplistically that no one on the losing side is ever allowed to write anything. As for Americans writing about Vietnam - while America didn't win the Vietnam War in a blaze of glory (massive understatement), neither was the 'victorious' North Vietnam in any position to dominate America. No Vietnamese generals travelling to America to lay down the law, no demands that the American President formally surrender. So not a winner, but not quite a loser, either, at least in the traditional sense. I think my meaning is clear in the examples I gave, of Washington the potential ignominious traitor, the glorious Third Reich etc. In each case, a different winner would have produced a different history, and not only in terms of who won which battles, but in terms of which side was right and which nefarious.

when you do those profoundly evil things and still fail to prevent the even more evil things from coming to pass, you're still stuck with having done profoundly evil things.” That is so obvious I don’t see why you felt the need to state it.

Because you seem unable to comprehend it.

The problem is that you feel that this somehow makes the refusal to do evil things morally superior to the commission of evil acts in all cases.

I've made no such claim. If you read that in my post, then either my wording was inadequate in which case I apologise for sloppy writing, for you have either failed to understand me or are reading into my posts things that are not there.

This part of your argument I don't understand; you state categorically that the men in the photo are honouring men whose mission was to kill people in the furtherance of an evil cause. You also say that If you fail to commit an evil act and thus allow an even more evil act to transpire then you are complicit in that greater evil. One is responsible for sins of omission as well as those of commission. It is not always possible to remain pure and unblemished by evil. The men who climbed into those manned torpedoes did so in the hopes of preventing what was to them a greater evil, namely the defeat of Japan in the war which, they were told, would mean the destruction of their country. So, they were guilty of commission. Not going on their mission to kill the people who were trying to kill them would have made them, in their own eyes, guilty of omission. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

All this stems from your original assertion that people who die fighting 'to advance nefarious ends' should not be honoured. I understand (I think) where you're coming from, and to some extent I agree; if people refused to fight in bad wars there would be a lot fewer wars. (Probably none, since I can't think of a single instance of a 'good' war; defensive wars don't count, because if the offending side heeded your call in the first place there would be nothing to defend against in the second.) But as a point of practicality, the people fighting on both sides do believe that they are right and that the other side is the one that's nefarious, evil if you like. Leaders encourage their soldiers to believe that, because it makes it a lot easier for them to go out and kill, which is what the leaders want them to do. If Japan had won the war it would be the allies who were the nefarious ones. It's easy to say after the event this side was right and that side was wrong, but that isn't how people see it at the time, which means they would be unable to heed your call not to fight to advance nefarious ends. I'm not talking about relativism; I'm talking about the meaninglessness of claiming that refusing to honour the war dead of the nefarious side (read: the losing side) will ever make war less likely.

Rather reflecting on the futility of the lives lost on both sides will help make us all more sober.

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Rather reflecting on the futility of the lives lost on both sides will help make us all more sober.

Isn't that why have memorials????? No offense but isn't that why we constuct them to give people pause for reflection?

I'm really not getting the points here. Yasukuni is a shrine to honor her fallen soldiers in battle. Yasukuni changed all that and the debate with the interment of war criminals. It went from a shrine that honors fallen soldiers to a shrine that puts war criminals on the same moral plane as those who sent them to their death. which is why in my opinion this debate is all about and that is wrong and on so many levels........Cannon fodder deserve better then to sleep with the spirit of Tojo.

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Cleo,

You know, I am still having trouble understanding the argument that you are trying to make. I wonder if you have an argument at all. This is our exchange as I understand it:

You assert that winners write history.

I point out that that is total nonsense and I provide countless counter-examples to refute the claim.

You make counter-factual arguments based entirely on your own understanding of how the world works, an understanding which I showed to be at variance with reality with previously noted numerous examples.

I point this out.

You continue to insist that no, even though you can’t provide a single concrete example to back your premise, you are right. As evidence you refer to counterfactual arguments based on your flawed understanding of the world.

This approach lacks cogence.

Incidentally, I noticed that even though you made a significant retreat from your earlier assertion “winners write history” now has become something like “winners write history if and only if they completely dominate and occupy their foe.”

Very catchy that.

Too bad it also is demonstrably false. One need look no further than two of the examples I have ALREADY provided: that of the American South after the US Civil War and Japan after World War II. In World War II, Japan DID surrender. American generals DID occupy the nation and (quite literally) lay down the law. Still, there is no shortage of Japanese writing the history of World War II. Many who did were former officers of the Imperial Army. Many of those officers were even hired by the victorious power to write their own history.

Moreover, we can see that even in cases where the conquered were essentially extinguished and had not even developed the capacity to write that they are not necessarily judged to be wrong.

Is there a Cherokee work on the Trail of Tears? Do most people think that the policy of expelling them from their homeland was right?

No. The Cherokee lost. They lost everything and were almost exterminated. And yet most people who have read their history (overwhelmingly based on accounts written by non-Cherokees) seems to sympathize with them and not those that drove them from their homes.

How about the Australian aboriginals? Did they win? From my understanding they were totally dominated, expelled from their lands and, in many places, hunted like animals.

Do we now all treat the ruthless proponents of “white Australia” as being in the right? I mean, after all, they did win. Do our sympathies lie with those who exterminated them?

Even when the winners do write the history they condemn themselves in their own writings.

So, to sum up, every point that you have asserted in this argument has been shown to be at variance with reality.

Every single one.

Without exception.

And that was the strong part of your post.

You then tried to make the argument that the people in the photo were right to commemorate a unit involved in the commission of atrocity to further a manifestly evil cause because they BELIEVED they were doing the right thing.

See if you can follow me here: I don’t care what they thought. I care only what they did and what cause they served.

You see, I believe in right and wrong. Whether people who commit atrocity to further evil ends FEEL that they are right matters not one iota.

Furthermore it matters not one iota that you FEEL that the hackneyed pablum that passes for wisdom among those who are as pretentious as they are lazy is valid. It doesn’t matter no matter how many times that you assert that it does or that your ridiculous counterfactual speculation is actually more important that what is actually contained in the historical record.

You see, the doctrine that those things are the most important consideration has a name. That name is moral relativism. That, along with fantasy, is what your arguments are based on.

There is right and wrong. It is incumbent on us as moral human beings to, insofar as we are able, not only do right and avoid wrong, but to encourage right and obstruct wrong.

By memorializing a military unit that was engaged in evil actions for the furtherance of evil ends, these men are doing something that deserves condemnation.

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By memorializing a military unit that was engaged in evil actions for the furtherance of evil ends, these men are doing something that deserves condemnation.

No offense Brighteyes you understand history quite well and I think I can safely say you were never in the military and can never understand the bond and respect soldiers have for the other side regardless of politics. I'm going to offer you this so you might understand better.........

It didn't became public until after the Soviet Union fell but the respect for the fallen on the other side has never changed and the men that died on this submarine don't deserve condemnation but respect also.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=glomar%20soviet&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#q=glomar%20explorer&hl=en&emb=0

If the link doesn't work google Glomar Soviet and do a video search it's the second one on the video link.

You might do well listen to the words that were said in 1974 with regards to our mortal enemies.

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They are not remembered as trained killers or anyone striving for some nefarious ends. How can you honor anyone with evil ends? They are just being remembered as selfless beings in the commemorators' memory. Ask for yourself the two old men who carried the imperial navy flag what kind of grand ends they strive to attain by that.

some wars are indeed necessary and sometimes it is our moral obligation to do profoundly evil things in order to prevent even more evil things from coming to.

Before discerning profoundly evil from more evil, I have to say that to win for a cause is one thing and to commit war crimes is quite another. A bombs cannot be justified for any obligation for ever.

While I don't believe the men carrying the navy flag advocate anything more than their forlorn empathy and esteem for the selfless souls of their comrades, I do feel somewhat uneasy, or I should say distressing and alarming that we had to witness 9.11 disaster in which actual suicide attackers still seemed to strive to attain some ends, nefarious, revengeful or whatever against America. Some wars seem indeed necessary for some people and sometimes they deliberately let it your moral obligation to do profoundly evil things in order to attain their own goals.

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Ha ha,

Describe.

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Sailwind,

I understand the bond between military men on opposite sides. I just don’t believe it’s worthy of the blind respect you seem to believe it is. That’s all.

You see, that’s the bond that made American military officers fete Goering like royalty after he surrendered himself to them. That’s the bond that caused General Charles Willoughby to shield people like Arisue Seizo, Hattori Takushiro, and Tsuji Masanobu, war criminal extraordinaire and one of the principal culprits of the Bataan Death March, from prosecution.

It’s the ethos of the warrior, as opposed to that of the soldier. The warrior is the man who chooses arms as a profession not because he is willing to endure hardship and put his soul at risk to protect something greater than he, but simply because it suits his basic nature to dominate others and to kill them. He cares little if his cause is just or about the ends to which his lethal skills are applied. I despise warriors. It is they, above all, who make war not only possible, but inevitable.

Soldiers, on the other hand, fight because they have to, and they only do so after they have genuinely exhausted and they deserve respect to the extent that their cause was just.

War is very serious business and it should only be undertaken in deadly earnest. If those you are killing don’t absolutely need killing, or are not advancing a cause so evil that it absolutely requires killing, then you have no business being enemies in the first place.

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sail -

Isn't that why have memorials????? No offense but isn't that why we constuct them to give people pause for reflection?

No offence taken, you're absolutely right. But Brighteyes wants to prevent some people having memorials. I've tried to get him to explain his position but all he wants to do is wax lyrical about the ancient Greeks and Cherokee historians.

Brighteyes -

By memorializing a military unit that was engaged in evil actions for the furtherance of evil ends, these men are doing something that deserves condemnation.

Exactly what evil actions for the furtherance of evil ends were these men engaged in? They were fighting for their country, obeying the orders given them by their military commanders.

What were the people they were trying to kill doing? Fighting for their country, obeying the orders given them by their military commanders.

What's the difference? Why is one side 'evil' and the other not? Not the masterminds behind the tactics, the ordinary fighting man. Come on, admit it's because you want to believe that your side was good and virtuous and the enemy were evil.

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Hello Cleo

I notice you failed to respond to my earlier posts. Perhaps you missed them. I will repost:

Now that BrightEyes has done us the favor of exposing the myth that history is written by the victor, I wonder if you have any comment on the implication of that on your argument -- seeing as how you predicated much of your argument on that canard.

and

In the fog of war, only the truth is relevant.

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woops

But on second consideration, after rereading your posts and responses, I am finding it difficult to discern an argument. To be sure, you make a lot of points, but I really can't see any logical connection anywhere.

May I humbly offer a suggestion: Perhaps if you were to boil down all that you posted, reflect upon it and come up with, y'now, an argument. It may prove helpful.

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woops again

Because saying " war is bad" is not an argument. All civilized men recognize that war is hell. So what are you trying to say? What does you dyed-in-the-wool pacifism offer we civilized peoples in our struggles to make the world a better, safer and more just place?

Do tell. I really want to know.

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Cleo,

It seems that you are now accusing me of believing that the cause of the Allies in the Second World War was morally superior to the cause of the Axis.

You are correct.

I do indeed believe the cause of the Allied powers was morally superior to that of the Axis.

Do you believe otherwise?

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What's the difference?

They fought for bad. We fought for good. As your countrymen wrote in 1945 in the wake of the our triumph over the Nazis:

one must recognise that some causes are objectively better than others, even if they are advanced by equally bad means. [Knowing the difference] is essentially a moral effort.

George Orwell

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BrightEyes

Imperialist!

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What's the difference? Why is one side 'evil' and the other not? Not the masterminds behind the tactics, the ordinary fighting man. Come on, admit it's because you want to believe that your side was good and virtuous and the enemy were evil.

Not exactly the same cleo we see on Iraq threads...

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Brighteyes -

I'm not 'accusing' you of anything, I really don't understand why you're being so antagonistic. For what it's worth, yes I agree that the cause of the Allies in the Second World War was morally superior to the cause of the Axis.

But that does not change the fact that the ordinary fighting man on both sides believed he was fighting against evil. So your claim that refusing to fight for an evil cause would reduce the number of wars is not practical, since the people fighting fight because they believe they're right and the other side is wrong; so there is no reduction in the number of wars.

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one must recognise that some causes are objectively better than others, even if they are advanced by equally bad means. [Knowing the difference] is essentially a moral effort.

By reading history books on this period, what I can gather as the primary cause on Japan's side for the war between Japan and China that started in August 1937 was to end the antagonism as early as possible. But I wonder why the war had to start when the general staff office of the military (and navy) opposed to spreading warfare in China at that time and insisted to continue negotiation with KMT government even though almost everyone else including mass media was so enraged as to think that they should chastise China.

Meantime I just happened to read a comic disquisition or gekiga titled "仕組まれた昭和史 (Concocted History of Showa)" by Soejima Takahiko. The book tells that Japan was just part of the world history in which she was manipulated like a piece of chessman by some enormous power from outside where the transition of world hegemony was being made to occur. Morass of warfare between Japan and China seems something programmed.

The postscript of the book begins as follows: War economy that wages war to stimulates the economy is the chronic disease of America or what is called an empire. The economy doesn't hold unless they wage war once every 5 or 10 years. Roosevelt's New Deal didn't come off well and what actually revived the US economy in 1940's was war economy.

The dropping of a-bombs on Japan was not for justice but for ratio or portion to take, the author argued. Not anything objectively better or morally superior. Just greed and plutolatry. The flag carrying old men and the dead souls they cannot forget were less of chessmen barely coming in for share of it all.

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The book tells that Japan was just part of the world history in which she was manipulated like a piece of chessman by some enormous power from outside where the transition of world hegemony was being made to occur. Morass of warfare between Japan and China seems something programmed.

Care to explain what enormous power compelled Japan to do a sneak attack Pearl Harbor.......Russians? Germans?

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Seiharinokaze

It is unclear to me how your post addresses Orwell's, and my, point.

I posted that quote to drive home the point that Japan, along with her ally Nazi Germany, fought for bad, that US fought for good.

And that makes all the difference.

So let me ask you bluntly

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woops

So let me ask you bluntly:

Do you think that makes all the difference?

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I'm totally down with the rights of the people to free speech and the right to protest and personal liberty, but in this case, where does it get them? On TV? In the newspaper?

There is no way in the next 50 years you'll get the average "kawaii" and "oishii" saying Japanese person to stand up for the country and take an active role in Militarism so, what's the goal really here? What's the end point of the protest?

Will the Shinto leaders "move" the Class A criminals out, no, will the for and against factions give up, no.

We'll see this kind of image in the news papers off an on for the next 50 years so, what about a novel approach, we just let sleeping dogs lie and get on with improving our CURRENT way of life instead of continually poking the fires of a previous era.

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I like Japan and I like japanese people for the most part. But I don't like the Japanese Imperial Army. They did terrible terrible things. They are not worth "honouring" in my opinion.

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No one is forcing you to honour them.

Don't know of any person that was forced to visit yasukuni by someone else holding a sword/knife/gun to them.

Heck my japanese wife is afraid to visit it too.

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Care to explain what enormous power compelled Japan to do a sneak attack Pearl Harbor.......Russians? Germans?

The enormous power seemed to have let the US president be waiting for the sneak attack while holding a tea party on the morning of the day. In 1939, even two years before the Pacific War started, postwar policies were already studied at CFR, right? So America's going to war was long since on the agenda. What mattered then was how to let it come. How to steer the public opinion in favor of going to war?

On the other in her last ditch negotiations to prevent war with America that resulted in the Hull note, Japan might have felt herself coming up against some enormous power too.

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63 years on, and the mere sight of Japan's former Rising Sun flag being carried or displayed anywhere, raises the hackles of the masses. The sight of it being carried into Yasukuni Shrine, stirs many to anger, as though the sole purpose for that being done was to antagonise those of us in nations who fought against and suffered at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army. (The Japanese nationalists, I believe, are the only ones who fly that flag, for reasons which should be an affront to us. Those nationalists though, are a very vocal but insignificant minority within the Japanese population.) The simple fact is that Japan lost over a million troops in the Pacific in WW2, and many more, in former conflicts spanning their nation's history. Whether they were morally right or wrong to have engaged in that war is irrelevant. Many of them gave their lives fighting for their country, fighting under that flag, many voluntarily, but for all too many, without real choice, as conscripts. Regardless of whether the war was right or wrong, those men died, in service of their country. They made the ultimate sacrifice, and there supreme sacrifice is honoured, at Yasukuni Shrine. We in other countries have our own monuments and sacred sites, for doing the same thing, for our own soldiers, who gave their lives in service of our countries and their ideals. Something worth noting about Yasukuni Shrine in Japan, is that Aside from the 13 war criminals buried within that Shrine, there are hundreds of thousands of others, who gave their lives, fighting for Japan. They were all sons, brothers, and fathers...with families and loved ones, who suffered the same loss that we in other countries did, when we lost loved ones. Why should they be denied the right to pay their respects to their fallen soldiers, at Yasukuni Shrine?

While I understand why other nations feel so incensed that the Japanese Prime Minister visits Yasukuni Shrine to honour and pay respect to Japan's war dead, (wrongly) assuming that the Government does so to pay respect to the handful of war criminals buried there, and jumping to the conclusion that the Japanese do not regret the course of action they chose. My own feeling is that Japanese Prime Ministers visit the Shrine to pay respect to all of the fallen, in spite of the presence of those war criminals buried there-in. A Japanese Prime Minister not visiting Yasukuni, is in my eyes to make the hundreds of thousands of the fallen pay for the crimes of a few. (By the way, the war criminals were secretly buried in Yasukuni Shrine at night, without the Japanese Government's knowledge or approval. Exuming the remains and relocating them for burial elsewhere, was never and is never (I.M.O.) going to be an option, once they were buried there.)

The bottom line to me is, that Yasukuni Shrine is a religiously and historically significant place that the Japanese visit, to pay their respects to ALL those who made the supreme sacrifice, in service of their nation. Rightly or Wrongly...those who gave their lives, did so fighting for their country. To honour and pay respects to those buried within Yasukuni Shrine, for having sacrificed their lives in service of one's nation, seems to me to be a perfectly natural and morally right thing to do. Visiting Yasukuni Shrine doesn't, in and of itself, make anyone a Nationalist. Nationalists pay their respects there too, of course, but so too do hordes more normal Japanese people. Yasukuni Shrine is a place at which to pay one's respects and honour the sacrifice of ALL the fallen. The war criminals buried there-in, to me, are a smaller part of a far larger and more significant picture.

Those who have spent time in Japan will come to realise just how anti-war the modern Japanese people truly are. They have no desire to again re-visit the hell that they too suffered, through and in the aftermath of WW2. They appear to have learnt the lessons to be learned from that experience, and to have chosen to turn their backs on war, ever since. I have every confidence that we will never again see Japan wage war against another nation.

Peace...is infinitely better than the alternative.

David (Australia)
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The enormous power seemed to have let the US president be waiting for the sneak attack while holding a tea party on the morning of the day. In 1939, even two years before the Pacific War started, postwar policies were already studied at CFR, right? So America's going to war was long since on the agenda. What mattered then was how to let it come. How to steer the public opinion in favor of going to war?

In 1939 after World War Two began the Council of Foreign Relations did in fact began looking at what American post war policies might be like. They concluded this.........

The European war was only six months along when the economic and financial group produced a lengthy memo, ”The Impact of War upon the Foreign Trade of the United States.” This was followed by a contingency blueprint in case the British Isles fell to German occupation; Churchill and his ministers would relocate to Canada, the Council analysts concluded, where Anglo-American cooperation in trade would only intensify. In April 1940 and for nine months following, with American entry into the war still only hypothetical, the study group proposed a more tolerant stance toward Japan, hoping thereby to contain Tokyo’s expansionist designs on the Pacific islands and the Asian mainland.

http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/war_peace.html

In 1939 the CFR was more concerned about America's place in the world after the Axis was victorious post war not defeated.

Something with all the talk of history on this thread that has really gotten overlooked in the discussion. From 1939 until the Battle of Midway and Stalingrad in the summer of 1942 (and both those were nailbiters as to how that was going to turn-out) the Allies on all fronts were losing, and losing bad. Britian barely alive on a thread with the u-boats strangling her resources in the battle of the Atlantic, Russia overrun with Germany in control of almost all her European Terrority, Japan running wild in the Pacific.

This enormous power of which you refer knew that in the end the Allies were going to victorious after all? They knew Russia would win? They knew Great Britian would not fall as France did? They knew the Battle of Midway that just through sheer luck the American fleet was able to attack at exact moment Japan's fleet had all her planes on deck re-fueling (talk about a miracle in war).

There is some truth here that the victors do tend to write the history over the vanquished because the mention of how close to defeat the allies really were does tend to glossed over in the overall narrative.

This also tends to be a two edged sword when it comes to the fringe Japanese Nationalists, they view these early victories as some sort of vindication of their views and the superiority of their cause and no offense intended toward you Seiharinokaze but the only reason they were defeated was because of some vague enormous power behind the scenes.

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To borrow from another poster on another thread from the other day:

In response to "David (Australia)"

Textbook example of trolling 101.

User's first post on the message board? Check. The required "Shucks, I'm just a foreigner, but..."? Check. Adding minor criticisms of Imperial Japan as smokescreen? Check. Use of standard revivionist talking points? Check. Dismissive tone towards fear of the Japanese Right? Check A Dog Whistle line, " Regardless of whether the war was right or wrong, those men died, in service of their country. ""? Check. Ending with version of "Japan has learned its leason"? Check.

So the preliminaries are in order.

This next one takes the cake:

"Visiting Yasukuni Shrine doesn't, in and of itself, make anyone a Nationalist."

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"This next one takes the cake:

"Visiting Yasukuni Shrine doesn't, in and of itself, make anyone a Nationalist."

I've visted plenty of cathederals, and I'm not catholic. I've visted plenty of Jewish temples, amd I'm not jewish. Anyone with any experience in Japan knows that the Japanese have no be the most secular people on this planet, constanstly going to shrines and clapping their hands simply because it's the thing to do without the slightest moment of spiritual thought as to where they are and what they're doing. So yes, visiting the Yasukuni Shrine does not make anyone a nationalist. Especially since with the excception of some fringe nutbags most normal people seem to go to pay respects and pray for peace, either of which is expecially "nationalist".

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Ossan

Were you holding an Imperial Naval Flag with the name of a kamikaze sub unit on at the time?

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In April 1940 and for nine months following, with American entry into the war still only hypothetical, the study group proposed a more tolerant stance toward Japan, hoping thereby to contain Tokyo’s expansionist designs on the Pacific islands and the Asian mainland.

And any more tolerant stance was proposed? Such as, for example, for the US to cease to support KMT through the railway line that ran from French Indochina to Haiphong?

This enormous power of which you refer knew that in the end the Allies were going to victorious after all?

I'm not sure if the enormous power was actually concerned which side would win. But at least sensible Japanese didn't think that Japan could win.

Anyway, the battleships that the Japanese navy sank and destroyed at Pearl Harbor were all of old types and aircraft carriers had been transferred to other places. Besides the oil tanks that stored 4.5 million barrels of heavy oil and repair facility nearby though spotted from above were left intact so that most of the battleships were repaired to be in service again and that the US navy could refuel from Pearl Harbor for months afterwords. It's not something to talk about as a miracle but some enigma in war. Admiral Yamamoto wouldn't approve further attacks however strongly he was urged. So the attack was not so much sneak as corner-cutting? Not as if it's the main reason why we were defeated.

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Seiharinokaze

I notice you have yet to respond to my question to you:

So let's try again:

It is unclear to me how your post addresses Orwell's, and my, point. I posted that quote to drive home the point that Japan, along with her ally Nazi Germany, fought for bad, that US fought for good.

And that makes all the difference.

So let me ask you:

Do you think that makes all the difference?

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DanManjt

I posted that quote to drive home the point that Japan, along with her ally Nazi Germany, fought for bad, that US fought for good. And that makes all the difference.

Simply put, Japan's main cause for the war in China was to end antagonism as early as possible so that Japan in her naive wishful thinking along with China could contain the Soviets and prevent spread of communism in the far east. It seems Japan (and perhaps Britain too) didn't think Manchukuo so nefarious a scheme compared with any other colonies by the Western powers. But warfare that spread over the Great Wall or inland from Shanghai though initiated for the above purpose was somehow for once in a way in history considered, as you claim, "Japan fought for bad" or a crime against peace.

I'm not so familiar but J.F. Dulles gave much support to Nazis to let the Weimar Republic collapse and set up Nazi Germany? And some US investment bank hugely financed G Farbenindustrie AG which was also supplied with oil, lead and rubber by Standard Oil even during the wartime. Why supported your enemy albeit lucrative? Or that doesn't make so much difference?

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Seiharinokaze, thank you for revealing the true extent of your paranoia and belief in ridiculous conspiracies. Most people believe that Japan was a sovereign, independent nation acting on its own free will in the 1930s. It was far from being a puck on a shuffleboard. After all, you've praised Japan repeatedly as an agent of positive change in Korea, bringing the "buoyancy of civilization" to that "backward" peninsula from 1910-45. And yet the same country was just a helpless chess piece vis-a-vis the "unseen power"? Ridiculous.

Now, regarding Yasukuni and all that, I suppose a multiple choice quiz is in order. Japan lashed out with extreme savagery and barbarism against its Asian neighbors from the 1930s in order to: 1) liberate them from Western colonialism (even though Japan was a colonial power itself, and even though some countries attacked by Japan weren't colonies, such as Thailand and China, go figure), 2) save Asia from Soviet communism (seemingly unaware that treating Asians like abused cattle would, if anything, push them into embracing utopian, home-grown, non-Soviet, nationalistic communism, which is what happened in China and large areas of Korea), 3) join the US as the only country in the world to have achieved hegemony over its home region in modern times.

Hint: World War II isn't called a hegemonic war for nothing. Good or bad, that's what Japan was fighting for: Hegemony over Asia. Why do some Japanese have so much trouble admitting that? You'd think that a people obsessed with power and prestige would be happy to admit that they once wished to dominate an entire corner of the globe.

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Seiharinokaze

I am still having trouble discerning an answer to my question.

I know what I think: Imperial Japan, along with her ally Nazi Germany, fought for bad. The US fought for good.

I wish to know what do you think. This is now the third time:

Do you think Imperial Japan fought for good? Do you think her ally, Nazi Germany, fought for good? Do you think the US fought for bad?

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You'd think that a people obsessed with power and prestige would be happy to admit that they once wished to dominate an entire corner of the globe.

You haven't many modern Japanese have you? The whole power and prestige thing died when economic bubble popped, leaving those who cared about power and prestige in tents in places like Ueno park. It was replaced with hyper consumerism, Neet's and a general apathy to anything outside of Japan. In fact I wouldn't doubt if like almost any conflict in Asia, the Yasukuni issue keeps on rolling to keep sheeple from looking inwards at thier respective governments.

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*That should say, you haven't meet many modern Japanese have you?

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DanManjt

I think that I already replied you for what purpose Japan fought in China. What I can say is Japan shouldn't have been involved in warfare (inland from Shanghai) at that time. It would have prevented the whole stupidity that followed and the confrontation with the US.

BTW, Tamon-tai (多聞隊) printed on the imperial navy flag in the photo was perhaps named after Vice Admiral Yamaguchi Tamon. His carrier force was part of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was the man who proposed to his superior officer Admiral Nagumo Chuichi that they should carry out the second attack to give complete damage. But Nagumo rejected. And during the Battle of Midway, Yamaguchi sparred with Nagumo upon a reconnaissance plane discovering a US aircraft carrier near Midway. He demanded that no time be wasted and that the planes be launched to attack the American carrier. But Nagumo rejected again. Shortly afterward, American carrier aircraft destroyed all the Japanese carriers except Yamaguchi's carrier Hiryu, which was later attacked by the aircraft from Enterprise. Yamaguchi and the captain rejected to leave their carrier and died with it after letting all the other crew be evacuated.

Sources: Wikipedia

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The war dead should be honored and I do not have a problem with them being honored with the display of the flag that they fought under. Here in the US, the Confederate dead are honored with their country's flag. I live in a northern city in the US and the American Legion and the Boy Scouts place Confederate flags on the graves of the 6 Conferderate veterans who are buried in our local cemetery. It is a sign of respect. They were fighting for what they thought was the right cause.

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Seiharinokaze

You have replied, but have not addressed the content of my question.

I am asking you judge whether you think Imperial Japan fought for good or for bad.

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They were fighting for what they thought was the right cause.

Perhaps. And perhaps not. Many men fought for many reasons.

The point is not whether they thought their cause was right.

It is wheter their cause was right.

So let me ask you:

Do you think the South fought for a good cause?

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woops

And Mod: fear not. I do not plan to turn this into a discussion of the Civil War, insofar as the any discussion thereof is relevant to my point on this thread.

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Men who die for their country should be honored. The Vietnam Memorial in Washington does not opine on a just war or if the cause was good. This is the trouble with Yasukuni and the Yushukan museum. There are too many speeches and displays disturbing the hallowed grounds of the souls who died; souls that died probably knowing very well the cause was lost and wrong. How many Americans died in Vietnam believing that their ultimate sacrifice really had meaning...in 1970, 1971, etc.?

Here is the problem of Yasukuni in a nutshell. As you enter the Yushukan, the first locomotive to run on the Thai-Burma railway stands front and center. The West remembers this train from the movie, "The Bridge Over the River Kwai," but Yushukan's display of the locomotive can only praise the accomplishment of building the railway! It stands as the Imperial train of death, a hellish twin to the train cars of death heading to Auschwitz. One can only wonder how many slave laborers and POWs died under the the wooden railroad ties and iron spikes that form the foundation of Yushukan's locomotive?

The politicization of Yasukuni, with the displays that explain that ends justify of the means, is what keeps this issue alive every year. Japan cannot enshrine Tojo and his wartime Cabinet at Yasukuni and expect the rest of the world to mind their own business.

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Yet, in the same breath, Japanese people tend to blame the USA for the War and then whine aobut how bad the USA was for dropping the bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki.....and then we get this kind of display? Kinda' makes me sick, to be honest....

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DanManjt

I am asking you judge whether you think Imperial Japan fought for good or for bad.

With respect to the war with America, MacArthur belatedly noticed for what Japan had fought. He said it was for security. Subsistence and security are not something to be morally judged, good or bad.

Seeing what America did since the beginning of the 20th century, I don't think America acted for good but for its own interests too. Harriman's plan for joint investment in the South Manchurian Railroad was proposed as if contingent fee for the mediation for the Russo-Japanese war. And once it war was thwarted, the US tried by all possible means to lay a railroad in parallel with the line. America insisted on Monroe Doctrine for North and South America but advocated the open door policy for China. Washington Conference was more than anything else for expansion of America's own interests in terms of favorable naval force ratio with Japan and cessation of Anglo-Japanese alliance. As a result it let China be more audacious and violent to embarrass Japan. Whom did it benefit really? And also who pulled the wires from behind to implement the stupid gold embargo in 1930 that thew Japan into utter confusion as if Japan was not a sovereign independent nation too?

In a wider perspective America's confrontation with Japan is to be regarded as that of imperialism vs another imperialism rather than good vs bad. It's a matter of ratio, or portion to take.

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Seiharinokaze

Thank you for finally responding to my asking you to judge whether Imperial Japan fought for good or for bad.

Since these are substantive replies to my question, I will address each in turn;

Subsistence and security are not something to be morally judged, good or bad.

This statement is incorrect in two accounts: its premise and its conclusion.

The premise is that Imperial Japanese leaders began hostilities to preserve its sovereignty. This is not true. Imperial Japan did not begin hostilities to preserve its sovereignty. It began hostilities to increase land holdings, power and influence. In short, Imperial Japan initiated hostilities to increase its Empire, not to protect its sovereignty.

Second, you conclude that morals are not to be applied when discerning the difference between national interest and national ambition. That is, you conclude that morals are only relevant to power politics insofar as the Victor use morals to determine the justice of their cause. This thinking is nothing other than Might Makes Right. If you honestly believe that might makes right, that only might makes right, then you must logically recognize that the US was right, since the US beat Japan Imperial Japan into submission. Further, if you believe that might makes right, you then must believe that the US was right to beat Japan into submission, that the fire-bombings were right, and that the two atomic attacks were right. Not because it ended the war (ie ends justifies the means)m not because it ended the war with the lowest loss of life, not because it was the " least abhorrent choice" but because it was the ultimate exercise of power. And since might makes right, the ultimate exercise of right must inevitably be the ultimate dictation of right.

Your conclusion, then that morality ( or ethics, or whatever words you wish to use to describe out capacity to discern right from wrong, good from bad) has nothing to do with judging the difference nation's war aims belies common sense and the accumulated experience of the ages.

There are just and unjust wars.

In a wider perspective America's confrontation with Japan is to be regarded as that of imperialism vs another imperialism rather than good vs bad.

You can see, then, that the only possible reply to this moral equivalency -- the most favorite revisionist prevarication -- is:

would you say the same about Nazi Germany and the US?

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I still can't see how celebrating the "END" of the war can get so many comments. It's not like they are celebrating the "BEGINNING" of the war. But some here like to put words in others mouths. They are true KIAs. And no that's not killed in action.

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I'm not sure why, but there seems to be a lot of USA bashing in the discussions. I mean, let's be very callous here, Japan pissed off the US by attacking pearl harbour- the US decided to retaliate. And then, even after being beat, they refused to give up, so the US gets the biggest stick they got and whacks Japan hard with it! Attack followed by counterattack, what's with the US bashing?

Then going back to the issue of the Shrine. Anyone willing to give up their lives for their country have the right to be honoured. However, a issue that should be addressed is the question of for what was the soldiers fighting for? Fight for the home land? Personal gain? Or just for the joy of subjugating others? Simply because one died for their country does not make them right, if their actions are enough to deem them an enemy of humanity, not only have they committed crimes against other people, but their own kind as well. Therefore, any form of respect paid to these 'people' is an afront, not only to others but also to the Japanese people!!

I refuse to judge the people who's memories are interred in the shrine. However, because the memories of war crimes are so ingrained with the names of certain of the individuals in the shrine (metaphorically speaking) you can't blame that's there's such an international outcry. Japan claims that it merely honours the soldiers that died for its country, to others it is a method of honouring the attacks that Japan made upon other nations

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honouring 'war dead' is honouring idiots. that's it. any country. any war.

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and save me all the democracy, we died for your freedom nonsense, its a bunch of crap.

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It's a grave yard, if people have a problem dig em up and scatter them around Japan to their homeland graves is what some would say. Personally I distaste any grave yard dedicated for soldiers. The acres and acres and acres of US Army, Marines and Airforce grave yards with shooting in the air, fighter planes flying over, salutes and flags and what not... whats with that... can any of them choose not to have a grave, i.e ashes scattered along the seashore or shot up into space?

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my grandfather won several medals during the 1939-1945 world war. he was so ashamed of what he had done he threw them overboard on the journey back to his hometown/family and refused to speak of anything that had happened for the remainder of his life. my grandmother told me this several years after he had died. good for him I say, he gets my respect. the fools who go marching every anniversary in their best regalia and shiny shoes most definately do not.

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DanManjt

Imperial Japan initiated hostilities to increase its Empire, not to protect its sovereignty.

It's true Manchukuo was gained by hostilities initiated by Japan. But at that time much part of Asia except China had already been gained by the hostilities initiated by the West. Were they seized for the protection of their suzerain powers?

I already described the reason why Japan waged war since 1937 in China. It was not to increase land holdings. Also I said that Japan should not have been involved in it.

Subsistence and security thing was mainly for the hostilities against America (namely the Pacific War). I don't repeat what MacArthur pointed out. I just meant to say that insofar as they thought it was for security and subsistence to initiate hostility as a nation's will, it's difficult and too complicated to submit the action to the judgement of morals. Morals if anything should be applied to the judgement of war crimes stipulated by the law of war.

Well, in the eyes of Japan, America seemed to be supporting Chiang Kaishek's government (with whom Japan fought!) and only promote hostility and confusion in East Asia with ambition to increase her own interest and power. Insisting on the open door policy and respect for China's sovereignty (making oneself pleasant to China) on the one hand and not taking any initiative to settle issues Japan had with China in the multi-lateral cooperative framework of Washington system which America herself had advocated was nothing but what would make the area more precarious and unstable. It would necessarily build up confrontation between Japan and China and then with America. It's what a US diplomat John MacMurray prognosticated in 1935.

Or in a wider perspective, wasn't the hostility between Japan and China in line with America's interest? America didn't fight for good but she fought under the mask of good (even by setting the stage for the sneak attack)?

As for Yasukuni thing, the war dead or "judicial dead" or whoever were only something or less of chessmen in the enormous evil that may be ruling hordes of men.

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There are just and unjust wars.

Yes, and poor innocent suckers get coerced into fighting them all, whether they're duped into believing they're fighting a 'just war' or conscripted against their will into fighting an 'unjust war', or more likely a combination of the two, the ordinary fighting man is not the one making the decisions. By all means revile the cowards who start the wars in the first place, lead from behind and lightly make decisions that kill thousands while making sure they themselves stay safe; but I think we diminish ourselves when we refuse to remember the ordinary men who died, regardless of which side they fought on.

Honouring the heroes who win wars simply perpetuates the myth of the 'glory' of war and makes it more likely that more fools will be ready and eager to fight the next; remembering the pathetic and useless deaths of those who fought and died for nothing reminds us of the futility and sheer waste of war, and hopefully will make us think twice before we cheerfully rush off to fight. Note I said remembering, not honouring.

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Honouring the heroes who win wars simply perpetuates the myth of the 'glory' of war and makes it more likely that more fools will be ready and eager to fight the next;

I like to think honoring the heroes who won WW2 shows respect for a level of sacrifice few of us in the free democracies of the West today would be capable of.

And of course it also show gratitude for the freedom of speech you enjoy in the UK, I enjoy in the States, and we enjoy on this forum.

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What people forget.

A soldier has NO choice, he has to do as ordered. Having been in the military myself there is NO choice. Try to question an order or refuse to execute one. Good luck.

There were 5 million non-jews killed that were gays, political activists and soldiers that refused orders in german death-camps. Yes, the number is 11 million not 6 million as is usually published.

During WWII there was no voluntary army as now exists in the USA and other countries.

Once you are in the army you are owned by the goverment and need to do as you are told.

More people and would know that if their countries still practiced national service as my country does. We need to do 8 months as we owe it to the country.

And, IMHO, it is a good practice.

Same reason why I can't fault the soldiers for Iraq, etc only their goverments who ordered them do to what they do. I support the soldiers but that don't mean I support their goverment.

HTH.

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Cleo

The innocent subjects of the Emperor were tricked by the gangster militarists into war. Or so goes the myth. The Left loves that myth because, if true, it supports the dearly held pacifist tenant that no people would willingly start a war. Since people do not want war, they must have been duped, mislead, or somehow tricked by their wicked and nasty leaders.

Appealing as that belief may be to you, it is not true.

The domestic oppression aside, the fact is that the war was wildly popular within Japan. Most older Japanese reflecting on the events recalled the repeated spontaneous outpouring of joy on every occasion Japan's expansion and aggression. It was this unbridled nationalism on the local level that repeatedly ratcheted up nationalist fervor throughout the land. It was this nationalist fervor that led Imperial Japan into conflict with all of her neighbors just as much, if not more, than the unchecked machinations of the less circumspect amongst the militarists.

It is this nationalism that allowed for the head-chopping contest between two brutish Imperial Army officers to not only happen, but make front page news in Japan.

In short, Japan did not suffer the war; she prosecuted it.

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Hello Again Cleo,

I notice you continue to fail to respond to my earlier posts. I will repost:

Since BrightEyes did us the favor of exposing the myth that history is written by the victor, I wonder if you have any comment on the implication of that on your argument -- seeing as how you predicated much of your argument on that canard.

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BrightEyes did us the favor of exposing the myth that history is written by the victor

Sorry, but s/he did no such thing. My original argument still stands. If Japan had won WW2, the people who designed and dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for example, would have gone down in history as war criminals. Same thing with (eg) the fire-bombing of Dresden if Germany had been victorious. I'm not saying that's the way things should be, or that the wrong side won the war - far from it. Simply that the history we have now is written from the perspective we have. 'History is written by the victor' doesn't mean, as you and Brighteyes seem to want to believe with your literal mindsets, that no one from the losing side ever puts pen to paper or that only official victor historians get to write anything.

the dearly held pacifist tenant that no people would willingly start a war

More like a dearly-held strawman. Tell me what I believe as a pacifist, then shoot down the argument you try to put in my mouth? It's so obvious that it goes without saying, that there are always people ready and willing to start a war. Otherwise there would be none. I did write at some length days ago about the mass hysteria leading up to the invasion of Iraq, which was 'wildly popular' with the vast majority of the US population until things started to go wrong; but the mods seemed to think it was irrelevant to the topic, as the post was removed.

As the New Zen reminds us, soldiers in wartime have no choice. I see nothing wrong in remembering those who died futile deaths in the pursuit of bellicose aims. Doing so soberly is more likely to dissuade people from going to war than honouring those who died 'glorious' deaths in what the historians later paint as a noble cause.

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Pish-posh.

Your original statement does not stand. Since no amount of reason seems to affect you, I will bid you farewell.

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