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Dec 29 2013

Japanese Prime Minister Angers China, South Korea

The Japanese Prime Minster has created a minor international incident by visiting a Shinto shrine to dead Japanese soldiers from World War II. China and South Korea are apparently a bit sensitive to such symbolic visits for various reasons. But it’s the prime minister’s response to the whole thing that has me amused:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a shrine on Thursday that is seen by critics as a symbol of Tokyo’s wartime aggression, infuriating China and South Korea and prompting concern from the United States about deteriorating ties between the North Asian neighbors.

China and South Korea have repeatedly expressed anger in the past over Japanese politicians’ visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honored along with those who died in battle…

Abe, a conservative who took office for a second term exactly one year ago, said he did not intend to hurt feelings in neighboring nations.

“There is criticism based on the misconception that this is an act to worship war criminals, but I visited Yasukuni Shrine to report to the souls of the war dead on the progress made this year and to convey my resolve that people never again suffer the horrors of war,” he told reporters after the visit.

To report to the souls of the dead? What, you couldn’t just send them a letter? They can’t read Twitter or Facebook in the afterlife?

59 comments

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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    I have a redneck neighbor who I once asked why he flew(*) the confederate flag. His response was similar – it’s not because I honor any of their beliefs or actions, I just, uh, generally, uh, honor, um, honor!!

    I look forward to a time when US presidents come under international condemnation for supporting US militarism. Admittedly, the Rape of Nanking was much more in your face and personal, but Operation Rolling Thunder was nothing to be proud of. The US president should not be visiting Air Force bases and making nice comments about the fine work they do.

    (* he has since stopped)

  2. 2
    lancifer

    Marcus Ranum,

    The US president should not be visiting Air Force bases and making nice comments about the fine work they do.

    Yeah, it’s so inappropriate for the Commander in Chief of the US armed forces to visit military bases and praise and encourage armed service personnel.

  3. 3
    Marcus Ranum

    Yeah, it’s so inappropriate for the Commander in Chief of the US armed forces to visit military bases and praise and encourage armed service personnel.

    You must cream yourself over the old footage of the Nuremberg rallies and all that praise and encouragement, authoritarian bootlicker much?

  4. 4
    erichoug

    Admittedly, the Rape of Nanking was much more in your face and personal, but Operation Rolling Thunder was nothing to be proud of.

    Why are you trying to excuse one crime with another? The Japanese actions during WWII were beyond atrocious. Nanking was just the tip of the ice berg. Look at their behavior in nearly every Chinese, Korean or Philippine city that they took during the war. Look at their treatment of Captured POW’s. Especially their tendency to summarily execute any Asian soldier that they took.

    I am right with you on Vietnam but that sure as hell doesn’t give the Imperial Japanese forces a pass.

  5. 5
    colnago80

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #3

    Actually, Sir Lancelot prefers to cream himself over the rants of global warming deniers.

  6. 6
    Bronze Dog

    I think I could understand visiting war criminals’ graves to reflect on humanity’s progress since then, contemplate the risks of repeating history, remind myself that war criminals are human beings who rationalized their acts, rather than innately savage beasts, or try to imagine what I would have done to talk them out of it. Sometimes being at a significant location makes a topic easier to think about.

    Reporting to their souls just doesn’t hit a chord with me. Well, maybe to rub their ethereal faces in how humanity has progressed without them, but that would require confidence that humanity has progressed significantly. Neither does the vague idea of military honor people tend to trot out at times like this. I would think military honor would be a reason to disrespect war criminals or at least ignore them.

  7. 7
    laurentweppe

    Have you noticed that this kind of jingoistic farces are becoming increasingly frequent as the generations that lived through WWII die of old age. Why, one could be tempted to concludes that the beligerent nationalists japanese politicians are pandering to are little more than pampered tossers who never personally experienced the privations of war and are publicly indulging into crassly written fantasy role playing.

    ***

    I have a redneck neighbor who I once asked why he flew(*) the confederate flag. His response was similar – it’s not because I honor any of their beliefs or actions, I just, uh, generally, uh, honor, um, honor!!

    Now be fair: in his shoes, would you dare tell your neighbours “That’s because one day the Klu Klux Klan came to my great great grandfather and told him that if he didn’t fly the confederate army’s flag, they come back, rape his children, and force him to watch, and that it has been a family tradition ever since because you never know: some sociopathic thugs in white hoods might still be living near“? I mean, some family traditions so embarrassing, it’s always better to make up bullshit.

  8. 8
    dingojack

    SLC prefers to strike with many 15 Mt nuclear (imaginary) devices on any (and all) places he deems as being ‘problematic’ (no matter if it’s even vaguely morally justified or not, to hell with the world-wide consequences).
    Just to give some idea of the moral background of his (bald) assertions.
    Dingo

  9. 9
    Phillip IV

    Interestingly, these regular Yasukuni kerfluffles are pretty much an object lesson for the need to supply a secular alternative when separating church and state.

    Before WWII the shrine was financed by the government and served its part in the propaganda effort, Shinto being the state religion. Under the post war constitution, Shinto and state were separated and the shrine has been financed by donations ever since. The lion’s share of those donations comes from an association of veterans, war widows and orphans (who have the biggest stake in the existence of such a memorial) and most of the controversial features of the shrine’s treatment of history (the museum and the enshrinement of war criminals) are actually due to their influence (obviously, given its nature, the association is not much into looking a both sides of the issue).

    But because no secular war memorial was established as an alternative, the now private shrine remained the nation’s central place of honoring its war dead by default, creating a constant diplomatic headache for the Japanese government.

  10. 10
    Marcus Ranum

    Why are you trying to excuse one crime with another?

    I’m not! I was perhaps guilty of a derail, by referring to US war crimes, but you would have to stretch my words past the breaking-point to argue I was minimizing Japanese war crimes.

    (For that matter, the US has also been complicit in downplaying Japanese war crimes, including hiring and sheltering the head of the Japanese biowar research program. They gave a job and title, amnesty and a nice office at Ft Deitrich to a monster who experimented with infecting live humans with plague and anthrax!! Maybe some day a US President will visit Ft Dietrich and hand out “attaboys”)

  11. 11
    Marcus Ranum

    I’m surprised ColnagoWTF hasn’t tried to argue that what the Palestinians did was worse… Maybe he’s learning?

  12. 12
    Chiroptera

    “There is criticism based on the misconception that this is an act to worship war criminals, but I visited Yasukuni Shrine to report to the souls of the war dead on the progress made this year and to convey my resolve that people never again suffer the horrors of war.”

    This is why religions with omnipotent, omniscient deities are so much better. You don’t see Christians claiming to need to meet, say, on a special state-designated day to ask their god for favors, do you?

  13. 13
    colnago80

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #11

    Anything that the Palestinians and, for that matter the Israelis, have done is incredibly small beer compared to that Assad pere and fils have perpetrated in Syria.

  14. 14
    colnago80

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #10

    How about the US importing Werner von Braun and his fellow rocket scientists, who used slave labor from the death camps in their V1 and V2 manufacturing facilities. Also hiring former members of the Abwehr to assist the newly formed CIA in their anti-Communist activities.

  15. 15
    colnago80

    Re the chihuahua @ #8

    The chihuahua barks loudly and says nothing.

  16. 16
    Moggie

    It’s disappointing that media reports of Yasukuni visit controversies so often fail to look at other possible motivations for the reactions. Yes, Japan’s military record from 1910-1945 was shameful, and yes, successive governments’ acceptance of this has been patchy at best. But in a year when the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands has been ramping up, perhaps China will welcome any chance to stoke anti-Japan feeling?

  17. 17
    timgueguen

    laurenttweppe, behaviour like Abe’s is nothing new. For example Yasuhiro Nakasone, the Japanese PM in the early-mid ’80s, made 2 visits to Yasakuni. After the war ended there was a lot less emphasis by the Allies in making the Japanese confront their war cimes than there was for the Germans, and this attitude has continued into the present. . Attempts at dealing with the issues in places like school textbooks are often attacked by right wingers. It doesn’t help that most of the criminal behavior took place outside of Japan and the victims weren’t Japanese, making it easier for the general public to ignore the issues.

  18. 18
    laurentweppe

    laurenttweppe, behaviour like Abe’s is nothing new

    I did not write that this behavior was new, I’m saying that it is increasingly frequent.

  19. 19
    chilidog99

    Can we have rational discussions here without the insults, please?

  20. 20
    dickspringer

    What bothers me most is that he is pushing revisionist textbooks denying wartime atrocities and generally justifying Japanese wartime policies. Poisoning the minds of children is his worst offense.

    Of course, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty reminisces about happy darkies singing in the moonlight, with enthusiastic Republican support.

  21. 21
    Rip Steakface

    @14

    You do realize the Abwehr was basically entirely anti-Nazi, right? Every Abwehr agent deployed to the UK was made into a double agent for the British (many were quite willing), and the head of the organization was either part of the German Resistance (i.e., anti-Nazi) or tacitly supported it. In turn, most of the people he recruited were also very much anti-Nazi. There’s a reason the Abwehr was dismantled before the war’s end.

  22. 22
    colnago80

    Re Rip Steakface @ #21

    I was certainly aware that the head of the Abwehr, Admiral Canaris, was, at the least, dubious about Frankenberger and the Nazi regime. As a matter of fact, he personally was responsible for convincing Francisco Franco not to allow German troops to pass through Spain in order to conquer Gibraltar. When he was sent to Spain in 1943 to gain Franco’s acquiescence to allowing the Wehrmacht to pass through Spain, Canaris informed Franco that Germany was going to lose the war and that the US and Britain would remove him from power as a Nazi collaborator if he allowed the pass through. When he returned to Germany, he informed Frankenberger that he had done his best but Franco was adamant. This, of course was a prevarication. Canaris played a subtle game throughout the war until he was removed from his post in 1944 and hanged with piano wire as a traitor. It is quite possible that he was aware that the information coming from German agents in Britain was phony but passed it on to the German high command without comment.

  23. 23
    Al Dente

    I see colnago80 is still pushing the false Frankenburger myth. I suspect he does it because he knows it pisses off people who actually know some history.

    BTW, asshole, there’s no evidence a family named Frankenburger ever existed.

  24. 24
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Nazis on the Run by Gerald Steinacher describes the efforts of the US government (and the Red Cross and the Catholic Church) to help Nazis escape from Europe after the war.* The ripping narrative the title suggests, it is not (by a mile – I can only suspect no one edited this thing). Solid scholarship, it is.

    * I wrote a poem about one, who – finally – died this year.

  25. 25
    colnago80

    Re Al Dente @ #23

    There is no evidence as to a Frankenberger family because the records were destroyed after the Anschluss. Hard to find records that no longer exist. In fact, the order to destroy them was given by Frankenberger. Apparently, he was not as convinced as Dente is about his ancestry.

  26. 26
    gerryl

    I lived in Japan 30 years ago. The Yasukuni visit by a sitting PM and the textbook revision issue was in the news then … as it has been repeatedly over the years. If not annually, well, close to it. I guess they pull out the old stories and just change the names of the people involved.

    I was thinking this year that getting old means recognizing the cycle of rehashed news. One of my favorites here in the US is “1st term prez intends to dump vp for run at a 2nd term.” And of course we all know “the result of this past election mean that party X will likely be wandering in the wilderness for decades … if it ever is able to make a comeback.” What amazes me is that the press ALWAYS reports on these issues like they are actual news.

  27. 27
    democommie

    “There is no evidence as to a Frankenberger family because the records were destroyed after the Anschluss.”

    Oh, yeah? Well, you know who ELSE destroyed a lot of records, HITLER. Um, wait, never mind.

  28. 28
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Hee.

  29. 29
    dingojack

    “There is no evidence as to a Frankenberger Obama family ]in Kenya] because the records were destroyed after the Anschluss Independence. Hard to find records that no longer exist. In fact, the order to destroy them was given by Frankenberger Obama [using his magic time machine]. Apparently, he was not as convinced as Dente is about his ancestry”.

    FIFY.

    There’s no evidence that: [Insert name of any sinister, secretive group or organisation here] killed JFK/ UFOs landed in Central Park so as the Grays could play Frisbee/ Lizardmen from the centre of the Earth ate my homework etc. BECAUSE THE EVUUL GUBBERMENT DISTROYED THE EVIDENCE!!eleventy-one!!!!

    That’s such a convincing argument and I’m sure you thought of it all by yourself too!
    @@

    Dingo

  30. 30
    dingojack

    More to the point -
    Do Southerners get pissed off when the President goes to Arlington? What with the swathe the Union carved across the South.

    Dingo

  31. 31
    timberwoof

    “I visited Yasukuni Shrine to … convey my resolve that people never again suffer the horrors of war.”

    Yeah, but he prayed to a nonexistent god and he honored war criminals, both of which drag him beyond the moral event horizon, so it counts for nothing. Right?

  32. 32
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    One thing that perhaps deserves consideration here – the Yasukuni Shrine :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasukuni_Shrine

    Honours a lot more than just and only Nihonjin (Japanese) war criminals.

    As for China and the Koreans hating Japan and making too much of its past history and having the sort of English-French rivalry / dislike?

    Yeah, that’s always been the case and will be for a long time yet.

    When it comes to murdering Chinese humans, The people’s Republic has its own rather horrible record to contend with not to mention its record of murdering Tibtetans, Falung Gong and threateneing tomurder Taiwanese.

    But Japan is a US ally and I ‘spose on FTB has to be punished out of all proportion and misjudged because of that right?

  33. 33
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ 31. timberwoof : In my opinion wrong.

    He paid his respects to his ancestors who died for his country and helped make it what it is.

    Fair enough.

  34. 34
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    You, good people, honour those who gave their lives in a cause they thought was just. Who fought bravely and with honour.

    The Chinese and Koreans will use this for their own anti-Japanese political ends.

    Stuff ‘em.

    You honour those you know gave their lives bravely and with honour for the sake of their country.

    That does NOT mean you necessarily share their ideals and goals and think they were right in anything but they were people who, well, did I mention giving their lives with honour and courage and in terrible conditions despite their humanity? Think I might’ve.

    What if it were your grandparents, great-grandparents, family heroes being honoured here? Would you want them ignored and treated with contempt if they were good people, even fighting on the wrong side?

    War may be a waste of life, it is horrible and I do oppose it.

    But the troops who fight it? Respect to them. Always.

    I don’t have a problem with this. I think those who do fail to appreciate the Japanese and bushido and the fact I mentioned in comment #32. It isn’t just war criminals. If it was then it would be a different story altogether. But it isn’t.

  35. 35
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    I support Japan in this and many other things. (NOT whaling but!)

    Japan is a good ally and a good friend and we should have Japan’s back.

    Especially given the Japanese constitution we wrote for them post WWIII.

    You stand by your friends and allies. Don’t you? If not then what is your friendship and alliance worth?

    Yasukuni visits pick no pockets, break no bones cause no harm. Honour war dead as should be done. NO problem. China and Korea get offended. tell ‘em to back off and settle down and chill out. Also tell ‘em they’ev done more’n’enough wrong and owe us more than enough themselves. The PRC won’t forget WWII ? Well, I for one , will never forget watching the Tianamin Square massacre or what the Chinese did and are still doing in TIbet. Sod China and its communist dictatorship!

  36. 36
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    As for China and the Koreans hating Japan and making too much of its past history and having the sort of English-French rivalry / dislike?

    On which note I’ll just note that England won the 100 years war and kicked Napoleon’s backside at Waterloo.

    Plus one word for the French – Trafalgar – and another two WWI and WWWII!

    England will probably beat ‘em in the World Cup too! ;-)

  37. 37
    Nick Gotts

    I see colnago80 is still pushing the false Frankenburger myth. I suspect he does it because he knows it pisses off people who actually know some history. – Al Dente@23

    I suspect he does it because he’s extremely stupid. He is, also, historically ignorant, as you imply.

    As a matter of fact, he personally was responsible for convincing Francisco Franco not to allow German troops to pass through Spain in order to conquer Gibraltar. When he was sent to Spain in 1943 to gain Franco’s acquiescence to allowing the Wehrmacht to pass through Spain, Canaris informed Franco that Germany was going to lose the war – colnago80

    The possibility of German troops traversing Spain to take Gibralter arose in 1940, not 1943. Hitler tried to persuade Franco to agree to it in their meeting at Hendaye on October 23, 1940, but could not meet Franco’s terms – which may have been deliberately set to be impossible to meet. By 1943 there was no way HItler could have found the necessary troops, or provided them with air cover, and after Stalingrad, El Alamein and Operation Torch (the Allied landing in NW Africa), Franco would have had to be as stupid as colnago80 not to see who was going to win the war.

    Then of course we have another stupid, ignorant bigot, StevoR, shooting his mouth off.

    China and Korea get offended. tell ‘em to back off and settle down and chill out. Also tell ‘em they’ev done more’n’enough wrong – StevoR@35

    Korea was colonised by Japan in a process lasting from the 1870s to formal annexation in 1910. This lasted until 1945. Resistance was brutally suppressed, and during WWII hundreds of thousands of Koreans were taken to Japan for forced labour or forced prostitution (i.e., systematic and repeated rape). Japan, unlike Germany, has systematically failed to come to terms with the wartime atrocities its troops committed. I don’t know what wrong StevoR thinks South Korea has done him – honestly, StevoR, they’re not Muslims, so you don’t have to hate them.

    England won the 100 years war – StevoR@36

    Look it up, lackwit, look it up.

  38. 38
    colnago80

    Re the limey @ #37

    I can’t find the reference offhand but I recall that the meeting between Canaris and Franco took place in early 1943. At that time, Britain and the US would not have been in a position to oppose a German march through Spain which was unopposed by the Spanish armed forces. As a matter of fact, such a march would have led to the fall of Gibraltar in short order and the subsequent closing off the Mediterranean to allied navies, leaving the allied troops in North Africa hanging. As for air cover, where were allied planes going to fly from to attack German troops in Spain? Heavy bombers like the B17 and the Lancasters could have flown from Britain but strategic bombers were not designed to attack moving targets like Panzer divisions and the fighter bombers that were so designed lacked sufficient range.

    I would also dispute the claim that it was obvious that Germany was going to lose the war in early 1943, especially if the Mediterranean was closed off. At the least, it would have postponed the invasions of Sicily and Italy and subsequently operation Overlord. Of course, the limey could argue that the development of nuclear weapons would have doomed Germany anyway if the fighting were still going on in 1945 and 1946 but Franco had no knowledge of that development.

  39. 39
    d.c.wilson

    Dingojack@30 wrote:

    More to the point -
    Do Southerners get pissed off when the President goes to Arlington? What with the swathe the Union carved across the South.

    No, because there are Confederate soldiers buried there as well. Not to mention soldiers from every other war the US has fought. Arlington isn’t a symbol the myth of “Northern Agression” the way that the Yasukuni Shrine has become a symbol of Japanese war crimes.

  40. 40
    laurentweppe

    Arlington isn’t a symbol the myth of “Northern Agression” the way that the Yasukuni Shrine has become a symbol of Japanese war crimes.

    Yes, but Arlington exists in the first place because the northern quartermaster general had imaginative ways to say Fuck You to a certain traitor officer.

  41. 41
    aaronbaker

    SC:

    I liked the poem!

  42. 42
    Jacques Ouihausse

    Canaris has had a rich anti-democratic biography reaching back before Hitler and the NSDAP and the Abwehr
    has actively participated in war crimes and genocide. All this should never be forgotten.

  43. 43
    Area Man

    I would also dispute the claim that it was obvious that Germany was going to lose the war in early 1943…

    It was obvious to nearly everyone but the Germans. Allied victory was inevitable once a quick Axis victory on the Eastern Front failed, because the Allies had several times the manpower and industrial output, not to mention key natural resources like oil and certain metals. Anyone casting their lot with the Axis at that point would have been a fool.

  44. 44
    colnago80

    Re Area Man @ #43

    In counting up divisions, it can’t be forgotten that Japan also had to be defeated. It was only the lucky victory at the Battle of Midway that allowed the US Government to concentrate on Germany. Had that battle gone the other way and the three US carriers in the Pacific been sunk, there is no way the Joint Chiefs of Staff could have acquiesced in Roosevelt’s commitment to the European campaign. In fact, since Area Man likes to count divisions, the US should have lost that battle. We won it mostly because of the Japanese fatal error in violating Napoleon’s maxim, that, in the decisive battle, one must concentrate one’s forces at the point of attack. Japan sent a 3 carrier task force to attack the Aleutians, leaving 4 carriers to attack Midway. Had Yamamoto allocated all 7 carriers to the Midway campaign, he almost certainly would have won that battle, having a 7 to 3 edge in carrier strength. This was in addition to the fortunate happenstance that US dive bombers caught the Japanese carriers with their planes on deck being rearmed with torpedoes to go after the US carriers. They had previously been armed with bombs for a second strike on Midway.

  45. 45
    freehand

    I would like to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It would not mean that I was considering joining the RCC, nor that I thought torturing heretics was a Good Thing®, nor that the wealth of the peasants should necessarily have been used to build it.

    I have visited the slave auction blocks in Charleston, SC. This should not be misconstrued to mean that I think slavery was ever proper.

    I have stood in awe at the edge of the Grand Canyon (but not too close!). I was not praising God for His Creation.

    I have walked the halls and stood in the cells of Alcatraz prison. I was not admiring the memory of Al Capone.

    Jesus Fried Christ on a stick, can’t people visit sites and think their own thoughts without dealing with political enemies’ and strangers’ public projections?

    I understand that some of the folks here weren’t doing that.

    And Ed, Abe’s answer was pretty diplomatic, considering. Don’t take his comment about speaking with the spirits too literally. Does everyone who visits a grave and “talks to someone” think that the person was actually there, as a ghost?

  46. 46
    Area Man

    In counting up divisions, it can’t be forgotten that Japan also had to be defeated.

    It’s not worth having an all-out WWII discussion. But the US dedicated something like <20% of its resources to the Pacific theater. The Japanese had even less of a chance than the Germans of winning and no actual strategy for doing so. No rational, informed person in Europe would have looked at things in 1943 and thought that the Japanese would somehow save the Axis.

  47. 47
    matty1

    This may be of interest with regards to the similarities between Japan and the American south.

  48. 48
    Marcus Ranum

    You, good people, honour those who gave their lives in a cause they thought was just. Who fought bravely and with honour.

    Uh, no. Fighting with honor for an ignoble cause means doing your best to bring that cause to success. No ,atter how you slice it, the Waffen SS soldier who was fighting honorably on the Eastern Front was protecting his corrupt and morally bankrupt leaders and – by prolonging the war – aiding and protecting the reivers running the death camps. It is not possible to excuse them for being ignorant because it was quite clear what was going on nack at home and Hitler’s rhetoric was aggressive, anti-semetic and inciting violence. Nobody gets to sweep that under the rug and say “sure, I had no idea what I was doing but I fought in a war of aggression and did so honorably.” Part of military honor is judging your leaders and being unafraid to resist them when your commands are illegal or immoral. Since you appear to think you know something of bushido (I very much doubt you do) perhaps you are familiar with how Kusunoki Masahige chose to die with those that stand with bows, rather than doing the wrong thing.

    There used to be a possible shelter for a warrior to fight for the US with honor, but it’d be difficult since the American-Spanish war. The US was the aggressor then, under false pretenses, and has engaged in every war since then under more or less false pretenses. A warrior choosing to fight for the US today must sweep that fact under the rug in order to convince themselves that their leaders are giving lawful orders, but, seriously, we are speaking here as adults and any US soldier who went into Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, had ample cause to suspect they were being lied to – as did the Waffen SS who caused horrible civilian casualties in Russia. The honorable war is a defensive war. The honorable warrior does not wear the uniform of an army that calls artillery strikes on civilian targets(*) which is what the US army is, and always has been. Ditto the Waffen SS and Wehrmacht, the Imperial Japanese Army, and every other one that has gone on the offensive against civilians. All of them, in other words.

    Understand this: the hippies that spit on US veterans returning from Vietnam, and called them “baby killers” and “murderers” were RIGHT.

    * Read the fucking GC. They do not talk about acceptable collateral damage, that is a pentagonian convenience invented during Vietnam.

  49. 49
    dingojack

    Marcus – you are aware that some members of the Waffen SS were drafted*, aren’t you? Sometimes a bad option is the best you’ve got (especially if there are no other choices)**.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * A friend of mine’s grandfather was forced into the Waffen SS. He was given the job of guarding the Offices of the Reichminstry of Information and Propaganda. One day, as he stood there he noticed the door to the inner office was slightly ajar. Thinking he would held responsible for this, he went to close it and as he leant inn he overheard the Minister for Information and the Minister for the Luftwaffe discussing what they would do when they got rid of the Fuhrer. He left immediately, claiming he was ill, changed into civilian clothes and crossed the border, never to return. (… or that’s his story).
    ** Not that I disagree with the thrust of your post, but sometimes culpability is a little less black and white.

  50. 50
    Marcus Ranum

    Marcus – you are aware that some members of the Waffen SS were drafted*, aren’t you?

    Yes, which puts me in the unexpected position of saying categorically that anyone serving in the US military today (especially after the betrayal in Iraq and Libya) is certainly more guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes than anyone who served in the Waffen SS, unless it was someone who volunteered to serve in the SS.

  51. 51
    Marcus Ranum

    I.e.: to those who would credit our “heroes” – let us instead heap shame on them, for exactly the same reason. Some SS could claim they were conscripts, but the US army is all volunteer. I suppose one could argue they had no choice because they were part of an economic underclass, but that’d have cut no ice at Nuremberg and it cuts no ice with me either.

  52. 52
    lancifer

    Marcus Ranum,

    …anyone serving in the US military today (especially after the betrayal in Iraq and Libya) is certainly more guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes than anyone who served in the Waffen SS…

    So in your book my nephew who joined the Marines to serve his country and earn money towards college is more (or at least equally) guilty of war crimes as was Heinrich Himmler.

    You are comically unhinged.

  53. 53
    dingojack

    So your nephew joined up, was offered, and took up a position as Commandant of the Marine Corps, eh?

    Analogy fail. (how unsurprising, given the source).

    @@
    Dingo

  54. 54
    colnago80

    Re area man @ #46

    That was true of the Army. However, most of the US naval strength and Marine strength was allocated to the Pacific. Had the Battle of Midway gone the other way, the Japanese would, at the very least, posed enough of a threat to the Hawaiian Island to force the allocation of most of the Army to its defense. There would have been no invasion of Sicily or Italy in 1943 or operation Overlord in 1944. It is probably true that eventually, assuming that the US stayed the course, Germany and Japan would have lost the war. By the way, in the absence of a second front in Europe, there was no guarantee that Stalin would not have seeked a separate peace with Germany, which was a great fear of the allied high command. The development of nuclear weapons would have eventually forced Germany and Japan to surrender, as their nuclear programs were at least 5 years from producing bombs.

  55. 55
    colnago80

    Re dingojack @ #49

    That must have happened very late in the war. Manfred Rommel related in interviews that he wanted to join an SS unit but his father, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, forbade him to do so, remarking that they were criminals.

  56. 56
    colnago80

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #48

    Really, WW1, WW2, and Korea were wars of aggression on the part of the US? I think not. One might argue that the entrance in WW1 was somewhat ill advised (the military historian J. F. C. Fuller argued that Wilson would have been better advised to stay out and, assuming that a stalemate developed, at that point put forward his 14 Points with the threat that if either side rejected his terms, he would enter the war on the other side; that’s the problem, Germany might have won the war in 1918 sans US intervention). Clearly the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the invasion of South Korea by North Korea were acts of aggression by the opposition and merited US intervention.

  57. 57
    Raging Bee

    Yes, but Arlington exists in the first place because the northern quartermaster general had imaginative ways to say Fuck You to a certain traitor officer.

    Since when was it “imaginative” for victors to expropriate property from the vanquished? That’s standard procedure in just about any kind of war, something conquering powers are pretty much expected, and reserve the right, to do.

    Using unused land for a military cemetery after a huge war isn’t all that “imaginative” either.

  58. 58
    lancifer

    Dingus Jerk,

    “So your nephew joined up, was offered, and took up a position as Commandant of the Marine Corps, eh?

    Analogy fail.”

    You can still read….right?

    What are you, like 80 now? You show all of the classic signs of dementia.

  59. 59
    lancifer

    Dingo,

    Sorry, I shouldn’t pick on you. It’s unseemly.

    My apologies.

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