Category Archives: WWII

For Passover this year, China will take Pharaoh’s role

The Passover story provides us with deep insights into the nature of tyranny. This year, China’s tyranny is the subject of my annual Passover post.

For roughly 3,500 years, Jews have been telling and retelling the story of Passover — which is also the story of the world’s first revolt against a totalitarian dictatorship. The story remains relevant because each generation sees dangerous tyrants abusing their people and trying to expand their reach beyond their own borders. As we stare down those monsters, the thing to remember is that those atop the tyranny pyramid care about only one thing, which is that their tyranny remains stable and protected. And that leads me to this year’s iteration of my annual Passover post.

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A doubting Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as a celebration of freedom (for it celebrates the world’s first successful slave revolt), justice, and morality (insofar as it gave us the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the Egyptian people’s genocide. To support this theory, he points to the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague harming the Egyptian people, a cycle of pain that culminates with the death of the firstborn.

Those familiar with the Bible understand that this objection is predicated upon ignorance. The tenth plague, which saw God strike down the firstborn in every family without the Pascal lamb’s blood above their door, was not a random punishment. It was, instead, divine retribution for the Pharaoh’s own decree, in effect at Moses’s birth, that all firstborn Jewish males should be drowned in the Nile. Still, doubters will argue that God was petty when he later punished innocent people who were not complicit in Pharaoh’s genocidal attack on the Jews.

One argument is that the many plagues, culminating with the firstborn’s death, are nothing more than dramatic license, meant to increase the tension and danger surrounding the Jew’s escape from Egypt. After all, if the exodus had been easy, it wouldn’t have been much of a story. Imagine if Moses had asked, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh had answered, “Sure.”

That narrative lacks punch and heroism. More importantly, God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, unexciting. Surely it resonates more strongly with the people reliving the narrative every year to have an escalating series of plagues, with the audience on tenterhooks as to whether those pesky Jewish slaves will actually be able to make a break for it.

The above reasoning is silly. The Bible is not so superficial. There is, instead, a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens he places upon his people. A blood-filled Nile River may, at first, seem appalling, but the red recedes and life went on. Pharaoh still holds power. The same is true for each subsequent plague, whether lice, boils, frogs, darkness, or any of the other plagues. As long as Pharaoh realizes, after the first panic, that he is still powerful, he will always reconcile himself to his people’s incremental destruction.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, as long as he is assured that his people will continue to fear and worship him, their suffering is irrelevant. It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh the plague struck in his own palace, killing his firstborn* — that Pharaoh is convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed in 3,500 years. Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII. For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over. Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was not only willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed, he never stopped using military supplies for the Holocaust. The war ended only when Hitler, facing personal humiliation, killed himself and the remaining high command, see their lives at stake, finally gave up. Hitler and his commanders were Pharaoh. Only when they, personally, faced a humiliating death would they stop fighting.

The same held true for the Japanese. Truman did not decide to drop the bomb just for the hell of it. Even impressing the Soviets was an insufficient reason for doing so. What swayed Truman was his advisers telling him (credibly as it turned out) that the Japanese Bushido culture would not allow Japan to surrender. Instead, Truman understood that, despite an inevitable American victory, if he didn’t take drastic action, that victory would take another year, and cost up to 100,000 American lives and as many as 1,000,000 Japanese lives (including Japanese civilians).

Truman had two choices: Wage war for at least another year, killing 100,000 Americans and up to a million Japanese civilians, or end the war instantly, with no more American casualties and an estimated 100,000 civilian Japanese casualties. Put that way, the choice was a no-brainer.  Not only would he save the military, he would also save tens of thousands of POWs, both military and civilian. One of the Dutch civilian POW saved was my Mom, who was on the verge of starving to death in a Japanese concentration camp.

The Japanese high command was Pharaoh. No amount of smaller plagues could stop the command from its chosen path. Only a large plague would swiftly lead to the inevitable conclusion.

The only way to destroy an evil institution is to decapitate it. That’s what God did with the 10th plague. That’s what Truman did when he dropped atom bombs on Japan. That’s what the Allies did when they engaged in total war against the Nazis. In each case, the only way to end a tyrant’s rampage of murder, torture, and enslavement was directly hurting the tyrant’s person.

Those who prefer the stability of tyranny to the risks of freedom are the same people who refuse to accept that, under tyranny, the innocents are always going to die, with the only question being whether they will die quickly or slowly. That’s the problem with an evil regime. If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, you’re going to end as cannon fodder. Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned, and China’s leadership will release a plague on the world and let tens of thousands of people sicken and die, both at home and abroad — as long as the tyrant can retain his power.

People of goodwill must sometimes recognize that the generation raised under tyranny is a lost generation that cannot be saved, whether because it will die under the tyrant’s lash, in the tyrant’s war, or in a war against the tyrant. Sometimes, when slaves finally taste freedom, they fear it. The Bible recognizes this problem, banning the Promised Land to those who were slaves in Egypt. They were a lost generation.

For this reason, when one sees a people groaning under tyranny the most humane thing to do is to destroy the tyranny quickly and decisively even if that process causes people to suffer. Most of them were always going to be lost. Our actions are for the benefit of subsequent generations and, if we are lucky, for those who survived both the tyranny and the liberation.

Protecting freedom for the greatest number of people sometimes demands proactive behavior. And there is nothing more proactive than an overwhelming response when a tyrant starts putting out feelers to see how far he can go. Had Chamberlain done that in 1938, WWII might have been avoided.**

Today, the tyrant is China’s government and, as was the case with Nazi Germany or Bushido Japan, China’s tyranny has suddenly started to reach far beyond its borders. No matter how China’s bought-and-paid-for American media work to cover up China’s responsibility for what happened, John Adams was correct: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

We know the facts: COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese lab, although we do not know whether this was deliberate or accidental. China, in true tyrant fashion, was so determined to cover up its failure that it willingly let people die by destroying anything (e.g., information and doctors) that might have helped battle the plague early. When Wuhan began to see mass die-offs, China continued to deny there was a problem. As the plague spread beyond China’s borders, its government continued to deny responsibility, so much so that both China and the WHO (which we pay for, but which answers to China) lied consistently about COVID-19’s reach, danger, and origin.

Now that the plague is a world-wide phenomenon, China is sending or selling useless masks and test kits to hurting nations around the world. It is trying to blame America for COVID-19. And it’s almost certain that people are still dying in the thousands in China, even as the government insists it’s tamed COVID-19 and tells the world to start readmitting its people and its shoddy products. The Chinese communist government is Pharaoh.

The only way to stop tyranny is to fight tyranny. Despite media efforts to cover for their Chinese paymasters, Trump is calling China out on its lies and other malfeasance.

China needs to pay. The world must pull out of China: No more cheap Chinese goods flooding the American market and denying jobs to people in America; no more Chinese-made fentanyl killing America’s citizens; no more plague-ridden Chinese citizens hopping on planes and traveling the world, even as China knew they were contagious; and no more rich Chinese students flooding American colleges and buying off leftist college faculties and administrations.

All of that needs to end. Trump is trying hard, despite Democrat and media pushback. Other countries’ leaders are making weak little grunting noises. We can only hope that Trump turns those grunts to roars and builds a great wall around China until the tyrants at the top give up. They give up hurting their people, they give up imprisoning religious people and using them as slaves and unwilling organ donors, they give up funding North Korea’s tyranny, they give up trying to build islands in the South China Sea, they give up using economic blackmail against poor countries, and in all other ways, they turn inward and cure themselves. This is how you end tyranny: you make the tyrants suffer so that they change.

 

With that, I’d like to wish all of you a Chag Sameach (Happy Passover). Whether Jewish or not, I hope that the Pesach celebration serves as an occasion for all of us to remember that, though the price may sometimes be high, both for slave and master, our goal as just and moral human beings must be freedom. So please join with me in saying, as all Jews do at this time of year, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

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*The fact that Pharaoh survived the last of the ten plagues tells us that he was not his father’s firstborn son. Either an older sibling died or Pharaoh was the younger child in a family unrelated to the Egyptian ruling family and, through a coup, seized the throne.

**And yes, I am aware of the argument that Chamberlain might not have been Hitler’s dupe. Thanks to England’s anti-War fervor after WWI, which led to disarmament and the drawing down of her military, Chamberlain might have believed by 1938 that England could do nothing to stop Hitler. That belief would have led him to choose appeasement as the only option. I don’t agree with this view because bullies will back down quickly if their intended victim fights even minimally, but I’ll give Chamberlain the benefit of the doubt because he was a decent and patriotic man.

(A couple more things. I highly recommend Dennis Prager’s The Rational Bible: ExodusIf you don’t want to read the whole book, you can just buy his The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code, which is a companion to his videos on the Ten Commandments. It’s a quick read and a refreshing one.)

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Dr. Seuss is in Leftist cross hairs, but conservatives shouldn’t rush to his support

With the Left now gunning for Dr. Seuss, it’s tempting for conservatives reflexively to support him — but they may want to think twice about doing so.

I’m sure that you’ve already heard that, per the most recent Leftist purge of pre-woke people, ideas, and books, a new study states that Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Seuss Geisel), probably the most famous children’s book writer in America, has now landed on the naughty list:

“[This study reveals] how racism spans across the entire Seuss collection, while debunking myths about how books like Horton Hears a Who! and The Sneetches can be used to promote tolerance, anti-bias, or anti-racism,” Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens write in their February 2019 report, “The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, AntiBlackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss’ s Children’s Books,” as part of St. Catherine University’s Research on Diversity in Youth Literature.

They continue: “Findings from this study promote awareness of the racist narratives and images in Dr. Seuss’ children’s books and implications to the formation and reinforcement of racial biases in children.”

The study continues by explaining that some of the most iconic characters relay the troubling messages of Orientalism (the representation of Asia and Asian people based on colonialist stereotypes), anti-blackness and white supremacy.

“Notably, every character of color is male. Males of color are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles,” the authors write as part of their findings. “This also remains true in their relation to White characters. Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of color across Seuss’ entire children’s book collection.”

I know that conservatives will be tempted to cling more tightly to Dr. Seuss’s books now that he’s persona non grata on the Left, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I know he’s dead, but the fact is that, whether you’re coming at him from a leftist or a conservative perspective, he wasn’t that great a care and pouring more money into his estate may end up feeling as wrong for you as it does now for the lefties. Here are a few interesting points about Theodor Geisel the man, and Dr. Seuss the writer:

First, Geisel was a lifelong Democrat.

Second, Geisel was a typical Democrat racist in the years leading up to and during WWII. His early drawings showed blacks as savages and, especially during WWII, Japanese as evil (a view shared by most Americans after Japan’s unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor, throughout the horrific war years in the Pacific, and upon learning about the torture the Japanese visited on POWs).

Third, Geisel was also an objectifier of women. After all, he wrote vaguely erotic stuff in his early years.

Fourth, to be fair to Geisel, all children’s books before about the 1970s, except for the exquisite The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats’ (whom I always thought was black and just discovered was Jewish and white), unthinkingly focused on white kids. Whites were the vast majority in America and, outside of major urban areas and the less populated South, most people didn’t even have minorities in their frame of reference. This narrow frame of reference, combined with focusing on the most massive part of the mass market, meant that children’s book authors probably excluded minority characters without malice. They just did….

Fifth, still being fair, the most memorable Dr. Seuss books still read today are heavy on non-human characters. Sure, the kids in The Cat In The Hat are white, but who remembers them? It’s the non-human Cat and the non-human Things 1 and 2 that linger in people’s memories. Likewise, books such as Yertle the TurtleGreen Eggs and HamThe Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and Hop on Pop, are about non-human characters.

Sixth, Geisel came to regret his early racism. His most significant allegorical work about racism was Horton Hears a Who, first published in 1955.

Perhaps you remember the plot: Horton hears a voice speak from a small speck of dust. He realizes that there is life on that minute speck and, despite extremely hostile action from a kangaroo and her joey, monkeys, and an evil eagle. No matter the opposition, Horton fights to save that speck and the life upon it, repeatedly saying “A person is a person no matter how small.” Eventually, the smallest of those small persons on Whoville makes enough noise that everyone in Horton’s Jungle of Nool hears and agrees to protect that speck and the life upon it.

The commonly accepted history of Horton Hears a Who is that it represents Geisel’s about face regarding the Japanese in the years after WWII (hyperlinks omitted):

Geisel began work on Horton Hears a Who! in the fall of 1953. The book’s main theme, “a person’s a person no matter how small”, was Geisel’s reaction to his visit to Japan, where the importance of the individual was an exciting new concept. Geisel, who had harbored strong anti-Japan sentiments before and during World War II, changed his views dramatically after the war and used this book as an allegory for the American post-war occupation of the country. He dedicated the book to a Japanese friend.

Seventh, what’s really funny about Horton Hears a Who is that, while you have to work really hard to see it as an allegory for Japan, which had started the war against the U.S., fought it with unabashed fury, abused POWs and civilian internees with unbelievable ferocity, and refused to surrender, it actually works effortlessly as an allegory against abortion.

I mean, it’s so obvious. That speck upon which life exists isn’t just Whoville, it’s a zygote. After all, as Horton says with numbing repetition, “a person’s a person no matter how small.” In a world dedicated to abortion, Horton is the ultimate pro-Life activist.

To that end, Horton stands up against the angry feminist and her brainwashed child (the kangaroo and joey), the Leftist mobs (whether in the streets or the state houses), and the abortionist (that’s the evil eagle determined to destroy life at all costs). Through it all, Horton clings to one principle: Life is life. You cannot parse it away simply because it’s too small to see or its voice is too quiet to hear.

Sadly, it’s certain that Geisel would resent my pro-Life spin. Indeed, true to his life-long Democrat credentials, Geisel was staunchly pro-abortion and aggressively fought against having his name associated with pro-Life projects. In other words, even as Geisel/Seuss was writing, “a person’s a person no matter how small,” he didn’t really mean it. Moreover, his widow has continued that anti-Life legacy, by being a long-time Planned Parenthood funder:

“It has been well known for years around San Diego that the Geisels were pro-abortion and active supporters of the local Planned Parenthood affiliate,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger, who lived in San Diego for 23 years. “Many years ago, I remember seeing Dr. Seuss at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser that we were protesting. People find it hard to believe that someone who could write such amazing children’s stories could support the brutal killing of innocent children through abortion. His wife, Audrey, has been very active in her support for the abortion group over the years, and our documents prove that.”

It’s ironic, really, that both Dr. and Mrs. Seuss, whose fortune came from children’s books, so enthusiastically supported killing their customer base.

Given the facts, perhaps it’s time for everyone, both leftist and conservative, to stop buying Dr. Seuss books. He was a racist, sexist, baby-hating monster. Why in the world is he even still being published, much less being published as a beloved children’s book author? I find myself in agreement with the Lefties when it comes to suggesting that Theodor Seuss Geisel comes with way too much baggage to be a worthy author of today’s children’s books.

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Army Air Corps, WWII, “OK Boys, Put Some Clothes on those Girls”

Veterans’ Tales by Vassar Bushmills

“Ok boys, put some clothes on those girls.  We’re going home!”

Apparently no one worried about nose art on the bombers…over there.

(I don’t know who originally wrote this, but it was provided by one of our regular contributors, Ray Kasey, of New Jersey.

Did you know that more airmen died in WWII than Marines.

WWII Statistics US Army Air Corps:

Almost 1,000 Army planes disappeared en route from the US to foreign locations.

An eye-watering 43,581 aircraft were lost overseas including 22,948 on combat missions (18,418 against the Western Axis) and 20,633 attributed to non-combat  causes overseas.

In a single 376  plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England.  In 1942-43 it was  statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe .

Pacific theater  losses were far less (4,530 in combat) owing to smaller forces committed. The worst B-29 mission, against Tokyo on May 25, 1945, cost 26 Superfortresses, 5.6 percent of the 464 dispatched from the Marianas

On average, 6,600 American servicemen died per month during WWII, about 220 a day. By the end of the war, over 40,000 airmen were killed in combat theaters and another 18,000 wounded.  Some 12,000 missing men were declared dead, including a number “liberated” by the Soviets but never returned.  More than 41,000 were captured, half of the 5,400 held by the Japanese died in captivity, compared with one-tenth in German hands.  

Total combat casualties were pegged at 121,867[…]

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