Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Good War -- Or At Least "Good Enough"?

Friends, on this week's Newsmaker Show, Brian O'Neil and I cover a lot of ground.  In addition to talking about the hot issues of today -- Matt Whittaker's appearance before Congress, the politics of the "New Green Deal" and the specter of socialism, whether the moon landings were "necessary", the behavior of journalists and their detractors, the Senate's conclusion that there was no Trump-Russia collusion, the source of Democrats' antipathy to all things wall-like, how to judge the polls -- we also discussed the 1945 British/American firebombing of Dresden, Germany, a city filled to the brim with refugees.  How much of a stain is civilian bombing on the legacy of US participation in World War II?  Don't miss it!


  1. Dr. Waddy: I listened: Fully agree that the "Green New Deal" is but the latest of the far left's power grabs. You are right in that the present U.S. Senate ( the House? well maybe, just maybe, I think and that is appalling)would never pass this absurd proposal but that the 2020 Dem candidate may well embrace it and intend its implementation (knowing nevertheless that the whole of it is utterly untenable) must be faced. It should be taken by all of good will of the ascendent far left's sincere and depraved Marxist intention in our country.

    Cory Booker (Spartacus, yes!)does not recoil from unrestrained and ill advised hyperbole does he? As you noted, the local gas station owner, or the person who refuels jet airliners, is not a Nazi, he's not even a Wehrmacht trooper and his father, as did mine, may well have exposed his very being to those of that ilk.

    The moon landings: in technical brilliance, I consider the Voyagers the greatest achievement of resolute and heroic (yeah, try their lives, I say to those who mock them) U.S. engineers and innovators. But the U.S. resistance to Soviet totalitarianism wisely embraced the moral and morale importance of the space race of the '60's.

    Violence against journalists I have no problem with our President condemning it but I would note that so much of the MSM routinely savages him while recoiling in righteous indignation from any assault upon their sensitivities. Gee, they can dish it out, can't they, but they can't take it!

    The Senate's denial of credibility to the blatantly biased Mueller "investigation" is credible and justified and stands defiant to the Dems petulant antics in this regard.

    I agree that the Dems oppose a wall because they see it, correctly, as a priority in President Trump's continuing devotion to fulfilling his promises. And I agree that their preTrump desire for open borders confirms their fundamental objection to any barrier to the unlimited incursion of presumably Dem voters. Isn't it ironic that some of the refugees are fleeing fundamentally Marxist or similarly totalitarian regimes such as Venezuela and the still active Sandinistas? My, my! Such regimes are the Dem's kin.

    The bombing of Dresden: I had an informative experience in 1969 - I traveled on a cordially Japanese hosted trip to Nagasaki, in American naval uniform. In the atomic bomb museum there, some 24 years only after the bombing, I was approached by a Japanese man obviously old enough to have known of the bombing in its time; I did not know enough Japanese nor he English, to conduct a conversation with him but he evinced no hostility to me, nor did I encounter any, in that WWII recent time, anywhere in Japan. I would note also the genuine and documented affection and gratitude displayed by so many Japanese to General MacArthur, upon his departure in 1950. In my opinion, MacArthur displayed during his tenure a laudibly sensitive comprehension of Japanese culture and values, one so brilliant in understanding of that unique civilization that he deserves exceeding credit and gratitude both from Japanese and Americans.

    I've never been to Germany but I would count post war Germany lucky to have been protected by Americans from the completely justifiable vengeance of the Russians, French and even the consummately civilized Brits. Of course German civilians, unable to resist the inhuman Nazi's,suffered unjustly but could it have been otherwise and can we Americans, secure as we were in our Atlantic redoubt, gainsay those who met the full impact of the Nazi onslaught?

  2. Hi Jack. The Green New Deal is monstrously short on specifics, so there are about a million ways the Dems could weasel out of its pronunciamentos. Weasel they would. Look at Obamacare. Yes, it advanced us towards the "goal" of government-controlled health care, but very imperfectly, and in a way that made plenty of "capitalists" richer in the short term. Would Dems really knock airplanes out the sky? Not a chance. High speed rail on a gargantuan scale? Pshaw! Much higher takes? Now, they might mean business there.

    We see eye to eye on space. I only wish Trump would think even bigger on space policy and make it one of his signature issues. Never underestimate the importance of vision and imagination to human nature, I say.

    The collusion narrative may be going the way of the dodo bird, but it doesn't matter greatly, because the Left has moved the goalposts. Now the Trumps/Trump campaign were "compromised". Sheer innuendo can get you pretty far in politics, unfortunately.

    I shudder to think how many "refugees" may pour into the country if the Dems win in 2020. I really do. It seems to me that their appetite for ANY enforcement of immigration laws is rapidly diminishing. Maybe we could convince them that Guatemalans are closet Republicans? That might change the equation.

    Jack, I quite agree that the close bond formed between the US and Japan after the war was near-miraculous. We saw the Germans as kith-and-kin, if ideologically deceived, but the "Japs" we viewed as vermin during the war. And we treated them as such! How we made the transition so quickly to working arm-in-arm with the Japanese I'm not sure, but it's an amazing achievement.

    As for German "war guilt", I think we were wise to set aside such debates after 1945 and concentrate on bringing the Nazi elite to justice. Any forceful condemnation of the German people would have been nullified by the fact that the Russians got away with equally odious, and sometimes worse, crimes. Let bygones be bygones, and live to fight another day -- against communism, for instance... We thought we had the Marxists licked in 1991, of course. We were a bit premature.

  3. Dr. Waddy: I think the characterization of MacArthur as an American Caesar has its merits. MacArthur had a towering intellect, like Caesar, and, as an Asian Studies major ( as very limited as that may be in comprehension), I think he enacted a humane and very well thought out policy toward Japan during the occupation and that it redounded to the benefit of the Japanese people, America and the world and stands in stark contrast to the monstrous intentions of the Soviets. Indeed, Soviet occupation of Hokkaido was prevented simply by MacArthur saying NO! to the Russian horde. To my knowledge and experience, the Japanese are always eager to derive from other civilizations their perceived positive aspects with the caveat that fundamental Japanese values not be compromised.

    You are right in noting (as I see it) the irony of our defeat of world wide Marxism and its exile to ridiculous and doomed setting such as Cuba and N.Korea, while it presently aims at the very heart of our country!

    As for German crime against Russia; in my opinion it was as unimaginably depraved as to have, at least, made terribly understandable, any Russian revenge. The East German regime was part of that retribution ( I mean, imagine enduring first the Nazi Gehenna, then the war, then the "deliverance" from Nazi inhumanity into Marxist sociopathy). How could anyone carry on through that? But we spared both arguably culpable West Germany and the rest of Western Europe that renewed holocaust.

  4. Jack, I'll defer to your expertise on MacArthur. Certainly your perspective is a welcome corrective to the popular image of him as a jingoistic hothead.

    It's a funny quirk of history that the defeat of fascism utterly discredited the whole ideology, but the defeat of Marxism merely occasioned the repackaging of the same ideas, which arguably thrive now more than ever as "social justice", political correctness, environmentalism, etc etc. Presumably all this is explainable by the prejudices of our thought-masters in academia and the media.

    Was a Russian desire for vengeance against Germany understandable? Sure. The Russians weren't merely beastly towards the Germans, however. They were more or less equally inhuman towards the Eastern Europeans and, in fact, each other -- not that I'm telling you anything you don't already know. In any case, it's to America's credit that we have repeatedly broken the cycle of violence by uplifting and befriending even evildoers. We really are a generous and amiable people. To a fault, perhaps?

  5. Dr. Waddy: MacArthur was, I think, a man very great in his thinking , though his personality was off putting in an already modern age of media scrutiny. He was considered a Presidential candidate at one time and I think his administrative brilliance in Japan suggests he could have been a very good one. He was a superlative General; he lost fewer men in his Pacific campaign than Mark Clark lost in Italy alone, he won the Congressional Medal of Honor as a WWI leader. and the Inchon invasion was masterful.

    I read a well argued essay which maintained that anyone wishing to understand Russian reality must first understand Russian winter and the essay fully described that season's brutalizing effects. I think its credible to equate Russian brutality toward Germany with that they demonstrated to all subject peoples, including their own. No argument there from me.

    The massive retreat of Germans toward American, British and even French custody confirms the assured humanity of those civilizations, even that administered by their militaries (whose wartime experience could well have engendered atrocity in them but that it was restrained by their country's principles).

  6. Dr. Waddy: Also, I've read credible supposition to the effect that complete Fascist military defeat in WWII thoroughly discredited it whereas Marxist regimes did not suffer such fundamental conquest. I regret that there was never a Communist Nuremberg trial and think that the fact that it didn't occur tends to confirm the latter view - in part. Significant also, no doubt, was the Marxist cadre established in our universities by the Depression. They did not dare to approach the WWII veterans on the G.I. Bill but they saw fresh meat in the credulous boomers only some 20 years later.

  7. Jack, it's certainly true that Marxists were well-established in academia by the 30s and 40s, but my impression is that fascists were fairly commonplace too, or at least fascist-sympathizers (believers in eugenics, say, or unapologetic xenophobes). Certainly that was so throughout Europe. What became of all the fascists after the defeat of Germany and Japan is an interesting question. I suppose our worthy adversaries would say they simply became Republicans, but that would be to misunderstand the nature of the Republican Party in the immediate post-war years. I wonder how many fascists slid into Marxism, as a matter of fact, because some of the tendencies are so similar.

  8. Dr. Waddy: Hard for me to say - apparently essential to Naziism was ferocious antiBolshevism. Then again, Marxism informed or at least recruited enough cadre to enforce a characteristically tyrannous regime in East Germany; don't know if alot of them were former Nazis. Just how many capable of totalitarian brutality were there in Germany? Though I know it to be historical fact I still cannot understand how the Nazis were able to find monsters in sufficient numbers to carry out their depraved policies. If Nazis were disempowered in East Germany that would have meant identifying many more sociopaths; some of them must have been former Hitlerites. I never knew there was any appreciable number of arguably fascist faculty in American universities at any time and I know next to nothing about European academia.

    I think that the wartime Japanese regime was thoroughly discredited in most Japanese eyes for bringing on such calamity as it did, though some fundamental Japanese values, such as intense love for the land ,its cultural traditions and its monarchy, which had been exploited by the 1930's and 40's regime, remained cherished. I think the majority of Japanese just wanted to get on with life after the war was over and the fundamentally healthy country they rebuilt, with the humane and enlightened aid of America, reflects that intention.

    The allies enforced rather far reaching anti Nazi remediation in post war West Germany and I think it was accomplished in a manner mostly welcomed by those Germans who were free to express opinions and preferences, because they were fortunately under occupation by democratic and civilized nations.

  9. Good point about East Germany. There a lot of people made a fairly easy transition from one version of authoritarianism to another. They were accustomed to privation too. And let's not forget that a vein of socialism ran through "National Socialism," and the East German ruling party was the Socialist Unity Party (they downplayed communism in some ways). Still, you're right that most fascists and communists are bitter enemies. My view is that the totalitarian, utopian impulses are similar, though, so there's the potential for a meeting of the minds.

  10. Dr. Waddy: I firmly believe that empowered Fascism and Communism are butt kindred manifestations of the same catastrophic and , we must pray, passing phenomenom in the tortured history of humanity; that of technologically "enhanced", sociopathic, modern totalitarianism.

    Two examples are telling and I think starkly exemplary. The Paris American Expatriates of the early 20th century (eg. Gertrude Stein ), who stayed in Paris after the conquest, thought they had seen the worst of oppression in the (for them) reprehensible U.S. But one of them noted after the war to this effect ( "we had no understanding of how thorough the Nazi onslaught on all that is human would be; if they perceived that you had adjusted to it they would simply introduce yet more monstrous outrages"). I'd also note the fate of the hundreds of thousands of those Russians and Ukrainians, cited by Solzhenitsyn, who, in desperation, allied with the Nazis. What did it avail them? Only deferred Nazi genocide and eventual Stalinist retribution administered in characteristically murderous fashion. To them, what was the difference between German and Russian barbarism. Nothing appreciable!

  11. Well said, Jack. I can think of no worse fate than being caught between Hitler and Stalin -- and that was the awful reality for tens of millions of people in Eastern Europe. They faced challenges and horrors on a scale that you and I can only imagine.