Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Prisoners of the Japanese Wars

I'm not a great one for war movies, so have not had any urge to rush out and see The Great Raid, despite the good reviews. What I didn't realize, though, is that the politically correct crowd has taken umbrage at the fact that the movie shows Japanese atrocities against American POWs. I guess these people figure that, if you can't rewrite history, you should just ignore it. While the Japanese may be an unusually civilized nation in today's world, and a good friend of the US, their behavior during the 1930s left a whole lot to be desired. The most obvious things that leap to my mind are Pearl Harbor and the Rape of Nanking (where the Japanese demonstrated a brutality almost unparalleled in historical annals). I don't need to look further than my own home to believe that the Japanese were guilty of appalling cruelty to the prisoners under their control during WWII. My mother was a civilian prisoner of the Japanese in Indonesia. While she's always been able to make her peace with modern Japan (as she says, "It was war, not genocide"), that hasn't erased the memories of the tortures the Japanese commandants visited on them. The one that she's never gotten over is when the entire women's camp, old and young alike, was made to stand in formation in the yard, under the tropical sun, for 24 hours. Another that haunts her is her friend in the camp who discovered after the war that her husband, a physician, had been beheaded by the Japanese over in the men's civilian camp. What's heartening about the Japanese then and now is how completely they seem to have been able to exorcise those demons -- more so than the Germans, who have been much more scarred by the Cold War. As I noted earlier in this post, the Japanese are an unusually civilized nation, and they made this transition very quickly in the post-War years. Perhaps there's hope for those nations caught in the grip of the worst type of medieval Islamism.