Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Sheer Bloody Hatred"

Last night I caught a documentary about the Bridge over the River Kwai. It was actually pretty good as they went with a historian through the jungle to the site where the bridge was and looked around a bit. Lots of things were, of course, overgrown and rotted away. Some of the original structures and timbers remain to remind us of what went on there sixty some years ago.

What many, many folks simply have no concept of is the scale of horrors that were perpetuated upon prisoners of war and normal citizens by the Axis Powers in World War 2. I sincerely wish more of us here in the USA could get a grasp on this. Carl just met a person that gave him the tried but not true "Rumsfeld = Hitler" bumper sticker line. Well I think Tojo and the Japanese = Ted Kennedy. Not really, but both statements show how ridiculous things have really gotten in our discourse.

The bridge over the River Kwai was just one of many projects that the Japanese used POW and slave labor on in Burma. They built an entire railway there for military purposes. The prison camp that was situated by the Kwai River bridge was like most other Japanese POW camps - a killing machine. The producers of the documentary refreshingly didn't pull any punches - four of five people that entered that prison camp died there. At times the living couldn't keep up with burying the dead. The Japanese regularly beat the prisoners and civilians that were there, especially when they couldn't keep up with work loads. They even beat the WOMEN AND CHILDREN that worked there. In the video the reporter that was doing the narrative actually had to stop several times to gather his composure as the historian (very matter of factly) told him of the atrocities that happened at this series of camps along the railroad.

Of course this is just one hundreds (thousands?) of examples of how the Japanese treated the people they conquered militarily and of how they treated POW's. A sad chapter in human history indeed.

I was actually moved a moment when they were interviewing a British POW who survived the whole ordeal. They asked him how me made it through. He stated that the only thing that kept him going was sheer bloody hatred for the Japanese that were doing awful things to him and his pals.

When you look at just this one incident - just this one - it is mind boggling that the human can lower himself to these levels of depredation. Yet this is how our friends on the left view things. Lets conveniently forget the actual things Hitler and Tojo and Stalin did, yet compare them to Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney.

To me those on the left have sunk into the same depths - mentally - as the Axis.

*Cross posted at ChicagoBoyz discussion forum.


Jonathan said...

Thanks. A lot of people in our society seem to lack a sense of perspective.

astro said...

You may have already seen this, Dan, but your essay reminded me of Kim du Toit's take on this topic. I like his personal promise to anyone who would ever make the 'Bush=Hitler' comment in his presence.

Dan from Madison said...

I hadn't seen that before - tx Astro.

Elton said...

For an even more graphic account of the atrocities visited upon prisoners of the Japanese as well as upon the Chinese civilian population, read Flyboys: A True Story of Courage by James Bradley (the same guy who wrote Flags of our Fathers). Along with an interesting history of Japan and the (d)evoloution of their military philosophy, Bradley uses recently declassified documents and first-hand interviews to reveal the fate of a small group of American airmen shot down over Chichi Jima (an island north of Iwo) – in the same combat unit as George Bush Senior. Along with regular beheadings – designed to instill “fighting spirit” in the Japanese conscripts -- the prisoners were often used for live bayonet practice, and ultimately cannibalized. In one particularly gruesome practice, muscle were removed from the arms and legs of the victims whereupon their screaming and immobilized bodies were dumped in a ditch – while still alive in order to preserve their livers and internal organs from tropical rot so they could be “harvested” later. Not for the squeamish… in fact, I couldn’t finish the book. All in all, it shows the depths of human depravity and makes me even more grateful for the sacrifice of those who protect our country and keep us safe from the savage evil that infests the dark corners of the world and threatens us like cancer if not for the strength and courage of the vigilant.