A Look at History and History in Progress

Today in Iraq history is being made. Never has a Middle Eastern country so quickly accepted the essential ideas of democracy. While this is an historic event it is not without precedent. In WWII we faced an equal evil to terrorism, Imperialism. In Japan the United States had an enemy, motivated by an animistic religious mindset, which could not surrender. Does this sound familiar at all? It should sound very familiar, because in terrorism we face an enemy motivated by Islamic teaching.In WWII it was the kamikaze pilots who killed thousands of soldiers by flying their planes into military targets. Pilots who were willing to make such a great sacrifice were promised honor (not to mention if they did not do it they most likely would have been executed anyway). Today we battle suicide bombers who strap themselves to c-4 and run into a crowd. They are promised eternal life (not to mention the virgins). To a Muslim this must seem very appealing. In a religious system so steeped in works it must be very tempting, even to the point of blowing yourself up, to attain eternal security. Unfortunately neither the Japanese Imperialist in WWII, nor the Islamic terrorists today have spiritual life.

In WWII we faced a Japanese military that was at the will of the Emperor. At that time the Emperor was viewed as deity. He was a god, and he was not to be questioned. The authority that the Emperor had in Japan is not all that different from the authority that Muslim leaders today have. While the clerics and leaders are not viewed as deity they are to be obeyed without question. In a society that is illiterate the people blindly trust their leaders to interpret the Qu’ran. All that the suicide bomber knows is that the local cleric told him that Allah wanted him to go down in a ball of flames with as many infidels as possible.

In light of these similarities between these two enemies the question that we should be asking is: “What can we learn from our victory over Japan?”

The first thing that the Allies did was defeat their enemy. President Truman knew what he was up against when he made the decision to use atomic warheads. He knew that the Japanese would not surrender and they would fight until millions of Japanese citizens, and thousands of American soldiers had died. Truman made what was one of the most strategic decisions in U.S. military history; he dropped the bomb. He saved countless lives by taking many lives. Truman ended WWII. Not to mention that no one has ever used another atomic warhead. It was the right choice.

In this instance history should teach us that it takes sacrifice and hard choices to win a war. Thankfully this is what we are doing. Despite ludicrous cries from the left wing to leave Iraq now; President Bush is making the difficult choice to stay the course and win the war.
The next step in the Allied victory over Japan was taking the power away from the Emperor, and establishing a new government.

The authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government will be subject to the Supreme Commander, who will possess all powers necessary to effectuate the surrender terms and to carry out the policies established for the conduct of the occupation and the control of Japan. If we take a look at the offer of surrender to Japan I think that we will see some very interesting things.

“In view of the present character of Japanese society and the desire of the United States to attain its objectives with a minimum commitment of its forces and resources, the Supreme Commander will exercise his authority through Japanese governmental machinery and agencies, including the Emperor, to the extent that this satisfactorily furthers United States objectives. The Japanese Government will be permitted, under his instructions, to exercise the normal powers of government in matters of domestic administration. This policy, however, will be subject to the right and duty of the Supreme Commander to require changes in governmental machinery or personnel or to act directly if the Emperor or other Japanese authority does not satisfactorily meet the requirements of the Supreme Commander in effectuating the surrender terms. This policy, moreover, does not commit the Supreme Commander to support the Emperor or any other Japanese governmental authority in opposition to evolutionary changes looking toward the attainment of United States objectives. The policy is to use the existing form of Government in Japan, not to support it. Changes in the form of Government initiated by the Japanese people or government in the direction of modifying its feudal and authoritarian tendencies are to be permitted and favored. In the event that the effectuation of such changes involves the use of force by the Japanese people or government against persons opposed thereto, the Supreme Commander should intervene only where necessary to ensure the security of his forces and the attainment of all other objectives of the occupation.”

(STATEMENT OF U. S. POLICY RELATING TO JAPAN, PREPARED JOINTLY BY STATE, WAR AND NAVY DEPARTMENTS; September 6, 1945; part of a White House News Release.)

Thankfully that is what we are currently doing in Iraq. We deposed a ruthless dictator, and we are working on a new government today.

The final step that I will mention (I have obviously omitted quite a bit including economic rebuilding, military neutralization, etc.) is Allies’ approach to religion. Look at this section of U. S. INITIAL POST-SURRENDER POLICY FOR JAPAN:

PART III-POLITICAL

3. Encouragement of Desire for Individual Liberties and Democratic Processes.

“Freedom of religious worship shall be proclaimed promptly on occupation. At the same time it should be made plain to the Japanese that ultra-nationalistic and militaristic organizations and movements will not be permitted to hide behind the cloak of religion.

The Japanese people shall be afforded opportunity and encouraged to become familiar with the history, institutions, culture, and the accomplishments of the United States and the other democracies. Association of personnel of the occupation forces with the Japanese population should be controlled, only to the extent necessary, to further the policies and objectives of the occupation.
Democratic political parties, with rights of assembly and public discussion, shall be encouraged, subject to the necessity for maintaining the security of the occupying forces.”

This requirement is a declarative statement that the religious and political practices of Imperialism were inferior to those of the United States. Think about. The previous system elevated the emperor to deity, but under the offer of surrender the Emperor relinquished his authority and the people had religious freedom. This was absolutely necessary because as long as the Emperor was in control as deity he could wage is own wars at the expense of his people. Just as they had to obey him in WWII they would have had to obey him in any later wars. But the surrender agreement ended that.
The question is how does this relate to Iraq? We have given the people freedom from tyranny, but do they have the freedom from Islam. In today’s relativistic inclusive society we would never ban a religion. But I can’t help to wonder what would have happened if the previous generation had done the same in Japan.
For more information visit http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/

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