Quill pig is another name for a porcupine. Porcupines are unattractive and unpopular, but, as animals go, and unlike eagles, elephants, and donkeys, they are reasonably harmless good neighbors that mind their own business. Here's where we can talk about being good neighbors and why it's eternally important.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
World War II: Just Another Government SNAFU
I claim in an earlier post
that World War II, like every other government program, accomplished “the exact
opposite of its stated intention,” and I will here defend my claim.
To make my case I need to
specify who it was who stated the intention, what that stated intention was,
and that the actual result was the opposite of the stated intention.
Since Franklin Roosevelt stood
head and shoulders above all other US political figures on December 7, 1941, I
believe he should be my source for the stated intention. From his speech to the
Congress: “The Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the
United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
… Japan has … undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific
area. … As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all
measures be taken for our defense.”
As a result of World War II, Japan ceased to be a military threat, as
did Germany and Italy. The war accomplished its stated goals. The Quill Pig is
wrong. Court is adjourned.
Mr. Security Guard, before you
throw me out of the empty courtroom, please let me whisper some words to the
fly buzzing around the light above me.
According to Woodrow Wilson,
World War I—which was not called that at the time, of course—was being fought
“to make the world safe for democracy.” Yet it didn’t. As it raged it literally
turned much of Europe into rubble. The treaty that ended the war starved
Germany—hardly a safe situation—and made a prophet of David Lloyd George, who
predicted that England would “fight another war again in 25 years time.” During
those years the Germans sharpened their war-making skills in Spain bringing
Franco to power. The world was not made safe for democracy.
That was World War I, not World War II. The job was not done completely
the first time, which necessitated a second war. The second war did the job.
What’s your problem?
As an example of the last, consider
the American Revolution. It was sold to the patriots with such slogans as “no
taxation without representation.” Most patriots hearing the slogan would have thought
that by being represented they would be able to keep their taxes low, don’t you
think? But after the war was won and the patriots were represented in their
federal government—surprise!—their taxes were higher than those in Great Britain.
Stated goal reached: expected result not.
Or another example: The
enslavement of the blacks in the US was an abomination. Emancipation was
supposed to be a good thing because freedom is a good thing. Yet the
post-emancipation Jim Crow era was worse than slavery for so many blacks that
the song “Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child” composed in those days
became an instant hit. Stated goal reached: expected result not.
Were the losses from World War
II so great that winning was tantamount to defeat? Did the government deliver
on what those who believed the rhetoric were expecting?
I would suggest that the first
loss in World War II was freedom, the very thing the citizenry understood
Roosevelt’s request for a declaration of war as a call to defend. One of the
first actions the government undertook was to institute military conscription.
Conscription by definition puts those conscripted under the control of the
government. It is the most lethal form of state slavery. Compared with
literally dodging bullets and bombs, a 95% tax rate in peacetime looks like freedom.
Does slavery have to be called
slavery to be slavery? Or can de facto slavery be sold as something else? Is a
mugging only a mugging, or to the degree that the mugger has control over the actions
and resources of the muggee is it not a form of slavery? If it is, the same is
true of military conscription: it is slavery by another name.
Wilson conscripted soldiers for World War I, so you can’t blame that on
World War II.
Sure I can. By your own
admission, World War I was incomplete: World War II finished the unfinished
business of World War I. They are in essence one war.
Sneaky. Besides, Lincoln conscripted soldiers for the Civil War, so you
can’t pin conscription on World War II.
Only if I can’t call a burglary
on Wednesday a robbery because the same guy mugged the same guy on Tuesday.
Lincoln conscripted soldiers to kill, if necessary, their fellow citizens to
prevent them from getting out from under his rule. Funny that US government
propaganda these days tells us the conquest of the Confederacy was about ending
black slavery when Lincoln not only said in his first inaugural address that he
had no intention of interfering with black slavery but he also enslaved white
boys to go fight. Between conscription and Jim Crow, I see a difference between
what the government advertises and what it delivers.
Yes, but if we hadn’t gone to war against Germany and Japan, European
Jews would all have been killed, and the Japanese would still be using Korean
women as sex toys and treating all of China the way they raped Nanking.
I see no mention of Jews,
Koreans, or Chinese in Roosevelt’s speech. As president he swore to protect and
defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Period. And
we know he hated the Constitution. He began the War on Drugs, though again not
by that name, by making marijuana illegal without amending the Constitution. (As
bad as the alcohol prohibitionists were, they at least got an amendment passed.)
Roosevelt also openly flouted the Constitution when he tried to increase the
number of Supreme Court justices so he could get the majority needed to vote
down objections to his welfare state measures. In the same way, to the degree
he was fighting the war to protect Jews, Koreans, and Chinese, he was violating
But the war saved innocent lives and preserved freedom!
Lenin is quoted as saying, “Politics
is all about who does what to whom.” It makes all the difference in the world
whether you’re one of the “who” or one of the “whom.” Innocent lives were indeed
saved, but it’s also true that innocent people were killed. The carpet bombings
of Dresden and other German cities, the firebombing of Tokyo, and the two
atomic bombs all targeted civilians. And yes, US soldiers had targeted
civilians previously: Indians in the Southeast before the conquest of the
Confederacy, whites in the Confederacy during the conquest, Plains Indians,
Hawaiians, and Filipinos. To quote a term paper I just edited,
In one incident [in Dicken’s Hard Times], Mr. M’choakumchild, a teacher in Gradgrind School, … tries
to convince [a student] that a city of a million inhabitants in which only
twenty-five starve to death is prosperous. Sissy responds that [and here’s the
quote I want you to see] the deaths must be just as hard on the families of the
twenty-five when the survival rate is high as it is when it is low.
In the same way, the death of
the innocent civilians who opposed Hitler and Hirohito but happened to be where
the bombs fell is as horrible as the death of the the innocents from the buzz
bombs and the Holocaust. The moral logic of killing innocent people to save
innocent people escapes me. And, of course, anyone today who questions the
current zeal (there’s no other word for it) for collateral damage, whether by
the Clinton sanctions or the Bush-Obama military, is referred back to—Ta
daaah!—Dresden and Hiroshima.
Since World War II we as a
nation consider ourselves just that much more justified in killing innocent
people in the pursuit of our interests than we did before. I call that a
pyrrhic victory at best.
As for preserving freedom, I’m
not sure the Eastern Europeans, whom (there’s that word again) Stalin and Hitler
took turns pillaging and slaughtering, would say their freedom was preserved.
Nor would the Chinese, who were given the choice between a seriously flawed US
puppet and a Communist butcher. To say lives were saved and freedom preserved is
to echo the sentiments stated so well by Randy Newman:
Was big and mean
And he didn’t have much to say.
He had a little woman that he whupped each day,
But now she’s gone away.
He got drunk last night and pushed Mama down the stairs, But I’m all right, so I don’t care.
And finally, there’s the
question whether the war was necessary to begin with. I see no compelling
reason for England, let alone the US, to have entered World War I. The best
explanation for England’s involvement is their desire to take over Germany’s
colonies, as they did in New Guinea. We got in because the Germans sank a
passenger ship that our government knew was carrying war materiel to England
and because Wilson wanted to have leverage in creating the League of Nations.
We got into World War II because the Japanese bombed the base of operations for
the sanctions we were applying to Japan because we wanted their colonies in
We went to war to rescue the Jews?
Don’t make me laugh. The Final Solution wouldn’t have been needed if Roosevelt
had let Europe’s Jews immigrate, but he shut the door on them. To rescue the Koreans?
We told the Japanese when we took over the Philippines that we’d keep mum about
their treatment of the Koreans if they’d keep mum about our treatment of the
Filipinos. The Chinese? Tell me they weren’t gooks twenty years before the term
“War is the health of the
state.” War stimulates government spending. Read any social studies textbook
and they’ll tell you that it was wartime spending that ended the Depression. Do
you think no one in power expected that to be the case (or at least that once
the fighting was over they’d be able to make the case successfully)? The
Keynesians who ran the government wanted war so it would end the Depression.
They took tax money and gave it to the armaments manufacturers: tax money for
politically connected businesses is the textbook definition of fascism. Uncle
Sam instituted slavery to fight slavery and fascism to fight fascism. In
enriching politically connected industrialists he succeeded marvelously, and he
set the stage for wars ever since, where the object has been to start them and
prolong them, not to win them, as winning them would mean mothballing the gravy
Death, rubble, taxes, and
cronyism: Situation Normal: All “Fouled” Up.
Japan and Germany ceased to be military threats. The war delivered
precisely what the government promised. It accomplished the stated goals. You
have failed to prove your point.