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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Occupations -- Japan and Iraq

Those few neocons who know their history and yet idiotically support GW Bush's incursion into Iraq probably have the example of Japan fondly in mind.

In 1945 the Japanese, having been thoroughly crushed in overt warfare, concluded a peace with the Allies, mainly the U.S., and the American occupation began.

Until the dropping of the atom bombs and more importantly the mobilization at last of the Soviet Union against them, the Japanese had been been preparing to resist an American invasion by every means possible. So it was feared that there would be problems, but the occupation went smoothly. The Japanese disposed of their weaponry and bent all their efforts to rebuilding their bomb-ravaged country.

In the process they seemed to become totally submissive to General Douglas McArthur, their co-Emperor during the occupation, and when he imposed a constitution on them, they accepted it with hardly an objection, and in fact they have kept that constitution to this day, though now and then there have been murmurs about changing it.

That constitution and the supposed submissiveness of the Japanese have served them well, and in fact things got to the point where, in the late 1970's and early '80's, if visitors from outer space had landed on the Earth and looked around and if they weren't told, they would have gotten a totally mistaken idea about the outcome of World War 2, at least as it had stood in 1945. They would've concluded that, going by their economic prosperity, the Japanese and its big partner in the former Axis, Germany, had won, and the Americans, English, Russians, and others had lost.

There is, however and unfortunately for all concerned, no chance for the Iraqis to duplicate the Japanese experience. The reasons are many, but for now three will do.

Unlike the Iraqis, the Japanese were quite familiar with their occupiers and now they were able to figure out how to use them to achieve the goals that had faded so disastrously during the shooting. They had already been studying the U.S. for generations.

The Japanese weren't split into a host of tribes, clans, and warring regions. They had put that nonsense behind them centuries ago.

And in Japan the occupation didn't lead to a secular way of life being replaced by a religious one, in which there is little room for independence of thought and free inquiry, and in which Iraqi men are allowed and even required to keep their feet firmly clamped on the necks of the better half of their population, and the Japanese aren't expected to take valuable time out to set out a little rug and pray five times a day.


Blogger andante said...

Yale University apparently doesn't teach their history majors anything about world history. Or some history majors slept through class and got a "gentleman's C".

10:59 PM  
Blogger Carl (aka Sofarsogoo) said...

That's what I thought, too, Andante!

7:25 AM  
Blogger Steve Bates said...

A well-drawn analogy, Carl.

If people want to put out the little rug and pray five times a day, that's fine with me. If they are willing to accept a government that insists they do so, I'm uncomfortable, but it's their decision. But if the United States intervenes in a secular society, even a totalitarian one, in a way that forces people to conform to a particular religion, especially if educated women are forced to play a subservient role, that's unacceptable.

Thanks again for the apt comparison.

The Yellow Doggerel Democrat

12:50 AM  

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