Monday, March 24, 2008

America, Then and Now

I received this from a neighbor CE, and asked for comments from a group of friends and former colleagues. Here's the article, comments follow:
Everyone has a different opinion on the war and our current President. But this article probably makes sense to some of you who remember. Read it and give it some thought.

What a difference 60 years makes..!!! President Bush did make a bad mistake in the war on terrorism. But the mistake was not his decision to go to war in Iraq. Bush's mistake came in his belief that this country is the same one his father fought for in WWII.

It is not. Back then, they had just come out of a vicious depression. The country was steeled by the hardship of that depression, but they still believed fervently in this country. They knew that the people had elected their leaders, so it was the people's duty to back those leaders. Therefore, when the war broke out the people came together, rallied behind, and stuck with their leaders, whether they had voted for them or not or whether the war was going badly or not. And war was just as distasteful and the anguish just as great then as it is today. Often there were more casualties in one day in WWII than we have had in the entire Iraq war. But that did not matter the people stuck with the President because it was their patriotic duty.

Americans put aside their differences in WWII and worked together to win that war. Everyone from every strata of society, from young to old pitched in. Small children pulled little wagons around to gather scrap metal for the war effort. Grade school students saved their pennies to buy stamps for war bonds to help the effort. Men who were too old or medically 4F lied about their age or condition trying their best to join the military. Women doubled their work to keep things going at home. Harsh rationing of everything from gasoline to soap, to butter was imposed, yet there was very little complaining. You never heard prominent people on the radio belittling the President.

Interestingly enough in those days there were no fat cat actors and entertainers who ran off to visit and fawn over dictators of hostile countries and complain to them about our President. Instead, they made up beat films and entertained our troops to help the troops' morale. And a bunch even enlisted.

And imagine this: Teachers in schools actually started the day off with a Pledge of Allegiance and with prayers for our country and our troops! Back then, no newspaper would have dared point out certain weak spots in our cities where bombs could be set off to cause the maximum damage. No newspaper would have dared complain about what we were doing to catch spies.
A newspaper would have been laughed out of existence if it had complained that German or Japanese soldiers were being 'tortured' being forced to wear women's underwear, or subjected to interrogation by a woman, or being scared by a dog or did not have air conditioning.

There were a lot of things different back then. We were not subjected to a constant bombardment of pornography, perversion and promiscuity in movies or on radio. We did not have legions of crack heads, dope pushers and armed gangs roaming our streets.

No, President Bush did not make a mistake in his handling of terrorism. He made the mistake of believing that we still had the courage and fortitude of our fathers. He believed that this was still the country that our fathers fought so dearly to preserve. It is not the same country. It is now a cross between Sodom and Gomorrah and the Land of Oz.

We did unite for a short while after 9/11, but our attitude changed when we found out that defending our country would require some sacrifices.

We are in great danger. The terrorists are fanatic Muslims. They believe that it is okay, even their duty to kill anyone who will not convert to Islam. It has been estimated that about one third or over three hundred million Muslims are sympathetic to the terrorists cause...Hitler and Tojo combined did not have nearly that many potential recruits.

So...we either win it - or lose it - and you ain't gonna like losing. America is not at war. The military is at war. America is at the mall.

Comment 1: By KL.....
I couldnt agree more David. Our country has become fat and lazy. 911 woke them up a little, but it was no time till they went back to sleep. God help us if they dont wake up soon. This war will never be over, and we need to be the ones that choose the field of battle, if we dont, they will.Communism is Micky Mouse compared to Islam. I have read their "devils book", and there is no compromise with them. My opinion.....k

Comment 2: By.....JT
When we went to war against Japan on December 8, 1941, it was in response to their attack against the U. S. Naval Base, Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, then a territory of the United States. This was a direct attack on our own naval facility, where American lives were lost, not to mention something like a third of our entire navy materiel. There was no question about who had attacked us and that it was real war.

When the United States went to war against Iraq, some people thought it was in retaliation against the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York City. However, all but four of the terrorists who attacked on that day were not Iraqi's. They were Saudi Arabians! Why in the world do we wage war against a nation against whom we had practically no beef?

Then, when people began to question the president's judgement, he said the war was because the Iraqi's had weapons of mass destruction. We found that not to be true as well. Iraq is not an oil trading partner of the United States. So, I ask again...why are we sending our young people to Iraq to fight and lose their lives there - nearly 4,000 to date?

I do not have the answer to that question, unless the answer is to devastate a generation of our youth or to waste vast sums of our money. Oh, the next comment we hear is that Osama Bin Laden is hiding in Iraq. Our soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan in order to find Osama there. As far as terrorist training bases, why would we attack Iraq when Russia, Syria and Romania are far more important players in that game?

The American people are not hearing the full truth. We need to bring our troops home. When a real enemy emerges, we need to deal with him at that time. Until then, we need to defend our own borders, support our troops, train them, rebuild our defenses and defend our country. It is not the business of the United States to make war around the world for everyone else.

Bless our troops. They have given unselfishly. Let us honor their bravery.

My response to JT......
Thank you for the reply and for your comments. Very thought provoking and very well written. Your list of countries providing training bases for terrorists could also include some countries in South and Central America. Here in our house we are also confused by the administrations pursuit of relations with China, North Korea, and Vietnam and yet we continue to ignore Cuba. At this point in history, Cuba today poses about as much a military threat to the United States as Andorra, Luxemburg, or Vatican City.

While I have serious concerns about the withdrawal of troops from Iraq right away, I agree that we are in a situation that we cannot possibly win. How we extricate our forces without a major civil war is going to take a great deal of finesse that is not readily apparent in this administration.

As for the number of soldiers killed in Iraq, more than 10 times that number of civilians are murdered here in the United States every year. Is that a rationale for remaining in in Iraq? No? I worry more about the flooded VA system, the devastation by the mismanagement our Reserves and National Guard forces, and fiscal mismanagement of military appropriations for the war.

The point of the article was to describe the differences in public and press attitudes between the 1940's and today. So far no one has mentioned how much opposition there was to our entry into WWII here in this country in the late 1930's and 1940's. My impression is that the article was not accurate, but the speed of news and the access to media is what is truely different today. In 1944, it took a long time to get an article from the front lines to the front page. Today, if a camel farts in Afghanistan, it's on You Tube in 30 minutes, in an email in 5 minutes, and around the world at the speed of light. (Sorry, I don't mean to be crude.)

Comment 3: By...........BW
My take on this is: a huge part of the problem with those not involved in the fight can go about their daily activities. No one sacrifices like it says below but more important, we’ve got all these fucking people that get everything for nothing, no contribution, effort to work-nothing. As long as we keep doling it out, they’re going to have their hands out.

Comment 4: By.....JF
As the author says ......."There were a lot of things different back then."

For reasons, too many to list, many Americans have become very scheptical of their politicians, the President included, and therefore find it hard to believe all that they are told by them. The same thing goes for our media. I agree with the idea that we're being forced to confront fanatic Islamists, but I think it's harder for most people to see this group of people spread around the world as our "mortal enemies" versus the relatively localized Hitler and his Nazis or Tojo and his Japs and the atrocities they performed on a daily basis until they were defeated.

Comment 5: By.....BQ
Absolutely dead on—and heavy on the dead—the fear I have is that like your people, during hitlers rise, the majority of Americans have a belief that “it will all be ok”-“god wouldn’t let this happen” We need to be reminded by to 10s of millions who were slaughtered in NON-WAR action that “Man’s Inhumanity To Man” can never be underestimated when it comes to religion or race--bq

Additional Comments by......JT
I'm sorry to sound off on you. I just get really upset when I know 4,000 of our young folks have given their lives for a cause most of us probably don't understand.

Yes, you do bring up a good thought regarding U S relations with all the asian communist countries but not recognition of Cuba. Our congressman wants to recognize Cuba, but there seems to be a lot of Washington opposition for some reason. No clue from me about why, as I am also mystified........

I am aware that during 1938, 1939, and 1940 there was much anti-war sentiment in the United States not to become involved in Europe's business. The people really believed Woodrow Wilson's WWI would be "the war to end all wars" as he promised them. I have read many, many articles telling about how Roosevelt had promised Winston Churchill that the United States would enter the European theatre of the war but he needed a really good excuse as the people didn't support it. He created a "situation" with the Japanese through trade restrictions which, as history showed, culminated in their retaliation.

Communications are a true wonder, aren't they? You are right about the camel. Do you remember when having a telephone was a luxury?

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