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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight

 
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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/19/2008 11:45:35 PM   
Terminus


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Oh goody, here we go...

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/19/2008 11:49:21 PM   
Feinder


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I am also reading Toland's book (still only in the pre-war stuff).

I think thus far (granted, I haven't gotten very far), it's a good book, if taken with all other material available. 

While the write-up might try to call it "unbiased", I don't actually think that even Toland considers the book "unbiased".  I think he considers it "from the Japanese point of view", and certainly -not- unbiased.  Indeed, his wife is Japanese, which allowed him access many many veterans and documents that might not have been so easily available to a gaijin.

But it's like that "Fortress Against the Sun" and "Shattered Sword" books everyone around here rants about as Bible.  They -are- *excellent* books.  But they're not Bible.  They should be taken amongst the greater body of works.  Some more credible than others (indeed FatS and SS are very credible).

But my advice on Tolands book (at least as how I'm reading it).  It probably -does- bring some differing insights to the table.  You (and I) don't have to agree to with them, and they might not even be correct.  But either way, the book brings -something- to table and does contribute to the greater body of knowledge. 

Again, I don't think it's supposed to be "unbiased".  Toland says it's "from the Japanese perspective"; it is by definition, NOT unbiased, so just accept it as such.

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/20/2008 1:44:27 AM   
ctangus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Feinder

I am also reading Toland's book (still only in the pre-war stuff).

I think thus far (granted, I haven't gotten very far), it's a good book, if taken with all other material available.

While the write-up might try to call it "unbiased", I don't actually think that even Toland considers the book "unbiased". I think he considers it "from the Japanese point of view", and certainly -not- unbiased. Indeed, his wife is Japanese, which allowed him access many many veterans and documents that might not have been so easily available to a gaijin.



I thought Toland's book was excellent and consider it a must-read for anyone interested in the Pacific war. There's info on the Japanese decision-making process both pre- & post- Pearl Harbor that I haven't encountered elsewhere. But you're correct - it's not unbiased and Toland does acknowledge that it's mostly from the Japanese point of view. I think it should be read as a companion to John Costello's The Pacific War - which IMO is another excellent general history of the war, but mostly from the allied POV.

(in reply to Feinder)
Post #: 33
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/20/2008 5:54:26 AM   
bradfordkay

 

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Feinder, I did realize that Toland called it as being "from the Japanese point of view", and mainly have appreciated it as such. It was one of the "reviews" on the cover that called it an "unbiased" view - probably by some PC type youngster who thinks that if America did it, it's wrong...

I guess that it has been the page after page after page of descriptions of the horrors of the atom bombing that have ticked me off. I know that the results of the bombing were horrifying, but do we really have to go through it in such nauseating detail - especially after glossing over the Nanking incident? Let me know what you think after you reach that point.

Terminus, before you write off my comments as being from some typical "America, Love it or leave it" type, you might want to understand that the guys at the steakhouse consider me to be a pinko commie because I don't go running to america's defense whenever the eurotypes start attacking our policies. I believe in trying to remove bias as much as possible when diescussing history, and this book seems to trade one for another. In Toland's defense, he considers it as being from the Japanese point of view and it was just the reviewer who called it unbiased. It is that reviewers point of view that I question...

My apologies to everyone for taking this so far from topic.

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/20/2008 8:09:28 AM   
Snowman999

 

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quote:

Again, I don't think it's supposed to be "unbiased". Toland says it's "from the Japanese perspective"; it is by definition, NOT unbiased, so just accept it as such.


"Unbiased history" is an oxymoron. Never has been such. Historians write to make an argument, from Herodotus on down. Written history is a synthesis of primary sources. The very act of synthesis introduces bias. One could imagine primary sources photocopied and stapled together, leaving the "work" to the reader, but there would still be bias in what was stapled and what was left out. "Bias" really means "does not conform to my pre-concieved ideas, or those of an historian whose conclusions I agree with."

Using terms like "PC" to describe history is unproductive. If the primary sources aren't forged one part or point is about as relevant as any other. If you truly want non-bias you'd need to simultaneously load the entire human history into the brain at once. Good luck with that.

(in reply to Feinder)
Post #: 35
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 2:25:31 PM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Feinder

I am also reading Toland's book (still only in the pre-war stuff).

I think thus far (granted, I haven't gotten very far), it's a good book, if taken with all other material available. 

While the write-up might try to call it "unbiased", I don't actually think that even Toland considers the book "unbiased".  I think he considers it "from the Japanese point of view", and certainly -not- unbiased.  Indeed, his wife is Japanese, which allowed him access many many veterans and documents that might not have been so easily available to a gaijin.

But it's like that "Fortress Against the Sun" and "Shattered Sword" books everyone around here rants about as Bible.  They -are- *excellent* books.  But they're not Bible.  They should be taken amongst the greater body of works.  Some more credible than others (indeed FatS and SS are very credible).

But my advice on Tolands book (at least as how I'm reading it).  It probably -does- bring some differing insights to the table.  You (and I) don't have to agree to with them, and they might not even be correct.  But either way, the book brings -something- to table and does contribute to the greater body of knowledge. 

Again, I don't think it's supposed to be "unbiased".  Toland says it's "from the Japanese perspective"; it is by definition, NOT unbiased, so just accept it as such.


I have Toland's book and I have read it several times (every few years - 5 or so - I re-read it).

IMHO, in his book he is quite "unsupportive" of Japanese imperialism and expansionism - thus in that respect he is more than "unbiased" (i.e. he is not trying to "approve" their actions - he is merely explaining their actions and events as they happened and as they, Japan, saw it)...


Leo "Apollo11"


P.S. [EDIT]
Sighted typo fixed

< Message edited by Apollo11 -- 2/21/2008 2:27:47 PM >


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(in reply to Feinder)
Post #: 36
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 5:26:44 PM   
Mike Scholl

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Snowman999



quote:

Again, I don't think it's supposed to be "unbiased". Toland says it's "from the Japanese perspective"; it is by definition, NOT unbiased, so just accept it as such.


"Unbiased history" is an oxymoron. Never has been such. Historians write to make an argument, from Herodotus on down. Written history is a synthesis of primary sources. The very act of synthesis introduces bias. One could imagine primary sources photocopied and stapled together, leaving the "work" to the reader, but there would still be bias in what was stapled and what was left out. "Bias" really means "does not conform to my pre-concieved ideas, or those of an historian whose conclusions I agree with."

Using terms like "PC" to describe history is unproductive. If the primary sources aren't forged one part or point is about as relevant as any other. If you truly want non-bias you'd need to simultaneously load the entire human history into the brain at once. Good luck with that.



I think we're getting carried away with semantics here. ALL human thought is biased by the experiances of the thinker. Historical thought generally comes in two strains. One is to tell (as well as can be determined) what happened, The other is to try to use "what happened" to make a point about "why it happened" (or didn't happen, or should or shouldn't have happened). Neither is totally unbiased---but authors trying to "Prove" something are generally more "selective" than those trying to "record" events, and more likely to be "biased" in the sense we are refering to.

(in reply to Snowman999)
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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 6:43:30 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Feinder

I thought Letters was pretty good.  I liked it more than Flags of our Fathers, simply because it was more about the battle, than in Flags, half of it was about the demons they faced afterwards.  Not to minimize either of those points.  But I thought Letters was good, because it's -very- difficult to do a different perspective, no matter how hard you try. 

I think Eastwood actually did do a good job of creating (mostly) sympathetic characters.  My thought on it was, "You guys are bastages.  Your situation sucks.  And I understand that you're trying to live by that whole Code of Bushido thing.  But our guys aren't Code of BS, and if you look down on us for it, then so be it.  And when your world collapses on you, don't ask me for sympathy (and I understand you won't give me any either.  So that being the case, there is no "agree to to disagree" and our guys are just going to have to kill you.  Sucks to be you."

But from perspective, I think it did well as Japanese perception.  I also think it was valuable to raise awaremenss in Japan.  I actually found the commentary -after- the DVD very disturbing, that most of the actors and youth of Japan had no idea that there was even a war with the US.

-F-


I enjoyed "Letters" too because of it's in the trenches focus but from the other side. It puts a human face on what is often generalized as a machine like enemy that wants to do nothing more than stick a sword in all too human American boys and then blow "itself" up with a hand grenade with no thoughts of their own lives and desires. I think that was Eastwood's objective. One could easily imagine themselves in the main character's place....a draftee who isn't an endoctrined career soldier who wants nothing more than to die for his country/Emperor but a flesh and blood human who gets put through an ringer than thankfully few of us today will have to go through.

I thought the scene where he has to watch his fellow soldiers blow their own heads off with their grenades was intense. He has his own grenade ready. Its expected...you know he knows he thinks its the crazyest thing ever suggested to him but its an order...its an order however .....hes scared ****less...does he do it or not? And how do you feel if you don't afterward? Crazy world.

Havn't managed to get through Flags yet. A tad slow. We have watched the first two parts of Ken Burns "The War" however. I've heard mixed reactions to it but it is good enough that my GF.....who is anything BUT a war history freak (and thinks we all need lives), found it interesting because of it's focus on the home front. I liked it as well. I find the pictures and descriptions of how life used to be in a "normal" setting very facinating.



< Message edited by Nikademus -- 2/21/2008 6:47:06 PM >

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 10:12:15 PM   
Raverdave


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Sorry, but I am the only one here who thought the LFIJ and the other one that he made....were just average movies.
Would not rate them as great, simply average.

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 10:31:14 PM   
witpqs


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Agreed.

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 11:00:16 PM   
Terminus


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Certainly not five-star material, but good, solid craftsmanship. I haven't seen Flags (and don't want to), but Letters was good.

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 11:15:19 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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Must be the topic. I want to go rent Throne of Blood or Seven Samurai now.

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 11:24:03 PM   
Snowman999

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mike Scholl




I think we're getting carried away with semantics here. ALL human thought is biased by the experiances of the thinker. Historical thought generally comes in two strains. One is to tell (as well as can be determined) what happened, The other is to try to use "what happened" to make a point about "why it happened" (or didn't happen, or should or shouldn't have happened). Neither is totally unbiased---but authors trying to "Prove" something are generally more "selective" than those trying to "record" events, and more likely to be "biased" in the sense we are refering to.



If I'm arguing semantics, you are as well.

I disagree with your idea of "two strains." Reporting events isn't history; it's journalism, or, perhpas, simple stenography. History by its nature is interpretive. It asks "why" not only "what" or "whom." Some may tend to more fact and less analysis/sythesis and others less, but all historians tell a story. They aren't reporters. Herodotus included a lot of facts, but his "story" was "Greeks good; Persians bad."

By selecting the "what"--and, as I said, no historian can include it all--every historian is biased to his point. Maybe he isn't when he begins. Maybe he starts with a truly blank sheet of paper (yeah, right!), but the final story is shaped by facts left in and facts left out.

Soem folks here are (crudely in my telling) saying "US in WWII good; Japanese in WWII bad." They pull out, perhaps, Pearl Harbor, want to exclude the Bombs, and ask why Nanking isn't tossed in. OK, that's an argument. I could ask, why Nanking? It wasn't, technically, part of WWII. Most historians mark that date as 9/1/1939. (But some don't; are they biased?)

So include Nanking in the "Japanese bad" fact pile. If WWII can expand, can I include the assault on the Bonus Marchers in a "US bad" pile? How about lynching? A put-up war against Spain? How far back can I go to "prove" US bad before I'm too biased? The anser, maybe, is as far as other historians will let me before they construct arguments of their own. There's no "truth" to history. Only many stories.

< Message edited by Snowman999 -- 2/21/2008 11:26:50 PM >

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 11:36:36 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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If an event is directly related it's relevant. Directly is an admittedly subjective term, but for the comparison Nanking could be argued to be directly related to the US-Japan part of WW2 because the PH attack was part of an effort to 1) remove any threat from Japanese forces in obtaining resources in the SRA which were needed due to the US embargo of same, 2) establishment of the GEACPS and 3) solve the China problem, whereas including the war against Spain is more in six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon level.

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/21/2008 11:49:14 PM   
Snowman999

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: anarchyintheuk

If an event is directly related it's relevant. Directly is an admittedly subjective term, but for the comparison Nanking could be argued to be directly related to the US-Japan part of WW2 because the PH attack was part of an effort to 1) remove any threat from Japanese forces in obtaining resources in the SRA which were needed due to the US embargo of same, 2) establishment of the GEACPS and 3) solve the China problem, whereas including the war against Spain is more in six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon level.



I don't grant your last point. Do you agree that the outcome of the Russo-Japanese War led directly to Japan's efforts in the 1920s and 1930s that led to Nanking, Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima? Many historians more qualified than me do just that. And that war was only seven years after our own imperialistic love-fest with Spain, driven (IMO) by abberant Christianity feeding White Man's Burden, extra-continental Manifest Destiny, and, oh, yeah, a need for coaling stations.

Nations aren't "good" or "bad." They're bundles of self-interests colliding with each other.

(in reply to anarchyintheuk)
Post #: 45
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 12:23:37 AM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Snowman999

Do you agree that the outcome of the Russo-Japanese War led directly to Japan's efforts in the 1920s and 1930s that led to Nanking, Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima? Many historians more qualified than me do just that. And that war was only seven years after our own imperialistic love-fest with Spain, driven (IMO) by abberant Christianity feeding White Man's Burden, extra-continental Manifest Destiny, and, oh, yeah, a need for coaling stations.

Nations aren't "good" or "bad." They're bundles of self-interests colliding with each other.


To answer your question . . . no. However, if I did agree with them I would start that timeline with the Sino-Japanese War. In any event, I thought we were talking the Spanish-American War's relationship to good guy/bad guy status in WW2, which I still characterize as before. I would disagree with your characterization of the Spanish-American War as well.

As to historians and their qualifications, I am not one and don't have the other.

As to your last quote I'd generally agree; however, the actions of nations w/i certain time periods and in context of their relationship with each other can be defined as good or bad.

Edited to add stuff.

< Message edited by anarchyintheuk -- 2/22/2008 12:58:57 AM >

(in reply to Snowman999)
Post #: 46
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 9:34:45 AM   
Snowman999

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: anarchyintheuk


quote:

ORIGINAL: Snowman999

Do you agree that the outcome of the Russo-Japanese War led directly to Japan's efforts in the 1920s and 1930s that led to Nanking, Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima? Many historians more qualified than me do just that. And that war was only seven years after our own imperialistic love-fest with Spain, driven (IMO) by abberant Christianity feeding White Man's Burden, extra-continental Manifest Destiny, and, oh, yeah, a need for coaling stations.

Nations aren't "good" or "bad." They're bundles of self-interests colliding with each other.


To answer your question . . . no. However, if I did agree with them I would start that timeline with the Sino-Japanese War. In any event, I thought we were talking the Spanish-American War's relationship to good guy/bad guy status in WW2, which I still characterize as before. I would disagree with your characterization of the Spanish-American War as well.

As to historians and their qualifications, I am not one and don't have the other.

As to your last quote I'd generally agree; however, the actions of nations w/i certain time periods and in context of their relationship with each other can be defined as good or bad.

Edited to add stuff.


The Sino-Japanese War didn't spring forth from nothing. It was part of a continuum. I'd say mid-19thC when Japan opened to the West after 400 years is a better starting point than the 1930s for the inception of Japan's imperial program.

As to the S-A War, it led to American interests in the Pacific where they had not existed before. The Russo-Japanese War showed Japan for the first time that they could compete and win with the West and taking the right side in WWI got them Pacific possessions of their own. We were going to tussle, and FDR knew it. He just didn't know how and when.

I characterized the S-A War as "bad" because it was a war of choice for the USA, much like the Mexican War. We clothe our imperialism, either military, economic, or cultural, in a lot of bushwa about spreading democracy and God's will, but we're no different at base than Japan was. Just trying to make our way in the world. We have our own continuum.

As to your last line, well, the victors write the history. I doubt Nat Turner, Sitting Bull, or the citizens of Dresden or Tokyo would think we we were all that good.




< Message edited by Snowman999 -- 2/22/2008 9:35:33 AM >

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RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 3:29:04 PM   
Feltan


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Snowman999
....As to your last line, well, the victors write the history. I doubt Nat Turner, Sitting Bull, or the citizens of Dresden or Tokyo would think we we were all that good.


I am sure Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo were upset with the U.S. too. They are probably all together griping about how mean and unfair the U.S. was to them, and having a chat with this fellow --> . My heart breaks just thinking about it.

Regards,
Feltan

(in reply to Snowman999)
Post #: 48
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 6:35:20 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Snowman999

quote:

ORIGINAL: anarchyintheuk


quote:

ORIGINAL: Snowman999

Do you agree that the outcome of the Russo-Japanese War led directly to Japan's efforts in the 1920s and 1930s that led to Nanking, Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima? Many historians more qualified than me do just that. And that war was only seven years after our own imperialistic love-fest with Spain, driven (IMO) by abberant Christianity feeding White Man's Burden, extra-continental Manifest Destiny, and, oh, yeah, a need for coaling stations.

Nations aren't "good" or "bad." They're bundles of self-interests colliding with each other.


To answer your question . . . no. However, if I did agree with them I would start that timeline with the Sino-Japanese War. In any event, I thought we were talking the Spanish-American War's relationship to good guy/bad guy status in WW2, which I still characterize as before. I would disagree with your characterization of the Spanish-American War as well.

As to historians and their qualifications, I am not one and don't have the other.

As to your last quote I'd generally agree; however, the actions of nations w/i certain time periods and in context of their relationship with each other can be defined as good or bad.

Edited to add stuff.


The Sino-Japanese War didn't spring forth from nothing. It was part of a continuum. I'd say mid-19thC when Japan opened to the West after 400 years is a better starting point than the 1930s for the inception of Japan's imperial program.

As to the S-A War, it led to American interests in the Pacific where they had not existed before. The Russo-Japanese War showed Japan for the first time that they could compete and win with the West and taking the right side in WWI got them Pacific possessions of their own. We were going to tussle, and FDR knew it. He just didn't know how and when.

I characterized the S-A War as "bad" because it was a war of choice for the USA, much like the Mexican War. We clothe our imperialism, either military, economic, or cultural, in a lot of bushwa about spreading democracy and God's will, but we're no different at base than Japan was. Just trying to make our way in the world. We have our own continuum.

As to your last line, well, the victors write the history. I doubt Nat Turner, Sitting Bull, or the citizens of Dresden or Tokyo would think we we were all that good.



Sorry for the misunderstanding. I was speaking of the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese war. A blue-print for taking advantage of a situation and obtaining territory with little international repercussions . . . very similar to the S-A war. I disagreed with your characterization of it because of all of these other elements that you brought into it. 'Feeding on a carcass' is more apt. You do seem to agree that there are good wars and bad wars, does this now mean there are good sides and bad?

Losers and disaffected victors write history as well. It just depends on whether you read it and which you believe. Each can have an agenda.

(in reply to Snowman999)
Post #: 49
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 8:37:14 PM   
Snowman999

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Feltan


quote:

ORIGINAL: Snowman999
....As to your last line, well, the victors write the history. I doubt Nat Turner, Sitting Bull, or the citizens of Dresden or Tokyo would think we we were all that good.


I am sure Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo were upset with the U.S. too. They are probably all together griping about how mean and unfair the U.S. was to them, and having a chat with this fellow --> . My heart breaks just thinking about it.

Regards,
Feltan


I take your meaning and somewhat agree, although I don't believe in a Satan (by whatever name.)

My overall point was merely a cautionary tale about nations getting so full of their own hubris and "goodness" that they forget their real self-interested reasons for sometimes acting as right bastids. I love my country, volunteered to die for her on command, but I was also once a History major. I wish our national leaders had read as much Roman history as I did. THERE was a culture with hubris. We could learn from their mistakes. (Oh, and Japan's too . . .)

(in reply to Feltan)
Post #: 50
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 8:48:26 PM   
Snowman999

 

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quote:

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I was speaking of the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese war. A blue-print for taking advantage of a situation and obtaining territory with little international repercussions . . . very similar to the S-A war. I disagreed with your characterization of it because of all of these other elements that you brought into it. 'Feeding on a carcass' is more apt. You do seem to agree that there are good wars and bad wars, does this now mean there are good sides and bad?

Losers and disaffected victors write history as well. It just depends on whether you read it and which you believe. Each can have an agenda.


Ah. I confess I'm not up on that war. So many, so little time . . .

I suspect, given the time period of both your S-J War and the S-A War, that technology in the form of poor comms and slow transport made them both more likely than either would have been by 1920. The world had a lot more dark corners in the 19th C. than even a few decades after.

On "good" wars I know that's been a theological debate since . . . huh. St. Francis? Not up on my saints either. Good is relative. As an American and a lover of representative democracy and civil rights I think WWII absolutely had to be fought, but I can also understand that the Japanese and German populations, not just their leaders, could see us as mean, nasty party-crashers on their inherent "right" to spread their brand of cultural goodness.

On the last, maybe it wold be better to generalize to "history is written by the survivors." Lots of dead Japanese and German leaders who might have written historical tomes disagreeing with Toland et al, but didn't get the chance. What I believe, I suppose, is what's supported with better primary sources and decent connect-the-dots. As I've gotten older I've dropped a lot of the filters I had as a young man re American "goodness." The world gets more complex and interesting as you age, if you let it. I think it's a sign of a mature culture to self-examine and self-criticize, but as I'm on the verge of a current-politics rant that would be against forum rules I'll stop here.

< Message edited by Snowman999 -- 2/22/2008 8:52:06 PM >

(in reply to anarchyintheuk)
Post #: 51
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 9:04:55 PM   
AcePylut


Posts: 812
Joined: 3/19/2004
Status: offline
Even Letters can't get away from making the main character "unrealistic".

Really, what some 200ish out of 20k soldiers were taken prisoner, but we get a main character that is one of the 200 and not one of the other 19800 soldiers - and the ones that commit suicide are the flag waving patriots?

It presents an inaccurate portrayal of the soldier. Good movie in general, but yet another typical hollywood US War Movie.

(in reply to Snowman999)
Post #: 52
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 10:40:46 PM   
Feltan


Posts: 1049
Joined: 12/5/2006
From: Kansas
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Snowman999

I take your meaning and somewhat agree, although I don't believe in a Satan (by whatever name.)

My overall point was merely a cautionary tale about nations getting so full of their own hubris and "goodness" that they forget their real self-interested reasons for sometimes acting as right bastids. I love my country, volunteered to die for her on command, but I was also once a History major. I wish our national leaders had read as much Roman history as I did. THERE was a culture with hubris. We could learn from their mistakes. (Oh, and Japan's too . . .)



I somewhat agree with your opinion too, to a point.

Every nation has miscreants in their population, and every nation has had dark chapters. I think that is a given.

However, I also think it is intellectually lazy to say everything is relative. It isn't. When one country's policy is to mistreat POW's and slaughter civilians and offend the norms of civilized behavior measured by the peer nations at the time -- I have no problem calling them evil.

Regards,
Feltan

(in reply to Snowman999)
Post #: 53
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 11:38:23 PM   
Snowman999

 

Posts: 90
Joined: 4/11/2007
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Feltan

I somewhat agree with your opinion too, to a point.

Every nation has miscreants in their population, and every nation has had dark chapters. I think that is a given.

However, I also think it is intellectually lazy to say everything is relative. It isn't. When one country's policy is to mistreat POW's and slaughter civilians and offend the norms of civilized behavior measured by the peer nations at the time -- I have no problem calling them evil.

Regards,
Feltan


I have a problem with the word "evil", but that's just me. I don't believe in B/W choices and that word lends itself to those. I usually talk about ethics rather than morals, and ethics are a spectrum.

That said, were the Allies more ethical? Probably, but marginally. We didn't do death marches, but our side definately mistreated POWs. Much eyewitness and oral testimony from the Pacific War that prisoners were shot or not allowed to surrender. Did we do "Nankings"? No, but we did Tokyos, and Dresdens and Colognes and Hiroshimas. Wholesale civilain deaths rather than one-ers after a gang rape, but just as dead. For that matter the US and UK allied with Uncle Joe, and the Red Army DID do Nankings, especially to Berlin. War changed in WWII from WWI norms, and civilians were fair game for area bombing and fire bombing; the Japanese and Germans may have started it, but we finished it.

I spent a good portion of my twenties training every day to kill between 30 and 50 million civilians in an afternoon, and it wasn't much commented on as "bad." Just strategy. We were always told we'd only slaughter after the other guy started it, but we were sure going to slaughter. And the other guys in their boomers were told the exact same thing about us.

It's all relative.

(in reply to Feltan)
Post #: 54
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 11:41:44 PM   
Terminus


Posts: 41361
Joined: 4/23/2005
From: Denmark
Status: offline
Er, comparing the Rape of Nanking to the Battle of Berlin is not valid.

_____________________________

We are all dreams of the Giant Space Butterfly.

(in reply to Snowman999)
Post #: 55
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 11:47:05 PM   
Snowman999

 

Posts: 90
Joined: 4/11/2007
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Terminus

Er, comparing the Rape of Nanking to the Battle of Berlin is not valid.


No, but comparing it to the follow-on Rape of Berlin is.

(in reply to Terminus)
Post #: 56
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 11:53:08 PM   
Feinder


Posts: 6587
Joined: 9/4/2002
From: Land o' Lakes, FL
Status: offline
I don't remember the kid surviving.  I thought he ended up getting shot defending the body of the General...?

I dunno.  It's been a while since I've seen it.

-f-

_____________________________

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(in reply to Snowman999)
Post #: 57
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 11:57:20 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

Posts: 3615
Joined: 5/5/2004
From: Dallas
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Snowman999


quote:

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I was speaking of the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese war. A blue-print for taking advantage of a situation and obtaining territory with little international repercussions . . . very similar to the S-A war. I disagreed with your characterization of it because of all of these other elements that you brought into it. 'Feeding on a carcass' is more apt. You do seem to agree that there are good wars and bad wars, does this now mean there are good sides and bad?

Losers and disaffected victors write history as well. It just depends on whether you read it and which you believe. Each can have an agenda.


Ah. I confess I'm not up on that war. So many, so little time . . .

I suspect, given the time period of both your S-J War and the S-A War, that technology in the form of poor comms and slow transport made them both more likely than either would have been by 1920. The world had a lot more dark corners in the 19th C. than even a few decades after.

On "good" wars I know that's been a theological debate since . . . huh. St. Francis? Not up on my saints either. Good is relative. As an American and a lover of representative democracy and civil rights I think WWII absolutely had to be fought, but I can also understand that the Japanese and German populations, not just their leaders, could see us as mean, nasty party-crashers on their inherent "right" to spread their brand of cultural goodness.

On the last, maybe it wold be better to generalize to "history is written by the survivors." Lots of dead Japanese and German leaders who might have written historical tomes disagreeing with Toland et al, but didn't get the chance. What I believe, I suppose, is what's supported with better primary sources and decent connect-the-dots. As I've gotten older I've dropped a lot of the filters I had as a young man re American "goodness." The world gets more complex and interesting as you age, if you let it. I think it's a sign of a mature culture to self-examine and self-criticize, but as I'm on the verge of a current-politics rant that would be against forum rules I'll stop here.



Np. Enjoyed the conversation.

(in reply to Snowman999)
Post #: 58
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/22/2008 11:58:03 PM   
Mike Scholl

 

Posts: 9349
Joined: 1/1/2003
From: Kansas City, MO
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: AcePylut

Even Letters can't get away from making the main character "unrealistic".

Really, what some 200ish out of 20k soldiers were taken prisoner, but we get a main character that is one of the 200 and not one of the other 19800 soldiers - and the ones that commit suicide are the flag waving patriots?

It presents an inaccurate portrayal of the soldier. Good movie in general, but yet another typical hollywood US War Movie.



Your point is totally invalid. What would be the point of NOT choosing one of the 200 as a central character? I mean, Eastwood could have picked one of the thousands who died at Surabachi---but then who would you follow for the other 27 days of the battle? If you want to tell a story to the end, then it needs to be through the eyes of someone who was there to the end. That's not "Hollywood Horshsh-t", that's just drama.

(in reply to AcePylut)
Post #: 59
RE: Letters From Iwo Jima on AMC tonight - 2/23/2008 12:11:43 AM   
Snowman999

 

Posts: 90
Joined: 4/11/2007
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mike Scholl
If you want to tell a story to the end, then it needs to be through the eyes of someone who was there to the end. That's not "Hollywood Horshsh-t", that's just drama.



Hey, it worked in Bambi vs. Godzilla.

(in reply to Mike Scholl)
Post #: 60
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