Friday, October 12, 2007

Quagmire Revisited

Recently I received an indignant comment on this old post called Quagmire!, in which I drew historical parallels between the Iraqi insurgency and the stubborn, but defeated, insurgency in the Philippines a hundred years ago.

My thesis, clearly stated at the beginning, was:
It took a long time -- 15 years -- but guess what.

We won.

So rather than seeing this current struggle as intrinsically unwinnable, we can learn from history how to win it.
My point was insurgencies can be defeated.

However, this commenter resorts to the tactic of first claiming disbelief I could possibly be serious (I suppose nobody he knows embraces non-defeatist views), and then dismisses me as mentally deficient -- and in the meantime, makes an illogical claim:
Leo Bloom said...

I read this most of this thinking it was satire. Gradually I realized you were serious. The whole Phillipines episode was one of the stupidest endeavors we ever embarked on. We "won"? Exactly what did we win? The Philipines was an albatross all the way through WWII, just as Iraq will be, best case.

The problem with you guys is you want to have all this grit and determination and you spend 0 time trying to figure out if what you are doing is actually helping or hurting. Your tellingly abstract explication of the glories of the Phillipines is a perfect emblem of your general mental unfitness.

1:40 PM, October 02, 2007
His claim is, essentially, that since the Philippine campaign was "stupid", by extension so is Iraq.

That's how he avoids dealing with the issue that insurgencies can be defeated -- he wants to claim victory will amount to nothing anyway.

The very definition of defeatism!

Now, there are three more things about this that I find very, very funny!

The first is the claim of my mental unfitness, of which I'm sure my readers who know me personally will share in my amusement.

The second is the disdain for "grit and determination" to win, when it apparently actually has succeeded, in all but recognition by the New York Times and their ilk, as I report here.

And finally, the nut of his argument: the Philippine victory, in the face of eerily similar defeatism and criticism by the press at the time, has to be discounted by calling it a worthless endeavor, "all through WWII".


I'll take an "albatross" anytime for myself if it equates to a Stalingrad-like graveyard of the enemy forces!

As Belmont Club recounts here, some well-known Pacific campaigns of WWII had the following casualties as Killed in Action:
Iwo Jima: 20,700 Japanese; 8,200 Americans
Guadalcanal: 26,000 Japanese; 1,800 Americans
Okinawa: 66,000 Japanese; 12,500 Americans
Wretchard of Belmont Club, who grew up in the Philippines, writes:
All the campaigns listed above, including the massive battle for Okinawa, are dwarfed by the Sixth and Eighth Army's Philippine Campaign of 1944-45. The raw statistics are astonishing. The Philippine Campaign was the graveyard of the Imperial Japanese Army: IJA KIA exceeded the estimated (300,000) German and Axis dead at Stalingrad.

In terms of raw effort, Wikipedia notes that "in all, ten U.S. divisions and five independent regiments battled on Luzon, making it the largest campaign of the Pacific war, involving more troops than the United States had used in North Africa, Italy, or southern France." It also included the largest urban battle of the Pacific War, the Battle of Manila, in which 100,000 civilians were killed. Two of the most famous divisions in the US Army, the 1st Cavalry and 25th Infantry, participated in the Philippine Campaign. And yet it is nearly forgotten. It will not even be remembered in Spielberg's sequel to the Band of Brothers.
Take that in.

336,000 Imperial Japanese Killed in Action in the retaking of the Philippines, to a loss of 14,000 Americans!

A stunning kill ratio of 24 to 1.
What is even more striking is the phenomenal economy with which the US Sixth and Eighth armies inflicted these losses on the Imperial Japanese Army. Here are tables calculating the ratio of US to Japanese KIA in each campaign. Yet these remarkable ratios were inflicted in terrain that included urban battlefields, the dense jungles of Leyte and the rugged mountains of Luzon's Cordilleras against a first rate Japanese commander -- Tomoyuki Yamashita, the famed "Tiger of Malaya".
The Japanese initially invaded because our control of the Philippines was a stratgic thorn in the side of their plans to dominate the Southwest Pacific.

And it became a disastrous graveyard for the Imperial Army.

336,000 of them, and every death, and more, well-deserved by these yellow bastard(*) criminal savages; about those 100,000 civilians killed in the Manila Massacre mentioned above? Slaughtered for sport by these Japanese!
The massacre was at its worst in the Battle of Manila. During the battle for control of the city, Japanese troops took out their anger and frustration on the civilians caught in the crossfire. Japanese troops brutally looted, burned, executed, decapitated and abused women, men and children alike, including priests, Red Cross personnel, prisoners of war and hospital patients. Manila was called the "Warsaw of Asia", being the most devastated city in Asia during World War II.
And that was a drop in the bucket of their evil:
The Manila massacre is one of several major war crimes committed by the Imperial Japanese Army from the annexation of Manchuria in 1931 to the end of World War II in 1945. It was a major event in Japanese war crimes, where over 15 million Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Indonesian, Burmese, and Indochinese civilians, Pacific Islanders, and Allied Filipino and American POWs were killed.
Just like their Nazi friends.

And the Philippines was their Stalingrad.

And Iraq is becoming a graveyard of similarly despicable jihadists.

One by one, the world is being made a better place as each is snuffed out.

(*) Yes, I'm using a vicious, nasty racial slur here. The Imperial Japanese Army deserves it. They were evil and needed to be dehumanized and exterminated for the good of civilization. Yet, I'm sure many emasculated so-called liberals will take more offense at my words than outrage at the IJA's documented atrocities. They don't want to admit the awful truth that violence is unfortunately sometimes necessary, and thus hatred is sometimes useful. Gates of Vienna defends "hatred" here. To avoid the distaste of hatred, many resort to refusing to recognize evil at all, leaving their only response to give in to any and all demands made by the most brutal.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The insurgency in iraq is dying out, thank God Bush had the balls

3:00 PM, October 25, 2007  
Blogger Michael said...

Hahaha! A-hahaha! A-A-A-aha! Ah. Ha. Oh!

There, I've recovered. This is too funny: comparing Iraq to the Battle for the Philippines! 1) The battle involved the US against a brutal occupying Japanese force, not an open-ended invasion of a sovereign nation; 2) It involved very few Filipino guerrillas, but was rather an air-strike and pincer operation by the US against the Japanese; 3) The battle occurred at the very tail end of the war, after the Japanese navy had been decimated at Leyte, making Japanese reprovisioning of the islands very difficult; and 4) The battle for the Philippines, one of the biggest in the Pacific, was over in about 16 months, as compared to as many years forecast for the Iraq War.

It's clear that RDS is not interested in any kind of reality--moral, economic, historical--but it would be nice if he didn't drag the veterans of WWII into his fantasy land. I'm not that worried, as he seems to be speaking to an audience of 2 (himself and "anonymous").

4:25 PM, October 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael:(or should I say "Clueless?): If you look to the right of the page, you will see that RDS has been speaking to an audience of 66, latest count. You're speaking to whom? you and...YOU!

Moreover, "He who laughs last laughs best!" And I'm laughing at your naive view of life and of history. Read the item again, seem not to have gotten the point.

5:05 PM, October 26, 2007  
Blogger RDS said...

Michael seems to have a problem with reading comprehension!

My original posting compared Iraq not with the WW2 Philippines battle, but with the earlier defeat of the Moro insurgency!

See here.

This current posting here was simply a rebuttal to a complaint that the earlier defeat of the islamic Philippine uprising led to no useful long-term outcome, as it just required, the argument went, further pointless fighting over the Philippines in WW2. And I was showing the WW2 Philippine campaign served the purpose of eliminating a good portion of the Imperial Japanese Army.

So Michael's comment is ridiculously off-base and a total non-sequitor! Yes, the WW2 Philippine campaign and Iraq have nothing to do with each other, duh!

I never claimed they did!

Who's the one with a reality problem now?

3:11 PM, October 27, 2007  

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