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February 19, 2005

Sands Of Iwo Jima

One for the military history rabbits of The Warren.

The battle for Iwo Jima began 60 years ago today.

The lesson of Iwo Jima is in fact an ancient one, going back to Machiavelli: that sometimes free societies must be as tough and unrelenting as their enemies. Totalitarians test their opponents by generating extreme conditions of brutality and violence; in those conditions--in the streets and beheadings of Fallujah or on the beach and in the bunkers of Iwo Jima--they believe weak democratic nerves will crack. This in turn demonstrates their moral superiority: that by giving up their own decency and humanity they have become stronger than those who have not.

Free societies can afford only one response. There were no complicated legal issues or questions of "moral equivalence" on Iwo Jima: It was kill or be killed. That remains the nature of war even for democratic societies. The real question is, who outlasts whom. In 1945 on Iwo Jima, it was the Americans, as the monument at Arlington Cemetery, based on Rosenthal's photograph, proudly attests. In the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1970s, it was the totalitarians--with terrible consequences.

(lvtc)

Posted by Bigwig at February 19, 2005 11:16 AM | TrackBack
Postscript:
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Comments


I had the rare privilege to meet an Iwo (Bronze Star) Vet about a year ago. I asked him if we still have the testicular fortitude to do it again.

He paused before answering, and said “ Would you go?”

I nodded

He said, “Then yes.”


My nose has been broken on several occasions. I’ve grown accustomed to having a crooked nose.

On the bright side, I learned valuable lessons each time my nose was broken. The last lesson was “Never let it happen again.”

I think we have it in us, but it may take another bloody nose, unfortunately.

Posted by: Sully at February 20, 2005 04:51 PM
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