Tag Archives: Hitler

Remembering the Promise of Liberty: A Tribute to the WWII Generation

This week we remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the formal entry of the USA into World War II. While we were already defacto allies with Great Britain and the Soviet Union against Germany, the events of December 7-11 turned a European conflict into a World War and awakened the “sleeping giant” of our industrial and military capacities. Though we directly responded to the attack in the Pacific, Hitler and Mussolini’s declarations of war made the conflict global.

The events of 1941-1945 are well-known. In this essay I want to highlight the sacrifices of a generation and the consequences of the conflict for increasing the love for liberty in the USA and around the world. The soldiers in all theaters knew they were fighting for freedom against totalitarian regimes that regarded other races as inferior. Japanese treatment of conquered nations and prisoners of war was inhuman, for they regarded Chinese, Korean, and other Asian populations as created to serve them. POWs were starved and tortured, seen as cowards for surrendering rather than committing Hari Kari (suicide). The Nazi genocides and oppressions stagger the imagination as six million Jews and six million other non-combatants are destroyed in the demonic labor and extermination universe crafted by this evil regime. This is why millions of American men and women enlisted and gave their all.

A special note here: I am generalizing about the German and Japanese governments and people in power at the time, not declaring every Japanese or German person guilty.

One story coming out of World War II that deserves more attention is the millions of African American women and men that signed on for civilian and military service. In spite of the oppressions of Jim Crow and the segregation in the military, these brave folks fought and worked for their country, believing in the promises of liberty and justice in the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is one of courage against great odds. Black civilian workers and soldiers were paid less, given less prominent positions, and, in general, relegated to the lowest rungs in the institutions. Yet, they shined in their bravery and sacrifice.

Another triumph out of tragedy narrative is the story of Japanese Americans serving in the military in spite of the oppression of the internment camps. The story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team soldiers in the Italian campaigns of 1944-45 is one of courage and sacrifice. Soldiers in the 442nd RCT and their partners in the 100th IB earned seven presidential unit citations, two meritorious service plaques, 36 Army Commendation medals and 87 division commendations between them. Individual soldiers from both units earned 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 15 Soldier’s Medals and 9,500 Purple Hearts, among many other honors. In 2011, 450 Japanese American soldiers from the 442nd RCT and 100th were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the United States’ highest civilian award for service.

These are wonderful stories, and their impact was felt far beyond the battlefield. After the war, the Civil Rights Movement found new life, with a simple question, “If someone is willing to die for America, why are they kept from voting, education, housing and jobs?” President Truman integrated the military and by the mid-1950s, with the Brown vs. the Board of Education Supreme Court ruling making segregation in schools unconstitutional, momentum for justice increased. By 1965, Civil Rights and Voting Rights were the law of the land. By the 1970s and 1980s, the injustice of the internment camps came to light and reparations started.

America mobilized for liberty in a global war. As a result, she was able to mobilize for liberty for her own citizens, especially African Americans and immigrants. It is fitting that we honor this “greatest generation” by expanding its members to include the marginalized and oppressed, who, through sacrifice, paved the way for opportunities for their children. Though there is much work to be done, we have come a long way due to the work of these humble women and men

Telling the Truth: A Public Conversation

Telling the Truth about Islam, Part 1
As several nations face the scourge of Islamicist terror, telling the truth about Islam has never been more important. After the 9/11 attacks in the USA, Western elites have been falling all over themselves separating the “religion of peace” from radical groups that “pervert” a distinguished monotheistic religion.

It is time for the truth.

Yes, most Muslim neighbors are peaceful people. The same can be said of people of all faiths or none in most circumstances. Most people do not murder in pursuit of power. Yes, there have been historical moments when Christian nations have made war on Muslim nations. And, yes, there have been tragic errors in Israel’s pursuit of security amidst scores of nations and millions of people desiring her destruction.

Qualifiers complete. It is time for truth.

21st century Islamist terrorism is consistent with a conquering ethos that dominates Islam from its inception to its current forms. From the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula by Mohammed’s armies in the 620s to the Ottoman expansions into the 17th century, Islam fosters political, military and social domination, allowing Christians and Jews limited freedoms as second-class citizens and violently persecuting all other religions as a matter of policy.

10-10-732 and 9-11-1683

On October 10, 732, the Frankish troops of Charles Martel repulsed the Umayyad cavalry in a field between Tours and Poitiers. The century prior to 732 was one of unabated Islamic conquest. On September 11, 1683, the army of the Ottoman Empire was defeated at the gates of Vienna (in large part thanks to valiant Polish cavalry), ending centuries of Ottoman conquests in Asia Minor and Eastern Europe.

Crusaders and colonizers: it is complicated.

Politically correct historians and cultural commentators enjoy lambasting Western oppression of Islamiclands, citing the Crusades of 1096-1291 and the European race for Africa and the Middle East between 1870 and 1940 as proof that modern Muslim anger is justified and the West is getting a taste of its own medicine. The Crusades represent a complex series of events originating in both Eastern and Western Christian imperial aims. These included protecting pilgrims and reconquering lost territory. Add to this mix the promises of material and spiritual honor and a toxic mix of motives and methods emerges. After 1291, no Christian presence remained in the Holy Land apart from small religious enclaves.

The colonialism of the 19th and 20th centuries was the result of the vacuum left with the end of the Ottoman Empire. There is much indefensible oppression and one must separate the economic and political power games of Western nations from the humanitarian and spiritual goals of Christian missionaries – they were often at odds with each other. By the 1970s, however, no Western nation controlled Muslim territory and the emergence of OPEC and the untold oil wealth ended the ability of Islamic regimes to blame the West for their economic problems. As one Imam in Cupertino CA recently said, “Given the wealth of many Muslim nations, there should not be a single poor Muslim in the world.” (Name withheld for his personal protection.)

And there is Israel.

The birth of the modern State of Israel in 1948 is considered a great evil in the eyes of global Islam. Extremists deny both the existence of Israelite presence in ancient times and the severity of the Holocaust! They avoid the uncomfortable facts that the Mufti of Jerusalem supported mass extermination in 1941, encouraging Hitler with his plans for the Auschwitz and Saschsenhausen death camps. Moderates claim that this tiny state is a Western colonial imposition and now an “apartheid” oppressor of Palestinians. A few brave Muslims work for peace at the risk of their lives. Israel’s support of religious freedom, the presence of a million Arab citizens and a vibrant democracy and economy do not matter – she must be eliminated. Every radical Muslim group repudiates Israel’s right to exist.

How then shall we live?

Islam is organically incapable of fostering an egalitarian democracy. The Qur’an has no texts allowing for the equality of all citizens in a Muslim nation. Reform groups that catch media attention either repudiate foundational Muslim texts or act as a cover for extremist agendas.

Americans and all lovers of liberty must face the truth about Islam. In next week’s essay, we will explore positive attitudes and actions for a better future.