Wednesday, December 07, 2005


December 7, 1941.

It's more than a defining event, it's a defining date. It's one of those few events in history that most people recognize just from the date itself. December 7th. July 4th. Now, September 11th.

This particular date marked the US entry into World War II, an entry than most historians agree was inevitable. It roused the US from an isolationistic fantasy that ignored the ever-shrinking nature of the world, and it brought us into direct conflict with an enemy with whom we had been inexorably shifting into conflict. This was an enemy whose culture was completely different from ours, who viewed its way of life as inherently superior to ours, and who had no mercy for those who opposed it. Its goal was total domination of all lands it viewed as its by Divine Right. It believed that the only options were victory or death, and neither asking for nor offering quarter. In the end, only its complete devastation and utter defeat eventually brought about an end to the conflict.

No, I'm not comparing Hitler to Hussein -- that is another discussion for another day. I'm talking about the uncanny similarities between the Bushido-driven Empire of the Rising Sun and modern Wahabist Islam. The parallels to the modern day are startling, from the use of beheading as a means of execution to the glorification of suicide attackers as holy martyrs. The most uncanny parallel, of course, is between the devastating acts of treachery that brought each conflict home to America. I hope that the similarities need not extend to the means required to end the conflicts.

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