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« I Have To Confess | Main | Three Futures »

Grim Milestone Approaches In Unending War

October 28th, 1944

WASHINGTON (Routers) As this bloody and futile war enters its fourth year, the casualties continue to rise, and while it's hard to know how many American soldiers have been lost, due to a secretive Roosevelt administration, many analysts think that the number of deaths in brutal battle is now approaching a quarter of a million, with many more millions of civilian casualties in Europe and Asia. Even ignoring all of the innocent loss of life, the loss of American soldiers alone is now almost equivalent to that of the entire population of a medium-sized American city.

This mark is being reached amid growing doubts among the American public about the seemingly endless European and Pacific conflicts, hastily and, some say, thoughtlessly launched in December 1941 to avenge the attack on Pearl Harbor by radical Japanese Shintoists.

Here in the nation's capital, many urged the U.S. Senate to observe a moment of silence in honor of the fallen 250,000.

"We owe them a deep debt of gratitude for their courage, for their valor, for their strength, for their commitment to our country," said a prominent Democrat leader.

Critics of the war also acknowledged the sacrifice, even as they questioned the policies of those who lead it.

"Our armed forces are serving ably in Europe and the Pacific under enormously difficult circumstances, and the policy of our government must be worthy of their sacrifice. Unfortunately, it is not, and the American people know it," said a well-known Republican Senator on background.

Another veteran Republican Senator said today that Americans should expect "many more losses to come."

"Millions of U.S. troops remain overseas. They did not ask to be sent to war, but each day, they carry out their duty while risking their lives. It is only reasonable that the American people, and their elected representatives, ask more questions about what the future holds in Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and how we got into this situation," he said.

"Anyone who examines the record can see that this president has lied his way into this war. Over the two years before December 7th, while he was telling the nation that we'd never send these boys into a foreign war, he was making backroom deals with the bellicose British government, holding secret talks with them without informing the Congress, supporting them with war material, which could be considered an act of war in itself, providing naval patrols in the north Atlantic and giving orders to fire on German submarines, occupying Iceland, freezing Japanese assets...the list goes on."

"He knew that the Japanese extremists were going to attack us, and let it happen to get us into his illegal war. It's time for us to ask why the world hates us, and why they continue to fight against us and kill hundreds of thousands of our soldiers."

It should be noted that while he disagrees with the characterization of his actions prior to December 7th, President Roosevelt has also warned in one of his fireside chats last year that "...the war is going to last a lot longer than you think. The plans we made for the knocking out of Mussolini and his gang have largely succeeded. But we still have to knock out Hitler and his gang, and Tojo and his gang. No one of us pretends that this will be an easy matter."

This past summer, he said that we "...shall have to push through a long period of greater effort and fiercer fighting before we get into Germany itself. The Germans have retreated thousands of miles, all the way from the gates of Cairo, through Libya and Tunisia and Sicily and Southern Italy. They have suffered heavy losses, but not great enough yet to cause collapse."

Unfortunately, the message was lost in the understandable furor over his crude language, referring to the Japanese and German governments as "gangs" and, even more appalling, his unapologetic use of racist language in the same speech, in which he repeatedly referred to the Japanese people and troops as "Japs."

In cities across the country, anti-war protesters and others concerned about the mounting death toll created tiny, glimmering cemeteries in public places. The anti-war group People for Peace And Justice organized many solemn candlelight ceremonies.

The anti-war movement has rallied around Etta Mae Hanberg, whose son was killed in Italy early this year. She gave a speech prior to the ceremony here last night:

"It is insane that there are so many people living and working in the White House that are responsible for war crimes, high crimes and misdemeanors and other crimes against humanity and they are wandering free to enjoy their lives and live fat off of their war profits. We will probably be arrested for exercising our rights to freedom of speech and freedom to peaceably assemble."

"Besides asking him for What Noble Cause did he kill 250,000 of our wonderful and brave young people, I would also like to ask Franklin Delanodamngood Roosevelt what he is sacrificing. Is he even sacrificing a good night's sleep? Is he sacrificing his future with his child? He is not sacrificing anything. He and his cabal of warmongering crooks are asking us Americans to give up our lives and our children's lives for his lies and mistakes and I am sure the grim milestone is barely causing a blip in their souls. Franklin Delano Rosenfeld, the syphillitic Dutch Jew, and his wealthy buddies don't even have to pay more taxes for the horror in Europe or to rebuild Houston and Galveston [referring to last year's devastating hurricane, about which the White House and the War Department have suppressed almost all news], which is another Rosenfeld horror."

Former military personnel are involved in the protests as well.

"We wanted to show people the immensity of the 250,000 people dead," said Harvey Whitmeyer, a veteran of the first world war who has spent the past several months with a handful of other veterans making the quarter of a million candles that people have been arranging in a vast circle over the past few weeks on the mall, 200 rows deep. "The Roosevelt administration has done everything in its power not to connect this war with death," Whitmeyer said. "We will rectify that with this peace display."

Joe Ferguson, a wounded veteran of the military disaster at Kasserine Pass a couple years ago, told the small, quiet crowd he had trouble looking at the shining monument. "These are my people," he said, shielding his eyes from the quarter of a million candlepower of intense light.

Anti-war activists, many of them wearing elaborate costumes and giant papier-mache heads fashioned in the likenesses of President Roosevelt and Secretary of War Stimson, danced around the peace inferno and chanted slogans such as, "Hey, hey, FDR, how many kids have you killed so far?"

Sadly, grief and mourning turned to tragedy anew as the radiance of the heat caused the wings of one of the giant Birds Of Peace to catch fire. Its wearer ran around in a panic, ablaze and screaming. The horror was increased as other protestors attempted to help by beating the fires out with cardboard plowshares, further spreading the flames and torment. The grim event seemed a living symbol, a flaming metaphor of what is apparent to many--the heartless callousness and indifference of this administration to human life and dignity.

In unrelated news in the past month, General MacArthur has retaken the Phillippines, many atolls continue to fall to American forces in the Pacific, and General Patton continues to roll through France on to Germany.

[Copyright 2005 by Rand Simberg]

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 28, 2005 02:45 PM
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So Rand, when your first alternate history novel coming out? You definitely have the nack for it....

Posted by Michael Mealling at October 28, 2005 03:31 PM

What alternate history? Are you saying this didn't really happen?

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 28, 2005 03:35 PM


Posted by JAF at October 28, 2005 08:50 PM

But, but, Rand . . . what are you saying? Do you mean to tell me that we actually lost people in World War II?

I thought John Wayne was the only casualty (and then, only as we too Mt. Surabachi)!

Posted by MrSpkr at October 28, 2005 08:52 PM

Do you mean to tell me that we actually lost people in World War II?

Of course not. As Michael notes, it's an alternate history. We obviously only lose people in Iraq.

Well, there and Vietnam. All other wars are bloodless. And never caused by Jews or neocons.

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 28, 2005 09:07 PM

Keep comparing ginned up, fake wars like Iraq to just causes like WWII- it's hilarious!

[Copyright 2005 by x]

Posted by x at October 28, 2005 09:58 PM

When a freedom-loving democracy invades other countries, it is gauche to question the motives. Just as it is shameful to question the nobility inherent in the incineration of thousands of civilians by atomic means. I'm glad someone is brave enough to make the comparison.

Posted by Frank N Stein at October 28, 2005 11:22 PM

Wow, how long did it take you to come up with this. If I hadn't read the exact same thing a thousand times over, I would say you were merely irritating.

Hey! Relate every war to WWII. You're a genius.

Whatever you do, do not acknowledge complexity or ambiguity. That is the enemy. And do not admit the U.S. did anything wrong in WWII, because we didn't.

Posted by Alex hufford at October 28, 2005 11:49 PM

It is always interesting to read people like Frank and Alex. Rand is simply engaging in satire.

Personally, satire elicits three responses in me. When it is effective, I find it amusing. When it is ineffective, I ignore it and move on. However, when I realize that I am the object of an effective satire, I behave a bit like Frank and Alex.

Posted by MnZ at October 29, 2005 12:04 AM


You misunderstand - my reply was itself satirical. That means one cannot even obliquely criticize it without appearing to not get the joke. Because if we've learned anything about history, it is that war is hilarious.

Posted by Frank N Stein at October 29, 2005 12:20 AM

About time somebody saw through this chicanery. What’s with this “Europe First” policy? Did Hitler attack Pearl Harbor? Was he involved? Did he even know? Granted a war against the Asiatics may be defensible, although, no one really knows why we were still in the Philippines nearly half a century after that media-hyped War against Spain. But what stretch of the imagination lumps the Germans into this fight? We all know that the Aryans would never violate their own racial ideology by working with non-Aryans. Furthermore, that so called “declaration of war” that Mr. Hitler gave was strictly a formality. Several neutral observers have seriously questioned whether it was ever to be taken seriously. A friend back from Mr. Roosevelt’s War told me, in strict confidence, that total Allied casualties on D-Day are estimated at 10,000, including 2500 dead. And that was only the first day! The only real chance we have for a just peace is to bring our grievances to the International Community and invoke the mechanisms provided for by the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928. PEACE NOW!

Posted by Craig Zimmerman at October 29, 2005 12:28 AM

Hey! Relate every war to WWII. You're a genius.

Hey! Relate every war to Vietnam. The left is a genius.

Come on man, the right is not reducing any war to simple models the way the left has reduced every post-Vietnam war to Vietnam. The "right" (which is really anyone who disagrees with the left and gets tarred with that label) is more understanding of subtlty in different conflicts.

Posted by scottm at October 29, 2005 03:28 AM

"Just as it is shameful to question the nobility inherent in the incineration of thousands of civilians by atomic means."

Wow. Frankie must really hate the Japanese, considering that the alternative to nukeing those two cities was to kill tens of millions of Japs the old fashioned way with bombs, guns, napalm, and bayonets. (Not to mention unleasing the Soviets on them...) Sometimes there is no good choice, only the least worse one. Anyone who tells you different is selling something. Or in Franks case, likely smoking something.

Posted by Cybrludite at October 29, 2005 03:44 AM

"Just as it is shameful to question the nobility inherent in the inceneration of thousands of civilians by atomic means"

Wait until Iran completes their EU/Russian mafia Nuke program, after wiping Israel "off the face of the planet" (as so declared by the Iranian President), they will then direct their nukes at the enslaved Euro Dhimmis Heads of Stupidity.

When this time comes all the anti-war people will either be dead or, if they survive, will blame Joe Wilson's NY Times for lying.

Posted by susan at October 29, 2005 04:08 AM

You could have encorporated Congresswoman Claire Booth Luce's speech to the Republican Convention, where she coined the phrase "He lied us into this war."

Posted by wayne at October 29, 2005 05:09 AM

You've neglected the most important point about the FDR administration's failed policies: if only it had relied on the League of Nations, it would have the moral authority that might enable it to carry on this war with the good opinion of the world.

Had the administration gone through the League, the Germans and Japanese most likely would have been convinced through sanctions and moral suasion to limit themselves to the legitimate satisfaction of their grievances. And we must admit, both of them do have substantial and real complaints.

Think of what a shining example we could have set at the head of an effort by the League to bring all parties together in a spirit of reason and compromise. Instead the Roosevelt administration is sending our boys onto foreign beaches and over foreign cities.

I remember writing to the Czech embassy in Washington in 1938 suggesting that an appeal to the League was their best chance to stay independent. I never got an answer.

In unrelated news, did you catch that story on the radio? It turns out that as soon as Patton's tanks got to Paris it transpired that everyone had been a secret member of the Resistance, and all that collaboration was subtle misdirection.

Posted by Alex Bensky at October 29, 2005 05:27 AM

The BBC reported yesterday that the Chamberlain government sexed up its case for going to war in 1939.
"Many of the pictures of atrocity victims in Poland released to the public in 1939 were posed or fake. We now know that they were actually staged by the German Ministry of Information. MI6 suspected and reported this to Chamberlain. However, the neo-Conservative war party centered on then-MP Churchill disregarded the warning and insisted that the Germans were indeed committing atrocities in "occupied" Poland.
"Supporters of the war continue to point to the so-called "Ribbentrop Pact" as evidence of German plans to prepare for an aggressive war. It need not be pointed out that Nazis and Communists loath each other, and that the idea of German-Soviet cooperation is absurd.
"Indeed, the German Chancellor repeatedly attempted to negotiate with London and Paris before the war. He spoke and wrote of his desire to restore his country to its earlier glory, bringing ethnic Germans everywhere home to the Reich.
"German antagonism to the west is understandable, even to be expected. Sanctions, dictated by the Allies at Versailles after the last war, impoverished Germany and resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of children.

Posted by at October 29, 2005 06:27 AM

The criminal Roosevelt is clearly guilty of treason by starting this preemptive war. US soldiers have been performing combat missions against Germany since early 1941 with no declaration of war, in clear violation of both the Constitution and international law. (Look up Leonard Smith or Reuben James if you're curious). The formal German declaration of war was simply a response to the US already fighting the war illegally. Clearly Roosevelt wants to continue this unending war so that he and his industrialist friends can cling to power and suppress dissent.

Posted by Don at October 29, 2005 07:14 AM

No Blood for Oil!

Why do they hate us? Because we control the Oil. Let the Japanese have the oil they need for their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the Germans the oil they need from the Caucuses and the Arabian fields - its the only fair way for us to get out of this war fought only to protect Anglo-American imperial and corporate interests. Both Japan and Germany have been unfairly repressed by the English and the Americans - let's cut them some slack and cut our losses - support the troops by bringing them home, or when they shoot their officers!

Posted by Tim at October 29, 2005 07:44 AM

"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." -- Winston Churchill (source)

Posted by Jay Manifold at October 29, 2005 08:02 AM

"Frankie must really hate the Japanese, considering that the alternative to nukeing those two cities was to kill tens of millions of Japs the old fashioned way with bombs, guns, napalm, and bayonets. (Not to mention unleasing the Soviets on them...)"

Don't forget about the other alternative: blockade and famine across the whole of Japan. BEFORE Fat Man & Little Boy, the Japanese Home Islands were on the verge of starvation; if the US Military had decided to scrap or postpone Operation Olympic (the invasion of Japan), they would have finished the destruction of the transportation network (i.e., roads and rails, as the use of small ships for transportation purposes had already been interdicted by submarines and mining of harbors), as well as locked down on ANY shipping coming into Japan's harbors (a scant amount in any case).

So: starve them all dead, shoot them all dead, or drop two bombs that combined did less immediate casulties than the firebombing of Tokyo?

As mentioned, sometimes there are no good choices, only a least bad one.

Posted by Wonderduck at October 29, 2005 09:10 AM

> his unapologetic use of racist language in the same speech, in which he repeatedly referred to the Japanese people and troops as "Japs."

I've had idiots give me sh** over this obvious simple contraction of a long word. Frankly, I know Japanese. The Japanese word for foreigner is "gaijin". The word gaijin also translates into "barbarian".

I'll worry about contracting "Japanese" into "Jap" when they stop *inherently* calling EVERY extranational a barbarian.

Posted by OhBloodyHell at October 29, 2005 10:30 AM

OhBloodyHell -
hiya... the point's over there -->

Posted by norbert at October 29, 2005 01:43 PM

I very, very much sympathize with the sentiment in your (oh, so lovely!) pseudoarticle from 1944. However I would like to point out that it has been through the efforts of the peaceniks over the last couple generations that has allowed us to see, and laugh at the sarcasm you bring us. Think about it: back in 1944 no one would have understood your humor! The peaceniks, though seemingly utterly ignorant of the real state of human evolution at this time in history an seemingly equally uncoupled from reality in general, have played their part in making western societies at the beginning of the 21st century more humane than they were at the beginning of the 20th. While seemingly crazy, even peaceniks have been playing a not-so-insignificant part in the positive advancements of western societies.

In short it does indeed "take all kinds of people to make a world." Indeed, it take us to make a world as well; us who struggle to oppose the looniness of the crazy lefties with logic and reason, all the while trying to absorb the lessons they are trying to teach in their usual ineffectual (and sometimes utterly misguided) way.

This leaves me with a bit of a conundrum that has challenged me ever since 9/11--while I find most banter from the peacenik loonies reprehensible, I don't want them to go away either.

Life as a human is indeed complicated.

Posted by Nicole Tedesco at October 29, 2005 03:03 PM

Alex, your comments:

Had the administration gone through the League, the Germans and Japanese most likely would have been convinced through sanctions and moral suasion to limit themselves to the legitimate satisfaction of their grievances...

...ignores the fact the the Japanese had purposely quit the League prior to the war. (Was this one the "justifications" Roosevelt used to allow us to feel good about attacking Japan? I don't remember.) I think one of the lessons this teaches certain modern Bad Actors (Iran comes to mind) is not to quit but to embrace, hance removing the "non-membership" memetic as a weapon against them. (This also brings to mind the Microsoft strategy of "embrace, then control" when it comes to industry standards, such as their failed attempt with Java and their recent attempts with XML.)

Posted by Nicole Tedesco at October 29, 2005 03:13 PM


What most folks don't know is that the Rooseveldt administration seriously considered using poison gas during the invasion of the main islands, in order to keep Allied casualties down.

Not to mention all the nuke-ophobes generally ignore (if they've ever learned about) those who suffered from the Tokyo firebombings in March 1944.

Here's one mental picture: visualize a swimming pool empty of water, but full of bodies which by morning had melted together, when the victims jumped into the water in order to avoid the heat.

I guess being boiled to death isn't nasty enough for the peaceniks.

Posted by Casey Tompkins at October 29, 2005 10:42 PM

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