Is war the answer

Maurice Montaigne argues that it is:

“War is not the answer!” the bumper sticker proudly proclaims. It’s a ridiculous assertion. Sometimes war is the answer. It depends on the question.

If the question is “do you need to impose your will on an enemy who will otherwise not stop hurting you?” then war is the only answer.

Don’t let the limited wars that America has fought in recent memory fool you.

War, real war, total war, the sort of war that the West created and mastered, is decisive. It shatters nations. It destroys cultures. It obliterates the will to fight and leaves a civilization reduced to pacifism…or rubble.

Until 1945, Imperial Japan was defended by a fighting force that had a worldwide reputation for brutality and fanaticism. The Rape of Nanking is the most notorious of the Imperial Japanese Army’s many war crimes. The soldiers themselves believed in gyokusai (“glorious death”), preferring to make suicidal attacks rather than surrender to the enemy. Only 921 out of 31,000 soldiers surrendered in the Battle of Saipan. The suicidal fanaticism of the Japanese culminated in the kamikaze, pilots flying planes filled with explosives who deliberately crashed their aircraft into enemy warships. In all, 3,860 kamikaze pilots died to destroy between 30 and 50 warships and kill around 4,000 sailors. The fighting spirit of the Japanese was so terrifying that our war planners expected that the Japanese would kill one million Americans if we invaded.

Today, we primarily know the Japanese for their fuel-efficient cars and game consoles. There are no Japanese suicide bombers. American visitors to Tokyo need not fear being blown up by an adherent of gyokusai seeking to avenge the Divine Emperor.

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