Sunday, May 29, 2011

John Spivey on Memorial Day

John Spivey, Chair of the Tarrant County Libertarian Party, tagged me in this EXCELLENT Facebook note. 

A Few Thoughts About Memorial Day: Our Honored War Dead and Why Many of Them Didn't Have To Die.

Recently, I've done some genealogical research and found quite a few direct grandparents that served in various capacities in many wars. They fought in European wars to the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, World War I, World War II, The Korean Conflict and Viet Nam. Fortunately, no American relation of mine that I've found died during a military conflict.

Like many of you, my late father was a WWII vet and was in the Pacific Theatre. He said something to me one day that I think is very applicable to our situation today. He told me that he could have never imagined that the Japanese would've ever become one of our biggest allies and trading partners - especially after we set off two atomic weapons that killed over 200,000 non-military citizens to completely defeat them - and then occupied them.

Why did he think Japan would never be anything but an enemy, or at best a non-friend? He said that at the time he thought they were all insane and so religiously dedicated to their emperor - they called him "Heavenly Sovereign", after all - that they would voluntarily fly their planes into our strategic structures and vessels in suicide bombing missions. "There's no way, I thought, you can turn people like that around to deal with you rationally", he said.

During and after the Japanese occupation, we eased up on our trade restrictions tremendously to help get their economy going. That REALLY worked, if you haven't noticed. After all, the primary reason Japan attacked us on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor is due to our oil embargo and trading prohibitions against them that severely restricted their acquisition of resources during their war in Indochina. Today we are such a strong trading partner with Japan that they could never dream of restarting a war with us.

Like many Hawks of today, my father couldn't imagine these people, who so deeply infused their political system with their mysterious religious ideology, would or could become one of our allies, much less our BFFs. After we won the war, we occupied and demilitarized Japan, got their industries up and running, liberalized their economy, democratized their government and then left. Yep, just up and left. (Unfortunately, we still do have bases there - but as an ally and not as a threatening occupier)

By the way, today Japan still has the mysterious religion of Shintoism as their primary religion and they have an Emperor who is still the head of the Shinto religion and is considered a semi-deity by some, although his governmental role is largely ceremonial today. He is still called "His Majesty, the Heavenly Sovereign" by his subjects.

This has a deja vu all over again feel to me with our current situation in the Middle East. If we could pretty much do the same thing - that is, leave - JUST PACK UP AND LEAVE AND START TRADING WITH THEM, their urge to 'kill us for our freedoms' would subside shortly after the cash really starts rolling in and life starts getting good for them. Bombing them into submission only gets them to cry "Uncle". Trading them into friendship will get them to cry "Uncle Sam - we love you!"

This weekend is a time to remember and honor our war dead that heroically fought and died for our country - unfortunately at times when free trade would've allowed us to have avoided war when our show of force and trading restrictions all to frequently pushed us into conflict.


Gene Clark said...

Well done. Free Markets = Peace. The same could be said of Vietnam, a nation that we did not defeat. I traveled from the Mekong Delta in the south to the Chinese border in the north in 1999. Capitalism was beginning to blossom, and the people could not have been nicer. One former VietCong at the Cu Chi tunnels told me, "Today, we are friends."

We should also remember America's FUTURE fallen heroes on Memorial Day. Read more at

Technology Consultant said...

The Final frontier which US could not conquer.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Thanks... First of all, I noticed I said "Direct Grandparent" - a little redundant. But thanks. True, I feared 'Red China' because the folks in D.C. told me to. Now, we fear China, now that we've liberalized trade policies, that they'll find out we're 'Red Ink USA'. Can you imagine a war with China right now? No way! They've got way too much invested in us.