Sunday, June 17, 2007

Flags of Our Fathers

I’m reading this book…”Flags of our Fathers” and it is really making me think about some things. The book is about the 6 guys who raised the flag at Iwo Jima in WWII. The photo of these guys raising the flag is probably the most famous photo in our military’s history (certainly Marine Corp history). In no particular order, some thoughts:

We lost 7,000 troops at IWO JIMA in 36 days of fighting. The Japanese fought to their death defending the island…22,000 Japanese died in that same period. Over the preceding twelve months we lost 3 – 5 thousand troops at each campaign, taking island after island (Guadalcanal, Midway, etc.), working our way from Australia to Japan. I didn’t do the math officially, but I’m guessing that between 50 –100 thousand US soldiers gave their lives in the South Pacific during this 2 year period. We don’t hear a ton about it, but the public outcry was similar to today…letters to the editors, mothers of dead boys in Washington wanting accountability…you know what I mean. But the numbers don’t even add up…I believe we’ve lost 4,000 in the last 4 years in Iraq and Afghanistan…where is our stomach for this…why do we seem so weak as a nation? So…I don’t know…soft?

Imperial Japan in the early 1900’s was very similar to the radical Muslim community in the Middle East in many ways.
- They were the aggressor
- Their soldiers found honor in death…there were no medals for survivors
- They fought dirty (a bad word I know), torturing soldiers, cutting off heads, enacting slave labor with prisoners of war, death marches…side note: I wonder why we don’t hear much about this? I mean, why do we constantly hear about Hitler and the Jews, but we don’t get constant reminders of just how bad Imperial Japan was. Maybe I was out sick the day they taught us this…I just don’t remember much Japan bashing in school.
- Maybe the biggest similarity was they truly believed they would win solely based on attrition and Washington’s inability to stomach a long campaign with many casualties.

How does all this flush out with the Gospel? I mean, “Blessed are the meek”, “Blessed are the peacemakers”. These aren’t just cute phrases…they are our goals as individuals. If collectively we arrive, or had arrived, Imperial Japan would have conquered Australia, Hawaii, and possibly the western United States. They were on a mission for resources. They had already invaded China, Taiwan, and were headed south to Australia when they dragged us in at Pearl Harbor. Was it ok to become the aggressor in the South Pacific (and eventually at Hiroshima and Nagasaki) to obtain surrender and an eventual major change in global policy by a very aggressive enemy? What did God think of this?

Fast forward 60 years…we now have taken a war with a radical aggressor (albeit less formally defined…cells not armies and navies) to a land far away from our shores. How long will our country be able to stomach this? How are we doing? (it would be nice to hear some good news), What does God think of all this? What if we were peacemakers, meek…how would that go over?

Since there’s only one of you reading this…I value your opinion.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Are you kidding me?

I'm not a huge NBA fact, not much of one at all. But, this talk of San Antonio as one of the all time great teams is hogwash. I'm hearing words like Dynasty thrown around...are you kidding me? Here's my arguement...

1. They were one play away from getting eliminated in the second round by Phoenix. If Robert Horey doesn't cheap shot Nash...Phoenix wins that series going away.

2. They couldn't get past the "gimmick" that is the Dallas Mavericks last year to even make it to the NBA finals.

3. Other than their first championship (with David Robinson in the middle), they have been the equivalent of the "world tallest midget"...the league is so diluted right now...there just aren't ANY great teams.

4. To mention them in the same breath as the two great Celtic dynasties, the Bulls of the 90's, the Show Time Lakers...c'mon.

I feel better now. Thanks for allowing the rant.