"It is well that war is terrible - we should should grow too fond of it." - General Robert E. Lee at Fredicksburg (1862)
War sucks. No doubt about it. Ask any Soldier, Marine, Sailor, or Airman. There is no such thing as a true victory. "Victory" comes at a great price - whether in lives, cost, sacrifices made...
Armed Liberal at Winds of Change takes a good look at some Arm-Chair Quarterbacking from the LA Times.
The costs for WWII were very high. Millions of dead, homes destroyed, families torn apart, economies ruined. But what would have happened if we hadn't fought the Nazis or sided with the Russians? What if we hadn't dropped a bomb on Hiroshima or Nagasaki?
It's a complex question with a very complex answer. But the bottom line is that the bombings and our alliances with the Russians saved American (and other peoples) lives and kept the Nazis and Japanese from enslaving half the world.
Oxford (and NYU Stern) Professor Niall Ferguson at the LA Times tries to answer it simply on the very anniversary of V-E Day, but he just doesn't get it. Or it's possible that he is just trying to be controversial to sell his lousy book rather than be honest (as he claims to be). Right out of the gate, he addresses his audience of left-wing revisionsists to get our attention:
V-E Day -- a Soiled Victory
A look at the WWII Allies' moral shortcuts
By Niall Ferguson, Niall Ferguson's latest book, "Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire," has just been published in paperback by Penguin.
World War II was the most destructive event in human history. It transformed the world more profoundly than any other man-made calamity, including all the great political revolutions. Perhaps as many as 57 million people died prematurely as a result of organized violence on a scale never seen before or since. Nearly 300,000 Americans lost their lives; 670,000 were wounded. All told, the lives of more than 16 million were disrupted by service in the armed forces.
Today — the 60th anniversary of V-E Day — is a time to remember those who lost their lives in the war and to show our respect for the now elderly survivors. But it is also a day when many young Americans may ask their elders some difficult questions. What was it all for? Why did so many millions of men spend nearly six years (longer in Asia) determinedly trying to slaughter one another, and one another's families?...
As if kids these days are really that clueless to not understand the dangers that the Germans and Japanese posed...But at the end, Professor Ferguson makes peace with the rationalization of war - well, it's a qualified acceptance at best:
...None of this is intended to detract from the valor of the millions of Allied service personnel who lost or risked their lives in World War II. Nor is it to deny that the war had to be fought to rid the world of two of the most evil empires in all history. There is a moral difference between Auschwitz and Hiroshima. The Axis cities would never have been bombed if the Axis powers had not launched their war of aggression. And the Axis powers would have killed even more innocent people had it not been for the determination of the Allied powers to prevail.
Nevertheless, we would do well, this V-E Day, to face some harsh realities about the nature of the Allied victory — if only to remind ourselves about the nature of all wars. To win World War II, we joined forces with a despot who was every bit as brutal a tyrant as Hitler; we adopted tactics that we ourselves had said were depraved; and we left too many of those we set out to liberate firmly in the grip of totalitarianism.
For all these reasons, the victory we commemorate needs to understood for what it was: a tainted triumph.
Victory is always "tainted". That's why it's called "War". However, I take issue with pronouncing a "tainted victory" on V-E Day where veterans and the fallen around the world are being heralded for ending the Nazi and Japanese aggressions. That's just bad form, Professor.
I believe that Professor Ferguson understands that, without the determined effort and decisive violence exercised by the Allies, he would have grown up speaking German...he's just trying to sell his books.