Friday, June 20, 2014

Some Thoughts About the "Good War" (WW2) by Admiral Gene Larocque

Nagasaki mushroom cloud photographed from the ground, Aug. 9, 1945.

Years after World War Two--the war some folks still call "The Good War"--Admiral Gene Larocque, who had served for years in the navy and been bombed at Pearl Harbor, shared these thoughts on the war with the great people's historian and radio pioneer, Studs Terkel. Here's a short excerpt:

We've institutionalized militarism. This came out of World War Two. In 1947, we passed the National Security Act. You can't find that term—national security—in any literature before that year. It created the Department of Defense. Up till that time, when you appropriated money for the War Department, you knew it was for war and you could see it clearly. Now it's for the Department of Defense. Everybody's for defense. Otherwise you're considered unpatriotic. So there's absolutely no limit to the money you must give to it. So they've captured all the Christians: the right of self-defense. Even the "just war" thing can be wrapped into it.
World War Two has warped our view of how we look at things today. We see things in terms of that war, which in a sense was a good war. But the twisted memory of it encourages the men of my generation to be willing, almost eager, to use military force anywhere in the world.
For about twenty years after the war, I couldn't look at any film on World War Two. It brought back memories that I didn't want to keep around. I hated to see how they glorified war. In all those films, people get blown up with their clothes and fall gracefully to the ground. You don't see anybody being blown apart. You don't see arms and legs and mutilated bodies. You see only an antiseptic, clean, neat way to die gloriously. I hate it when they say, "He gave his life for his country." Nobody gives their life for anything. We steal the lives of these kids. We take it away from them. They don't die for the honor and glory of their country. We kill them. 

Read more of this important, timeless interview here:

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