Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 31, 2005 / 20 Adar II, 5765

Remembering Okinawa: Dealing with suicide bombers — 60 years ago

By Victor Davis Hanson


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sixty years ago, the United States military invaded Okinawa on April 1, 1945, the last bastion of the Japanese maritime empire that stood in the way of an assault on the mainland.



Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

Operation Iceberg was perhaps the largest combined land-sea operation since Xerxes swept into Greece, involving more troops than at Normandy Beach — 1,600 ships, 183,000 infantry and 12,000 aircraft. More than 110,000 skilled Japanese troops, commanded by the brilliant Gen. Ushijima and buttressed by another 100,000 coerced Okinawan irregulars, were ready for them.


Despite the most terrible naval barrage in history, and an ominous unopposed initial landing, almost everything imaginable then went wrong. The ravaged island was not to be declared secure until July 2 — a little more than a month before the final Japanese surrender.


In just these few weeks before the end of the war, 12,520 Americans were killed — well over twice as many as were lost at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. In all, more than 33,000 more American s were wounded and missing. Perhaps another 200,000 Japanese soldiers, Okinawan auxiliaries and civilians died in the inferno.


Luminaries were not exempt. The commander of the operation, Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner — the highest-ranking American officer to die in the Pacific — perished. So did the celebrated war correspondent Ernie Pyle. The notorious Isamu Cho, who had sought to overthrow the Japanese civilian government in 1931, committed suicide along with Gen. Ushijimi. Some of the most gripping American war writing — E.B. Sledge's "With the Old Breed" and William Manchester's "Goodbye, Darkness" — grew out of this hell at Okinawa.


Almost every controversy of the present war has an antecedent at Okinawa. Faulty intelligence? The War Department insisted there were no more than 60,000 enemy troops on the island — not three times that number who had bored into the coral with sophisticated reinforced concrete bunkers.


Suicide bombers were vastly underestimated. No one ever imagined that there were 10,000 Japanese bombers and fighters committed to the campaign — and perhaps as many as 4,000 kamikazes slated for suicide attacks.


The result was the greatest losses in the history of the American Navy — 36 ships sunk, 368 hit, 5,000 sailors killed. Anger arose almost immediately: Why no accurate intelligence; why no armored aircraft carrier decks; why no suitable fighter screens; why the need to post off the island as sitting ducks — why the need to invade at all? Why, why, why?


Meanwhile, the Americans hit the Shuri Line, using head-on charges into fixed defenses — the Marine way of bullet, flame and bayonet. Thousands fell — including my namesake Victor Hanson of the 6th Marine Division — during the last hours of the last day of the successful effort to take Sugar Loaf Hill.


We of quieter times lament the dropping of two atomic bombs. But those who lived though the nightmare of Okinawa — far more killed than on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined — were thankful that Okinawa was not to be soon repeated on a scale 20 times worse on the Japanese mainland.


Most Americans of that late summer 1945 did not censure their politicians for the use of such horrific bombs to stop the carnage of the Pacific War. More often they were perplexed that we went ahead with Okinawa when the weapons to prevent such a traditional bloodbath were on the immediate horizon.


Are there any lessons from the nightmare of Okinawa for the present age? For all the horror, stupidity — and sheer courage — of the campaign, American firepower, training, adaptability and bravery prove eventually a match for zealots and suicide bombers, whether on Okinawa or in Fallujah.


For all the talk of the softness and decadence of modern Western man — whether the hot-rodders and soda jerks of the late 1930s or our own Jasons and Jeremys with rings in their ears and peroxide hair — the free American soldier proves far more lethal than those who blow themselves up.


Operational mistakes and intelligence gaffes are the stuff of all wars — whether the failure to count accurately the enemy on Sugar Loaf Hill or in the Sunni Triangle. Yet victory, then and now, goes to those who in their calm determination press on and thus make the fewest errors rather than none at all.


Despite heartbreak at our present losses, nothing in the three years of this present conflict, from its first day on Sept. 11 to the present terrorism in Iraq, compares with the carnage of those few weeks on Okinawa — for all its melancholy, still a hallowed American victory.


Perhaps we wonder now whether a presently divided American people can still overcome fascism, suicide bombers and beheaders to foster freedom in an autocratic landscape. In answer, we should look back 60 years ago to what we went through in Okinawa and the subsequent humane society and decent democracy that followed in Japan and sigh, "Yes, we can and will again."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


03/24/05: The noose tightens
03/17/05: America's new discontents
03/11/05: A world gone by
03/04/05: Blood for oil?
02/24/05: Common ground
02/17/05: California: Last action state?
02/10/05: Nuclear Poker
02/03/05: Barbara Boxer's metaphor moment
01/27/05: The hard road to democracy
01/20/05: Illegal immigration is a moral issue
01/13/05: Islamicists hate us for who we are, not what we do
01/06/05: Pledging blood and treasure for popular reform in a death struggle with Islamic fascism






© 2005,