Congratulations to Taki for achieving what seemed to be impossible: transforming the effete, amoral boob FDR into a sympathetic figure (“Little Yellow Bastards,” Under the Black Flag, April). Taki’s celebration of early-to-mid-20th-century Japanese military traditions and the heroic unshackling of Japan’s economy from those nefarious usurers was understandable. His failure to mention other significant activities the spunky little rascals were up to in the 1930’s is less understandable—such as Korea, Manchuria, and China (including the Rape of Nanking, with an estimated 250,000 massacred in six weeks in the mad scramble to secure an acceptable quantity/quality of “comfort women” for the troops).
Instead of an intelligent discussion of how a reasonably moral nation should have responsibly dealt with a mad-dog nation turning its neighboring countries into abattoirs, while preventing itself from provoking an even greater evil in the form of all-out war, we have a clumsy defense of the indefensible and an attack on the dim and indecisive. After ten years of watching these likeable little ruffians misbehaving in their neighbors’ backyards, FDR had the audacity and arrogance to place an embargo on shipments to them of aviation fuel and scrap iron. The cad! As for Taki’s comments on China’s role in placing an economic “noose . . . around Japan’s neck” and his defense of Japan’s occupation of Indochina because Marshal Pétain said it was OK, the less said the better.
Regarding Curtis LeMay and Harry S. Truman, Confucius would say, “Don’t beat up the little girls in the park, and you won’t have to see their dads on your front porch.”
Would that today’s “Masters of the Universe” on Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol Hill were content with embargoes on aviation fuel and scrap iron.
In all honesty, I cannot defend the Rape of Nanking. It was, in fact, barbaric and inhumane. I can, however, defend the imperialism of the time as practiced by all powers that could get away with it, starting with Uncle Sam. I can understand Mr. Sullivan’s outrage at my defense of Japan: We’ve been brainwashed ad nauseam by the very people who dropped A-bombs and firebombed Tokyo and incinerated 100,000 women and children. Where I totally disagree with him is regarding who started it. Japan had to seek raw materials for her industrial society. America prevented her as best she could. Hence the problem.