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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 31, 2010 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

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for 2010, surprises and disappointments? >> guest: you know, surprises, gosh, the bush book. almost 2 million copies. >> host: disappointments? >> guest: i don't see any. sorry. am i just such an optimist. i don't have any. [laughter] >> host: jenn risko. co-founder of the industry newsletter shelf awareness. also a web site. thank you for being onbook tv and our look at the 2010 review of books. :
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guest hosts to interview authors. this week, to the surprise winner john dower examine significant military attacks that led to american invasion and occupation of fraud in his new book, cultures of war to read the former mit history professor explores the attack on pearl harbor, the bombing of hiroshima, the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of iraq, finding commonality in these major events at an institutional level. he discusses his findings with institute for policy studies
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fellow sanho tree. >> host: professor dower, it's an honor to have you here. i've been an admirer of your work for two decades now, and your latest book, "cultures of war" is something so sweeping and impressive i want to thank you for the opportunity to sit down and have this conversation. could you start by telling us how you are a historian of japan both imperial and japan, how is it you came to write this book that links both purple heart, hiroshima, 9/11 and the iraq war what gave you the idea to make those linkages? >> guest: in this case i think it is the moment that for all of us remember where we were since 9/11, and i happened to be at that time in vermont when 9/11
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occurred i saw it in a store and then the newspapers came out, the local newspapers and both newspapers have had lines saying day of infamy in their work on japan, have written on world war ii, carol herber, japan after the war command of course infamy is the more proper word and suddenly everywhere the word infamy was coming up. i think if you go back and look and all the newspaper headlines that cannot september 11th, september 12, september 13, i would say ten, 15% use the word infamy nitze or presidents roosevelt the day of infamy so there was the assertion with
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japan, step in the back of a tragedy, and because there were airplanes crashing into the building is suddenly we started talking about kamikaze attacks wallace pulled into it again even though kamikazes had nothing. then he began to get things like we will never forget there was a billboard outside of chicago, for example, and on one side at december 7th. on the other side it had september 11th and in the middle we will never forget. nobody needed something to understand that, pearl harbor, 9/11. we will always remember these days, which was true and then there was a great sense of revenge. we will pull together. and of course if you fought about it what was clear at that time there were similarities,
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the surprise, the shock and the fact that when people harbor happened, president roosevelt was presiding over a very divided country. isolationists, people who felt we should do more in the war and europe and wind 9/11 occurred, president bush was just beginning the administration after an election that have fractured the country and so of the country pulled together on both occasions so this was the first thing where people were using japan and al qaeda. the poor japanese tried for so many decades since six decades for five decades since the end of the war to be our good friend and suddenly there is again. remember pearl harbor. but the second thing that came very quickly on the fields of that infamy was what a colossal
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failure of intelligence on the part of the united states. so you have another level where how could the americans have been caught by surprise in this manner? and then you started to get other people coming in with different things colin on western countries, mom christian culture, non-white people have attacked us, and you begin to get into the rhetoric of the clash of civilizations once again. this is a great clash of civilizations, clash of culture. and i found it interesting because you could see why it was happening but there were all sorts of problems with that and the problems got more complicated when suddenly 9/11
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and the world trade center began ground zero. now i've written all lot on oral 42 a and i come from the japanese side, but i also worked on the atomic bombs as you have in great depth, and i have seen it from many perspectives. and to become ground zero was a world war ii term and ground zero minn and ground zero, hiroshima, nagasaki and that is where you begin using it. if you went back to the test of the first atomic bomb in new mexico in july, 1945, years after there was a little wooden sign saying ground zero, and we always use that word for the ground zero but hiroshima and nagasaki. suddenly it had been
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appropriated and almost ex appropriated for the world trade center and the funny thing was i kept waiting for someone to say ground zero, weapons of mass destruction for someone who thinks historic lee where has this word comes from and of course it came from world war ii and weapons of mass destruction that terrified us come out of that experience but no one made the connection. it was as if we had just taken it and there was no way of thinking about the our original groome zero. and then you began to have the language of terror bombing. any historian of world war ii routinely has used the word terror bombing for world war ii, and it occurs primarily in
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conjunction with the anglo-american war and then finally in japan that culminates in hiroshima and nagasaki and it's a concept that we address in terms of psychological warfare. in modern war, we must destroy the morale of the enemy. this one of the weapons of format we destroy the industry, destroy the army's, the raúl of the enemy and became a standard operating procedure in world war ii to deliberately target densely populated urban areas so we tend to think of hiroshima and nagasaki if we think of them at all in isolation, but that was the culmination of a
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campaign that began against germany and was carried out by the americans in japan that targeted over 60 japanese cities before the atomic bombs but that kind of thinking of terror bombing in terms of what we do in our modern war is probably culture of our modern war but did not get into the discussions of the discourse. when you did instead is say this bombing was done by non-steve actors, so this made them different than the past and it shows us and if you go back to right after 9/11, it was a dastardly crime against humanity but all of a sudden to the present day, you keep having people right the barber to nature of islamic culture and
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the koran and the fundamentals they do not respect human life and we we do in our western tradition. this is a true clash of civilizations. and so there were so many issues coming up that i've got to try to sort this out. why do you have the real similarities of the failure of intelligence, white we have these false analogies, what can we make ourselves as people in the modern world? and the way that i've come to think of it over the years but was crystallized then was not in terms of clash of civilizations, but in terms of clash of culture but the modern war itself as a
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culture. we are trapped in the coils of war. we are in war, the technology is getting more and more sophisticated and that is why the book i wanted to do was called culture of war because i wanted to sort this out. it doesn't mean it's all relative. obviously it's not all relative, but now there is a dynamic in the modern war and this through me into it and so i said i will do a little book on this after 9/11 and i had written about world war ii. i've written and vowed never to deal with the war again because as you know what we throw ourselves as researchers it is in its own way nothing like what people experience at the time. there is no comparison
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whatsoever, but it's exhausting, so exhausting and i didn't want to go on but -- >> host: no, this is wonderful people and you talk about recovering memory which is what history is in many ways and he pointed out in your book that the terror bombing began prior to the u.s. entry into world war ii that the japanese bombed chinese cities, the german bond those of twins in world war i and they were universally condemned as the terror bombing and at the more progressive as the allied powers do precisely that and can you talk about the cultural shift that takes place? >> guest: many years ago in the 1980's i finished a book which was about the u.s. and japan in world war ii in the asia-pacific and i called a war with of mercy, and i almost got
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into that book by accident. we often stumbled into it by accident. i sat down to write a book about japan after world war ii and i have to read a few paragraphs about the war and preclude because it was wonderful but japan and america became friends and allies after the war to read this is wonderful because it was such a koret war and i have turned into paragraphs about the war and i called it war without mercy and one of the things stunning to me is to go back into the response of the western world the terror bombing, the target of civilians are either germans or the japanese in the late 1930's and the famous
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recollection of that in the west probably most burned into our minds is the bombing of spain of civilian -- which was the bombing and has been of the civilian community the most famous photograph that convinced us the japanese for barrick and produced and culture of war which is a total of chinese babysitting in a bombed out real gross station in shanghai in 1937. many people have called that the most powerful propaganda total of the war in asia because that is what made the americans say they are barrett unlike
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ourselves. what was fascinating for me at the time as a young researcher was to go in and read the combination of german bombings and fascist bombings and the japanese bombing of civilians by the league of nations, by the united states president and state department, the u.s. washington lee, by winston churchill and the british government and it's very explosive. it's beyond the pale of civilization. this is eric peter. then a great sea change took place as america became involved in the war in europe first as the british began to regain an offensive against the germans and us the concept of strategic warfare began to develop and concept of psychological warfare
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and total war began to become greatly expanded to go in and target the factories and military related industry it's not even be efficient. it's very hard to hit those targets so we have really got to do the carpet bombing in these areas but also psychologically this will destroy the morale of the enemy because the fighting force knowing that the wife and children and family back home is being destroyed will be demoralized. the people will withdraw their support from the government and giving that will also boost the morale of our side and this became a standard and grand part of europe and british led the americans participate in europe they were deliberately going
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after urban areas. those were the targets, the urban areas of this city or that city than they would be right them somewhat for public relations we were attacking the real rate -- railway station and the cities, but the reports were clearly urban antonette moves to japan and the americans really began alone in japan to talk at the city's. while this is going on, the americans were -- this is something that burns up in this book were doing experiments in how to develop the bomb and develop the firebombs and they began doing those experiments in 1943 and in the proving grounds
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in utah people to reconstruct the homes of ordinary german and ordinary japanese workers and this is way before the news and beginning very early in the war because there is a momentum in this if thinking we have this capacity and we bring people to recreate in the case of japan workers' homes that are like the workers' homes of japanese cities and they actually go to the extent of bringing the straw mats from hawaii book cautions people sit on in the houses recreating the storm doors and testing what it's like when the explosion takes place when they are open, what it's like to find
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work as close as possible to the kind of our tree is the japanese use getting stucco as close as possible from the southwest as close as possible there to making workers' homes. this is and collateral damage, this is put together the targeting. doing this book and loveless did put a bit of writing your about the war vineyard but has nothing to do with minimizing the atrocities of the holocaust it's just the way the war was conducted but 400 to 600,000 civilians were killed in the
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anglo-american raids. i did mostly from american documents i did the same kind of calculations with japan. the 60 plus cities bombed before hiroshima and nagasaki plus hiroshima and nagasaki the numbers come up roughly the same about 400 to 600,000 civilians were killed in the war in japan. so, your total figure is about 1 million civilians were bombed in the two war culminating in hiroshima and nagasaki. i had no reason to take i wouldn't have supported that the terror bombing is something to an alien culture it's those
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people who do not respected officials that the uncertain standards that's where we have to really start asking peopleyd questions. >> host: to take an 18-year-old mother it is a u.s. or japanese or german or chinese and be able to turn an 18-year-old into someone who is capable of doing harvick things to complete strangers is a very unnatural act. i think a lot of conditioning and so the humanization that goes on of the arbitrator and the victim and this carries on to the way that in order to do these things you have to dehumanize but if you dehumanize you can't really get into the mind set of your after serious and if you can't get into the mind set you can't give in to what's motivating them and you can't understand what's motivating them you can't get them to stop what it is you want them to stop doing in the first place. so could you talk about that
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process of miss underestimations , the psychology of the anniversary if i can put it that way, and how that impacts war not just world war ii but in iraq, post-9/11, the way we approach for of for some reason and that mentality. >> guest: in the book i mentioned that these under several concepts and this goes back to our failures of intelligence, and i have a chapter called failure of imagination and this is where i go back to pearl harbor and avoided the americans' failure to anticipate the japanese attacked, why did the americans feel your to we anticipate the japanese military keep the peace you can turn that around, which i do and say why do the japanese sale to imagine the american
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response and they miss how the americans would respond as last capacity and the will to remember pearl harbor and get revenge that is one of the posters of pearl harbor. and the same thing occurs in the case of al qaeda and 9/11 and then it transfers and this is where my book that is going to be a short book suddenly became a big book because i began trying to wrestle with these various different questions before the u.s. invasion of iraq. now when the u.s. invasion of iraq took place 18 months after 9/11 in march, 2003, we had a colossal failure of intelligence on the part of the united states and a colossal failure of
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imagination on the part of the united states so if you come back to the u.s. perspective you say there was an incredible intelligence of imagination fill your and 1941 there was another in 2001 and in stead of that getting us to think about who is this adversary we get even into more disastrous war in the case of iraq where the intelligence failure is colossal and that involves an inability to imagine the other side and it is not to sympathize with the other side. that's not the point. you can imagine the other side and to imagine the nature of their grievances.
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and of course the argument after 9/11 is the hate us for our grievances cute, they have no grievances. the argument was beyond iraqis are under a brutal dictatorship. they will lead us as liberators to leave overworking the nature of that society and the fact nobody likes to be invaded and occupied totally missing those kind of things and the second thing was a failure of imagination to imagine the capability of people we look down upon because they were materially interior and that is where the race is an ethnocentrism and other things come that we didn't think they had the capacity to wreak havoc upon us and they went into the war of terror to think we could
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win with big war and with shock and awe and this is worth of things started ricocheting in our mind that i was trying to publish a to write something to figure it out myself shocker and awe ms. luft keefer aires is going into iraq in journalism everywhere. we were so shocked and in awe with our massive display of firepower that they would cave psychological border. shocker and awe is a doctrine. it is a formal book and study. very well known and its hiroshima and nagasaki. not necessarily using nuclear weapons, bush superior firepower
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well so intimidate the serve people -- of these other people will realize this hopeless. we were not able to imagine insurgency movements. we were not people to imagine people who were motivated not necessarily by islamist fundamentalism but by hatred or being occupied. we were not able to imagine the way they viewed the recent history. right or wrong the way they remember history is very important and it just didn't enter into planning and thinking of the top most levels so we get into why people think the way they do and people of the top fall into these apparently rational people colin to
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patterns of thinking that doherty irrational and then i began to wrestle with the concept of rationality and irrationality among the people who are in fact very intelligent and knowledgeable. the japanese in world war ii, the americans in the bush administration there's our people and why you for getting to a concept which fascinated me. >> host: that is one of the most important chapters in your book i have to tell you. its short but it's beautiful and rich. we fall into this pattern of thinking how bombs are virtuous, our bullets are virtuous, people won't mind so much as we accidentally bomb them and they will somehow forget loss but the heavy we have uniting people and
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the united states to have bombs countries is also quite unifying if i use electricity from a thunderstorm in my building i get furious. if i lose water pressure or i'm upset i can't imagine what it's like to have bombs fall on the city to destroy your infrastructure and lived through that year after year we will come away from a short break and come back and pick up on these things. >> "after words" with john dower and sanho tree will continue after this short break.
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"after words" with john dower and sanho tree continues. >> host: when we think about the kind of tactics we are using in iraq against the united states, the occupiers, we think is asymmetrical warfare as being a fairly modern phenomenon, to protect its, suicide bombings but the roots go quite deep. can you talk about those parallels? >> guest: the more you dig into this, the more astonishing it was to me at least and to the
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things we chose not to remember and the extent to which we became involved in a kind of what i call in the book face based secular thinking in which we had a certain dogmatic ideas that for almost religious ideas the paper secular about war making and the whole issue of underestimating the enemy we can take this way back to history and some of the people who came up belatedly with counterinsurgency ideas the go back to ancient china, you know, to say wait a minute we forgot all about this how a person can be successful against a stronger person one of the striking things that the merged even
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after 9/11 was the american government -- i must make a distinction it's a mistake to say the americans and we've the japanese and muslims and so one and one of the striking things was people in the u.s. government all along to say this is crazy first we should be doing more against al qaeda and after 9/11 the were saying in feeding the wreck is crazy and the cia they're saying cent, and the defense college they are saying this is the state department but it's not reaching the topmost level of government. one of the ideas they couldn't get through was the concept of the insurgency, counterinsurgency, what we refer to as the weapons of the week,
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but it is that will mobilize people to in fact fight and die for a cause not necessarily being a religious. one of the major things as being occupied which is six ackley what americans would do if the occupied our cities and occasionally mistakenly obliterated a wedding party. we would go roughly so we would become outraged. we would mobilize and give our lives to drive out this person who was occupying us. in the united states this is now clear of the people who are doing to counter insurgency doctrine and this is a questionable area in itself plan of the fact that the united states was defeated in vietnam essentially and was defeated by
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a to really interior forces and those forces were driven injury, very brief part by nationalism and effective tactics of opposition. after the vietnam war matt it was ceased to teach counterinsurgency for the military economies it disappeared. books were not written to the insurgents use the non-all over the world we don't study it. the imam, we've got to put degette on behind us. we will only fight big war in the future we aren't going to get involved in that again. then we give the soviet union and afghanistan. what an example the colossal power goes into the conventional military power, moves into the
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afghanistan, causes enormous loss of life and destruction in afghanistan and is defeated in the soviet union collapses almost immediately thereafter we don't bother to study how could these people -- ronald reagan calls them freedom fighters. we are supplying them with weapons and then we go into afghanistan and there is no thinking about any of this. why do these insurgency's come up? why are they successful? and it becomes -- is just an amazing level of irrationality on our part and an easing in the ability -- amazing inability to put yourself in the position of the other side and understand
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why they are acting as they are and why they may regard you not as a liberator but as an oppressor. but exactly the same mistake to go into china, you know, in 1937 they going to china the cali general in 1937 and assistant general how long is this war going to last the general says we will be finished in six months. four years later, they go in and they say we are going to attack the united states and it's totally irrational and the japanese totally miss the element of nationalism on the part of the united states. they totally miss the way in which the guerrilla movement in the insurgency movement and the weak have weapons of their own
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for the extraordinary effect and so, there was a kind of and here i think which you get into is the concept of the holy war. every war is wholley. the jihadists will lead to the islamists, terrorists and fundamentalists. the japanese work means hoadly war. they went out to protect and liberate asia. americans, general macarthur in world war ii at the end of the war says the mission is now completed. george bush and others talk about our war against terrorism and in the holy war you get into a manichean black-and-white world. we are pure your evil japanese or the islamist, we are the pure, you were the corrupt.
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we are the innocent, you are the people, we are the victims, you are the victimizer and nobody is able to understand how complex all of this is. i wrestled a lot with the book with the evil because i believe in evil i just don't think anyone has a real monopoly of it and i think it is a very powerful force. >> host: you talk about the kind of religious faith, not religion but face based etiology that people believe in the condition so strongly that they think that it's almost like religion or the fight based but this idea that when we go to war and iraq the kind of pinnacle of the neoconservative domination of the american fought and a lot of think tanks including liberal, not my own but most think tanks in the city boughta into that war as did most of congress and a lot of people many of whom may have been private dissenters but to the
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group think tanks over and one in the national security council in the run-up to the war i could wake up and get my news from fox news, get my newspaper and read "the washington times," drive to work and by the time i get to the office there will be reports on my desk from the neoconservative think tanks funded by the same group of people but they were so effected at constructing their chamber they forgot to leave an air hole to leave the reality check and so it became this course that took over the narrative and there are dissenters as you talk about to beat could you talk about the patterns of dissent? >> guest: what was fascinating to me at two levels because i have spent so many years doing research on japan and the favorite phrase for japanese
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he's certainly in the war years which are behavior that was probably the most popular phrase, and it's the old notion that the japanese there is no dissent from their homogeneous come to have seen one you have seen them all, there is no rule for individualism. there is no room for dissent whereas, and this is part of the clash of civilizations whereas we've particularly we americans, the japanese are unique in their grouping and their backwardness. we are exceptional in our future and our boundaries and what is the key to that? individualism to be at what is one of the keys to the principal dissent? what is one of the keys to this rational give-and-take that you listen to the various ideas and
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delete them and if someone comes in and really disagrees with you and it is a principal disagreement, and you listen to it and respect it. that did not happen and so that it didn't happen at the highest levels of government is interesting, and that is where i became interested we speak of the imperial presidency, someone who worked on japan, and i am very familiar with a real emperor system and i found it very interesting to look at we had the record incidentally of all of the top of all japanese readings concerning war for 1941. they survive the war michael so miraculously. all the meetings of top leaders including meetings with the emperor. and we probably never really
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well. but, we can recreate from memoirs, leaked documents, a variety of sources and the bush administration and i did a lot of comparison of just how the decision making went and i saw a the japanese is very similar to the bush administration. in other words, very smart and then they could give you many reasons why this was necessary and no dissent is tolerated. and this is true in the u.s. government, too. descent is called a lack of patriotism. at first it is you don't have the secret information we have. why aren't you going along of this moment of the national crisis? to the point it sort of becomes the treason, near trees and, you are not going alone and in the japanese terms it is a majesty
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and in that kind of environment the lower-level people were simply squashed out. what was fascinating to me is how many interesting lots of people on the academics and don't do this, i wrote an op-ed piece, don't go into iraq, they were doing better stuff inside the gorman, the cia and others were seeing the arguments were there. they couldn't get to the top and then what was shocking was the mainstream media of the u.s., just bought, hook line and sinker. >> host: the and simplicity of the argument somehow we had the magic beans of democracy we will go in and we will move the top of the head of state, plant these beans it offers will flourish not only iraq but in the middle east will spread magically without considering the conditions are there is water, whether there is enough sunlight or hair or whatever the kind of lack of thinking through
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what happens after the initial connecticut perdition's which we use to succeed at, but winds of war tribes out in a series of months and years, the groupthink and the quagmire is almost inherent in that system and yet, when i compare it to the post war planning or the occupation of japan is a completely different experience. i remember working in the archives and looking at the civil affairs documents starting as early as a think 1932 as i mentioned. they were of thinking thoughtfully how were we going to occupied japan. >> guest: the book before this, that took away longer than i dreamed would take was a book on japan immediately after the war with the americans occupied the country and because again i
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am watching what is going on in the u.s. history is being used we are fascinated us historians by the use of history and by the way memory, so called memory is used and the bush and administration and many people use pearl harbor and world war ii constantly as a proper analogy to the war in iraq is absolutely improper is leading an elegy before the invasion of iraq, beginning around october, 2002, so maybe five months or so before the actual invasion and the bush administration began to flow lines like iraq will be like germany and japan after the
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war but we can turn this horrendous authoritarian brutal dictatorship into a peaceful, prosperous allies to ourselves and model for the middle east. at that time loads of the people, the military was doing their own studies of occupations in occupied areas japan and germany were special cases. incidentally, not a single jihadi was killed in the occupation of germany or the occupation of japan by hostile germans were germany, not one. we look back on that and it's just unbelievable. we said at the time, look, people like myself but many of these people in the government
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committee to terrific work iraq is not japan and what you see is it's not western, it's not christian. everything that made the occupation a success in japan is absent in iraq. the occupation will not be legitimate, there will be no existing and we're going to go in and to get to the government who is going to take over. that is quickly to take over. there is no real tradition of civil society to keep there was all sorts of things. in japan everything carried on including the emperor. it was a formal surrender. the entire year will solve the occupation including the japanese as legitimate but it
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was formal. it was all missing in iraq of its secretary and schisms and its lack of a real space tradition comparable to what germany and japan had and its lack of an ongoing administration which was missing in iraq and that was clear before but people use history as they wish to use history. the old saying is the politician uses history the way a drunk uses a lamppost for support the elimination -- elimination. this was coming from a lot of people who were middle east and iraq experts. they were coming and saying al qaeda is an atrocious threat and al qaeda has to be defeated. what does that have to do with
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iraq and saddam hussein is a brutal dictator, but for this, this, and this reason you cannot go in and expect to have justice with takeover. when i look back thinking the things i read about japan and the places people in the bush and administration say here is over or plan come here is the plan we are going to go, talk with iraq and get in quickly come out quickly, leave a small footprint and the existing government will take over. there is no plan be. i really have read extensively in everything we can get there will ever be a u.s. investigation of iraq the way there was after pearl harbor. we will never get all of those
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documents. a lot of us cannot including people who have really push of a lot of documents. there was no plan b. sounds just like that general who said we are going to get in and out of china in four years. the joke was the plan as to get out quickly and plan b is to hope the plan any works. that is very close to what the within suggests. >> host: at relatively high levels, there were two very thoughtful and individuals who knew better and solve a lot of these coming well in advance and i would like you to compare the two of them. one is yamamoto and the address colin cowal. [laughter] >> guest: they're very astute. it is a big book but i actually thrown away one gigantic section in the book in which to compare japan's hooley war with the islamic holy war and the
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anti-western sentiment about a year or year and a half and one was comparing the japanese policy makers and american policy makers to show the diversity and the capabilities on each side and also to show the small the balls that were actually making policy on both sides in the imperial presidency within the emperor system and the natural comparison which removed from the book was colin powell and yamamoto, the man who conceived of and masterminded the attack on pearl harbor. and the point is in both cases you have very, very smart people who one principle were opposed to the war triet yamamoto said were absolutely making a terrible mistake. he tells his superiors to go to
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war against the united states. you can't win. and yamamoto had been on the u.s. into locations as a naval attache. he knew washington very well. he was a pro. he went back to their recent japanese war in 1905. he was also very innovative. he said you were crazy to do this. colin powell, to speak to colin powell better than i also had grave reservations and the japanese are going to attack america yamamoto said okay if you are going to do that i think we have to attack pearl harbor because the japanese want to control south east asia. they needed the resources of
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southeast asia so they could prolong the war might in china and become a quagmire? ms. miers can always produce more quiet my ears. there is never an end to this. yamamoto said if you tax asia because the style down there in america in all likelihood will come into the war we have to have preemptive attack pearl harbor so that we can delete the american fleet from coming over and i think if we can pull that off and deily the american response for six months or year that will give time to consolidate in southeast asia and our hope is this will demoralize the americans and instead of pursuing long war against us in asia they will cut a deal and leave us with some of the things for our national
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security. he made it very clear that he father was a big mistake. once the war had been decided upon he couldn't control that decision he would do his best to ensure success. his great contribution incidentally is he was an aircraft carrier advocate and most of the japanese navy were battleship and was yamamoto is all the future with their power and aircraft carriers persuaded the should do this incredibly daring, incredibly bold attack on pearl harbor and the americans sit technically and psychologically the americans are capable of doing this my impression of colin powell who has been such a great american hero in many ways i think he says this, he says i told him of
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my reservations once on one occasion it was clear i wasn't going to win, and when your president says to do something, all you can do is salute. once we get into and nationalism patriotism that once the machines get going and so we get into the whole machinery of gearing up to the war which is both material and psychological and at a certain point you are supposed to get a board and principled criticism is not acceptable, and i think that is another culture of war and unless we grasp of these machinery's, these mythologies locally all of the war will be with us forever.
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>> host: i want to focus on the intersection we have not only about the groupthink and the bureaucratic momentum and the sheer size of the pentagon and the way we wage war combined with the viciousness of our domestic politics now, we're in the election season the kind of smears and negative ads and attacks that the one back-and-forth because it difficult for legislators who are concerned first and foremost for getting reelected with dealing with serious problems and the most see rebus problems are the ones that often have counterintuitive solutions difficult to communicate to the electronic and breitling licensing, class president in one of the episodes he begins by attacking his opponent in a speech he says my opponent says there are no easy answers.
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i say he is not looking hard enough and that in a nut shell is part of the problem we have with domestic politics today they are placed so well the knee-jerk solutions are the once the electric would understand the counter intuitive solution like having a rational discussion is complicated and you will be attacked when your adversaries. so it seems to me is this new or has this always been around and what lessons do you have for politicians? >> guest: i wrestle with this a lot. i work on the book shortly after 9/11 and just cannot now so it took quite a few years and i really was trying to puzzle out a lot of this and when it came time to wrap it up, i was trying to find a way out to say this is the path that can be taken.
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i couldn't find it because the concept that kept coming back to me were words like pathologies, pathologies of an institutional nature, pathologies of a political nature or dysfunction if you want a plane word that the difficulties, the world is difficult to begin with, but the political, the institutional, the psychological, the illogical constraints are sitting down and working out rational policies even within the government, let alone with other governments who are facing this it's so extraordinary that i came up with a sense we have to understand these things and the hope this that's what we try to


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