Van E. Harl
LAST TO SURRENDER: NARCISSISM OR TERRORISM
Hiroo Onoda: immediatly after his surrender in 1974
Osama Bin Laden: Circa 2000The History Channel was running a documentary about WW II, Japanese Army 2nd Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda. He was the Japanese solider who spent 30 years hiding in the hills of the Philippine Island, of Lubang. He was a 23-year-old officer who had been trained in guerrilla warfare. His first combat assignment was in December of 1944 to Lubang Island. This was not some combat seasoned Japanese Army officer who had spent years fighting the War. This was by his own admission a young man who had problems with authority figures and following the rules; unless they were to his liking, where upon he was fanatical about blindly following rules.
When the Second World War ended, because no one sat Onoda down and explained the fighting had officially stopped, Onoda took it upon himself to continue the struggle. He started out with three other Japanese soldiers. One ran away and surrendered after almost five years of living in the jungle. The other two were killed in firefights with Filipinos. In some of the more politely written information I found, Onoda lived on coconuts and bananas and he killed an occasional Filipino cow. What he really did was develop a thirty-year reign of terror on the inhabitants of Lubang Island. He raided the local villages, stealing what he could carry off and burning what he could not. He kept this up even after he was the last of the four Japanese, left on the island. It is believed he killed between 30 and 50 local Filipinos and wounded up to 100.
One Filipino tells how his brother was shot while gathering coconuts up in a tree. After the man fell to the ground Onoda hacked him to death. He finally gave it up in 1974 after his old Army commander came to the jungle and read an order for Onoda to surrender. This way, Onoda did not have to take the personal responsibility for his actions. Someone else made him give up. He stated “I have never regretted anything I have done.” Apparently this includes the killing of up to 50 innocent civilian Filipinos.
Of course Onoda was part of the Army of Japan that brutally invaded and occupied the Philippines. Now having President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines pardon Onoda right away, for the sake of relations with Japan, went a long way to excuse the atrocities of Onoda. Onoda lives on a cattle ranch in Brazil. He believes Japan is a puppet-state and their current constitution was forced onto that nation at gunpoint. You know what, it probably was and there are good reasons for that?
Approximately one third of the US Marine Corps is stationed on Okinawa at any given time. This is not because Marines love Sushi. Japan continues to be an occupied nation (whether anyone admits it or not) and one of the reasons for this, is that there are still people like Onoda on that chain of islands. So what does this have to do with anything in regards to current political situations? During WW II the US, a nation made up largely of European, Judeo-Christian descended people did not truly understand the fanatical practices of the Japanese military and we suffered because of that failure to understand the enemy.
Our current enemies are no less fanatical than the Japanese were and with modern communication and transportation they can be just as deadly. Onoda returned to Japan in the 1990s as a guest speaker, at the very Army officer training facility where he himself was trained. He was met at the airport as if he was a great national hero, instead of a murderer. The Japanese crowd loved him and he received over 100 proposals of marriage from adoring Japanese women. There are numerous third world countries that hate the US as much as the Japanese did back in 1941. They too treat their murdering, terrorist-patriots, with similar displays of affection and we do not understand this anymore now, than we understood the 1940’s Empire of Japan.
But we as a nation must protect our country from the likes of Onoda or Osama Bin Laden. The intolerant-dogma that breeds the uncompromising desire to destroy America and what we stand for must be stopped. If we cannot prevent hostile actions against our country through peaceful negotiation, then we have to strike with as much destructive force as we can muster. It is better to be preemptive on their soil, rather than reactive on our soil.
©Copyright February 13, 2004 by Van E. Harl