Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.
This book ought to be required reading for all these namby-pamby ‘thank you for your service’ self-hugging smugness goodygoody submerged hypocrites, thinks I.
These are the WWII experiences told by men who came back from WWII and didn’t talk about it. Didn’t join the VFW, didn’t wave any flags, and grew old holding it inside their heads because what they saw and experienced as young men didn’t fit inside the picture the US Empire was drawing of itself and its conduct of WWII.
Eventually some decided it was time to tell it and O’Donnell was there to record what they said. Into The Rising Sun was the result. They told of being sent into places nobody needed to go, under-equipped with incompetent leadership, under-supplied, half-starved into malaria swamps against an enemy no better off than they were.
They told of the most significant experience of their lives. A dismal experience perpetrated by negligence, mediocrity, politics, publicity and lies for the folks back home waving flags and beating drums. Sending their own sons off to join them in jungles where getting captured meant becoming a meal for the enemy. Where shooting all prisoners was the norm.
Burma, the Solomons, the South Pacific they lived didn’t make its way into any Broadway musicals and the ‘thank you for your service’ expressions represented an irony too confusing to face. Legions of men betrayed by their government for convenience, whims and indifference. Betrayed by a failure of the military leadership to commit itself to the reality they were living and fulfill their own responsibilities, the only excuse for their existence.
The 20th Century is loaded with places a person wouldn’t care to have been. What these men lived wasn’t unique. Happened so many places to so many men of the 20th Century from all countries a book couldn’t list them all.
But this book probably represents as good a synopsis as anyone’s likely to produce. It’s good the old men finally told it.