Maybe I’m just having a bad Friday the 13th, and taking the unendingly depressing daily war news to heart. Additionally, I too often wonder why it took me 70 years to figure out that all wars add up to one big lie .
As a 19-year-old Navy seaman, I cheered when our ships and bombers were ending World War II in 1945. We pounded the hell out of German and Japanese cities, causing hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties.
Oh, sure. We were the good guys. After all, they started it all by sneak bombing us at Pearl Harbor. Therefore, even their little kids, mothers and grandparents deserved to be blown to hell, just so we could pin medals on ourselves and march in victory parades.
For the past 70 years, I’ve always had the comfortable excuse that I survived because of all the 1945 destruction we caused. I was with an advance Navy unit in Manila, the Philippines, when the war officially ended in September. Plans were in place for a massive invasion of Japan for November 1.
Throughout 1945, particularly in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Navy casualties were heavier than in the previous three war years combined. We expected the final campaign to result in many more thousands of American dead than in the Normandy invasion.
When the Japanese surrendered following the horrible atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this 19-year-old cheered the realization that I’d live to age 20 in a peaceful word. Now, after all the following decades of never-ending wars, maybe I’m no longer cheering.