The Cost of Revenge: “The Horrific Unintended Consequence of Doolittle’s Courageous Raid on Tokyo” | History News Network

Originally posted on History Chick in AZ:

Today is the anniversary of the famous Doolittle raid on Japan. But before we celebrate we should remember the cost paid by innocent Chinese civilians for this act of revenge. James M. Scott explains that, “that success came at a horrible—and until now—largely unknown price paid by the Chinese, who were victims of a retaliatory campaign by the Japanese Army that claimed an estimated 250,000 lives and saw families drowned in wells, entire towns burned, and communities devastated by bacteriological warfare.” This story should remind us that revenge has caused more human suffering than any other human motivation and that it has done so with little or no benefit other than the joy some get from it.

Scott also raises the subject of Japanese attempts to deny their own history: “Unlike Germany, whose leaders have for decades attempted to atone for the Holocaust, the Japanese have increasingly tried to disavow…

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A Precedent of Exploitation: Nineteenth-century Mormons and Laman’s Wayward Children

Originally posted on The History Bandits:

On the morning of September 7th, 1857, a wagon train of 140 or so migrants lay encamped along the headwaters of Magotsu Creek as the sun came up over the Mountain Meadow. The group was mostly comprised of Arkansas uproots travelling to California along the Old Spanish Trail. The party had not bothered to circle the wagons the night before since there were believed to be no hostile Indian tribes in this region of southern Utah, and several Mormon settlements were situated close by their current campsite, adding to their feeling of security. As the migrants stoked their campfires for a breakfast of desert quail, a shot rang out and an Arkansan child fell, mortally wounded. Within minutes, the morning erupted in gunfire as the clamor of breakfast was replaced by chaotic efforts to circle the wagons for defense. In the first few minutes of the attack, seven…

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Dogma Trumps Intelligence

America’s blind obedience to the dogmas of… monolithic communism and the Domino Theory led to tragedy of the Vietnam war.  In 1945, American intelligence officers established clear and firm links with the Viet Minh and its leader, Ho Chi Minh.  The Vietnamese nationalists of the Viet Minh were resisting Japanese rule and providing our OSS officers with valuable intelligence.  Ho Chi Minh sought the national self-determination Franklin Roosevelt seemed to be promising the world.  The OSS agents believed Ho to be the best alternative to govern Vietnam.  FDR let them both down.

Ho Chi Minh, Giap, and members of the OSS Deer Team

Ho Chi Minh, Giap, and members of the OSS Deer Team

America’s point man in Indochina was… Lt. Col. Archimedes Patti.  Dubbed “The Deer Team,”  Patti’s men contacted the Viet Minh and began to equip and train a select number of their best troops.  In return, the Viet Minh assisted in the recovery of downed American flyers, provided invaluable intelligence, and battled the Japanese.  With the surrender of Japan, Ho Chi Minh was prepared to move forward with Vietnamese independence- a dream thousands of years in the making.

Patti working with Commander Giap in 1945

Patti working with Commander Giap in 1945

Ho Chi Minh dined with Lt. Col. Patti in late August 1945… to discuss the transfer of power and disarming Japanese troops.  Near the end of the meeting, Ho presented Patti a document- a draft of the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence he planned to release on September 2.  Patti was taken aback to read the words of Thomas Jefferson quoted reverently in the brief document.  Both men toasted the future of an independent Vietnam… Patti remembers,   “We had him, we had Ho Chi Minh on a silver platter…the Soviets were in no position to help him-only we could…I did prepare a large number, and I mean about, oh, well over fifteen position papers on our position in Vietnam. But I never knew what happened to them. Those things just disappeared, they just went down the dry well.”

Patti meets with Ho and Giap

Patti meets with Ho and Giap

Roosevelt had already decided to give Indochina… back to the French.  Churchill insisted the French empire not be broken up, lest the British empire would follow.  Rather than disarm Japanese troops, British forces rearmed them and turned them against supporters of Ho Chi Minh’s government.  A temporary division of the country was allowed to solidify.  The OSS agents were marginalized, accused of fomenting revolution, and finally forced out of Saigon by the British commanders.  The expulsion led to the murder of Colonel Peter Dewey, America’s first casualty in Vietnam.  America had followed the wrong course, in spite of all the masterful intelligence work done by Archimedes Patti and his OSS team.  The Vietnam war was our fate.

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Wise Chickens

“May God have mercy on General Lee, for I will have none.”…proclaimed Fighting Joe Hooker in March of 1863.  Such bold talk was a welcomed change following the disasters of the Seven Days battles, Second Bull Run, and Fredericksburg.  Hooker took command and reorganized and reinvigorated the Army of the Potomac.  His strategy was far bolder than any of his predecessors and Hooker was supremely confident.  A third of his army would demonstrate against Lee’s forces at Fredericksburg while the remaining troops would cross the Rapidan river north of Lee and threaten his rear.  The Confederates would be forced out of their entrenchments and Hooker would have the initiative.  Hooker boasted to Lincoln, “My plans are perfect.”   Lincoln responded, “The hen is the wisest of all the animal creation, because she never cackles until the egg is laid.” 

A bold strategy for a Union commander

Lee was take entirely by surprise…for one of the few times in the war when he learned Union forces were concentrated in his rear near the tiny hamlet of Chancellorsville.  Hooker’s strategy had been carried out to the letter and his maneuvers placed Lee exactly in the anticipated position.  On May 1, Lee rushed west to meet the threat and to give Hooker battle.  Here lies the great mystery of Chancellorsville; why did Hooker flinch?  Lee seized the initiative on May 1 and never let it go.

Fighting Joe Hooker

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Death, and Pocket Change

Some perspective on tax day….

  • At the original tax rates established in 1913 after ratification of the 16th amendment, only 1% of the population paid federal income tax
  • Single filers paid taxes on every dollar after $17,000 and married couples after $20,000 –   Adjusted to today’s dollars, that is $374, 440 for individuals and $440,400 for couples
  • The top marginal rate in 1913 was 7% and applied to incomes over $500,000 – adjusted to today’s dollars that would be $11.1 million 
  • Top to bottom ratio in 1913 was 7:1  or 7%- 1%
  • In 1980, the top to bottom ratio was 70%-11%   (roughly the same disparity) 
  • Currently, top to bottom is 35%- 10%
  • Under the current brackets, individuals are only exempted $9,350 and couples $18,700 – – adjusted percentages from 1913 would be $66,100 for singles and $88,100 for couples

    I want you…with less exempt income

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Ignored Wishes

Leave it to the man who violated the Washingtonian… principle to ignore the wishes of another great Founder.  Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation #2276, in 1938.  The order called for a national observance of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.

Your obsession with me, Mr. Roosevelt, is quite illogical

Your obsession with me, Mr. Roosevelt, is quite illogical

This, in spite of the fact that Jefferson never wanted his… birthday to be a national matter.  Jefferson made it abundantly clear upon taking office, through executive action and requests made by political supporters. ” …disapproving myself of transferring the honors and veneration for the great birthday of our republic to any individual, or of dividing them with individuals, I have declined letting my own birthday be known, and have engaged my family not to communicate it.  “The only birthday I ever commemorate, is that of our Independence, the Fourth of July.”

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Catharsis

One day after Union troops captured Richmond… Lincoln toured the city.  He was truly a Commander-in-Chief, never letting the Army and its missions far from his personal control.  So much blood and treasure had been spent capturing the rebel capital, Lincoln had to see it for himself.  Lincoln had been under fire before at Fort Stevens in July of 1864,  so the personal attention he paid to Richmond was not unusual.

A stroll for the ages

A crowd of freed slaves surrounded Lincoln and his guards… as me maneuvered through the burning rubble of Richmond.  Lincoln toured the Confederate Congressional chambers and the notorious Libby Prison, but the transcendental moment occurred when he entered the Confederate white house and sat at Jefferson Davis’ desk.  The troops outside erupted into cheers.  HUZZAH!!

Take a seat here, Mr. President

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