Right Decade for a Comparison, but Wrong Country…
I’ve been on the road again. I think it’s pretty much a constant now. But anyway, this morning in the hotel, I heard some random reporter ask a question to the effect of: Is ISIS just another reincarnation of Nazi Germany?
Heck, i can answer that. No. The Nazis were an instance of a pretty constant German empire that reigned in Europe for years. The leadership played politics to rise to power, and then brutalized the people different from it to keep the citizens in check. But that’s not anywhere near the closest parallel to ISIS in my mind.
But it’s the right time period.
I think the very likely comparison for ISIS is the Japanese empire from the same time period. The Japanese culture had been repressed by its neighbors and most of the rest of the world for years, and it cultivated a weird society-wide religion that emphasized its superiority and belittled everyone else as a result. The soldiers were trained that it would be a total disgrace to ever be captured and instead to essentially leave an ugly corpse. The soldiers and non-soldiers captured in their conquest were totally brutalized. Go read some of the stories of US POWs in Japanese internment during the war. They’re as bad as anything you’ll read about the nutjobs from today. And the inevitable end left a scar on a large portion of the world for decades afterwards.
The reform of the Japanese culture was an amazing story in the second half of the last century. But it was done because in some part because the leadership (really, the emperor) finally realized that it was surrender and reform or a total eradication of the culture. I don’t think the world has the stomach to do to the Middle East what it would have done to Japan had the Allied Forces been forced to go with the invasion of Japan… and again, go read your history, particularly Okinawa and Iwo Jima.
So, if we want to examine the culture we’re facing, it would be best to identify it and understand what we might face. And then decide if we have the guts to actually do something about it.