By Ted Belman
Janet Levy and Nidra Poller combine their talents in Self-Inflicted Defeat to remind us how wars are won.
[..] “During World War II, the U.S. government and military relentlessly combated threats from Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperialist Japan abroad and acted forcefully against domestic threats. Any resident of the U.S. who might engage in subversive activities was a legitimate target. Our mission was clearly defined as a devastating defeat to the enemy to protect the nation and preserve liberty throughout the free world. Once war had been declared, it would have been unthinkable to waste precious resources fine-tuning definitions of the enemy, reaching out to “moderate Nazis” or “peaceful Fascists,” putting our troops through sensitivity training, or striving to accommodate enemy demands. We could not afford the luxury of undue concern about inflicting civilian casualties in enemy territory. The primary, unassailable objective was getting the job done — fighting ruthless tyranny and protecting American allies and interests.
“American citizens, well-informed of the threats faced by our nation, fully supported our valiant troops and participated in the war effort to the point of personal sacrifice. No apologies were offered for Japanese internment camps, which were viewed as a legitimate security precaution. Though most Japanese-Americans were loyal citizens, there was evidence of espionage and treasonous activity by some. Today, on the contrary, jihadist infiltration is deliberately underestimated and overlooked.
“During World War II, experts in Nazism and Japanese imperialism were viewed as vital assets to inform and assist government officials and military brass. But they were carefully scrutinized to weed out disloyal elements. Acts of perfidy were dealt with swiftly and harshly. Placing a Nazi in a high-level Pentagon position with access to top-secret war data and giving him the ability to control military strategists and censor vital information would have been punishable by death for treason.”