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Monday, November 1, 2010

Tax Dollars Used to Spread Politicized Slander Regarding WWII

Did you know that:

"The U.S. military and its veterans constitute an imperialistic, oppressive force which has created and perpetuated its own mythology of liberation and heroism, insisting on a 'pristine collective memory' of the war [World War II](Fujitani, White, Yoneyama, 9, 23)"?

Or that:

"The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor should be seen from the perspective of Japan being a victim of western oppression"?

Or that:

"Those misguided members of the WWII generation on islands like Guam and Saipan who feel gratitude to the Americans for saving them from the Japanese are blinded by propaganda supporting 'the image of a compassionate America' or by their own advanced age(Fujitani, White, Yoneyama, 9, 23)"?

Or that:

"Conservatives are reactionary nationalists (no distinction was made between nationalism and patriotism), pro-military 'tea baggers' who are incapable of 'critical thinking'"?

Or that:

"Veterans' memories of their own experiences in the war are suspect and influenced by media and their own self-delusion(Rosenberg, 18, 24)"?

Well, according to Professor Penelope Blake (and reported in Power Line) these and more topics of the same ilk were presented at (or part of the preparatory reading for) a National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored workshop in July of 2010. The workshop was rather innocuously entitled "History and Commemoration: The Legacies of the Pacific War."

Prof. Blake's letter to Congressman Manzullo (in which all of these allegations are made) can be found in its entirety at the above link to Power Line.

From Prof. Blake's letter:

"As one of twenty-five American scholars chosen to participate in the recent National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Workshop, 'History and Commemoration: Legacies of the Pacific War in WWII,' at the University of Hawaii, East-West Center, I am writing to ask you to vote against approval of 2011 funding for future workshops until the NEH can account for the violation of its stated objective to foster 'a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups' (NEH Budget Request, 2011).

"In my thirty years as a professor in upper education, I have never witnessed nor participated in a more extremist, agenda-driven, revisionist conference, nearly devoid of rhetorical balance and historical context for the arguments presented."

Among other topics that Prof. Blake says were presented are:

"War memorials, such as the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery (where many WWII dead are buried, including those executed by the Japanese on Wake Island and the beloved American journalist Ernie Pyle), are symbols of military aggression and brutality 'that pacify death, sanitize war and enable future wars to be fought.'"

"The U.S. military has repeatedly committed rapes and other violent crimes throughout its past through the present day."

"It was 'the practice' of the U.S. military in WWII to desecrate and disrespect the bodies of dead Japanese."

"Conservatives and veterans in the U.S. have had an undue and corrupt influence on how WWII is remembered."

"War memorials like the Arizona Memorial should be recast as 'peace memorials,' sensitive to all 'viewers from all countries, especially the many visitors from Japan.'"

And yes, this is what is often currently being taught in American colleges and universities. And yes, our tax dollars were used to fund this workshop.

Also from Blake's letter:

"As overwhelming and pervasive as these politically-correct and revisionist messages were, the conference did feature a few presentations and articles which represented truly excellent examples of balanced, well-researched scholarship. One highpoint of the conference was a panel of WWII veterans who shared with us their personal experiences of the war. But, given the overall anti-military bias present at this conference, I could not help but shudder to think how these amazing men would feel if they knew the true focus of the conference. I honestly felt ashamed of my profession and my government for sponsoring this travesty.

"I am aware that my comments may well have been dismissed by the conference organizers in the same manner they dismissed other opposing voices as "nationalistic" or simplistic. So be it. But I am no blind patriot, Congressman Manzullo, nor am I ignorant of the complexities inherent in the telling and re-telling of history. I also acknowledge, research and teach the many mistakes this country has made, and I am as suspect of the extreme right as I am of the extreme left. But I am also a historian who knows that despite all of their mistakes, this nation and its military have defended, protected and freed more people in their comparatively brief existence than all of the nations in Europe and Asia combined. Allied efforts, however imperfect, defended the world against two of the greatest forms of evil the world has ever known, European Fascism and Japanese Imperialism. This perspective was never, not once, offered at this conference except as a concept that will be well-buried with the WWII generation. If nothing else, I have shown that any imminent celebration of the demise of these concepts may be premature."

I highly recommend reading the Power Line post, and specifically all of Prof. Blake's letter.

For too long, Leftist academics have used their belief of the relativity and insubstantial nature of truth to rewrite history, re-envision philosophical theories, and corrupt literary theories. Humanities studies themselves are being forced into following down the trail blazed by African-American Studies Departments-- a trail that leads to, politically motivated falsehoods, bigotry, intolerance to dissenting views, and eventual irrelevancy.

This must end. Defunding federal support for overtly Leftist political propaganda within academia is not a bad place to begin.

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