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Thursday, 08 December 2011


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Many people persuade themselves not to tell the truth on the grounds that they'd just be replaced by a toady. Better, the devil whispers in their ear, to keep the job and do what you can to nudge things in the right direction.

It's my guess that your best move in that position might be to resign and make as public a fuss as possible - but he could hardly broadcast America's weakness to the world, could he?

Indeed, DM, and how I wish a few of our generals had this man's sense of duty.

When I came to your sentence David, "Unfortunately for him, and American servicemen, particularly those tasked to defend the indefensible Philippines under the blustering leadership of the appalling Gen. MacArthur..."

I was reminded of something I'd read just a few days ago:

"...Clouse was witness as Gen. Douglas MacArthur waded ashore at Leyte on October 20, 1944... "We were right there on the beach when all these people began scurrying around this landing craft that had run up on the beach," Clouse said. "When I looked again it was out off the beach, the gate dropped down and old MacArthur waded onto the shore.

"I didn't see it all, but whoever was in the first landing craft I saw could have stepped out without getting their feet wet," Clouse said. ..."

Crikey, JK, that man is a Survivor with a capital 'S'! All those battles - and he beat cancer three times!

Before WWI the political decision was made on the strength of the Philippine garrison. This decision did not consider even the threats of the pre-WWI era. 10,000 men half US half Philippine. This included harbor defenses to prevent enemy use of Manila harbor or defend it as an advance base for the navy; and a small field force for interior security and to defend the against a landing and an attack from the land side. War Plan Orange estimated that it would take three large 20,000 man divisions with the usual support (total 100,000 men) to defend Manila and the harbor from the land. The reality was the garrison would fall back to the Bataan peninsula where they would hold for six months waiting for the Navy to rescue them.

The Navy said they couldn't do that until the main Japanese fleet was defeated. It would be at least two years before a rescue could be mounted. Actually the Army at the bottom of the third beer might admit the Navy was correct, but they were the ones left on out on a limb.

Mostly Army and Navy, being military people at heart, put considerable effort in to trying to figure out how to obey and execute an impossible order. But there was very little, if any, briefing to the political leadership that this was disaster waiting to happen. Even if they had the political leadership probably would not have considered this an issue worth the cost of addressing. Which was the situation up until 1940, except the Philippines had been promised independence and the rudiments a Philippine army was being formed, they provided the extra strength that made holding six months possible.


What has been described as the "good thing" about Pearl Harbor. If the Japanese had just attacked the British and Dutch, it is quite possible that Roosevelt would have ordered the Pacific Fleet to Manila and possibly a far more devastating loss than Pearl Harbor.

A lot of blame to the leaders of both services for at least not trying to explain the problem to the political leadership.


I read a comment by one o MacArthur's biographers (Manchester?) that he looked a hundreds of photos of MacArthur, no mater how casual every one else was, MacArthur was posed.
Hank’s Eclectic Meanderings

I'll not be arguing with you Hank - though with you I think we'd get somewhere. DD on the other hand...

What'd be the absolute turriblest for frail, feeble, arthritic wounded in spirit JK (an so I'm gonna go pre-emptive) both DD and you realize JK was born some 800 meters from where another "blustery" (but I know, not "appalling" - since JK was never given in any sense the authority to lead.

Regardless. Native-borned Arkies get nearly the same rap as Illinois politicians. But Wisconsin doesn't border Arkansas - rather Illinois:

JK, I'll tell you again. You're getting the fumes from the neighbours' stills. Move upwind at once.

No, no, Andra, deciphering JK's missives is the equivalent of doing The Times' crossword - it keeps me on my mental toes!

From my reading, Hank, I get the impression that everyone had their head stuck in a bucket of sand over the Philippines. It was perfectly obvious to one and all that they could not be defended and yet no one dared to admit it openly. Needless to say, matters were not helped by the appointment of MacArthur who insisted that they could be defended! That man was a menace and when you think that really good men like Richardson went down for their honesty it almost makes you weep. Even so, the fighting spirit of those GIs in the Bataan peninsular was simply tremendous.

And that my friend, as you've written (typed) should suffice for Andra, that it was not all of the Americans in positions of command that led to that debacle - rather those in ultimate command.

Andra? Did you not read Sergeant-Major Clouse's closing observations concerning the officers speaking on behalf of those under fire in Afghanistan?

"...Clouse said he is loathe especially to see the military officers on television discussing the Afghanistan effort....Absent from the scene are the war ribbons that show officers have experienced "shots fired in anger."

Unfortunately... almost criminally I'd venture, we all have too many command level officers (not NCOs) remaining in our "ranks" explaining stuff that could better be illustrated in bar-rooms. Pubs I suppose, where you are.

I guess you've just missed the posts David has, I thought, prominently placed. If such is the case, the UK enjoys no monopoly - tune US TV in, if Andra you require [which understandably you might] what a ribbon for "under hostile fire" looks like - at least the American ones, I'll set a link.

OK DD & JK, sadly, I accept what you're saying to me.

I will, reluctantly, have to admit that some men, many possibly in positions of high trust, may not be infallible.

I will try to be a better person but it's a failing of my upbringing.

Put yourself in my hands, my dear, you'll soon feel better!

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