Archive for the ‘World war II’ Category

Gaza: Both Hamas and Israel Saying “Nuts” To Cease-Fire Ideas that are Lacking

January 7, 2009

Both Hamas and Israel are saying “nuts” Wednesday to cease-fire ideas both sides say are lacking essential elements.

When Bastogne was surrounded by German Army troops in World War II, a plea for the Americans to surrender was swent into the town by the angry German commander.

U.S. General Anthony Clement McAuliffe answered back: “Nuts.”

The German commander had to ask an American schooled assistant if the answer was in the affirmative or negative.

So it is to at least some extent in Gaza this day.

Hamas is saying “nuts” to Israel.  And Israel is saying “nuts” to the rest of the world community.

When one fears he may lose everything, and the thought of life in defeat is even more grim than the thought of death and the loss of our existance, our way of life, the only answer sometimes is “nuts.”

Hamas worries that it will no longer exist.  And some people in the Palestinian Authority and elsewhere would applaud.

In Israel, some politicians may lose their jobs in next month’s elections.  But the dark shadow of the loss of Israel itself is very real, either by gradual Arab gnawing away, as the Israelis see it, and loss of international (read U.S.) support or by the explosion of an Iranian bomb.

“Land for peace” has failed Israel; and now there is fear that with a new President of the United States all will change for Israel.

Hamas fear it may no longer exist some day too.

In cases like these, the negative response of “nuts” seems correct and normal.

Just as General McAuliffe believed death by fighting better than death of the soul by surrender, so Hamas and Israel both are locked into an existential struggle that is still dangerous to all….



We learn from friends inside Gaza this hour that israel has stopped hostilities in what it calls a “recess” to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza.  Let’s hope this will give more time for cease-fire ideas to gain some real traction and for both sides to eliminate their response of “nuts”….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

For the latest from Gaza go to CNN:


From The New York Times:

Israel briefly suspended its fighting on Wednesday and agreed to do so for three hours each day to permit humanitarian relief goods to reach the beleaguered population.

Read the entire account of day 12:


From The Jerusalem Post:

Gaza: Israel Mulling Cease Fire or Escalation
Gaza Day 12: Egypt, France Renew Cease Fire Hope After Dozens Killed At Schools


Cold War humanitarian program had covert side

December 28, 2008

In the locked attic of a German archive is a dusty file that harks back to a long forgotten chapter of the Cold War — a humanitarian endeavor that, it now emerges, also had a covert side.

Marked “Escapee Program,” it contains a list of thousands of names of people who, through cunning, bravery and luck, slipped through the Iron Curtain that divided Europe after World War II and found freedom in the West.

By ARTHUR MAX and RANDY HERSCHAFT, Associated Press Writers

President Harry Truman’s administration launched the program in 1952 to rehabilitate and resettle refugees from Eastern Europe, feting them as heroes who defied communist tyranny.

Recently declassified U.S. documents disclose that, from the start, the program went beyond giving them new lives and sought to use them for intelligence and propaganda. Some were offered money to be smuggled back to their home countries to gather information on Soviet military defenses and public attitudes toward the communist regimes that had replaced Hitler’s Nazi occupiers.

Read the rest:

Obama’s Stimulus Plan Compared to other Government Programs

December 22, 2008

The economic stimulus bill that Congress is set to begin debating next month could reach $850 billion or more, according to congressional aides, dwarfing every massive government expenditure in the past century except World War II. Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said yesterday that a huge economic stimulus plan is necessary to keep “the economy from absolutely tanking.” In a television appearance, he said the stimulus package “has to be bold; it has to be big.”

An employee of the Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) counts dollar notes ... 

The boldness of the economic rescue is already straining the government’s finances. The nation’s deficit is hurtling toward the $1 trillion mark for the first time, prompting concern about the short-term impact of an expanded stimulus package. Here is the cost for some of the top government spending projects in inflation-adjusted terms and actual dollars. Though most of the earlier projects cost less than the stimulus plan, they made up a larger share of the economy because of the U.S. economy’s rapid growth in recent decades.


World War II: $3.6 trillion
Actual cost: $290 billion in 1945, excluding $50 billion lend-lease

Vietnam War: $698 billion

$111 billion in the 1960s

Iraq War: $597 billion

$551 billion from 2003 to 2008

Korean War: $454 billion

$54 billion in the 1950s

See other comparisons:

Tuskegee Airmen Invited to Obama Inauguration

December 10, 2008

When the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black force of elite pilots, emerged from combat in World War II, they faced as much discrimination as they had before the war. It was not until six decades later that their valor was recognized and they received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor Congress can give.
Now, the roughly 330 pilots and members of the ground crew who are left from about 16,000 who served are receiving another honor that has surpassed their dreams: They are being invited to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama as the country’s first black president.

The New york Times

U.S. Army Signal Corps, via Associated Press

“I didn’t believe I’d live long enough to see something like this,” said Lt. Col. Charles A. Lane Jr., 83, of Omaha, a retired Tuskegee fighter pilot who flew missions over Italy.

“I would love to be there, I would love to be able to see it with my own eyes,” he said, chuckling on the phone as he heard about the invitation. But, he said, he had a “physical limitation” and was not sure he would be able to attend.

Thousands of people who participated in the fight for civil rights over several decades helped pave the way for Mr. Obama’s triumph. But the Tuskegee Airmen have a special place in history. Their bravery during the war — on behalf of a country that actively discriminated against them — helped persuade President Harry S. Truman to desegregate the military in 1948.

“The election of Barack Obama was like a culmination of a struggle that we were going through, wanting to be pilots,” said William M. Wheeler, 85, a retired Tuskegee combat fighter pilot who lives in Hempstead, N.Y. He tried to become a commercial pilot after the war but was offered a job cleaning planes instead.

Mr. Obama has acknowledged his debt to the airmen, issuing a statement in 2007, when they received the Congressional Gold Medal. It said in part: “My career in….

Read the rest:

U.S. Job Losses Signal Recession Will Be Long, Deep

December 7, 2008

The U.S. economy may be headed for its deepest and longest recession since World War II as mounting job losses take their toll on consumer confidence and spending.

Employers cut payrolls last month at the fastest pace in 34 years as the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent, the highest level since 1993. The 533,000 drop brought cumulative job losses this year to 1.91 million, the Labor Department said yesterday in Washington.

“Almost all businesses are in survival mode, and they’re slashing payrolls and investments just to conserve cash,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday. “We’re in store for some big job losses.”

By Rich Miller and Bob Willis

Read the rest:

Pearl Harbor, 67 Years Ago Sunday: Heroes Remembered

December 6, 2008

Thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor tomorrow.

The theme of the event, “Pacific War Memories: The Heroic Response to Pearl Harbor,” is something of a departure from the past.

In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, American ships burn during ... 
I this Dec. 7, 1941 photo, American ships burn during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With an eye on the immediate aftermath of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating Japanese military raid.(AP Photo)

The commemoration usually focuses on the attack on the USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor and several other installations on Oahu.

But this year, the focus will center more on the months following the raid.

In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, the battleship USS Arizona ... 
In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, the battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With an eye on the immediate aftermath of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating Japanese military raid.(AP Photo)

One of the speakers will be Thomas Griffin, who answered the Pearl Harbor attack four months later with an aircraft carrier-launched bomber raid on Tokyo.

The B-25 mission inflicted little damage to Japan but boosted morale in America.

It led the embarrassed Japanese government to launch what turned out to be an ill-fated attack on Midway Island.

USS Hornet launched the B-25 attack on Japan in 1942

From the Associated Press

Japanese zero.jpg

One of the American heroes of December 7, 1941 was Doris “Dorie” Miller.  He was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic action that day.  He fought the Japanese along side his Commanding Officer, Captain Mervyn Bennion of the USS West Virginia:

“For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. While at the side of his Captain on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of a serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun directed at enemy Japanese attacking aircraft until ordered to leave the bridge.”


In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, a  small boat rescues a USS ... 
In this Dec. 7, 1941 file photo, a small boat rescues a USS West Virginia crew member from the water after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With an eye on the immediate aftermath of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating Japanese military raid.

Captain Bennion of USS West Virginia was awarded the Medal of Honor (posthumously).

Mervyn Sharp Bennion

Captain Bennion’s citation:

For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. As Commanding Officer of the USS West Virginia, after being mortally wounded, Capt. Bennion evidenced apparent concern only in fighting and saving his ship, and strongly protested against being carried from the bridge.”

USS Bennion was named for Captain Bennion in 1943.

USS Miller was named for Dorie Miller in 1973