Good morning bookies!

It’s sunny in West Tennessee today, warmish, with a high in the 50’s. If you’re shivering in North Dakota while reading this don’t feel too bad, our low for Friday night is predicted to be 22. Not so warmish.

Today’s comment pertains to a new book on the systemic and systematic Japanese terror machine during World War II, the kempeitai. For those who aren’t World War II buffs and think only the Gestapo wrought terror during that war, not so. When dealing with horror and evil there’s no point in measuring one against the other, which one is the worst. Stalin versus Hitler? Who can say? On paper Stalin killed even more innocent civilians than Hitler, he invaded just as many countries without provocation as Hitler, he declared war on smaller powers for no reason, just like Hitler. Yet he was a US ally. Does that lessen his guilt? And when discussing the Japanese, it’s hard to put a face to their guilt as there were multiple leaders who all shared in the horror. Ultimately it was Hirohito who approved of everything, but he has been redeemed in postwar eyes. Tojo? He was only prime minister for a relatively short while. Not being able to easily quantify Japanese guilt into a single person has sometimes lead to their atrocities being overlooked. And yet they may have been worse than Stalin or Hitler.

Japan’s Gestapo: Murder, Mayhem and Torture in Wartime Asia by Mark Felton seeks to detail the apparatus and crimes of the Kempeitai, the Japanese secret police who had broad powers to do just about anything they wanted. And for sheer wanton cruelty they often made the Gestapo look like amateurs, the NKVD like wannabes. These were cruel people, people. The effects of some of their biological experiments are still being felt today.

This review cited below seems, to me, to have something of its own attitude. The reviewer seems a bit biased herself, so consider that when reading. However, I include this in today’s blog merely as a point of reference for the hard-core WWII buff. I’m not sure this should wind up under the Christmas tree of the guy who wants to read more about Leyte Gulf or Midway. It’s not exactly the merriest of subjects.

The third Axis cog in the machinery of death