Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Destruction of Manila

"MacArthur was to wreak a fearful vengeance on the enemy that humiliated him, except that the victim was to be the Philippines," writes Alfonso J. Aluit, author of a book reviewed by Enbrethiliel that "ties the doom of the second most devastated city at the end of WWII to the pride of one of the greatest generals of WWII," who notes that "[a]lmost 3,000 years ago, someone else wrote of another great war in exactly the same terms" — For the Love of Themes.

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Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

I generally agree with President Washington's admonition to avoid foreign entanglements, but stories like this deepen my conviction that the United States owes a tremendous debt to the Philippines -- a special obligation as the former colonial power there. From the suppression of the Philippine independence movement after the Spanish-American War, to the attempted de-Catholicization of the country during the 1910s and 20s, to the conduct of the United States during the liberation of the island from the Japanese during WWII, then to our support for Marcos during the Cold War, there is a long laundry list of our nation's misdeeds towards the Filipino nation.

2:09 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Agreed. Your comments the other day on another post come to mind:

"On the up side, the American experience in Hawaii, and the difficulty that America has had in incorporating Hawaii into its dominant culture probably is what guaranteed independence to the Philippines. If it wasn't for Hawaii, the Phillipines would probably be a giant version of Puerto Rico today."

6:19 PM  
Blogger Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

Since MacArthur was aware of the planned and executed attacks by Japan, this shows even worse moral conduct on his part.

The PNAC asked for another Pearl Harbor and got it on 9/11.

I wonder what Lao Tse would have thought of that? Sun Tzu might have approved?

10:22 PM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Thank you for the link, Joshua! =)

4:58 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Wolfe said...

I find blaming MacArthur for the destruction of Manila to be quite the stretch, considering that the Japanese forces followed up its declaration of Manila as an "Open City" with the retention of a significant armed presence in the old walled city of Intramuros, smack dab in the center of the capital. And if many of the first hand accounts are to be believed, it was the Japanese who turned on the civilians.

Besides, I can hardly characterize as "Achilles" a man whose foremost strategy in the defense of his crown jewel of a city would be to abandon it to the enemy so they can fight in a less populated jungle. Its like expecting Achilles to adopt guerrilla tactics.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Aluit's thesis is that MacArthur's retaking of Manila was fueled as much by his wounded pride as by more practical considerations.

In the Iliad, everything Achilles does up to the death of Patroclus is fueled by his wounded pride.

2:37 AM  
Blogger love the girls said...

Enbrethiliel writes : "In the Iliad, everything Achilles does up to the death of Patroclus is fueled by his wounded pride."

That proves it. Since Achilles was a heel, therefore MacArthur was too.

Although, if I was going to choose a character to signify MacArthur, I would choose Odysseus who spends his time with hot babes taking his sweet time getting back to his duty of caring for his wife while she's beset by nasty guests.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


LOL! I'm just pointing out that if you want to draw a parallel between them (and admittedly, it's possible to draw parallels between any two random figures in history and literature, if you find the right points), then it's possible! ;-)

I'm still sticking with Achilles because Odysseus's epic journey doesn't being until after the great war is over.

Poor MacArthur: always being called names in Joshua's combox. =P First he was a "holy fool;" now he's a "heel"! There must be a better word known to the Ancient Greeks, but I don't know what it is.

12:54 AM  

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