[...]Politically, mobilization for total war entailed military domination of domestic as well as international policy. [...] Once the war machine had been put in motion, and a "blood debt" to the war dead established, it was inconceivable not to support the emperor's loyal troops.
Despite the deepening quagmire of occupation and empire, Japanese leaders and followers alike soldiered on -- driven by patriotic ardor and a pitiful fatalism. It was only afterwards, in the wake of defeat, that pundits and politicians and ordinary people stepped back to ask: How could we have been so deceived?"
[...]For political reasons, the president has a history of silence on America's war dead. But he finally mentioned them on Monday because it became politically useful to use them as a rationale for war - now that all the other rationales have gone up in smoke.
"We owe them something," he told veterans in Salt Lake City (even though his administration tried to shortchange the veterans agency by $1.5 billion). "We will finish the task that they gave their lives for."
What twisted logic: with no W.M.D., no link to 9/11 and no democracy, now we have to keep killing people and have our kids killed because so many of our kids have been killed already? Talk about a vicious circle: the killing keeps justifying itself. [...]