Sep 1, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 47 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
A foolish optimism about human nature can’t withstand even a nodding acquaintance with history. If you’re of a certain age you may well remember seeing this photo. It was published years ago in Life magazine, among other places. And once seen, it is not easily forgotten. The Scrapbook retrieved the copy reproduced here from the endlessly fascinating World War II Today website, maintained and curated since 2008 by Martin Cherrett (ww2today.com). Here is Mr. Cherrett’s description:
Leonard Siffleet was an Australian Special Forces radio operator, sent to Papua New Guinea to establish a coast watching site monitoring the movements of Japanese forces. He and two Ambonese comrades, H. Pattiwal and M. Reharing, were discovered and detained by local tribesmen loyal to the Japanese. After the Japanese had interrogated them for two weeks, all three were beheaded on Aitape Beach on 24th October. If Yasuno Chikao, the Japanese officer responsible, had not asked a comrade to take a photograph of him wielding the execution sword, it is very unlikely that their exact fate would have been discovered.
For several reasons, our thoughts turned to this photo when the president made his remarks last week about the brutal murder of an American journalist, James Foley, who had been kidnapped in Syria two years ago. It serves as a reminder, as a colleague put it, that this kind of madness is eternal and “not subject to taming by negotiation. It feeds on itself; loves itself.” YouTube may have been invented only recently, but the sick desire of a certain kind of killer to preserve a record of his crime, a trophy if you will, is nothing new. It bespeaks self-confidence, pride, a belief in the glory and rightness of the cause on behalf of which he kills. The swordsman in the photo is a man, you might say, who believes that history is on his side.
The president last week said of Foley’s killer, “people like this ultimately fail. They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy . . .” We might wish that this were the case, but it isn’t. Civilizations are mortal, and many fine ones have been both built and destroyed. Those who built them kept them only as long as they defended them.
Something more will be required to defend our civilization than the belief, woven into this president’s Oval Office rug, that the arc of the universe bends toward justice.
We knew how to deal with an army of Yasuno Chikaos. For the existence of this photo, and the lessons it imparts, we owe thanks to the U.S. Navy and the American GIs who recovered it from a dead Japanese officer less than six months after it was taken. They were part of Operation Reckless, an amphibious landing of an entire U.S. Army corps on New Guinea.
Australia’s doomed effort to kill tobacco sales.Dec 16, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 14 • By P. J. O’ROURKE
I'm sitting at my desk, looking at a photograph of a gangrenous foot. It is a bloated thing in hues of phlegmatic gray rot, sanguine inflammation, melancholic black bile, and choleric open sores—exhibiting all the humors of a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Washington gains a friend in Canberra.Sep 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 03 • By ROSS TERRILL
Canberra has joined Tokyo and other U.S. allies in Asia by electing a conservative government vowing less tax on business, robust defense, support for the United States, and guarded cooperation with China. A big victory in Australia’s national election on September 7 for Tony Abbott’s Liberal-Nationals ends six years of political tumult under Labor.
12:00 AM, Sep 9, 2013 • By FRED BARNES
The victory by hard-nosed conservative Tony Abbott and his Liberal party in Australia’s national election on Saturday may not have lessons for America. But the center-right victory and ouster of the Labor party–it’s the liberal party–makes comparisons between what happened in Australia and American elections worth considering. Here are a few of them:
The debate in Australia over who gets in.Sep 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 01 • By FRED BARNES
A century ago, Australia used a “dictation test” to keep non-whites and selected others from entering the country. It required an immigrant to write 50 words in any language chosen by the customs official who administered the test. The most notorious example occurred in 1934, when a Czech immigrant was told to write a passage in Scottish Gaelic. The test was abolished in 1958.
Hosted by Michael Graham.10:30 AM, Aug 29, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
In this episode of THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast, executive editor Fred Barnes discusses his recent trip to Australia and New Zealand and the his piece on the Australian elections.
Meet Tony Abbott, the likely next prime minister of AustraliaSep 2, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 48 • By FRED BARNES
Absent a stunning reversal of fortune, Tony Abbott is a good bet to be the next prime minister of Australia. He’s the head of the Liberal party, which is expected to capture Parliament from the Labor party in the national election on September 7. In today’s politics, Liberals are misnamed. They’re actually the conservative party in Australia. So if all goes well, Abbott will become one of the world’s leading conservatives.
2:53 PM, Dec 12, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Julian Assange is planning a senate run in Australia as a member of the "WikiLeaks Party," he recently revealed in an interview.
9:34 AM, Aug 5, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
One of the most widely publicized controversies in Australia this week involves former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks. Hicks pled guilty to providing material support for terrorism before a military commission at Gitmo as part of a plea bargain and was repatriated to Australia shortly thereafter in 2007. Hicks and his many advocates have been trying to overturn that plea deal ever since.
1:01 PM, Mar 10, 2011 • By JOHN LEE
As the secretary of the extreme left-wing group Socialist Forum during her student days in the mid 1980s, Australian prime minister Julia Gillard put her name to pamphlets advocating the end of the ANZUS alliance with the United States and the scrapping of the U.S.-Australian Pine Gap military facility in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Crikey!2:43 PM, Aug 23, 2010 • By ADAM BRICKLEY
Australians went to the polls on Saturday to elect a new government, and as Monday morning dawns, they still have no idea who won. Instead, the two major parties fought to a tie, with both falling just shy of a 76-seat parliamentary majority.
Rudd gets the Julius Caesar treatment.
8:36 PM, Jun 23, 2010 • By ADAM BRICKLEY
Faced with a full-fledged collapse in public support, self-declared climate change messiah Kevin Rudd has been ousted as Prime Minister of Australia. With polls now showing a near-certain loss in this year's elections, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) installed Julia Gillard as the country's first female prime minister in hopes of reversing the party's fate.