Macarthur and Manila
I shared your excellent March 2014 “MacArthur and the Liberation of Manila, 1945,” Hard Choices article, with James Zobel, archivist at the MacArthur Memorial (macarthurmemorial.org) in Norfolk, Va. In addition to the points the article brings out supporting Douglas MacArthur’s decision to liberate the Philippine capital in February 1945, Zobel added these compelling reasons: (1) the December 1944 Palawan Massacre of 141 U.S. prisoners of war by their Japanese captors meant MacArthur had no other choice than to believe all POWs in Manila would soon meet the same fate unless rescued; (2) the entire population of Manila was then on the verge of starvation due to the Japanese shifting the Philippine rice crop to cotton on Panay (the country’s breadbasket) in 1943 – had MacArthur delayed assaulting Manila, the death toll would have been far greater; (3) the claim that because MacArthur closed the ring around the city Japanese defenders had no way to escape and therefore fought to the death is nonsense. The Japanese commander, Iwabuchi, and his marines had no thought of leaving. They were there to teach the Americans a lesson: The closer you get to Tokyo, this is what you will get.
Spain and France in 1805
I am from Argentina, and several years ago I had a subscription to your magazine. Last week I bought the March 2014 issue and found a little-big mistake in the What Next, General? article, “Nelson at Trafalgar, 1805.” Quote: “Napoleon’s conquest of Spain has allowed France. …” In 1805, Spain and France were allied against England. The actual “Spanish War of Independence” began in 1808. I think that is a big mistake not because of the date problem but because I think that there is no navy in history that serves the invader with the sailors and captains of the conquered country. I like your magazine and will try to be subscribed again in the near future.
EDUARDO DE NUCCI
Ike Under Fire
I just finished reading “Eisenhower Under Fire, 1944- 45,” in the January 2014 issue and I loved it. Jerry D. Morelock’s article does a fantastic job in narrating how the brilliant diplomat-warrior worked around the infighting among the Allies – with dignity and a firm hand. The cover photo seems to depict a calm, “under fire” Ike (before a prickly, in-your-face Monty) quietly saying to himself: “Go ahead. Poke me with that finger and I’ll have my enforcer (Ike’s chief of staff, ‘Beetle’ Smith) put a permanent change in that long nose of yours.”
Your “Eisenhower Under Fire” article was RIGHT ON TIME!! We were doing a case study in class on Eisenhower leading Allied forces in Europe the January 2014 issue arrived. I use it in class to illustrate our case study.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL (Ret.)
EDWIN L. KENNEDY
U.S. ARMY COMMAND AND
GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE
Put the Boys In!
Kudos to Jack Mountcastle on his excellent March 2014 Battle Studies article, “Put the Boys In!” The majority of the Virginia Military Institute cadets killed and wounded at New Market were from the then Rat (freshman) class of 1867. In my class of 196 my Brother Rats Jimmy Breckinridge, Dick Stanard and a couple of others were direct descendants of the men and boys who fought that day.
PHILIP J. GARIOIA
PRESIDIO OF SAN FRANCISCO, CA
I was reading the March 2014 Battlefield Leader article, “Manteuffel: Germany’s Panzer Baron,” and it said that on the Eastern Front in May 1944 while serving with the Grossdeutschland Division, Manteuffel had to fight Soviet IS-3 (“Stalin”) tanks. IS-3 tanks never saw action in World War II; the IS-1 and IS-2 did. So I think that must have been a typo.
Richard N. Armstrong, the author of the March 2014 Battlefield Leader article, has confirmed that Murphy is correct. We apologize for not catching that mistake.
OEF and Post-U.S. Afghanistan
Regarding Colonel (Ret.) William Wenger’s analysis on the Afghan situation in the March 2014 Special Feature article, “Operation Enduring Freedom and Post-U.S. Afghanistan”:
I traveled in Afghanistan in 2008, 2009 and 2012. First, mainly in Kabul and environs, then cross-country in a minibus from Kabul to Mazare-Sharif to Herat and places in between, and finally, in the Wakhan Corridor, that tit of land more Tajikistan than Afghanistan. It was a different picture each time and place. Kabul more of a city-state, the countryside as it had been for centuries, and the Wakhan having little but name in common with the rest of the country. And these were the peaceful parts of the country.
I agree with both Wenger and Bing West (also Rory Stewart, a British member of parliament very familiar with the country) in their analyses of the International Forces’ efforts to nation-change. I greatly enjoy your magazine and hope you continue to ask the hard questions about our military operations, past and present.
JO RAWLINS GILBERT
PALO ALTO, CA
Originally published in the July 2014 issue of Armchair General.