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If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)


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Not Exactly from the Dispatches of Edward R. Murrow
By JOHN STENGEL - July 2004

From the "what if" category

Dan Rather, March 1942 - "Good evening. German submarines took a heavy toll in the Atlantic and the Japanese fleet, roaming the Pacific seemingly at will, ravaged the remnants of the U.S. Asiatic fleet in the East Indies.

"There are some who will say that this war looks more and more like a quixotic and ill-conceived venture and that we should concede to the Axis their legitimate territorial claims. Experts point out the overwhelming technical and motivational superiority of Axis forces. When one considers the imminent and inevitable closing of the Atlantic by the U-boats and the fact that there can be no hope for an American fleet standing up to the Japanese for at least 18 months, they may-well be right..

"Our setbacks force us to turn a moral mirror on ourselves. Are we perhaps getting our just desserts? Though rumors of Japanese atrocities are heard, they are as unsubstantiated as recently discredited stories of a Japanese massacre of 300,000 Chinese civilians at Nanking. What really counts is that Asians now rule Asia

"Maybe, some say, it is best that we will soon be unable to resupply Great Britain, as its consequent fall will also bring down its hated empire. Prime Minister Churchill's bull-headed opposition to change has brought his people much unnecessary misery, in this increasingly popular view.

"The Roosevelt administration has been greatly embarrassed by leaks of a plan to occupy Japan after an improbable American victory and to impose democracy on its unwilling populace. Informed sources say this plan reveals an arrogant and naive misunderstanding of Eastern culture and risks offending Asian sensibilities.

"Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin of Montana, who voted against the war declaration, bids to become a rallying point for growing discontent; she may become the conscience of the nation. Are you listening, Mr. Roosevelt and General Marshall?

"Finally, our thoughts tonight are with, our fighting men and their doubts as to the justice of their efforts. Perhaps, some say, they would be better off at home battling true injustices, Understanding and tolerance of the hopes and dreams of the German and Japanese nations, together with recognition of our many mistakes, may be the answer to their prayers."

First published as a
"Readers' Turn To Write
"
The Times Herald, Olean, New York
(Mr. Stengel lives in Friendship, NY)

 


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