01 October 2004

During the early months of World War II, when many felt the nation's war machine was running on empty and anxiety hovered over the land of the free, Life magazine published a cover photograph of a Japanese officer with a scimitar raised to behead a kneeling American flier with a cut that was no less gruesome for its swiftness. The photograph haunted the nation for weeks. There was sadness and anger, but no rebukes of FDR, no cries of despair, no mocking of American soldiers that they were fighting "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." The cruelty of the savagery enraged the grown-ups and fortified the fury that redoubled determination to win the war. We must determine again to show our enemies just who we can be, and passing a "global test" of approval be damned. -Wes Pruden

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