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Interesting, and mostly well done but with some revisionist thinking
The segment "The Island War" treats the liberation of the Phillipines as an unnecessary and overly costly (and therefore ill-advised) operation. However, that totally fails to recognize that in war, there are both military and political concerns and that grand strategy requires the consideration of both. War is, quite simply, foreign policy pursued by other means. Therefore, foreign policy has to be considered in the strategy of the war.
Because the USA had a commitment to the Phillipine people as a protectorate, it was politically necessary to return as soon as was humanly possible. MacArthur may have left, but Phillipine guerrillas had been fighting and dying against the Japanese with US supplies and coordination from the very beginning. To ignore a chance to liberate the Phillipines would have been no different than leaving Paris in German hands while liberating Holland and Belgium. It was politically imperative! Likewise, the episode maintained that the "Northern arm" of the Japanese pincer had "only pretended to retreat and under cover of darkness had reversed course..." both Japanese and American accounts, much closer to the event when interviews with actual participants were available, indicated that the Northern force actually intended to retreat and only reversed course following critical comments from the high command.
Halsey had every reason to have believed that the Northern force was less a threat than Ozawa's aircraft carrier force which had just been spotted. Every previous naval victory in WWII had come at the hands of the aircraft carriers, NOT the battleships. When confronted by two enemies... one with a knife and the other with a machine gun, only the fool deals with the knife first! There were American POWs held in the Phillipines. Many were saved during this operation. The civilian casualties were indeed great, but that was the choice of the Japanese occupiers and how many would've died, either of brutality or starvation had the islands been bypassed? The further we get from WWII, the less accurate do the "documentaries" become. You can tell a good story with the films, but unless you have spent years studying the contemporary histories, from both sides... false conclusions will run rampant. As the last of the participants pass from this life, there can be no more "factual" accounts. The eyewitnesses are silent now. Don't just watch, READ, READ, READ the books that were published before 1960.
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