2 April 2009 Main Posts the savagery of the Pacific War Jeff Sparrow Nearly got the whole issue online now — and apparently it’s OK to put the Bob Ellis piece up, too, which I’ll do tomorrow. Anyway, I wanted to draw attention to Tom O’Lincon’s polemic about the war in the Pacific during the Second World War. It begins like this: Humour is revealing. Here is a joke from the Pacific War, related by three infantry veterans: Typical of the laconic humour of the times was the story about the wounded Jap who said to the Aussie, in a sarcastic tone, ‘You think you’re going to be home for Christmas’ to which the digger replied, ‘And you think you’re going to hospital!’ The point, of course, is that the prisoner will be killed. This real or imaginary anecdote, drawn from old diggers’ memoirs, will evoke unease in anyone used to the edifying stories we usually hear about the Second World War. Our first thought might be that such episodes were shocking exceptions. They were not. Elsewhere the same authors tell of finding enemy soldiers asleep and disposing of them in their blankets. Peter Medcalf writes of one battle: ‘We took no prisoners, or wounded.’ Regarding another, he describes his mate shooting sleeping Japanese soldiers after voicing a cheerful: ‘Wakey, wakey.’ Ken Clift writes that after a victory at Oivi, ‘very few of the enemy escaped. Many surrendered and were exterminated …’ Lest there be any doubt about his meaning, Clift adds: ‘Enemy wounded were shot on the spot after our own wounded were evacuated …’ Read the full article here. Jeff Sparrow Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland. More by Jeff Sparrow Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 11 November 202211 November 2022 Main Posts On the last day of Subscriberthon, our amazing online editor gives you one last (very good) reason to subscribe Editorial team What's in store for the last day of Subscriberthon? First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202210 November 2022 Main Posts On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, our favourite editor-duo give you reason #1002 to subscribe to Overland Editorial team What's in store for the second-last day of Subscriberthon?