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I am not sure what point Hideo Kaito is trying to make in his July 19 letter, “The real battle of civilizations,” but his true motivation — by no means unfamiliar in Japan — seems to be the frantic search for something, anything, to feel superior about. Ah, yes, that triumph of the Eastern spirit over the Western spirit! His glib references to “Western” political and military leaders and their presumed over-reliance on technological factors are shallow and ignorant.

The victories at Kohima-Imphal in Burma, at Guadalcanal, and on the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea, which turned the tide against his own nation, owed just as much to factors of the human spirit as anything else.

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