Fighting Today’s Enemies: Take A Lesson from Cary Grant

I’ll never forget the day I had the opportunity to see Pearl Harbor. As the boat made its way out on the water towards the U.S.S. Arizona’s final resting place, it was sobering to think about what all had happened there.

As I sat thinking about that attack on its 75th anniversary this week, in the context of today’s fight against radical Islam, I remembered a line from one of my favorite movies—it’s Cary Grant in “Destination Tokyo,” a film that outlines that secret submarine spy mission in the heart of Tokyo Harbor that paved the way for the U.S. retaliation (see: Doolittle’s Raiders) to Pearl Harbor.

Grant is the submarine’s commander, and he’s giving the boys a pep talk after one of their own was murdered by a downed Japanese pilot they were trying to pull out of the freezing Aleutian waters:

“Mike was with me on my first patrol. He was my friend. I know his family—his wife’s a fine, great-hearted woman. I know his kids. I remember Mike’s pride when he bought the first pair of roller skates for his boy. They were the finest roller skates that money could buy; roller skates for a 5-year-old. 

Well, that Jap got a present too, when he was 5—only it was a dagger. His old man gave him a dagger, so he’d know what he was supposed to be. The Japs have a ceremony that goes with it. At 7, a Jap kid is taking marches under an army instructor. At 13, he can put a machine gun together blindfolded. That Jap started on the road 20 years ago to putting a knife in Mike’s back. 

There are lots of Mikes dying right now. And a lot more Mikes will die… until we wipe out a system that puts daggers in the hands of 5-year-olds. You know… if Mike were here to put it into words now, that’s just about what he died for. More roller skates in this world.  Including some for the next generation of Japanese kids, because that’s the kind of a man Mike was.”

Set lack of political correctness aside here for a minute (yes, I know he called him a “Jap”) and just let Grant’s point sink in.  Japan had its sights set on the world. Japan was a warrior nation; an imperial nation—they did raise their young men to be warriors. And no, there’s nothing wrong with raising strong men, and certainly nothing wrong with learning proper self-defense. Until that is, they signed the “Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, in which they agreed to assist one another should any of them be attacked by a country not already involved in the war.”

Read that again: Imperial Japan aligned with Hitler and Mussolini against the world.

This was a nation whose warriors were so dedicated to the cause of Imperial Japan, ancient codes, and a newly-minted pact with Nazis and Fascists that—much like today’s radical Islamic suicide bombers that pepper the world with their own flesh—they turned their planes into human bombs as Kamikaze pilots. From the Bataan Death March or their torturous, blood-stained POW camps and POW slave labor—long story short, these were not good dudes.

And what was Grant’s point in the movie? You have to defeat the bad dudes if a peaceful existence has any hope at all.

Which brings me to modern day.

It baffles me when I watch certain outlets fume over President-elect Trump’s military choices; choices that reflect dedication to our country’s safety.

“Here Are 9 Things Trump’s National Security Adviser Pick Actually Thinks About Islam,” one article wrote, as it mocked General Flynn’s plea to call the enemy by its name, and his admonition that it’s dangerous to make blanket statements about Islam being a religion of peace.

Or this one: “Trump’s Pentagon Pick Is A Battle-Hardened General Who Likes To Talk About Killing,” which bashed Trump’s selection of General Mattis because he talked about enjoying killing men who abuse women.

Let me pose a few simple questions for you, dear readers, and especially to you aficionados of the aforementioned articles and their ilk:

  1. What belief system is responsible for the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the world?
  2. (see #1) What then would possess us to call that belief system “peaceful”?
  3. What is the military’s job, if not to eliminate (yes, that means kill) the bad guys?

Call me crazy, when you’re watching people treat other human beings the way that the Japanese treated the soldiers at Bataan; the way that the Nazis treated the Jews; the way that Islamic state treats children and women—yes, it must be satisfying (yeah, I said it) on some level to remove that heinousness from humankind.

War IS bloody. It IS unsavory. Just ask the thousands and thousands of vets returning with chronic (and often terminal) PTSD from the things they’ve seen and done.

To the point: as Cary Grant’s character explained in the movie, there’s evil in the world. And we do NOT eliminate murderous, torturous evil by ignoring it, pretending it’s something else, or trembling at the thought of having to actually kill it (while surprisingly showing no concern when it routinely kills others).

We defeat it by calling it what it is, which we can do while recognizing that in doing so we’re not calling all Muslims evil (or all Japanese, or all Germans, or all anyone)

Thank God that we’re finally seeing leadership put in place that actually understands this.

Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Monday-Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. EST). She can be reached at:; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree

2 thoughts on “Fighting Today’s Enemies: Take A Lesson from Cary Grant

  1. Ms. Ramirez,

    I was watching Destination Tokyo on on demand at TCM when Cary Grants words stopped me in my tracks as I was walking tonight.

    I typed them in the google search bar and your post came up. Thank you for your words as I was struck by the movie’s dialogue similarly.

    God Bless You.

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