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Wednesday, November 12, 2003

PBS: Bridge on the River Kwai

I saw your show tonight. Interesting, but it didn't answer my one big question: did the Hollywood movie have any basis in reality? i.e. was there any kind of commando team sent in to blow up any of the bridges? Or were all the attacks from the air? Did the Allied prisoners stage a strike? Did the locomotive plunge dramatically off the destroyed bridge into the river? Strike that last question. The one thing I learned was that the bridge in the movie wasn't built using the same construction techniques as the real bridge on the River Kwai, but it appeared to be similar to other bridges on this railway line.
A little more geography would have been nice. Like what did the railway line connect? If it was such a good thing for the Japanese, why did it fall into disuse? Did it ever operate after the war? Did it ever operate during the war?
While I'm at it. I have another question. I'm curious as to why you differentiate between "us" and "them". Is it a tribal thing? A marketing thing? A racial thing? A political thing? The show focused almost exclusively on the 16,000 Allied deaths, and just mentions at the end the 80,000 Asian deaths. That's almost 100,000 PEOPLE.
I see the same thing in the my local newspaper ("The Oregonian"). They report every single American death in Iraq in headlines on the front page, but hardly ever do I see any mention of how many Iraqi's died. They are people too, aren't they? What gives? We killed some large number of Iraqi's in the first war with Iraq. I've heard rumors of 100,000 to 300,000, and that barely got a mention.

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