Imus Takes on 'Tehran Tom' Hanks with Pro-American Historian

Don Imus, for one, is not surprised by Tom Hanks' recent comments calling WWII and the War on Terrorism racist crusades undertaken by the United States.

First brought to his attention by “Imus in the Morning” producer Bernard McGuirk on the show, the remarks were news to the host – just not shocking news.

“Oh darn, what a surprise. We have another panty-wearing liberal dickweed from Hollywood – of course!” Imus told McGuirk.

McGuirk dubbed Hanks “Tehran Tom” for remarks the actor made March 5 on-set of MSNBC to promote “The Pacific,” the HBO mini-series he helped produce.

“Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as 'yellow, slant-eyed dogs' that believed in different gods,” Hanks said. “They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what's going on today?”

Imus then welcomed Hugh Ambrose, the noted historian and author who served as a consultant for “The Pacific.” His take was far different than Hanks'.

Hanks, he said, was correct in one aspect of the comparison. “Certainly al-Qaeda is very different in most respects – I don't want to oversimplify the challenge we face – but in terms of being totally fanatical to the point of suicide, there is a parallel between that and what we faced in Japan. We won once and we're going to win again.”

“Tom Hanks made some comments about the motive of American men, of regarding the Japanese. But it really was just a revenge for Pearl Harbor right?” Imus asked Ambrose.

“Certainly it began with revenge. And as I say it changes over time because what you see then is what's happening to the world under Japanese occupation and you realize that …” Ambrose began. “Certainly racism is a part of it yes and that helps to fuel an anger. But as I've described, it has a deeper cause and one more fundamental.”

Ambrose paid tribute to the valor and compassion of the them men that won the war in the Pacific.

“One of the things that make this compelling is that all of this … we won the peace,” Ambrose reminded everyone. “We won the war – the great courage of those men won that war – but the compassion of the United States won the peace. Japan is our great ally and as we face the challenges of the 21st-century, that is the kind of benchmark, that is the kind of leadership that the United States is capable of.” 

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