Hmmm... just some more thoughts on the last few posts...
Sunshine said that the United States have a awful burden to carry on this, I think most people would agree to that but would also agree that all the major players in WW2, (and in any other war) have a degree of guilt to work away as well, as also pointed out by others a couple of days ago. Germany is still in the throes of a deep self-analysis, in Japan as well but in a totally, much more subtle way. Cheryl said "the only constant factor on all sides being 'adults being rational'. A mess." which sums up rather well the interplay of international interests.
Both Irina and Fej made the (implicit) distinction between the people and the policies, the individual and the collective, the electorate and the government that is supposed to be representing their interests and how in each case there is a large gap between personal and group behaviour.
Going off into biblical terms, it would be wise to remember that how we judge other people is how we eventually will be judged ourselves. There is no point in accusing the individual for the actions taken by their governments, with the possible exception of the cases when the facts were well known and the populace chose to follow anyway in their own self interest. Looking closer one can see that all too often the population is unaware of the complexities going on through of lack of information or by deliberate misinformation.
Which brings me to the question why these things happen anyway... if a group of people in positions of power, who are sound of mind, collectively decide to act in ways contrary to decent human behaviour, could we perhaps assume that the system of power and decision structures should be open to a lot more scrutiny than is the case at the moment? Would it be fair to assume then that the mechanisms of control either fail abysmally or are at odds with the interests of those who are elected to govern a country who take whatever measures needed to cover up what they are really doing?
OK, off to work now, my brain hurts... hope this is making sense, I'm thinking while I'm writing (and vice versa occasionally) ;-)