Good post Josh. Especially the 'Then why bring it up' part! There are times and places for this discussion like any other... but since the thread starter was wiffling nonsense arbitrary categories and saw his arse about the replies, following up by completely failing to harmonize with anything and throwing his toys out of the pram... let's go for it!
I have to say though, that although in general I agree with your post, Milgrams reductionism is also a form of revisionism. He says that we invent these ideaologies to cover our base instincts, but he doesn't acknowledge the very real harm these ideologies cause in movements especially on emotionally stimulated minds.
I think that's what Roosevelt is on about, and I agree with that part of his assessment. It's a nice intellectual conceit to say idealogy is biding dark urges but is not practical or useful in combatting those ideologies. But... Roosevelt, why are you here? You could answer any question on aikiweb by saying simply 'I don't give a rat's ass after seeing these pictures...' and linking them and that doesn't help either.
Of course we get emotional when seeing horrors like that, which leads us to make knee-jerk blanket observayions like bushido is to blame for Nanking. Yes of course we can argue that prewar nationalists' bushido was a wrong interpretation: but that's wrong... it was just another
interpretation of many ways of thinking: no ideology is fixed.
And to say this
The fact was that "bushido" was promoted in the Japanese army in the WWII. The killing was done by those Japanese.
is further revisionism belying the banality of the killing for most of the people there.
George Ledyard, Don Modesto, excellent posts.
Buut, he was using the lexicon commonly used by people in his time: did he have a chance/will to redefine these terms at this point to completely avoid any misinterpretation by future historians and scholars? No, of course not. Not till later, when he'd made a name for himself and had time and detachment to redefine a lot of the language he was using, when he denounced such ideologies in '42... and that's precisely what he did.
And the fear he felt leading to his absentism to Iwama, if it was, is not necessarily contradicting any opposition to those policies. It may not have been the right thing to do, and the courage to somehow fight against perceived injustice would be preferable especially in a leader/founder of a martial arts movement, but he was only human.