Did this read to you like a description of the U.S. "war on terror" in Afghanistan, or perhaps Iraq? It did to me, but that's not the subject described here. This paragraph recounts the behavior of Japanese forces invading and subjugating China in the 1930's. See the bottom of the post to read the original paragraph.
Apparently armies that consider themselves superior to those they conquer tend to indulge in similar excesses toward the defeated -- unless some wiser authority enforces better behavior.
But it doesn't have to be that way ...
Ulrich Strauss, a retired U.S. diplomat long resident in Japan, has published a rich account of the interior struggles of the few Japanese who became prisoners of U.S. forces during the Pacific conflict in World War II. Its title, The Anguish of Surrender, refers to the Japanese soldiers' strongly held conviction that they must never allow themselves to be captured -- to do so would be the ultimate betrayal of their country. Yet despite this belief, a few were taken prisoner. And because their captors rapidly figured out that good treatment by Japanese speaking interrogators would melt their resistance, these POWs frequently provided useful intelligence to U.S. forces.
The U.S.-Japanese war was a brutal and racist conflict. For more on this, see historian John Dower's War Without Mercy. Each side thought the other racially inferior.
Yet U.S. military leaders understood that humane treatment of prisoners benefited their forces. They restrained troops who might have executed enemies and chose to obey the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war even though Japan famously was violating these norms. And restraint paid off, in a shorter war and a peace in which the defeated could recover their self-respect and dignity.
Here's the paragraph quoted above with the blanks filled in.