We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, August 6. 2015
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Far too many of the original '60's SJWs forget they might not even have been born if Truman didn't order the use of those weapons: Their fathers would have have been killed or badly wounded in an invasion of Japan.
If there's one thing I fault the "Greatest Generation for, its that they forgot what made them the "Greatest" (hard work and dealing with poverty) and then they spoiled their children rotten; leading to the whole '60's rise against authority. (aided and abetted, of course, by the Lib/Progs who were unwitting tools of the Soviets, as Russian archives clearly establish.)
trashing the greatest generation for how they raised their children is pretty low. they earned several times over the right to raise their kids any damn way they wanted to.
they were "spoiled"?
is this something personal to you???
My uncle fought in the South Pacific in the army. My father in law (who just this week passed away) fought in the PI and on some of the islands. In the summer of 1945 both of them were on a ship destined to invade Japan. Thank god for the atom bomb. It saved millions of American and allied lives and tens of millions of Japanese lives. My best friend married a Japanese woman whose mother was a survivor of Hiroshima. Her (the daughter) story is different, her perspective is different. I respect that and simply don't discuss it with her. I am pretty sure I would view the two bombs in a negative light had I been a Japanese person living in one of those two cities. Much as someone living in Hawaii in 1941 would have a different perspective. But the simple truth is those two bombs saved a lot of lives and quickened the recovery and rebuilding of Japan.
See also: http://www.bookwormroom.com/2012/08/05/yes-it-was-reasonable-to-drop-the-atomic-bomb/
Fussel is usually a good writer, but here, he majorly sucks.
1. the atomic bombings have to be evaluated in the context of the air war against the Japanese home islands, which started with long range B-29 raids in '44. Initially high altitude daylight, precision efforts, they became effective when they d/evolved into low level, nighttime firebombing attacks that were intended to, and did, burn out over 40 cities. a March '45 raid on Tokyo killed more than either atomic bombing, and more than the number killed in the Dresden raid. Overall, around 900,000 casualties during the air campaign. the atomic bombings were among the last of these attacks.
that puts the atomic bombings in context. it was the air war that caused the Japanese to surrender, not the A-bombs by themselves. the ethics should be thoroughly debated and understood and not dismissed out of hand by Fussel's ad hoc bullshit. personally, I think the air war was mostly justified under the circumstances then and now known but with these caveats: where mission planners designated military targets, such as refineries, aircraft factories, even dispersed workshops, civilian deaths even on a mass scale were not the primary intent of the raids. the A bombs... murky waters, especially Nagasaki. the concept of a "just war" predates your Christianity (see, in particular, Augustine and Aquinas who I think are revered by Christians and protestants alike). harm caused to civilians should not be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage of an attack on a legitimate military target. at least that's how I learned it.
2. Fussel's reference to John Kenneth Galbraith belief that the bombs shortened the war by a couple of weeks is deviously wrong. Fussel does not refer to the post-war US Strategic Bombing Survey's evaluation of the air campaign concluded that Japan would have surrendered before an invasion was necessary. so any justification of the A-bomb's use that invokes this reason is bullshit, especially for a historian like Fussel.
3. according to the US military, without the A-bombs (assume Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed conventionally with similar numbers killed), area bombing would have ended the war sometime in November, '45 (that is, Galbraith was wrong in his "three week" assessment and Fussel almost certainly knew that, but wanted a strawman to kick over). so the primary beneficiaries were the Chinese, who had been dying at about 200,000 per month since the war began for them. but the invasion force was not among those saved by the bombs.
4. "thanking God" for weapons of this level of destruction is a gross blasphemy. but then, I'm no Christian.
disclosures: dad, USN '42 - '46, north atlantic, med, south pacific. uncle, USA, KIA, '42, the Philippines. me: peacetime.
My father bailed out of a burning B-24 over France, served about two years in a Nazi prison camp, came home weighing 110-pounds at 6-feet tall, got a month to fatten up on his mother's cooking, then headed to Texas to prepare to invade Japan. The bomb probably saved his life.
the invasion wasn't going to happen, so, no the Bomb didn't save his life.
Is this knowledge you gained sitting the Emperor's table, while discussing it with his senior military advisors?
Or just your usual bombastic (pun intended) BS?
(I vote the latter.)
the Japanese government in August 1945 was a very long way from accepting the unconditional surrender both President Franklin Roosevelt and his successor, Harry Truman, had demanded, and which the vast majority of Americans supported. Time and again, the U.S. military had been proved wrong in its anticipation of a Japanese surrender.
Japanese diplomats may have been keen to call time on Japan’s military adventurism but the die-hards were still intent on victory. Even after Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Soviet declaration of war, Japan’s war minister, Gen. Korechika Anami, suggested, “Would it not be wondrous for the whole nation to be destroyed like a beautiful flower?” Japan’s ultranationalist army leaders had built a death cult that was incomprehensible to Western logic.
Waiting for American soldiers on the shores of Japan’s four main islands were 2.5 million troops plus a vast civilian reserve. Japan had assembled a force of 11,000 planes and thousands of suicide boats to thwart the American invasion and Adm. Onishi, the main architect of the kamikaze campaign, believed victory on land was possible “if we are prepared to sacrifice 20 million Japanese lives.”
As some 12,000 Americans had been killed at the Battle of Okinawa when faced with just 80,000 Japanese troops, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff realistically estimated that the conquest of mainland Japan would cost 267,000 U.S. lives. Meanwhile, the War Department estimated up to 800,000 dead – more than double the American deaths in Europe in World War II. Japanese casualties, based on the universal refusal of their troops to surrender, were estimated at 3 million dead plus 5 million to 10 million civilians.
Presented with these forbidding numbers, no president of a democratically elected country could have spurned the use of the atomic bomb. Not using the bomb would have been greeted with utter incomprehension by nearly all Americans. As Secretary of War Henry Stimson observed, “No man … could have failed to use it [the A-bomb] and afterward have looked his countrymen in the face.”
an op ed piece in the sand iego trib isn't an impressive source for all those wrong statistics.
but nice try.
UNITED STATES STRATEGIC BOMBING SURVEY
1 JULY 1946
The United States Strategic Bombing Survey was established by the Secretary of War on 3 November 1944, pursuant to a directive from the late President Roosevelt. It was established for the purpose of conducting an impartial and expert study of the effects of our aerial attack on Germany, to be used in connection with air attacks on Japan and to establish a basis for evaluating air power as an instrument of military strategy, for planning the future development of the United States armed forces, and for determining future economic policies with respect to the national defense. A summary report and some 200 supporting reports containing the findings of the Survey in Germany have been published. On 15 August 1945, President Truman requested the Survey to conduct a similar study of the effects of all types of air attack in the war against Japan.
The Survey secured the principal surviving Japanese records and interrogated top Army and Navy officers, Government officials, industrialists, political leaders, and many hundreds of their subordinates throughout Japan.
There is little point in attempting precisely to impute Japan's unconditional surrender to any one of the numerous causes which jointly and cumulatively were responsible for Japan's disaster. The time lapse between military impotence and political acceptance of the inevitable might have been shorter had the political structure of Japan permitted a more rapid and decisive determination of national policies. Nevertheless, it seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion.
Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.
if you read the Survey summary, and I'm assuming you won't, you'll discover that the air war that caused the surrender was the long-range bombing offensive from the Marianas initiated in November 1944. you'll also learn that an A-bomb was worth the equivalent of a 200+ B-29 raid using incendiaries and high explosives, and that the air force could and did mount 800 plane raids.
you people focus on the A-bombs because why? history is hard -- the USSB didn't show up in your Ask search-- but atomic weapons have a certain cachet for the Tribune?
conservatives in general can be so dumb. you let libtards allow you to debate whether dropping atomic weapons on a city is moral or immoral (good luck!) by controlling the form of the debate. there's no room for a rebuttal that most of the deaths and destruction and ultimate surrender were caused by conventional bombing, and that the nukes were a part of that campaign.
even you can make a strong case that the air war as a whole was morally justified by military necessity: the necessity to hit factories, oil refineries, transportation hubs, other industrial targets by low level fire bombing because daylight precision bombing was impossible.
there is a huge moral difference that cavemen and modern troglodytes like 5.1.1 will not recognize between (1) intending to bomb aircraft assembly plants where mass death and (2) widespread area destruction results and intending mass death and widespread area destruction. the air war as a whole was more like (1), atomic bombings seen out of the big context are more like (2). one is morally defensible, the other isn't.
needs an editor. key point last paragraph:
there is a huge moral difference that cavemen and modern troglodytes like 5.1.1 will not recognize between (1) intending to bomb aircraft assembly plants where mass death and widespread area destruction results and (2) intending mass death and widespread area destruction.
In fact it was the shock and awe of the nuclear bombs that brought Japan to their knees. It is the ignorance and anti-war belief that requires we deny this fact.
It isn't possible to fight a world war with Marquess of Queensberry rules. It was the destruction of Japans numerous family run war factories that destroyed Japan. It was the firebombing, the nuclear destruction and the elimination of the tens of thousands of Japan's civilian war workers that ended the war. With all those workers traditionally working out of their homes it was impossible to destroy the war machine without destroying the cities.
you're barely ahead of your own strawman. well, not really. wars aren't fought under boxing rules, but they are fought under the 2,500 year concept of just war, expressed now in the Geneva Conventions, which Ask may or may not be aware of in which intentions, proportionality and military necessity are mixed together.
no one here is saying the air war as a whole wasn't morally justified. I find the chest thumping and gloating creepy.
what part of 6.1.1 do you disagree with?
In the early days of WW II we (America) didn't know we would win. It wasn't a game or a chance to show we were more socially advanced than the other guy. It was win by any means or lose with massive death and repression in our homeland. What it sounds like you are saying is once we had Japan on the rocks it would be perfectly OK with you that we sacrifice a million or so of our GIs rather then kill one of their civilians. That is where I disagree. Once you enter war everyone is at risk and everyone is at war. My life as a soldier is just as dear to me as your life as a civilian. The soldiers that fought WW II for our country didn't sign up to be sacrificed because our leaders didn't want to offend anyone. In war and in peace one of the commanders/generals/admirals primary jobs is to protect their men. Sacrificing a million or so fighting men when it could be prevented is stupid.
"Sacrificing a million or so fighting men when it could be prevented is stupid."
you start on the path to enlightenment then you say something this stupid.
the wasn't going to be an invasion. what part of that concept do you not understand?????
There was an invasion and it was moving towards Japan 70 years ago today. There were 2 million Japanese soldiers in uniform prepared to fight the invaders and another 10-20 million civilians being recruited to take their place when they fell. The only thing that convinced the generals and leaders in Japan to accept defeat were two atomic bombs just days apart with every likelyhood that there were more in a continuing stream until they surrendered. The Japanese were not afraid of death with honor and it would have been the greatest possible honor to die defending their own country. They were not the least bit happy with the possibility that they would simply be incinerated in a blinding flash of light with little to no warning. There wan no honor in dying in that way and worse no chance ofbringing death to the enemy with their last breath. The shock and awe of the nuclear bomb defeated them.