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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Real Days of Infamy

Today is the 69th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, one of President Harry Truman's acts of mass murder against Japan in August 1945. Some 90,000-166,000 individuals were killed. The anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing (39,000-80,000 human beings killed) is August 9. (It has come to my attention that the U.S. military bombed Tokyo on Aug. 14--after destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki and after Emperor Hirohito expressed his readiness to surrender.)

There isn't much to be said about those unspeakable atrocities against civilians that hasn't been said many times before. The U.S. government never needed atomic bombs to commit mass murder. Its "conventional" weapons have been potent enough. (See the earlier firebombing of Tokyo.) Nor did it need the bombs to persuade Japan to surrender; the Japanese government had been suing for peace. The U.S. government may not have used atomic weapons since 1945, but it has not yet given up mass murder as a political/military tactic. Presidents and presidential candidates are still expected to say that, with respect to nuclear weapons, "no options are off the table."

Mario Rizzo has pointed out that Americans were upset by the murder of 3,000 people on 9/11 yet seem not to be bothered that "their" government murdered hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in two days. Conservatives, ironically, were among the earliest critics of Truman's acts of mass murder.

As Harry Truman once said, "I don't give 'em hell. I just drop A-bombs on their cities and they think it's hell." (Okay, he didn't really say that, but he might as well have.)

Rad Geek People's Daily has a poignant post here. Rad says: "As far as I am aware, the atomic bombing of the Hiroshima city center, which deliberately targeted a civilian center and killed over half of the people living in the city, remains the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of the world."

Other things to read: Anthony Gregory’s “Hiroshima, Nagasaki, andthe US Terror State,”  David Henderson’s “Remembering Hiroshima,” and G.E.M. Anscombe's "Mr. Truman's Decree."

Finally, if you read nothing else on this subject, read Ralph Raico's article here.

[A version of this post appeared previously.]


Jim said...

You are deluded. The Japanese were warned about the destructive power of the atomic bomb and they chose not to surrender (presumably because it was dishonorable to surrender). After the first bomb was dropped did the Japanese see they were in a no-win situation? NO! They still refused to surrender until the second bomb was dropped.

The fact is that there were still hundreds of thousands of casualties left to happen between the US and Japan. Simple math would tell you that as terrible as those bombs were, they saved thousands of lives - many but not all of them were American.

I can sympathize with you. After all, you claim to be a Palestinian so you must have a very hard time putting thoughts together in a way that relates to cause and effect. I guess if you are supporting the side that promotes genocide, that militarizes their hospitals, schools, and children and then claims that they are being killed (even after the Jews warn them that an attack in that ares is coming) it makes sense that you would side with the murderous regime in Japan.

Ross said...

@Jim- So arguing against the indiscriminate slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians is "siding with a murderous regime"? You're not much one for critical thinking are you?

Instead, you just take the canned Truman Defense Dept. argument that slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians would undoubtedly, 100% guaranteed have saved thousands of more. Thanks for the foresight, Nostradamus.

Here's some more "Japan sympathizers" as you'd no doubt label them:

"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

- William Leahy, Harry Truman's Chief of Staff- I Was There, pg. 441.

"...in [July] 1945... Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. ...the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.

"During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude..."

- Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate For Change, pg. 380

In a Newsweek interview, Eisenhower again recalled the meeting with Stimson:

"...the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing."

- Ike on Ike, Newsweek, 11/11/63

But by all means, you certainly know better than these gentlemen. Either that or you're a sociopath.