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August 05, 2005

Comments

Factory

No doubt supporters of suicide bombers also give similar justifications, but it still doesn't change the fact that a load of civilians got blown up.

Abiola Lapite

Yes, we all know that suicide bombers and the USAF under Truman are morally equivalent ...

John

Great post.

ivan

With each month's passing hundreds of thousands civilians in victim countries (countries attacked by Japan) were dying. Everything that could shorten the war, saved those lives, the really innocent ones.

Abiola Lapite

It's funny how little attention is paid to the sufferings of all those Koreans, Chinese, Burmese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Singaporeans and others who were dying under Japanese rule, isn't it? Only Japanese casualties seem to matter to those who want to make the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki out as terrible crimes, and even they don't explain how either a full-scale invasion or a blockade of Japan, both of which would have resulted in *millions* of Japanese deaths, are more "humane" than what actually happened.

Factory

"Yes, we all know that suicide bombers and the USAF under Truman are morally equivalent ..."
No, killing many thousands of civilians compared to killing tens of civilians is of course not equivilant.

"they don't explain how either a full-scale invasion or a blockade of Japan, both of which would have resulted in *millions* of Japanese deaths"
Well since we don't have crystal balls we don't know what would have happened, one could ponder what the US would have done if the jp goverment had not surrendered when they did.

Abiola Lapite

"No, killing many thousands of civilians compared to killing tens of civilians is of course not equivilant."

This is so mind-bogglingly stupid I'm at a loss for words ...

dsquared

I'm not surprised you're at a loss for words; you've been called quite astutely on what is very obviously a case in which you've decided to use exactly the same "root cause"/"chickens coming home to roost" language that you excoriate in others. Then you've decided to hide behind an irrelevant "moral equivalence" argument.

(it's also worth noting that you've managed to conjure up a degree of moral certainty possessed by absolutely none of the men who actually developed and dropped the nuclear bombs, not even Teller. kudos i suppose)

Abiola Lapite

"you've been called quite astutely on what is very obviously a case in which you've decided to use exactly the same "root cause"/"chickens coming home to roost" language that you excoriate in others"

Utter rubbish. This argument says a lot more about your mindset than it does about me: in what sick world view is Japan's elimination of 10-15 million Chinese and Koreans equivalent to anything America's doing in the world?

"it's also worth noting that you've managed to conjure up a degree of moral certainty possessed by absolutely none of the men who actually developed and dropped the nuclear bombs, not even Teller. kudos i suppose"

Whatever. As if this establishes anything at all - I'm supposed to be plagued by self-doubt because some famous scientist supposedly was? B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.

PS: Oh, and for the record, Edward Teller had neither the Magic transcripts nor graphic reports of what the Japanese were doing in Asia to refer to, but I do, so it isn't even obvious that he would have engaged in hand-wringing of the sort you think so praiseworthy if he were in my shoes.

Jim

Two really dishonest assertions always come up in these discussions of the morality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The first is the pious wailing about "innocent civilians". Being a civilian does not make you innocent if you devote your every effort to the war. That was the case in Japan for most of the population. The devotion was pretty deep in places like Okinawa, where mothers tied their babies to them and leapt off cliffs rather than surrender. The "cabinet of fanatics" could never have waged that war all on their own. At some point civilians have to be regarded as citizens responsible for the actions of their own governments. Noncomabatants are another matter and clearly they are off limits, but being a civilian does not necessarily make you a noncombatant.

The second dishonest meme that turns up over and over is the notion that the Us should have been willing to sacrifice any number of the lives of its own military if that would have spared some civilian lives. This is bigortry dressed up as piety. Why are military lives worth less than civilian lives. Of course I know that throughout history breeders' lives have been valued higher than men's lives, but long habit doesn't make something any less bigoted.

Abiola Lapite

One could do worse than look at the following page to get a taste of what an invasion of Japan's home islands would have been like, only on a much, much bloodier scale:

http://b-29s-over-korea.com/Japanese_Kamikaze/Japanese_Kamikaze12.html

Even leaving out the cost on the American side, many more Japanese died on Okinawa alone than did in the bombing of Hiroshima.

Jim

"many more Japanese died on Okinawa alone than did in the bombing of Hiroshima."
True, and more dies in the fire bombings, especially in Tokyo. So then what is the special significance of Hiroshima? I think it has to do with the nuclear weapons aspect. It might look as thoughthe Japanese concentrate on this because the Americans are sensitive to criticism on the subject, but in all these years I as an American have never gotten the sense that it was the Japanese accusing us; I always thought the noise came from other Americans. Genreally the Japanese give the impression of hardly caring about what foreigners think unless it involves market resource into what customers want. I get the sense that the interpretation of Hiroshima in Japan is pacifist.

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