Sunday, August 7, 2011

Reactions to the Truth About Atomic Bombings Nearly 70 Years Later

Yesterday, I posted an article filled with quotes from high ranking US and Allied military leaders about their misgivings of the atomic bombing of Japan both before and after he event. I even posted quotes from Douglas MacArthur the top US Commander in Asia and Dwight D. Eisenhower the Supreme Allied Commander and former two time US president in that article.

Eisenhower was firmly against the bombings, MacArthur wasn't even consulted and many others were firmly against. Read that article, "Why did the USA drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima?" here.

Even so, I got several comments and emails that completely missed the point and accused me of revisionism and called me not nice names (I've deleted those - if I want be be called names, I'll talk to my kids).... Besides the usual, "But they attacked us first!" nonsense that is the level of 5-year-old school yard argument that has fallen by the wayside from serious defenders of the bombings, some still think this and wrote that. I've deleted those too.

Remind me again of who this woman 
and child attacked in China or the USA?

As far as the "But they attacked us first" argument, here is a snippet from an article that I researched and wrote that appeared on Lew Rockwell in 2005 called "Dying for the emperor? No Way":

Japan attacked the United States first.

If you mean that the Japanese bombed the military base of Pearl Harbor, before the US bombed the Japanese, then this is a difficult question to answer (see #1 below). If you mean that Japan committed acts of war against the United States first, then the answer is a definitive, "No!" The United States committed at least two acts of war under international law against Japan before December 7, 1941. 

They were:
    1. US military pilots — 40 from the Army Air Corps and 60 from the US Navy and Marine Corps — in a clandestine operation organized by and funded by the Whitehouse — flying bombing missions against Japanese forces in the famed Flying Tigers as early as 1937. These people did “volunteer” to fly for the Flying Tigers but they were paid employees of the US government. US pilots flying bombing missions for the Chinese was an act of war under international law by America against Japan. Even with the weak argument that these professional military men were “volunteers” (when they were actually sent by the US government), under international law, a nation is responsible for the actions of its nationals. To claim otherwise is hypocritical and completely irresponsible.

    2. US initiated oil embargo against Japan. This is unquestionably an act of war under international law. The US was also totally hypocritical on this point as they forced the British and the Dutch to uphold the embargo, yet secretly allowed Japan oil from the United States as a way to spy on Japanese shipping. See: Day of Deceit by Robert Stinnett.
    Counting the above two, then President Roosevelt had a total of eight plans to incite hostilities with the Japanese. The rest, as they say "is history." There are a great many excellent books and articles on what really happened in World War II. The serious student (and professor) would do themselves and their country good to seek out the truth. Things are not as black and white as US public schooling and US history books would lead us to believe. The true causes of the Pacific War were the clash of the US empire in Asia and the Japanese empire. 

    Of course, the next important point to consider here is that Pearl Harbor was a military base. Hiroshima was a civilian city. Under international law, attacks on military bases are not crimes. Attacks on civilian targets were and still are war crimes.

    Some other readers sent messages that, today, are actually the reason I am posting. Their arguments about my post yesterday are painfully inadequate and ill conceived. Here are two. First from a US citizen:

    "Seriously Mike? Keep in mind that revisionist views of history usually cause bad things to be repeated. What do you suppose the Chinese view of this perspective would be?"

    Seriously? What sort of convoluted logic is it that takes the discussion of bombing a civilian city with a nuclear weapon into the "well they deserved it!" argument. How is this logical? Are you saying that the women and children of Hiroshima committed war crimes in China? Extraordinary!

    The insinuation here is that the atomic bombings of Japan are, in some sort, of revenge for China. Let me quote what the great historian Ralph Raico has to say about that in a quote from his book, "Hiroshima and Nagasaki":

    Great controversy has always surrounded the bombings. One thing Truman insisted on from the start: The decision to use the bombs, and the responsibility it entailed, was his. Over the years, he gave different, and contradictory, grounds for his decision. Sometimes he implied that he had acted simply out of revenge. To a clergyman who criticized him, Truman responded, testily:
    Nobody is more disturbed over the use of Atomic bombs than I am but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them.
    Such reasoning will not impress anyone who fails to see how the brutality of the Japanese military could justify deadly retaliation against innocent men, women, and children. Truman doubtless was aware of this, so from time to time he advanced other pretexts. On August 9, 1945, he stated: "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians."
    Seriously. This argument is so bad and illogical, that it would be nice to end it forever. If, say, in my commenter's post, I were to use the very same logic it would run like this: 
    Japan had been at war with China since 1931 (well, actually, in recent times, on and off since 1894). If the USA were so concerned with Japanese actions in China, then why didn't they intervene earlier?
    Secondly, taking it to an even more ridiculous extreme:
    Japan had been at war with China on and off since 1894; continuously since 1931. The USA didn't intervene. But in early 1941, when the USA committed an oil embargo against Japan (an act of war under international law)... Japan had no choice but to attack the USA at Pearl Harbor. After all, what did the Japanese think about millions of native American Indians getting wiped out by US federal forces over the past 100 years - the most recent was a massacre at Wounded Knee in 1895 - where US forces exterminated nearly 300 native men, women and children? 
    See? This argument doesn't hold water at all. What happened in China doesn't justify incinerating women and children. People, especially American people, deserve the title of Boobus Americanus if, after all this time of being lied to by our government, cannot see that they've been snookered. 
    The next comment is just plain sad. She wrote:
    "It's strange that it's not mentioned how many lives were massacred outside of Japan and my country suffered under the Japanese occupation. As for the dropping of the bombs, it remains controversial." 

    No. It's not strange that the article doesn't mention Japanese atrocities. This was not an article about Japanese invasion and occupation. This was an article about use of a weapon of mass destruction on a civilian population.

    If you want to read articles filled with vitriol that justify your racism and feelings for revenge, then, you've come to the wrong place. If you want to deal with those feelings, I'd suggest a counselor.

    As a people, we're supposed to be getting smarter than the people of the past. When will people learn that it's not that country versus us. It is us versus our government. We as a people are supposed to be getting more forgiving and understanding to each other. 

    The children are not guilty of the crimes of the parents. Racism, sexism and homophobia should not have anyplace in society today.

    Frankly speaking, to the lady who wrote the comment above, I want to say, "Your racism is showing. It's 2011, get out of the 1940's." 

    One more guy claimed that the bombings saved millions of lives: 

    "I knew people that were part of our first occupying force in Japan. Even after the war ended, the japanese police were still hacking apart their own citizens that were happy the war was over.... Every single person I knew that was there, in actual combat, said they believed millions more people would have died if we had invaded." 

    The idea that there was some sort of revolution against US occupation is not steeped in reality. In another Lew Rockwell article concerning this sort of propaganda, this time concerning Iraq, as some US commentators claimed such in early 2005 when the Iraq revolt was just getting off the ground. From Darkest before the Dawn:

    I have heard before Rush Limbaugh claiming that Japan and Germany had a post-war insurrection. I do not want to make any claims about Germany — a subject that I am not well versed in — but I do consider myself much more of an expert on Japan than Rush Limbaugh or just about any person on American TV or radio and I can tell you for a fact: No postwar insurrection in Japan.

    Which is it for Rush Limbaugh? Is he shamelessly lying or is he just ignorant on Japan's history and knows that no one will call him on it? Well, Mr. Limbaugh, I'm calling you on it now.

    I have even heard Fox TV's Bill O'Reilly make the statement that "Postwar Iraqi is going better than Postwar Japan." With the insinuation that Japan's insurrection was worse than Iraq's.

    Which is it for Bill O'Reilly? Is he lying again or is he just ignorant on Japan's history and knows that no one will call him on it? Well, Mr. O'Reilly, I'm calling you on it now.

    Today, for the third time in the last few months, I heard this blatant lie — sans challenge to its validity — being made on CNN as Larry King interviewed a guest during his coverage of the Presidential Inauguration. I'm sorry, I didn't catch the name of the young man who made this absurd assertion, but he was wrong. There was no insurgency in Japan after the war. To claim that there was is out-and-out fabrication.

    Which is it for CNN? Are they blatantly lying or are they just ignorant on Japan's history and knows that no one will call them? Well, CNN, I'm calling you on it now.

    I have searched for months through Japanese language documentation and haven't found one single piece of evidence that there ever was any political violence against the U.S. occupation in Japan after World War II. There absolutely was no postwar insurrection in Japan.

    Here are the facts from USA Today:

    Iraq: 14-month occupation scheduled to end June 30 [2004]. Iraqis are to hold elections no later than Jan. 31, 2005, and write a constitution by the end of 2005. Occupation troops are attacked daily. There was no formal surrender by the former regime.

    Japan: Adopted a constitution 15 months after the war ended, and put it into effect in May 1947. There was no postwar insurgency. Japan formally surrendered and was much more badly damaged than Iraq after the war.

    Germany: Took three years to write a constitution and four years to hold elections. There was almost no postwar insurgency. Also badly damaged after the war and formally surrendered.
    Certainly, from reading the above, it seems to me that I am not the one who is guilty of revisionism, but the one who is guilty of disseminating facts... Perhaps someone could show me where I am wrong.

    Addendum! Excellent article today from the Boston Globe: 

    Why did Japan surrender?

    Sixty-six years ago, we dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. Now, some historians say that’s not what ended the war.

    ".... a highly respected historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara - has marshaled compelling evidence that it was the Soviet entry into the Pacific conflict, not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that forced Japan’s surrender. His interpretation could force a new accounting of the moral meaning of the atomic attack. It also raises provocative questions about nuclear deterrence, a foundation stone of military strategy in the postwar period. And it suggests that we could be headed towards an utterly different understanding of how, and why, the Second World War came to its conclusion.

    “Hasegawa has changed my mind,” says Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” “The Japanese decision to surrender was not driven by the two bombings.”

    More: Why did Japan surrender?

    Thanks to Michael Di Stacio of Rock Challenge Japan


    Murasaki Shikibu said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Murasaki Shikibu said...

    My first post was way too long. Here's the short version.

    Growing-up in the Philippines during the 60s and the 70s, I was pretty much taught that the Americans were a force for good and the Japanese and Germans were minions of Satan. I was also taught that European colonization brought light to Asia as they brought Christianity to a benighted backward area of the world.

    WWII was all about the forces of evil and good clashing in some fantastic display and of course the forces of good won, because there is a God.

    The real reasons for colonization for any country were not really discussed or took a back seat to this good versus evil scenario. They were unimportant details in the big picture. :)

    I was mislead into thinking during my formative years that no American soldiers ever raped women nor did they ever kill anyone who didn't deserve it.

    In fact they did such a good job of brainwashing me I was afraid to go back to my country, because the Japanese terrified me.