Author Topic: 8-06: never forget  (Read 6608 times)

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Offline Andrew A.

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8-06: never forget
« on: August 06, 2010, 08:52:57 AM »
Quote
This is from the brilliant 2007 documentary by Steven Okazaki "White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki".
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0911010/

Some Hiroshima survivors were flown to the US in 1955 to get plastic surgery for wounds they received when the atomic bomb was dropped. Among them was Shigeko Sasamori, who was interviewed for the film.

At the time, the leader of the mission, Kiyoshi Tanimoto, was featured on the TV show "This Is Your Life" where he met Captain Robert A. Lewis, the co-pilot of the Enola Gay, the plane that bombed him.


This documentary is highly recommended.
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Offline Ed

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2010, 06:32:00 AM »
It was a tragic situation all around - war is never a good thing.  It is sometimes a neccessary evil when all else fails. 
 
I hope to find some time to see the documentary.
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Offline Andrew A.

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 08:32:41 AM »
I do not subscribe to evil ever being necessary.  :-\
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
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Offline Ryan

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 09:54:34 AM »
It may never be necessary but, if one is attacked, the least bad of all alternatives may be self defense through force.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2010, 11:18:03 AM »
More likely, it is the result of human error.  Japan had already been all but defeated - they had been essentially finished off by the brutal firebombing - and was ready to surrender without a bloody invasion, dropping atomic bombs on civilian targets was not about military strategy with respect to Japan.  See The Fog of War, an outstanding documentary that I have heard touted as one of the most realistic films about war by a panel that included both a filmmaker behind Band of Brothers and a West Point instructor and which touches on this topic. 
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Offline Ryan

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2010, 12:12:09 PM »
Oh, don't get me wrong. I was saying that war, as a necessary evil, is sometimes the least bad of all options when attacked. As for this specific act, there are a lot of reasons to believe that it was not necessary. What was known and by whom at the time the decision was made is something that is hard to determine but, regardless of the conditions "on the ground" at the time of the bombing, using such lethal force on such densely packed civilian communities at least in retrospect and from my perspective comes across as an unnecessary use of excessive force.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 09:31:56 PM »
McNamara and LeMay knew at the time that the bombing (fire and atomic) was on the level of war crime. 


Watch the film, it becomes quite clear that war is simply a result of failed diplomacy.
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Offline Ed

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2010, 08:21:10 AM »
The Japanese were not ready to surrender - children as young as ten were being taught to use spears in school.  Also, the Japanese culture at the time honored death above surrender.
 
I look at it this way - If the Japanese did not bomb Pear Harbor, Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have never been bombed.  Nor, for that matter, would there have been the tragic fire bombing of Tokyo.
 
A nation that valued death as a means of honor over losing a fight or surrendering, a nation that was using the schools to teach young children how to spear invading armies, a nation that viewed their emperor as a god, a nation that drew first blood - was not ready to surrender.  In the Japanese culture surrender was an act of cowardice only reconciled through suicide (Hari Kari).  NO - they were not ready to surrender.
 
A land invasion was estimated to cost up to 2,000,000 allied lives - the world was tired of war and the allied countries had lost millions upon millions of lives already.
 
It is so easy to sit back today and say what you would do or how you would handle the same situation - but I guarantee that you would not act in the same manner with what you know and think in 2010 versus what you would have known and thought in 1944.
 
Instead of looking back and stating that those were war crimes or should have been war crimes - let us look instead at what the world should have learned.
 
1.  Never appease a dictator.
2.  Never allow rouge nations to overrun those around them.
3.  Never allow human rights to be trampled.
4.  Never allow any government to overstep the bounds of their own high laws.
   
It is sad that so many fellow human beings died throughout all of WWII.  Hopefully lessons were learned but I don't think that they were.
 
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Offline Andrew A.

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2010, 08:43:01 AM »
The key difference being that Pearl Harbor was in fact not a civilian target, it was a purely military target.  Tokyo, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima (among dozens of other Japanese cities) were truly anything but -- they were almost exclusively civilian targets, which is terrorism and not war.  Saying that Japan "drew first blood" is a simplistic and inaccurate view regarding the response -- I question the source of the estimate you provide, as well.  The proportionality is completely lost, the U.S. bombing was war crime and the guys in charge of it at the time were well aware that it was immoral even in the context of war.  As McNamara puts it, why was it necessary to drop the atomic bomb if LeMay was burning up half of Japan?  The great majority of the damage had already been inflicted prior to Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  Watch the film (starting around 39:30 for just the proportionality lesson), learn the eleven lessons from a bright mind that actually lived it.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 08:45:33 AM by Andrew A. »
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Offline Ed

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2010, 08:52:50 AM »
It was sadly the power of the atomic bomb that finally convinced Japan that they had no choice.
 
Again, if the Japanese had not attcked the United States whether a military or civilian target - there would have been no atomic bombings on their nation.
 
They attacked Pear Harbor in hopes of taking that as their base to attack the mainland.  The harshities the Japanese would have brought on the civilians is appearant in the way they treated all of their prisoners of war.  They were brutal.
 
Do you know about the incindiary (fire bomb) air balloons that the Japanese tried to use on the US?  The Japanese tried to fire bomb our cities as well - only they failed.
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Offline Andrew A.

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2010, 09:37:37 AM »
It was sadly the power of the atomic bomb that finally convinced Japan that they had no choice.
  Cite the source for this contention.  Apologists for the Truman administration have made the claim for years (history is written by the victors) yet the real insiders seem to claim otherwise.  McNamara, who was heavily involved, knows that Japan was already horribly crippled prior to Hiroshima/Nagasaki.  Fact is, the atomic bombings were essentially about demonstrating military might to the U.S.S.R., showing off a new weapon at the expense of civilian life.

You are confusing possibility with reality, what might have happened for what actually did happen.  Killing Japanese civilians at that number did not prevent Japan from invading and killing U.S. civilians.  Then there were the Japanese internment camps in the U.S., making our own peaceful citizens prisoners simply because they had Japanese ancestry.

Your rationale used to justify the fire-bombings and atomic-bombings in Japan could easily be equally applied to the terrorist attacks of 9-11. 
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline Ed

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2010, 10:02:43 AM »
I agree that Hiroshima was picked becuase it would amplify the effect of the bomb - so it was a show of power.  I have read that it was a primary target becuase of a handful of factories, but that the mountains on the one side of the city would amplify the shock wave - thereby causing more destruction.
 
The internment camps were wrong and were a crime as far as I am concerned.
 
I just simply wish that the Japanese never started the war with the US in the first place.
 
Like I stated - had they not started the war - we would not have touched Japan.  Most of the US did not want to get involved in WWII - and wanted to stay isolated.  That ended when Pear Harbor was attacked.
 
None of this takes away from the fact that war sucks and should be avoided as best can be avoided.  Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Holocost should always be remembered as how bad mankind can get.
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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2010, 09:39:02 PM »
I just simply wish that the Japanese never started the war with the US in the first place.
 
Like I stated - had they not started the war - we would not have touched Japan.  Most of the US did not want to get involved in WWII - and wanted to stay isolated.  That ended when Pear Harbor was attacked.
The attack on Pearl Harbor did not happen in a vacuum -- all of this shows many things that the broad lessons McNamara shares would have perhaps given rational, informed minds on all sides reason for pause.  It seems that there were definitely those in the government and in the military who opposed the isolationists.  The wrongness of Japan's attack does nothing to erase or diminish the wrongness of the bombing campaign waged by the U.S.  There certainly has to be meaningful middle ground between "we would not have touched Japan" and "we gratuitously nuked hundreds of thousands of civilians."  The latter is one of the biggest atrocities committed by mankind and it should be a mark of national shame, so much so that we would overwhelmingly favor wide scale nuclear disarmament.
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Offline Ed

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2010, 01:17:50 PM »
The problem with disarmament is that not everyone will abide by the treaty/ laws.
 
Rouge nations will obtain whatever is disarmed and use them against nations that have gone along with the treaty.
 
How do you prevent Iran from removing Isreal from the face of the earth without a real threat of punishment?
 
Empty threats will not work just the same as they do not work on children.  A threat of punishment must be real or it is worthless.
 
I would love it if we could end all wars.
 
Before you hate America too much for what they did remember that that was the common practice in war - thank God we are now a little wiser and do what we can to minimize civilian deaths and injuries.
 
Also, the initial bombings didn't kill hundreds of thousands, a slow response by the Japanese and radiation sickness was the cause of the greater number of deaths.  But of course that was only due to the bombs being dropped in the first place.
 
Read the arttcles I linked - they show that because the major industrial areas were the target location - the main civilian areas were spared from the worst of the damage.
 
http://www.cfo.doe.gov/me70/manhattan/hiroshima.htm
http://www.cfo.doe.gov/me70/manhattan/nagasaki.htm
 
 
 
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Offline Ryan

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2010, 06:28:37 AM »
I'm trying to stay out of this but I have to step in on one thing let's not step into the political "hate America" demonization. No matter how one views the issue, let's accept that nobody is hating America. Sometimes, when you really love your country, it is incumbent upon you to point out its flaws and suggest a better path to help it become better. The "we are perfect - the best nation in the world" in my opinion is not a true marker of loving your country. We may be the best nation in the world but no human or collection of humans is perfect and those who want to help it do better, in my opinion, are showing a deeper love for their country than those who blindly cheerlead.

I know this is a complicated topic and you're not just blindly cheerleading but Andrew isn't hating America. To the contrary, he's trying to point out what he feels was a great failure I'm sure in the hope that he can play some small role in ensuring the same won't happen again.

I hope this all makes sense. It's hard to make a post like this from a phone but I feel like this can't wait until next time I'm on a computer.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2010, 06:43:27 PM »
I think Ed just misunderstands -- I doubt that he is one of those "America, love it or leave it alone" types of pseudopatriots.  There is no hate in placing responsibility appropriately.  Just as Japan is responsible for starting the war, the U.S. is responsible for responding with a disproportionate (and ethically misdirected) force.  The U.S. had its fingers in Asia and the Pacific Islands (Philippines, Hawaii, et cetera) long before Pearl Harbor, so it is at least a bit simplistic to say that the U.S. was truly isolationist simply because it did not send in the military right away in Europe.  The U.S. also instigated/escalated war (in Vietnam) based on faulty understanding of events, so it is not as if Japan was guilty of something that the U.S. could and would never do.  Think of it this way: if one of your kids picks a fight with the other and the other one responds with a blow that breaks the other's nose, would you only hold the first one culpable for starting it or do you also hold the other one responsible for responding and with excess force?  Sure, sometimes a fight may be unavoidable, yet there are appropriate ways of dealing with a threat and there are over-the-top wrong ways of reacting. 


What really has me concerned is this: in an article I read about the recent anniversary observance of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the author pointed out the sensible conclusion that the further away we get chronologically from those bombings the more likely we are to use nuclear weapons again.  When the resulting damage fades from memory, restraint loosens.  And yes, disarmament will work if 1) the leading world powers (US, UK, Russia) show serious intent (i.e. they do not insist that small nations give up much national sovereignty while giving up comparatively little of their own) and 2) it is done via a world body (UN, NATO) that will collectively act against any member that is not in compliance and will not show any favoritism or bias.  The U.S. needs to set an example and then the idea of disarmament will be taken seriously more broadly, even by rogue nations.  As for the Iran/Israel deal, let us just say that there is a whole lot more complexity to it than simply Iran wanting to remove Israel from the face of the earth via nuclear weapons. 
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 06:49:08 PM by Andrew A. »
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Offline Ed

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Re: 8-06: never forget
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2010, 08:52:20 PM »
I never meant to imply that Andrew hated America - I hpoe I didn't make that statement.  I see Andrew's point in that the farther history fades into the past - the more likely it is to be forgotten.  It was said that those who do not know history (or have forgotten it) are doomed to repeat it.
 
I agree that weapons that carry long lasting effects like that from the atomic bomb  need to never be used again. 
 
It would be my hope that no weapons would ever have to be used again.
 
Weapons of mass destruction should be removed from existence - but how do we ensure that on a global scale?
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