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The Truth About the Atom Bomb, by Bill Whittle


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#1 Barbara Branden

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 08:59 PM

Afterburner with Bill Whittle

Jon Stewart, War Criminals, & the True Story of the Atomic Bomb

I've just watched a superb video. I recommend that you do not walk, you run to see Bill Whittle tell the story of the atom bomb.

Here is the context: On his Daily Show, Jon Stewart insisted that Harry Truman was a war criminal for ordering atom bombs to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Whittle explains, "Stewart and others maintain that the atomic bombings were criminal acts, claiming that the targeted cities received no warning, that they were of no military value, that Japanese resistance was crumbling and their use was unnecessary, and that Japan was trying to surrender at the time of the bombings which were therefore nothing but an unjustified and brutal signal sent merely to show the Soviets who's boss."

Whittle adds --and proceeds to prove in every detail: "None of these positions stand up to facts."

Another excerpt:

"This [he holds up a photograph] is a photograph of the front side of Office of War Information notice #2106, dubbed the 'LeMay bombing leaflet.' Over 1 million of these were dropped over Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and 33 other Japanese cities on 1 August 1945 - five days before the Hiroshima bombing. The Japanese text on the reverse side of the leaflet carried the following warning:

'Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America's humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately.'"

Another:

"Japanese pilot Mitsuo Fuchida led the air attack against Pearl Harbor. After the war, he told Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, 'You did the right thing. You know the Japanese attitude of that time, how fanatic they were. They'd die for the Emperor. Every man, woman and child would have resisted the invasion with sticks and stones if necessary.'

"The use of the atomic bombs saved - at minimum - hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives from continued conventional bombing. If the invasion had been necessary - and no one at the time had any reason to think it would not be necessary, given the pattern of resistance - then millions more Japanese would die holding bamboo spears and wearing explosive backpacks. Hundreds of thousands of American soldiers would have been killed."

And finally:

"Mr. Stewart, you do no exist on some superior intellectual plane - and most certainly not on a moral one. You can slander the men who have given you a life where the toughest decision you have to make is what to have your assistant get you for lunch. But those people who came home as a result of Harry Truman's courage deserve a hell of a lot better than to be told that their lives are worth less than your moral discomfort. And the de facto 'voice of a generation' should be someone not quite as self-centered as you."


Barbara

#2 Chris Grieb

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 04:30 AM

Barbara; Thanks! Stewart was wrong and Whittle demonstrated his wrongness very well.

#3 Martin Radwin

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 05:22 PM

"The Culture of the Lie, II: The Loathsome Lies in the Service of the Horrors of War", by Arthur Silber

http://powerofnarrat...me-lies-in.html

While pursuing various links around the internet, I came across the following story once again. Since it unfortunately retains all of its relevance today and also parallels almost precisely similar lies being told now, I think it is worth taking a few minutes to note the infernal lies of war, including a few of the more notable ones from the United States' own lengthy history of such lies.

I know it is a terrible thing to strip people of their apparently necessary delusions. Nonetheless, in the same spirit that children who have been misled into believing in Santa Claus must someday let go of that fantasy if they are to grow up, here we go. Start with this one: the lie that the atomic bombs unleashed on Japan were "necessary" to bring an earlier end to World War II and save many American lives. This fable, recited by schoolchildren everywhere and also by many adults who endlessly apologize for the horrors of war, is nothing but a series of lies, one on top of another:
Although hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives were lost in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bombings are often explained away as a "life-saving" measure-American lives. Exactly how many lives saved is, however, up for grabs. (We do know of a few U.S. soldiers who fell between the cracks. About a dozen or more American POWs were killed in Hiroshima, a truth that remained hidden for some 30 years.) In defense of the U.S. action, it is usually claimed that the bombs saved lives. The hypothetical body count ranges from 20,000 to "millions." In an August 9, 1945 statement to "the men and women of the Manhattan Project," President Truman declared the hope that "this new weapon will result in saving thousands of American lives."

"The president's initial formulation of 'thousands,' however, was clearly not his final statement on the matter to say the least," remarks historian Gar Alperovitz. In his book, "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth," Alperovitz documents but a few of Truman's public estimates throughout the years:

*December 15, 1945: "It occurred to me that a quarter of a million of the flower of our young manhood was worth a couple of Japanese cities . . ."

*Late 1946: "A year less of war will mean life for three hundred thousand-maybe half a million-of America's finest youth."

*October 1948: "In the long run we could save a quarter of a million young Americans from being killed, and would save an equal number of Japanese young men from being killed."

*April 6, 1949: "I thought 200,000 of our young men would be saved."

*November 1949: Truman quotes Army Chief of Staff George S. Marshall as estimating the cost of an Allied invasion of Japan to be "half a million casualties."

*January 12, 1953: Still quoting Marshall, Truman raises the estimate to "a minimum one quarter of a million" and maybe "as much as a million, on the American side alone, with an equal number of the enemy."

*Finally, on April 28, 1959, Truman concluded: "the dropping of the bombs . . . saved millions of lives."

Fortunately, we are not operating without the benefit of official estimates.

In June 1945, Truman ordered the U.S. military to calculate the cost in American lives for a planned assault on Japan. Consequently, the Joint War Plans Committee prepared a report for the Chiefs of Staff, dated June 15, 1945, thus providing the closest thing anyone has to "accurate": 40,000 U.S. soldiers killed, 150,000 wounded, and 3,500 missing.

While the actual casualty count remains unknowable, it was widely known at the time that Japan had been trying to surrender for months prior to the atomic bombing. A May 5, 1945 cable, intercepted and decoded by the U.S., "dispelled any possible doubt that the Japanese were eager to sue for peace." In fact, the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey reported shortly after the war, that Japan "in all probability" would have surrendered before the much-discussed November 1, 1945 Allied invasion of the homeland.

Truman himself eloquently noted in his diary that Stalin would "be in the Jap War on August 15th. Fini (sic) Japs when that comes about."

So we didn't need to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki to force Japan to surrender...so why did we? Here's the reason -- which must represent one of the most profoundly immoral and sickening acts in mankind's recent history:
As far back as May 1945, a Venezuelan diplomat was reporting how Assistant Secretary of State Nelson Rockefeller "communicated to us the anxiety of the United States government about the Russian attitude." U.S. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes seemed to agree when he turned the anxiety up a notch by explaining how "our possessing and demonstrating the bomb would make Russia more manageable in the East . . . The demonstration of the bomb might impress Russia with America's military might."

General Leslie Groves was less cryptic: "There was never, from about two weeks from the time I took charge of this Project, any illusion on my part but that Russia was our enemy, and the Project was conducted on that basis."

During the same time period, President Truman noted that Secretary of War Henry Stimson was "at least as much concerned with the role of the atomic bomb in the shaping of history as in its capacity to shorten the war." What sort of shaping Stimson had in mind might be discerned from his Sept. 11, 1945 comment to the president: "I consider the problem of our satisfactory relations with Russia as not merely connected but as virtually dominated by the problem of the atomic bomb."

Stimson called the bomb a "diplomatic weapon," and duly explained: "American statesmen were eager for their country to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip."

"The psychological effect [of Hiroshima and Nagasaki] on Stalin was twofold," proposes historian Charles L. Mee, Jr. "The Americans had not only used a doomsday machine; they had used it when, as Stalin knew, it was not militarily necessary. It was this last chilling fact that doubtless made the greatest impression on the Russians."

It also made an impression on J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director at Los Alamos. After learning of the carnage wrought upon Japan, he began to harbor second thoughts and he resigned in October 1945.

In March of the following year, Oppenheimer told Truman:

"Mr. President, I have blood on my hands."

Truman's reply: "It'll come out in the wash."

Later, the president told an aide, "Don't bring that fellow around again."

Have you got that? We murdered hundreds of thousands of citizens of a nation that would have surrendered very shortly in any case -- and we did it to "send a message" to another country. No wonder Truman never wanted to see Oppenheimer again. I'm surprised Truman was ever able to sleep another night in his life.

Unfortunately, this is hardly the end of this particular loathsome trail of lies. No: we still need to note the propaganda campaign launched by the press, most notably by that stellar exponent of the establishment and carrier of the lies told and retold for the benefit of the United States government, then and now -- The New York Times.

Here's part of the tale:
At the dawn of the nuclear age, an independent Australian journalist named Wilfred Burchett traveled to Japan to cover the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The only problem was that General Douglas MacArthur had declared southern Japan off-limits, barring the press. Over 200,000 people died in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but no Western journalist witnessed the aftermath and told the story. The world's media obediently crowded onto the USS Missouri off the coast of Japan to cover the surrender of the Japanese.

Wilfred Burchett decided to strike out on his own. He was determined to see for himself what this nuclear bomb had done, to understand what this vaunted new weapon was all about. So he boarded a train and traveled for thirty hours to the city of Hiroshima in defiance of General MacArthur's orders.

Burchett emerged from the train into a nightmare world. The devastation that confronted him was unlike any he had ever seen during the war. The city of Hiroshima, with a population of 350,000, had been razed. Multistory buildings were reduced to charred posts. He saw people's shadows seared into walls and sidewalks. He met people with their skin melting off. In the hospital, he saw patients with purple skin hemorrhages, gangrene, fever, and rapid hair loss. Burchett was among the first to witness and describe radiation sickness.

Burchett sat down on a chunk of rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter. His dispatch began: "In Hiroshima, thirty days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly-people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague."

He continued, tapping out the words that still haunt to this day: "Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world."

Burchett's article, headlined THE ATOMIC PLAGUE, was published on September 5, 1945, in the London Daily Express. The story caused a worldwide sensation. Burchett's candid reaction to the horror shocked readers. ...

Burchett's searing independent reportage was a public relations fiasco for the U.S. military. General MacArthur had gone to pains to restrict journalists' access to the bombed cities, and his military censors were sanitizing and even killing dispatches that described the horror. The official narrative of the atomic bombings downplayed civilian casualties and categorically dismissed reports of the deadly lingering effects of radiation. Reporters whose dispatches conflicted with this version of events found themselves silenced. ...

U.S. authorities responded in time-honored fashion to Burchett's revelations: They attacked the messenger. ...

Four days after Burchett's story splashed across front pages around the world, Major General Leslie R. Groves, director of the atomic bomb project, invited a select group of thirty reporters to New Mexico. Foremost among this group was William L. Laurence, the Pulitzer Prize-winning science reporter for The New York Times. Groves took the reporters to the site of the first atomic test. His intent was to demonstrate that no atomic radiation lingered at the site. Groves trusted Laurence to convey the military's line; the general was not disappointed.

Laurence's front-page story, U.S. ATOM BOMB SITE BELIES TOKYO TALES: TESTS ON NEW MEXICO RANGE CONFIRM THAT BLAST, AND NOT RADIATION, TOOK TOLL, ran on September 12, 1945, following a three-day delay to clear military censors. "This historic ground in New Mexico, scene of the first atomic explosion on earth and cradle of a new era in civilization, gave the most effective answer today to Japanese propaganda that radiations [sic] were responsible for deaths even after the day of the explosion, Aug. 6, and that persons entering Hiroshima had contracted mysterious maladies due to persistent radioactivity," the article began.3 Laurence said unapologetically that the Army tour was intended "to give the lie to these claims."

Laurence quoted General Groves: "The Japanese claim that people died from radiation. If this is true, the number was very small."

William L. Laurence went on to write a series of ten articles for the Times that served as a glowing tribute to the ingenuity and technical achievements of the nuclear program. Throughout these and other reports, he downplayed and denied the human impact of the bombing. Laurence won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting.

It turns out that William L. Laurence was not only receiving a salary from The New York Times. He was also on the payroll of the War Department. In March 1945, General Leslie Groves had held a secret meeting at The New York Times with Laurence to offer him a job writing press releases for the Manhattan Project, the U.S. program to develop atomic weapons. The intent, according to the Times, was "to explain the intricacies of the atomic bomb's operating principles in laymen's language." Laurence also helped write statements on the bomb for President Truman and Secretary of War Henry Stimson.

...

"Mine has been the honor, unique in the history of journalism, of preparing the War Department's official press release for worldwide distribution," boasted Laurence in his memoirs, Dawn Over Zero. "No greater honor could have come to any newspaperman, or anyone else for that matter."
So you see that there is truly nothing new under the sun. "Journalists" have always been used to peddle government propaganda, to sanitize the bloody horror of war, and to help people continue to nurse the delusions which allow them to believe that their nation fought nobly in a glorious cause. And there are always some "journalists" who will do it proudly-- and still tell themselves that what they are doing is "reporting." None of it is new -- and if the scale of destruction were not so horrifying, it would merely be pathetic.

#4 general semanticist

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 05:35 PM

My thinking is very much aligned with Martin on this issue. Once wars start they invariably escalate into mass destruction and both sides can readily rationalize their behaviour but it doesn't change what is happening.
'Always' and 'Never' are two words you should always remember never to use. :-)

#5 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 06:38 PM

Here is a simple fact: the A Bombs were dropped on Aug 6 and Aug 9 of 1945 and less then a month later the Japs threw in the sponge and permitted a bloodless invasion and occupation. American lives were saved and that is ALL that matters. It does not matter one god damned bit how many Jap bastards died. They started the war. They who sow the wind will in due course reap the whirlwind.

Once the principle is understood that enemy lives DO NOT MATTER everything is simple.

Ba'al Chatzaf.
אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

#6 Selene

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 07:16 PM

I thought I had the link properly to the vid that started this - Barbara has it in the title.

http://kazooobjectiv...ance-about.html

It is in here:

Monday, July 06, 2009
Jon Stewart's Shameful Ignorance About The Japanese in WWII

You would think that a satirist such as Jon Stewart would at minimum know history before offering an opinion about Harry Truman and the dropping of the Atom Bombs, dubbed Fat Man and Little Boy, on Japan during World War II. But this is how many Americans, woefully ignorant of history, speak - in generalizations and cliches. Stewart righteously claims that the US should have "dropped the first atomic bomb 15 miles off the shore of Japan as a warning" to the Japanese military. He totally ignores the fanaticism of the Japanese Imperial Army and the Imperial Family. Death and total annihilation of Japan if necessary was their end game in order to defeat the enemy.

Listen to this fascinating presentation by Bill Whittle on Pajamas TV for a history lesson all Americans need and to understand the morality of what we did.
http://www.pjtv.com/...mic_Bombs/1808/

Edited by Selene, 18 July 2009 - 07:22 PM.

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#7 Martin Radwin

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 11:19 AM

Here is a simple fact: the A Bombs were dropped on Aug 6 and Aug 9 of 1945 and less then a month later the Japs threw in the sponge and permitted a bloodless invasion and occupation. American lives were saved and that is ALL that matters. It does not matter one god damned bit how many Jap bastards died. They started the war. They who sow the wind will in due course reap the whirlwind.

Once the principle is understood that enemy lives DO NOT MATTER everything is simple.

Ba'al Chatzaf.


Thanks, Ba'al. I could not have said it better myself. "They" started the war. Every one of the hundreds of thousands of dead and mutilated, with skin melting off of their bodies. Every one of them, including every one of the children and even babies. They were all collectively responsible. For this is the ultimate nature of the ethics of individualism. War is peace! Freedom is slavery! Ignorance is strength!

Besides, they were nothing but a bunch of Jap bastards anyway.

Martin

#8 Michelle R

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 11:50 AM

Here is a simple fact: the A Bombs were dropped on Aug 6 and Aug 9 of 1945 and less then a month later the Japs threw in the sponge and permitted a bloodless invasion and occupation. American lives were saved and that is ALL that matters. It does not matter one god damned bit how many Jap bastards died. They started the war. They who sow the wind will in due course reap the whirlwind.

Once the principle is understood that enemy lives DO NOT MATTER everything is simple.

Ba'al Chatzaf.


Right. Killing innocents DOES NOT MATTER because they are the ENEMY. In fact, bombing them was NOBLE, because it was JUSTIFIED, and what is JUSTIFIED also has to be GOOD and RIGHT and NOBLE and you should feel pride for killing those Jap Bastards. Anyone who says otherwise is a goddamned tree-hugging commie. Fuck them! Make them glow in the dark! ALLAH AKBAR! DEATH TO THE AMERICAN INFIDELS! THEIR STREETS WILL BE SOAKED WITH THEIR BL--woops, sorry, got carried away there.

The bombings can be justified, but not with this kind of lunatic thinking.

Edited by Michelle R, 19 July 2009 - 11:58 AM.

"After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked -- as I am surprisingly often -- why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?"
-- Richard Dawkins

#9 Selene

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 02:59 PM

Correct Michell.

And the bombing cannot be denigrated with situational or revisionist history either. The concept of this particular self hating Jew calling Truman a war criminal is frankly as laughable as that schmuck Al Franken being a Federal Senator!


oops

:blink:

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#10 Martin Radwin

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:17 AM

And the bombing cannot be denigrated with situational or revisionist history either.


Oh certainly not! We wouldn't want to "denigrate" a bombing which destroyed two cities, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, and left untold numbers of others with unspeakable suffering due to the effects of radiation sickness. That might make the bombing feel bad! Or, at least, it might make feel bad those who don't wish to face the possibility that maybe, just maybe, their government committed mass murder for no good reason and then used court historians afterward to deceive the American public about the actual nature of the event.

Your use of the phrase "revisionist history" is itself quite revealing. The only thing that matters when evaluating a particular historical event are the actual facts concerning the historical event. Whether the history which describes these facts is "standard history" or "revisionist history" is entirely irrelevant to the truth or falsity of the history. As such, your use of "revisionist history" as a phrase to discredit this particular historical interpretation of the bombing is entirely irrelevant.

Martin

#11 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 07:20 AM

My thinking is very much aligned with Martin on this issue. Once wars start they invariably escalate into mass destruction and both sides can readily rationalize their behaviour but it doesn't change what is happening.


Sometimes that Mass Destruction determines who wins the war. You will notice that two nukes dampened the Japanese Kami-Kaze urge. Without those bombs, taking down Japan would have been like Okinowa raised to the tenth power.

Ba'al Chatzaf
אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

#12 Selene

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 08:31 AM


And the bombing cannot be denigrated with situational or revisionist history either.


Oh certainly not! We wouldn't want to "denigrate" a bombing which destroyed two cities, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, and left untold numbers of others with unspeakable suffering due to the effects of radiation sickness. That might make the bombing feel bad! Or, at least, it might make feel bad those who don't wish to face the possibility that maybe, just maybe, their government committed mass murder for no good reason and then used court historians afterward to deceive the American public about the actual nature of the event.

Your use of the phrase "revisionist history" is itself quite revealing. The only thing that matters when evaluating a particular historical event are the actual facts concerning the historical event. Whether the history which describes these facts is "standard history" or "revisionist history" is entirely irrelevant to the truth or falsity of the history. As such, your use of "revisionist history" as a phrase to discredit this particular historical interpretation of the bombing is entirely irrelevant.

Martin


Martin:

I am sorry did you somehow make the wrong turn inside your mind that you somehow imagine that stringing together emotionally laden words would
somehow make your argument valid?

Did the Dresden bombing destroy a city? Or did I misread the accounts of the "victims" of Dresden describing the horrors of those days of bombing?

Where is the job listing for a "court historians", I do not find that job tittle in their listings.

Let us get some places to start an argument.

You raised the argument that the bombing was unnecessary because Japan was sending out feelers that they wanted to negotiate to end the war.

Let us assume you are correct. What terms would they have wanted?

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#13 general semanticist

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 08:54 AM

Sometimes that Mass Destruction determines who wins the war. You will notice that two nukes dampened the Japanese Kami-Kaze urge. Without those bombs, taking down Japan would have been like Okinowa raised to the tenth power.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Yes, wars have often been ended with huge battles and mass destruction. The problem is that as technology increases the potential for mass destruction grows and may ultimately destroy the entire race. War is not a good way to deal with international disagreements, now more than ever. Maybe it was necessary to drop those bombs just to show the world how dangerous war has become and, in all fairness, nuclear weapons are probably the biggest reason we haven't had a WWIII yet.
'Always' and 'Never' are two words you should always remember never to use. :-)

#14 Selene

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 09:58 AM


Sometimes that Mass Destruction determines who wins the war. You will notice that two nukes dampened the Japanese Kami-Kaze urge. Without those bombs, taking down Japan would have been like Okinowa raised to the tenth power.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Yes, wars have often been ended with huge battles and mass destruction. The problem is that as technology increases the potential for mass destruction grows and may ultimately destroy the entire race. War is not a good way to deal with international disagreements, now more than ever. Maybe it was necessary to drop those bombs just to show the world how dangerous war has become and, in all fairness, nuclear weapons are probably the biggest reason we haven't had a WW III yet.


The underlined is a significant argument as to why the MAD [Mutually Assured Destruction] policy appears to continue to work.

Unfortunately, doing triage on a global policy basis usually leads to lots of dead folks and tremendous destruction of the world's total equity.

The neutron bomb was supposed to eliminate the not living part of the equity equation.

I, unfortunately believe that we are going to experience one more localized nuclear exchange which will either take us to global nuclear war or a global revulsion of the stupidity and waste of war.

The human race could still survive a total global exchange. The question is how to avoid finding out the answer to that sucker.

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#15 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 10:22 AM

You raised the argument that the bombing was unnecessary because Japan was sending out feelers that they wanted to negotiate to end the war.

Let us assume you are correct. What terms would they have wanted?

Adam


They would have insisted the the powers and perogatives of the Emperor not be diminished one whit. They also would not have withdrawn entirely from Manchuria (or Manchuko as they called it). The would not have consented to an occupation.

Ba'al Chatzaf
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#16 Brant Gaede

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 01:27 PM

In the context of war--WWII--the bombings of Japanese cities was necessary. The immorality was from the Japanese leadership which should have given up sooner, assuming it could have. As it was the military almost prevented the surrender.

Invasion would have been much worse--or mass starvation from a blockade.

But all this discussion begs the question of why we were at war with Japan to begin with. It wasn't because of Pearl Harbor any more than Germany's invasion of Poland was the cause of WWII.

If I had been born 20 years earlier I would have fought in WWII. I could have been a crew member on the Enola Gay knowing full well what was coming down. My thought would have been that this might well end the damn war. My other thought would have been that it would change me and not for the better, but that's the nature of the mission and war itself: people were dying everywhere and I would chicken out afraid of some psychological consequences? Sorry, no. My uncle was a navigator on a B-17 in the South Pacific and got shot up, when he had to man the .50 cal. nose guns, by exploding 20mm cannon shells from a Zero fighter. So he never bombed Japan itself because he was spending a year in a hospital in Ohio. He still has metal in his body. In war you try to kill certain people with all your heart and might or you and your comrades get killed. I did that in Vietnam--and ran medical patrols. My idea of being a soldier was not to be in the rear doing a support function, it was to be in harm's way if there was a harm's way. I would have volunteered for additional tours of duty if we were actually trying to win, but I knew we weren't and became a civilian again. The mere fact that I had such a choice was evidence of lack of seriousness. Imagine a soldier fighting in Italy in 1943 glad to learn his year was soon to be up and he could then go home. Vietnam was a sick joke. Same, same for Iraq--not so bad--and Afghanistan--terrible.

The world is still paying for WWI--big time.

--Brant
killer medic

Edited by Brant Gaede, 20 July 2009 - 01:57 PM.

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#17 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 03:37 PM

There's some weird premises always floating around these discussions.

I don't think anyone believes that it is good to kill innocent people. And I don't think anyone would have approved if the Japanese had continued their crap.

Yet people yell at each other as if the other believed it.

I, for one, am glad there was a way to stop the Japanese so decisively. But I hate with every fiber of my being the need to do that.

The only way I have seen in life to stop a bully hell bent on conquest is to hit him harder and faster than he hits you. Then he stops. That includes entire civilizations at times.

It's a hell of a world, but I know of no way to see it differently.

At least the USA helped rebuild Japan. A monster would have committed genocide.

Michael

Know thyself...


#18 Selene

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 04:11 PM

Michael:

Precisely. Bully 101 was shown to me when I was about 6 years old. It was scary to confront the bully, but it would have been infinitely worse not to.

Additionally, how a country collectively acts after it "wins" a war is the ultimate final standard as to whether it was a "just" war, or if any war is just.

It is easy to slip into the demonization of the arguer on the other side of an issue you are passionate about.

This study was just released. I included the abstract from NueroReport at the end.

July 12, 2009 | 78 comments
Why the #$%! Do We Swear? For Pain Relief
Dropping the F-bomb or other expletives may not only be an expression of agony, but also a means to alleviate it

By Frederik Joelving

Bad language could be good for you, a new study shows. For the first time, psychologists have found that swearing may serve an important function in relieving pain.

The study, published today in the journal NeuroReport, measured how long college students could keep their hands immersed in cold water. During the chilly exercise, they could repeat an expletive of their choice or chant a neutral word. When swearing, the 67 student volunteers reported less pain and on average endured about 40 seconds longer.

Although cursing is notoriously decried in the public debate, researchers are now beginning to question the idea that the phenomenon is all bad. "Swearing is such a common response to pain that there has to be an underlying reason why we do it," says psychologist Richard Stephens of Keele University in England, who led the study. And indeed, the findings point to one possible benefit: "I would advise people, if they hurt themselves, to swear," he adds.

How swearing achieves its physical effects is unclear, but the researchers speculate that brain circuitry linked to emotion is involved. Earlier studies have shown that unlike normal language, which relies on the outer few millimeters in the left hemisphere of the brain, expletives hinge on evolutionarily ancient structures buried deep inside the right half.

One such structure is the amygdala, an almond-shaped group of neurons that can trigger a fight-or-flight response in which our heart rate climbs and we become less sensitive to pain. Indeed, the students' heart rates rose when they swore, a fact the researchers say suggests that the amygdala was activated.

That explanation is backed by other experts in the field. Psychologist Steven Pinker of Harvard University, whose book The Stuff of Thought (Viking Adult, 2007) includes a detailed analysis of swearing, compared the situation with what happens in the brain of a cat that somebody accidentally sits on. "I suspect that swearing taps into a defensive reflex in which an animal that is suddenly injured or confined erupts in a furious struggle, accompanied by an angry vocalization, to startle and intimidate an attacker," he says.

But cursing is more than just aggression, explains Timothy Jay, a psychologist at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who has studied our use of profanities for the past 35 years. "It allows us to vent or express anger, joy, surprise, happiness," he remarks. "It's like the horn on your car, you can do a lot of things with that, it's built into you."

In extreme cases, the hotline to the brain's emotional system can make swearing harmful, as when road rage escalates into physical violence. But when the hammer slips, some well-chosen swearwords might help dull the pain.

There is a catch, though: The more we swear, the less emotionally potent the words become, Stephens cautions. And without emotion, all that is left of a swearword is the word itself, unlikely to soothe anyone's pain.

Abstract

Although a common pain response, whether swearing alters individuals' experience of pain has not been investigated. This study investigated whether swearing affects cold-pressor pain tolerance (the ability to withstand immersing the hand in icy water), pain perception and heart rate. In a repeated measures design, pain outcomes were assessed in participants asked to repeat a swear word versus a neutral word. In addition, sex differences and the roles of pain catastrophising*, fear of pain and trait anxiety were explored. Swearing increased pain tolerance, increased heart rate and decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing. However, swearing did not increase pain tolerance in males with a tendency to catastrophise. The observed pain-lessening (hypoalgesic) effect may occur because swearing induces a fight-or-flight response and nullifies the link between fear of pain and pain perception.

*1. catastrophise

To describe an event in a horrific, gruesome, and tragic way.
I tend to catastrophise when explain my thoughts of the war on terrorism.

Demonization is probably the way we argue because the hard wiring is getting you prepared.

Adam
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

#19 sbeaulieu

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 07:06 PM

This response should be posted under humor, in my opinion. I was looking up articles for Hiroshima and Nagasaki and came across the "The Flat Earth Society" forum. The OP is of the mind that nukes don't exist.

I'd condense the overall conversation, but it goes in two separate directions. First is the "fact" that nukes don't exist, and second, discussions on nuclear physics (and arguements).

I laughed. A lot.

The Flat Earth Society - Do Nuclear Bombs Exist?

~ Shane
A coin has three sides...

#20 Martin Radwin

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 01:52 AM



And the bombing cannot be denigrated with situational or revisionist history either.


Oh certainly not! We wouldn't want to "denigrate" a bombing which destroyed two cities, killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, and left untold numbers of others with unspeakable suffering due to the effects of radiation sickness. That might make the bombing feel bad! Or, at least, it might make feel bad those who don't wish to face the possibility that maybe, just maybe, their government committed mass murder for no good reason and then used court historians afterward to deceive the American public about the actual nature of the event.

Your use of the phrase "revisionist history" is itself quite revealing. The only thing that matters when evaluating a particular historical event are the actual facts concerning the historical event. Whether the history which describes these facts is "standard history" or "revisionist history" is entirely irrelevant to the truth or falsity of the history. As such, your use of "revisionist history" as a phrase to discredit this particular historical interpretation of the bombing is entirely irrelevant.

Martin


Martin:

I am sorry did you somehow make the wrong turn inside your mind that you somehow imagine that stringing together emotionally laden words would
somehow make your argument valid?


This is a funny charge coming from you. My post was not at all a stringing together of emotionally laden words. I very specifically pointed out the devastation of the bombing, along with your very inappropriate use of the word "denigrate" to describe the bombing, as though the bombing were a living person who was being unfairly insulted. Prior to my post, I linked to a very long, detailed essay by Arthur Silber in which he described in great detail the circumstances surrounding the bombing, as well as the absolutely disgusting behavior of the U.S. government afterward.

From Silber's essay,

"While the actual casualty count remains unknowable, it was widely known at the time that Japan had been trying to surrender for months prior to the atomic bombing. A May 5, 1945 cable, intercepted and decoded by the U.S., "dispelled any possible doubt that the Japanese were eager to sue for peace." In fact, the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey reported shortly after the war, that Japan "in all probability" would have surrendered before the much-discussed November 1, 1945 Allied invasion of the homeland.

Truman himself eloquently noted in his diary that Stalin would "be in the Jap War on August 15th. Fini (sic) Japs when that comes about."

Silber continued,

"Have you got that? We murdered hundreds of thousands of citizens of a nation that would have surrendered very shortly in any case -- and we did it to "send a message" to another country. No wonder Truman never wanted to see Oppenheimer again. I'm surprised Truman was ever able to sleep another night in his life."

Later in the essay, Silber documented how the US government banned all journalists from the site of the bombing and then used a journalist on the payroll of the War Department to write a series of articles lying to the American people about the effects of radiation on the Japanese survivors, in order to conceal from them the truth about the utter horror unleased by their own government at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

You did not respond to any of the substantive points made by Silber in his essay. Instead, you dismissed it out of hand, simply by the expedient of labeling it as "revisionist history". I pointed out that this is nothing more than a smear label designed to justify ignoring it without any consideration. In fact, it doesn't matter whether Silber's historical account is "revisionist" or not. The only thing that matters is whether or not his account is true.

This thesis is not at all original to Silber. There is a great deal of historical scholarship defending the thesis that Japan was willing to surrender conditionally, the main condition being that it be allowed to keep its emperor. The U.S. instead demanded unconditional surrender. After the war, Japan was permitted to keep its emperor anyway.

Where is the job listing for a "court historians", I do not find that job tittle in their listings.


It's not an official title. But you really don't believe that such people exist? There are court historians, court journalists, court economists, etc. Governments have always relied on lies, deception, and obfuscation in order to hide from their subjects their true nature, so that their subjects will obey them and not rebel. Historians, journalists, economists, and others involved in spreading ideas to the masses -- any of these who serve their masters in government, in order to deceive the masses into supporting their government, deserve the title of "court". There is no shortage of such people. Governments have the means to make their work extremely rewarding by giving them power, prestige, and money.

Martin




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