Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
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04-02-2014, 06:52 PM
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
(04-02-2014 04:44 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(04-02-2014 04:41 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  A military and political elite of a country sought out an untouched, pristine, city and murdered every single man, women, child, and pet there. Every home, every school, every place of worship, razed.

All to document the effects of a new WMD. And rationalized because "war".

...TWICE.

These are war crimes. These are mass murders. These are holocausts in the fullest sense.

You don't appear to have read any of the preceding analysis.

But thanks for the emotive hysteria?

I'm not interested in excuses for mass murders and genocides. I am blind to those rationales. I didn''t accept it from the Nazis, I didn't accept it from the Soviets, and I certainly don't accept it from the Americans.

No wishy washy hypothetical's will ever - EVER - justify or excuse mass murder, genocide, holocausts - especially of men, women, children, and even their pets.

If you're an atheist that scoffs at biblical stories of similar mass genocide - destroying every man, women, child, their livestock, the destruction of every brick of every home, and scorching the very earth - but bend over backwards to rationalize real world examples... you're lost. You're no better than those fundamentalists.
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04-02-2014, 07:04 PM
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
Quote:These are holocausts in the fullest sense.

So were LeMay's fire-bombing raids. The Japanese were impotent to stop those too.
One plane, one bomb - 1,000 planes, 10,000 bombs. It didn't matter militarily. The Japs were hopelessly outclassed by that point in time. The only thing preventing their surrender was our insistence on "unconditional surrender," which in the event meant nothing as we did not depose the emperor anyway.

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04-02-2014, 07:10 PM
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
(03-02-2014 10:03 PM)cjlr Wrote:  (well, and also the later the surrender the more territory in Soviet hands; the past three months' experience in Europe would have informed that angle - but as with the shock-and-awe-the-Ruskis factor while I absolutely admit of the existence of such a consideration I just as absolutely reject that that was a primary or even major consideration)

I completely disagree. At the point at which Germany finally surrendered, the tension between the Soviet Union and her soon-to-be former allies was already growing. Churchill at one point tried to convince Truman to continue the war and take out Stalin and the Soviet Union to head off future problems. At the time Germany completely surrendered, Churchill was already drawing up plans for what was to be known as "Operation Unthinkable", which was the plan to attack the Soviets and force them to abide by the agreements they made during the war on how central Europe was to be managed. The plans were ultimately scrapped as unworkable, but the desire to possibly continue fighting and remove Russia as a threat was absolutely in play. And, while the US didn't go along with it, we were well aware at that time of the shift in power in the world and what Stalin represented. The cold war began about one minute after the last shot in the European theater was fired. Letting Stalin know what we had and that we would use it was, I think, a parmount consideration in dropping the atomic bombs on Japan.

As for how long the war would have continued if we had not dropped the bombs, it's obviously impossible to answer that with any certainty. But, based on what we do know, it is reasonable to assume it was not going to go on for years, as some have suggested, or even for months. The Japanese were holding out for terms that let them keep their emperor. And, they had ground troops in other countries and thought they could maybe tie us up that way while they stalled for time. Once the USSR troops declared war on August 9 and crashed through Mongolia, that was all over, though. The Japanese army was half starved and defated almost instantly. Up to that point, the generals on the counsel that ruled Japan had a lot more power than the non-military leaders (who all knew the war was over for some time but couldn't force the army to surrender). That changed once their army was defeated - in a matter of days no less - by the Russians. And, they really feared invasion from Russia given their earlier wars at the beginning of the century.

It may have taken another few weeks longer without the nukes. Maybe it would have. Impossible to really know, but it would not have been much longer. It couldn't have been. They had no resources, no weapons, and no food. If they had not survived, the entire population would have starved during the fall.

The war was over whether we dropped those bombs or not. There was nothing left to fight with. B29s flew over Japan at will and their last chance at any hold on resources was smashed by the Russians. We did not need to nuke them. We could have gotten to the exact same result without the horrific impact of dropping two atomic bombs on them. And, that is not a judgment from 70 year later. That was the judgment of many of our military and civiilan leaders at the time.

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05-02-2014, 10:19 AM
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
(04-02-2014 06:52 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  I'm not interested in excuses for mass murders and genocides. I am blind to those rationales. I didn''t accept it from the Nazis, I didn't accept it from the Soviets, and I certainly don't accept it from the Americans.

No wishy washy hypothetical's will ever - EVER - justify or excuse mass murder, genocide, holocausts - especially of men, women, children, and even their pets.

Oh, please.

It does no one any good to simply look back and say "WAR IS BAD YO".

Being already in the situation as it existed obliges one to act. One choice is certainly to stand by and do nothing. Each act has consequences, and to disengage would most assuredly have had its toll in human misery.

Do you mean to say, "it shouldn't have happened"? I agree. Do you mean to say "it shouldn't have been seen as necessary"? I agree.

Counterpoint: the Japanese occupation of China. Was that bad? It was much worse than any act of the United States during the war. To merely say "that shouldn't have happened either, so nobody should have responded or had to respond" is useless.

If everybody had always gotten along then everybody would always get along. That's not what happened. In thinking about what did happen I think it is of some use to say more than "that's bad, mmmkay".

(04-02-2014 06:52 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  If you're an atheist that scoffs at biblical stories of similar mass genocide - destroying every man, women, child, their livestock, the destruction of every brick of every home, and scorching the very earth - but bend over backwards to rationalize real world examples... you're lost. You're no better than those fundamentalists.

That is facetious and insulting.

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05-02-2014, 10:31 AM
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
(04-02-2014 07:10 PM)BnW Wrote:  
(03-02-2014 10:03 PM)cjlr Wrote:  (well, and also the later the surrender the more territory in Soviet hands; the past three months' experience in Europe would have informed that angle - but as with the shock-and-awe-the-Ruskis factor while I absolutely admit of the existence of such a consideration I just as absolutely reject that that was a primary or even major consideration)

I completely disagree. At the point at which Germany finally surrendered, the tension between the Soviet Union and her soon-to-be former allies was already growing.

Huh
That's what I said.

(04-02-2014 07:10 PM)BnW Wrote:  Churchill at one point tried to convince Truman to continue the war and take out Stalin and the Soviet Union to head off future problems. At the time Germany completely surrendered, Churchill was already drawing up plans for what was to be known as "Operation Unthinkable", which was the plan to attack the Soviets and force them to abide by the agreements they made during the war on how central Europe was to be managed. The plans were ultimately scrapped as unworkable, but the desire to possibly continue fighting and remove Russia as a threat was absolutely in play. And, while the US didn't go along with it, we were well aware at that time of the shift in power in the world and what Stalin represented. The cold war began about one minute after the last shot in the European theater was fired. Letting Stalin know what we had and that we would use it was, I think, a parmount consideration in dropping the atomic bombs on Japan.

By 1945 everyone knew an atomic bomb was possible.

Hindsight tells us that the Manhattan project was thoroughly compromised in any case.


(04-02-2014 07:10 PM)BnW Wrote:  As for how long the war would have continued if we had not dropped the bombs, it's obviously impossible to answer that with any certainty. But, based on what we do know, it is reasonable to assume it was not going to go on for years, as some have suggested, or even for months.

Indeed. I said multiple times in this thread it would have been three months at most.

But I do not think that with less impetus it would have happened sooner. That is a very low probability outcome.

(04-02-2014 07:10 PM)BnW Wrote:  The Japanese were holding out for terms that let them keep their emperor. And, they had ground troops in other countries and thought they could maybe tie us up that way while they stalled for time. Once the USSR troops declared war on August 9 and crashed through Mongolia, that was all over, though. The Japanese army was half starved and defated almost instantly. Up to that point, the generals on the counsel that ruled Japan had a lot more power than the non-military leaders (who all knew the war was over for some time but couldn't force the army to surrender). That changed once their army was defeated - in a matter of days no less - by the Russians. And, they really feared invasion from Russia given their earlier wars at the beginning of the century.

... and they still knew that the Soviets wouldn't get to the Home Islands before the Americans, because the Soviets had no Navy.

Absent the bombings - granting that conventional bombings would have continued - the stated mindset was "we know they will invade but we can make it as bloody as possible". Mass starvation negated the latter half of that statement. The atomic bombs negated the first half.

(04-02-2014 07:10 PM)BnW Wrote:  It may have taken another few weeks longer without the nukes. Maybe it would have. Impossible to really know, but it would not have been much longer. It couldn't have been. They had no resources, no weapons, and no food. If they had not survived, the entire population would have starved during the fall.

Consider
Yes. I dispute none of this!

But those weeks mattered for hundreds of thousands of people.

And the hardliners did make trouble even under historical conditions. There was a coup attempt. I think such people would have had at least as much motivation under alternate circumstances.

(04-02-2014 07:10 PM)BnW Wrote:  The war was over whether we dropped those bombs or not. There was nothing left to fight with. B29s flew over Japan at will and their last chance at any hold on resources was smashed by the Russians. We did not need to nuke them. We could have gotten to the exact same result without the horrific impact of dropping two atomic bombs on them. And, that is not a judgment from 70 year later. That was the judgment of many of our military and civiilan leaders at the time.

And that is, of course, not quite how I (and "many of your military and civilian leaders at the time") see things.

All of our judgements, however, are profoundly and implicitly from 70 years later. Our - I'm not quite sure of right word, but say associations - regarding nuclear weapons did not exist at the time. It was seen as "the same but more", not a fundamentally different type of weapon. That is perhaps another thing to keep in mind.

I think think taking every possible action to end the war as soon as possible is justifiable. I even think the numbers game (which is, to be honest, only possible with hindsight) bears that out to some extent.

I do not like it. But as I said before, I can find no fault with the decisions made.

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05-02-2014, 06:03 PM
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
(05-02-2014 10:19 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(04-02-2014 06:52 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  If you're an atheist that scoffs at biblical stories of similar mass genocide - destroying every man, women, child, their livestock, the destruction of every brick of every home, and scorching the very earth - but bend over backwards to rationalize real world examples... you're lost. You're no better than those fundamentalists.

That is facetious and insulting.

There is no humor in people justifying the mass murder of men, women, children, and even their pets. The utter and complete annihilation of every home, and school. And to so flippantly say it was a price to be paid. There is no humor in that.

I understand war. War is justified at times. Mass genocide of civilians is not war. It's a failure of reason and humanity. The Nazis excusing their mass genocides as a price to be paid, for their delusional security is not justified, and neither is this one.

There is never a justification for genocide of civilians. Never. The real insult is to past, present, and future victims by people like you who thinks it's okay.

And because of people like that, we can be assured that there WILL BE future victims.
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06-02-2014, 01:38 PM (This post was last modified: 06-02-2014 01:42 PM by cjlr.)
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
(05-02-2014 06:03 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  There is no humor in people justifying the mass murder of men, women, children, and even their pets. The utter and complete annihilation of every home, and school. And to so flippantly say it was a price to be paid. There is no humor in that.

I understand war. War is justified at times. Mass genocide of civilians is not war. It's a failure of reason and humanity. The Nazis excusing their mass genocides as a price to be paid, for their delusional security is not justified, and neither is this one.

Citation needed on "mass genocide". Last I checked there were still Japanese people.

Way to Godwin, though.

We may consider any act - yes, even the Nazis - in retrospective terms. What were their goals? What were their methods? What were their motives? And we may discuss any of the three.

In this thread we are considering the goals and motives regarding a given act. Well - some of us are. You do not appear to wish to discuss but to self-satisfactorily judge.

I believe, based on serious consideration of the available statistics, that, all else being equal, the use of the atomic bombs against Japan, while inarguably causing a great deal of death and misery, yet caused less than would have resulted had they not been used.

That is my thesis. You are welcome to break it down and dispute any of it.

It is of no benefit to anyone to present as an antithesis "NO U R EVIL".

(05-02-2014 06:03 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  There is never a justification for genocide of civilians. Never. The real insult is to past, present, and future victims by people like you who thinks it's okay.

And because of people like that, we can be assured that there WILL BE future victims.

Well, aren't you way up on that high horse.

You may recognize the above situation as I elaborated upon it as one of the most fundamental moral dilemmas:
By action you kill X people.
By inaction you permit the deaths of Y>X people.
What would you do?

Make no mistake, that is how I framed my analysis. I've gone over the numbers. All else being equal I find myself unable but to choose the option which results in less death and deprivation insofar as they may be quantified.

The primary question is in how one differentiates between the active weight of having acted versus the merely tacit non-intervention of having not. Morality is a cost-benefit analysis. Different people weigh the parameters differently - thus, their conclusions differ. The secondary question (this being a question of history) may well be towards the parameters I have presented. Certainly there is a great deal of uncertainty in the figures X and Y.

"You are a bad person for having come to a different conclusion than me" is a spectacularly fatuous sentiment.

(notwithstanding that to use the word 'genocide' in a situation that was not genocidal cheapens the meaning and weakens the strength of what should be a very reserved term, as befits its weight)

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06-02-2014, 05:04 PM (This post was last modified: 06-02-2014 05:08 PM by JAH.)
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
cjlr, I am glad that you have admitted that the enumeration of actual deaths one way or another, dropping the bomb or not is opened to debate, very much so. I suggest you not use it in the form Y>X therefore the use of the bomb. I would suggest that you use it in a form along the lines of that as best as you can tell the decision makers of the time felt that more lives would be lost by letting the war play out as it was without the atomic bombs.

PoolBoyG, this discussion is very single issue. If you look you will find that both sides during WWII killed civilians with some callousness, mostly thru bombing raids, at least by the Allies although the Russians had their moments with direct killing. The question was not whether the killing of large amount of civilians should be permitted during war. The question was the use of the Atomic bombs necessary to shorten the war in Asia.
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06-02-2014, 05:22 PM
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
Genocides are not war. You don't use genocide as a tactic. And just because you don't murder everyone, doesn't mean you get a free pass on it.

You never target men, women, children, their damn pets, every home, every school, every hospital...

Murdering thousands of civilians as an excuse to lazily say it'll maybe save lives is a similar excuse that can be used to justify the annihilation of any American (or any) city to prevent their genocides. "We had to mass murder their civilians into submission or they'll do it to us." And around it goes.

This isn't a point of view or opinion. We're not talking about favorite television shows or sports teams. We're talking the specific and direct and complete and utter annihilation of men, women, children and their possessions and homes.

I also reject the ludicrous claim that it "saved lives". Japan was a fallen country, and used as a testing ground for WMDs - specifically choosing pristine untouched cities. As far as mass murders go, this might even be worse.

I'm speaking in circles. We have people saying that mass murder of civilians and complete annihilation of cities is okay. There's always a time and place for it. There's excuses for it. It's completely legitimate.

I can't change that view point. I just hope that as potential voters and financial contributors, you're not as asinine and dangerous in the real world as on here.
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06-02-2014, 05:59 PM
RE: Historical Justification for the Nuking of Japan
PoolBoyG, I must agree with you totally and completely. The killing of innocent civilians should not be considered acceptable even during war. I would go one further, war or even threat of war should not be used in any geopolitical sense. War should be forbidden and all armies world wide, even impromptu armies, should be disbanded and disarmed. As a moral issue you are without question correct. I might add that the fire bombing of Japanese cities would likely have continued without the use of the atomic bombs.

The morality of the killing of civilians is and can not be part of the discussion here because in fact war existed and in fact both sides were killing civilians for tactical reasons. Although cjlr has only mentioned it in passing a few times, Japanese civilians were dying due to starvation, how many might have died if the war continued. It is one of the things that make his cold calculation on deaths with or without the atomic bombs difficult. This discussion of morality has never been a part of this thread. It is a cold discussion of what was the proper strategic action at the time.
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