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View Diary: My experience with Eric Shinseki (211 comments)

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  •  I think you are looking at the bomb thing in a (11+ / 0-)

    rear view mirror from a far distance. The thousands without enough points to not ship from the European Theater to the Pacific staging areas for an invasion that was expected to make D-Day in Normandy and Okinawa look like cakewalks had no such doubts. I've even met a few Japanese whose families would have been in the direct path of that invasion and were being organized to fight it with bamboo spears also grudgingly and sadly admitting they would not be alive without those two bombs.

    As far as killing? The fire bomb raids and firestorms killed more. In "our" ignorance at the time there was little idea of the long lasting horrors of radiation. It is the unusual effects seen, body shadows in concrete where the body was vaporized, and radiation that seem to make  killing by those bombs "different." Being slowly roasted or suffocated in a firestorm is just as dead or maimed. It is purely in that rear view mirror that we see the radiation.

    War is Hell, a hell of such diverse and horrible suffering most people just cannot imagine. The U.S. public in particular has been sheltered. I cannot find the reference now, I think it was perhaps Ernie Pyle, that found infantry in North Africa was deeply resentful of that sheltering. They themselves had run into something that shocked them. "Training" had in no way prepared them for what really happened when German artillery and armor really got going on their fragile bodies. Then they realized the censors "made pretty" the real war. Men "died instantly" when in reality they sometimes sat dazed trying to stuff their guts back into the belly ripped by a shell or  were still screaming truncated at the hip. They resented the fact the people on the "Home Front" all wrapped up in their own little sacrifices of rationing and shortages were being kept clueless.

    That sheltering is downright evil. To "protect" delicate sensibilities the legend of the quick deaths, the movie toppling over or sinking to the knees with a mild grimace was put forth. As a result of all this sheltering we have a population far, far to enamored with a "military solution" to problems. I've noted right here on this site people "not looking" at photos as too horrible. Well they should look! Maybe next time they will be even less likely to listen to the drums of war before every other option is gone and the alternative is national suicide. And here we've done it again. No photos at Dover AFB and such.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:21:41 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I believe it remains a matter of some dispute (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thatvisionthing, moosely2006

      about the willingness or ability of the Japanese people or her Emperor to have continued the fight as you suggest.  

      Leaving aside that dispute about a projected catastrophic battle, many do not dispute the fact that Emperor Hirohito was willing to surrender after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (uranium 235-gun assembly).  There remain questions about the US military justification for the bombing of Nagasaki (plutonium 239-implosion type) only three days later.  The more cynical have suggested that the Nagasaki bombing may have been less about ending the war than about live weapons testing.

      But as both our comments indicate, this matter remains in dispute these 60+ years later.

      "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation.

      by Uncle Moji on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 01:38:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for this. 5 million men were being (0+ / 0-)

      massed to go for the invasion of Japan. They expected that they would die, almost all of them. Those that saw the fighting on Guadalcanal and the other islands were the most sure of death.

      They also knew that millions upon millions of Japanese, women and children, and the elderly would also die.

      Even after the second bomb, at Nagasaki, some of the Japanese military wanted to continue fighting.

      Awful as they were (and are) the atom bombs saved many lives.

      We are in a time where it is risky NOT to change. Barack Obama 7-30-08

      by samddobermann on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 09:04:09 AM PST

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      •  Truman could have stopped it. (0+ / 0-)

        And Eisenhower and so many other advisers were against it.

        And I wasn't there, so I can only go on things that I've read.

        " [July] 1945... Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. ...the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.

        "During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude..."

        - Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate For Change, pg. 380

        In a Newsweek interview, Eisenhower again recalled the meeting with Stimson:

        "...the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing."

        - Ike on Ike, Newsweek, 11/11/63

        (Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman)
        "It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

        "The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children."

        - William Leahy, I Was There, pg. 441.

        On May 28, 1945, Hoover visited President Truman and suggested a way to end the Pacific war quickly: "I am convinced that if you, as President, will make a shortwave broadcast to the people of Japan - tell them they can have their Emperor if they surrender, that it will not mean unconditional surrender except for the militarists - you'll get a peace in Japan - you'll have both wars over."

        Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover, pg. 347.

        On August 8, 1945, after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Hoover wrote to Army and Navy Journal publisher Colonel John Callan O'Laughlin, "The use of the atomic bomb, with its indiscriminate killing of women and children, revolts my soul."

        quoted from Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 635.

        "...the Japanese were prepared to negotiate all the way from February 1945...up to and before the time the atomic bombs were dropped; ...if such leads had been followed up, there would have been no occasion to drop the [atomic] bombs."

        - quoted by Barton Bernstein in Philip Nobile, ed., Judgment at the Smithsonian, pg. 142

        Hoover biographer Richard Norton Smith has written: "Use of the bomb had besmirched America's reputation, he [Hoover] told friends. It ought to have been described in graphic terms before being flung out into the sky over Japan."

        Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover, pg. 349-350.

        In early May of 1946 Hoover met with General Douglas MacArthur. Hoover recorded in his diary, "I told MacArthur of my memorandum of mid-May 1945 to Truman, that peace could be had with Japan by which our major objectives would be accomplished. MacArthur said that was correct and that we would have avoided all of the losses, the Atomic bomb, and the entry of Russia into Manchuria."

        Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 350-351.


        ...Einstein did not speak publicly on the atomic bombing of Japan until a year afterward. A short article on the front page of the New York Times contained his view:

        "Prof. Albert Einstein... said that he was sure that President Roosevelt would have forbidden the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had he been alive and that it was probably carried out to end the Pacific war before Russia could participate."

        Einstein Deplores Use of Atom Bomb, New York Times, 8/19/46, pg. 1.

        Regarding the 1939 letter to Roosevelt, his biographer, Ronald Clark, has noted:

        "As far as his own life was concerned, one thing seemed quite clear. 'I made one great mistake in my life,' he said to Linus Pauling, who spent an hour with him on the morning of November 11, 1954, '...when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification - the danger that the Germans would make them.'".

        Ronald Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times, pg. 620.

        etc.  Others quoted include General Douglas MacArthur, Under Secretary of State Joseph Grew, Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy, Under Secretary of the Navy Ralph Bard, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy Lewis Strauss, Vice Chairman U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Paul Nitze, Leo Szilard (the first scientist to conceive of how an atomic bomb might be made - 1933), The Franck Report (Manhattan Project scientists in Chicago - 1945), Deputy Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence Ellis Zacharias, General Carl "Tooey" Spatz (in charge of Air Force operations in the Pacific, who received the order to bomb), and it ends with this quote:

        (The military intelligence officer in charge of preparing intercepted Japanese cables - the MAGIC summaries - for Truman and his advisors)
        "...when we didn't need to do it, and we knew we didn't need to do it, and they knew that we knew we didn't need to do it, we used them as an experiment for two atomic bombs."

        Quoted in Gar Alperovitz, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb, pg. 359.


        To me it comes down to Truman.  And I think he failed America.  And I think he failed America again when he authorized the formation of the CIA.  And he came to regret that decision:  

        "I never would have agreed to the formulation of the CIA back in '47, if I had known it would become the American Gestapo." --Harry S. Truman (1961)  

    •  Secrecy and sheltering suck (0+ / 0-)

      I think you are looking at the bomb thing in a rear view mirror from a far distance.

      Absolutely!  I hope you see my reply nested below yours -- -- I meant it as a reply to several comments including yours.

      Also, I'm someone who turns away from horrible photos.  But I was also against the war from the start, and was so viscerally revolted by Bush's lying Iraq speeches that I would throw things at the TV screen and scream at it as I dove to turn him off.  I knew, even without facts, that he was lying and misleading.  I'm actually curious to know if the people who refuse to look are generally one way or another, supportive of war or appalled by it.  I'm shocked by the unreality of pro-war "patriots."

      Thank you so much for what you said about secrecy and sheltering.  It ties in so well with other comments that I've left recently (pro jury nullification, anti corporate personhood, pro impeachment, anti CIA) with the common theme of the need for informed people to be involved in government and for their voices to be able to be heard.  The Constitution has come on hard times indeed.

      Excellent comment.

    •  Truman in denial; suppressed Hiroshima photos (0+ / 0-)

      Of interest?

      Hiroshima in America
      by Robert J. Lifton (Author), Greg Mitchell (Author)

      Editorial Reviews

      From Publishers Weekly
      President Truman was ambivalent about the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet, according to this unsettling study, Truman, influenced by army general Leslie Groves and Secretary of War Henry Stimson, went into denial and developed a sense of omnipotence that allowed him to deploy weapons that killed vast numbers of civilians. Eminent psychologist Lifton (whose National Book Award-winning Death in Life dealt with Hiroshima survivors) and former Nuclear Times editor Mitchell (The Campaign of the Century) draw on primary sources, including the diaries of Truman and other decision-makers, in an attempt to refute the widely held belief that the atomic bombings hastened WWII's end, thereby preventing an invasion of Japan and saving countless American lives. The authors demonstrate that the U.S. military and media for decades systematically suppressed on-site photographs, as well as American and Japanese documentary films, that showed the devastation produced by the bombs. They argue that the lasting, harmful impact of Hiroshima on American society includes a defense policy in thrall to nuclear weaponry, self-propelling arms buildups, patterns of psychic numbing and secrecy and denial of the health effects of radiation from bombs and from U.S. nuclear waste dumps. BOMC and History Book Club selections.
      Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

      From Library Journal
      Lifton (The Journey of the Adopted Self, LJ 3/1/94) and Mitchell (The Campaign of the Century, LJ 4/1/92) bring their expertise to bear in this well-researched book examining the reaction of the American people to the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 and its domestic aftermath. The authors examine what they perceive to be a conspiracy by the government to mislead and suppress information about the actual bombing, Truman's decision to drop the bomb, and the birth and mismanagement of the beginning of the nuclear age. The authors claim that Americans then and now are haunted by the devastating psychological effects of the bomb. The most interesting aspect of their book is the analysis of Truman. The development of nuclear weapons and the bombing of Hiroshima will continue to foment debate and will be of interest to students of history and current affairs. Highly recommended for most collections.?C. Christopher Pavek, Putnam, Hayes & Bartlett, Inc. Information Ctr., Washington, D.C.
      Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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