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View Diary: Paul Tibbets - Dead (96 comments)

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  •  Can't Ignore Okinawa's Lessons (14+ / 0-)

    Truman and his Pacific Theater commanders had to consider the lessons they learned from the fighting on Okinawa.  The Japanese were not going to surrender without killing as many invaders as they could, with no regard for their own losses.  Those tens of thousands you lament were going to die anyway.  That was the unfortunate calculus Truman had to confront.  

    Also, just consider one final factor.  After having had two atomic bombs dropped on them, wiping out two of the last essentially untouched cities in Japan, the Japanese high command still dithered on surrendering.  The US did not force "unconditional" surrender on Japan, which until the end of the war had included the removal of the Japanese emperor.  The US relented and allowed the Emperor to remain on the throne.  Only that pull back persuaded the Japanese to finally surrender.  You honestly think the Japanese were going to surrender conveniently without having been confronted by the existence of the bomb?  Hell, they haven't admitted to their savagery in the war after fifty years.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 04:28:13 PM PDT

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    •  I am just glad it wasn't my choice to make (7+ / 0-)

      to drop it or not   I know Oppenheimer regretted building it

      •  too bad Oppenheimer stifled dissent (1+ / 0-)
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        before the bomb was dropped, burying a petition signed by many of the Chicago scientists who worked on the Manhattan project begging Truman not to use the weapon.  Let's not forget that Oppenheimer also caved on the development of the H-bomb.  

        •  Of course those who signed (1+ / 0-)
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          the petition would not be going in on the first invasion wave of Japan.

          •  64 major Japanese cities (2+ / 0-)
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            JayBat, Nulwee

            had already been levelled with conventional bombing before the bombs were dropped, destroying 40 percent of the urban areas and rendering 30% of the population homeless.  I am really of the opinion that the Japanese would not have continued to fight much longer.

            •  See the Okinawa campaign (1+ / 0-)
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              I disagree with you.

              •  They had armies all over Asia (3+ / 0-)

                China, the CBI theater, the Philippines. Vietnam----the japanese were fighting in all these places with no letup at all. Anybody who thinks the japanese were about to give up, better look at history outside japan.
                trhere was no significant antiwar movement at all.

                Furthermore, the invasion planned for Japan would have taken even more lives--probably a million or more Japanese, not to mention hundreds of thousands of Americans, British and whoever else. The Japanese people were being trained to resist invasion to the death, even with spears.

                The bombs actually saved hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives---not to mention all the Allied lives

                " You don't need to be an icthyologist to know when a rotten fish stinks." Daniel Ellsberg, from "Secrets"

                by exlrrp on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 05:43:59 PM PDT

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                •  I think part of your comment... (0+ / 0-)

         a good example of what Robert Jay Lifton calls 'nuclearism.'

                  Specifically, when you say, "The bombs actually saved hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives---not to mention all the Allied lives," you're attributing an almost supernatural power to these devices to solve problems that were otherwise unsolvable.

                  Or as Lifton said in his 2003 book, "The Super Power Syndrome:"

                  (nuclearism enables us to) perceive our atomic bomb as a "source of transcendent power, of life-sustaining security and peace-potentially life-saving as well as life-destroying...the bomb was to save the world from itself."

                  I say this not to take exception with you or your comment specifically, but rather to point to the phenomenon of nuclearism as just one of the many unbearable costs of these bombs and our decision to use them.

                  •  On some level I agree with you... (2+ / 0-)
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                    RubDMC, Proud SW FL Lib

                    However, I am of the opinion that in this one circumstance that the dropping of these bombs, and the loss of so many lives did in fact save innumerable lives.

                    One of the factors I consider in this calculation is the fact that nuclear weapons were never used during the Cold War.

                    I firmly believe that they were not used because they were used on Japan and the world was able to see their horrible destructive potential.

                    Again, as I mentioned down is up for debate whether or not any of this should matter in the debate on their use.

                    Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity, only not as much fun.

                    by Toktora on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 06:20:17 PM PDT

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        •  My father (1+ / 0-)
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          signed the petition.  He had regrets about his minor role in the development of the bomb for the rest of his life.  But one of his best friends made the other argument about saving lives - including his own, because he was on a Navy ship steaming towards Japan when the bombs were dropped.

    •  This is a powerful argument IMO (11+ / 0-)

      I do believe that Harry Truman decided to drop the bombs in good faith -- because he felt they would be effective in ending the war sooner with less bloodshed.

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