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View Diary: Paul Tibbets - Dead (96 comments)

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  •  Thoughtful analysis (10+ / 0-)

    I am divided on the issue.  While the point you make is good, something still bothers me.  I had a professor (Paul Kuroda, the nuclear chemist) who personally told me that he had already been issued his sharpened bamboo stick and had been trained to use it against the Marines on the beach.  He was 15 at the time.  He also told me that he greatly admired Truman for having the courage to use the weapon.

    That carries a lot of weight, since he was there and told me that he would have impaled as many Marines as he could before being killed.  Most folks in the here and now do not appreciate the determination of the Japanese.  One must remember that they were fighting for God in human form (the Emperor).

    I have a problem, however, with Sherman-like war practices.  The same argument can be made against the carpet bombing of Dresden, and the lesser-known carpet bombing of Tokyo and many other Japanese cities.  It us just wrong to target predominately civilian populations in military campaigns.  Call me an idealist, or worse, if you wish, but I just think it is wrong.

    I wonder if a similar impact could have been made on the Soviets if the devices had been dropped in uninhabited areas and films distributed?  I do not know, but probably not.  For one thing, there was essentially no television, so only a limited audience would have seen it, and the information would have come out in dribs and drabs.  

    Once again, I am very conflicted with this issue.  As an American, I feel sort of personally responsible that the only time nuclear devices were used to kill people was at the hand of my Nation.  I guess I just think it is wrong to kill folks who are in no way connected to a conflict inflicted on them by their leaders, except that they were in the proper place at the proper time, just trying to live.

    Forgive the clumsiness of this explanation, but without clarity of opinion, it is difficult to explain feelings about the issue.

    Finally, I find it horrible that Tibbets never showed any kind of sympathy, let alone remorse, for the scores of thousands of deaths for which he was responsible.  Perhaps it was a defensive mechanism to that he would not experience the absolute horror of his actions.  Perhaps it was just that he did not care.  I do not know.  What I do know is that I have some remorse in his stead.  Regards, Doc.

    •  I won't judge him, or Truman. (8+ / 0-)

      As a student of military history, I agree with Sherman.  He was right about war.  You can't make it anything but what it is.  Once commenced, it should be horrible.  

      Because everyone has one. Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

      by SpamNunn on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 04:42:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that it is horrible (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SpamNunn

        What we all must do is learn from the horror and find better ways to resolve conflicts.

        I am not very optimistic.  When I was little I used to have a dream of skin-clad cavemen (eerily like the GEICO cavemen) with their fingers on nuclear triggers.  I believe that the interpretation is that we are much smarter than we were 50,000 years ago, but not much wiser.

        Oil is the issue at present.  That will pass, because it eventually be depleted.  Just wait until water becomes the issue.  I never cared to the taste of petroleum, but I like drinking water.

        Unless we find a cheap method of energy production, so as to utilize seawater, I have a very disturbing feeling that we have not seen conflict yet.  To clarify, it is energy intensive to desalinate seawater, but that is what the planet will have to do if we have any expectation of maintaining a population over the carrying capacity of the environment.  Only the flow of energy through the system can organize the system.  Regards, Doc.

      •  Trouble now, you got me to thinking! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Foxwizard, SpamNunn

        Lots of human situations were explored in the original "Star Trek" series.  There was an episode called "A Taste of Armageddon" in which the Enterprise was warned off of a planet, but upon detecting no weapons, entered orbit anyway.

        The crew found out that that planet and its neighbor were are war, and it was all a computer simulation.  Rather than destroy infrastructure, the computer models assembled a list of human (well, whatever species they were) casualties and they dutifully reported to dematerialization chambers to be killed.  In that way, the ones who remained were fine, the infrastructure was fine, and the war continued for the past 500 years.

        Well, Kirk threw a fit when he found out that the Enterprise became a casualty.  In his cowboy diplomatic way, he destroyed the computer link with the other planet, triggering the certainty of actual war, with weapons of actual mass destruction.

        The bottom line is that both planets recognized that a real war is horrible, and entered into diplomatic relations to avoid it.

        I know this is a little far out, but please bear with me.  Perhaps what you said about Sherman is correct.  By limiting the horror of war, war itself becomes more palatable.  You may have a good point.  As a little background, you must know that my Mum was a rabid Confederate apologist, so my mind is not always as open as it should be.  You opened it a bit tonight, and I thank you for that.

        Now, what do we do to improve things?  Warmest regards, Doc.

        •  I don't know. Start by reading (0+ / 0-)

          The Art of War in Western Civilization by Archer Jones and some Clausewitz.   Lots of interesting analysis of the use of the horror of war to prevent war.

          Because everyone has one. Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

          by SpamNunn on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 05:18:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Strangely, I think we did (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RubDMC

          The Cold War had several opportunities to turn 'Hot', but the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) kept both sides the US and the USSR from going to blows with one another.

          Sherman's point, as you see, along with Clauswitze and a good many others, was that ware IS hell, and that sheltering people from that truth only encouraged it.

          We are capable of changing the terms of our international relations: the 30 years' war and the 100 years' war, as well as the English Revolution, were faught largely over religious issues. Thus the framers of our constitution took religion out of the political sphere; Europe followed suit in the 20th century, and it's worked well (so far).

          I don't condemn Tibbits' attitude because it is the necessary attitude of the warrior. Warriors have an awful, but altogether too necessary job.

          Martin Luther, about ten years after he kicked off the Reformation era, was asked about a soldier's standing with God. It was kind of a round-about way of asking about the justice of War.

          His response, like Augustine's, was that wars that are necessary to defend innocents or to overcome aggression are just; but wars of oppourtunity are unjust. This is a distinction that, I think, we forget at our peril.

          It's the story of the school-yard bully. The small kids have to have somebody big to stand up to the bully so they can enjoy the playground. Thus the need for warriors.

          What we are visiting in this discussion is the fine line between idealism and ideology. Idealism is good and necessary, but ideological purity in the pursuit of peace leaves the innocents of the world open to the depradations of the bullies. In this discussion, context matters.

    •  It had to be done (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justanothernyer

      I think you are being unfair to Tibbets. It wasn't him that caused those deaths any more than Henry Ford is responsible for killing millions with his automobiles.

      I'm pretty sure the carpet bombing of Tokyo killed more that the atomic bomb but those pilots remain for the most part largely unnamed.

      We denounce terrorism for the sheer randomness and ruthlessness it usually assumes. Dropping a bomb from a plane is no different; you yell "bombs away" and hope that they kill people. Despite what the military says, American bombs still reach the ground in places not deserving.

      Wars always start strategic and move into civilian areas. WWII was hideously brutal. The Russian sweep into Berlin was done with such rage and hatred of the Germans that even German children would be targeted by tank fire or purposely driven over by tanks.

      The US has a long history of practicing the brutal acts that we are told to condemn. What conclusion can be reached by us giving Saddam chemical weapons technology? Did we give it to him because we didn't want him to use it? That's nonsense.

      We don't use chemical weapons in war; they kill people in minutes. Instead we like to peel off their skin with napalm so they suffer first. Gives them some time to think about the sin of being born.

      B.T.W. it's all chemicals.

      I would argue that the use of the A-bomb was one of the smarter things done. It most likely really did save lives in the end.

      Here's a philosophical question: what if Hitler also cured cancer?

      For extra credit, what if you found out you had cancer and knew he was the one who cured it?

      I was happiest as a heathen.

      by MouseOfSuburbia on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 05:32:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I guess you suggesting that the Japanese populace (0+ / 0-)

      was just minding its own business, and it was the Emperor's magic wand that was producing the bullets, ships, planes, rucksacks, war making imperative, etc.

      Conversely, Rosie the Riveter was just as valid a target as MacArthur, and if the Japanese could have found a way to target her, they surely would have.

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