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View Diary: "War is constant noise": Russian WWII vets tell their stories (53 comments)

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  •  It saved the lives of millions of Asians (0+ / 0-)

    including many more Japanese than died in the two cities. And the "provenly false premises" you allude to are neither false and neither are yours as sure as you imagine. Only ignoring the facts that that were available to the decision makers at the time and the facts that came out later and ignoring the postwar politics that colored the survey group allows you keep your views as they are.

    Far more people were dying and would have died elsewhere that were NOT Americans and the war would not have been over 10 days later without them. That is wishful thinking at the very least and a dangerous gamble that the US could not risk.  Forget the Saving American lives argument that was made at the time and later. True or not it does not invalidate the very real deaths that were happening all over Asia every single day. ANY delay in ending the war was the greater evil for all concerned whether they really focused on that or not.

    I do not trade one set of demonizations for another. You are wedded to one set that chooses to put all US choices in the worst possible light and absolves anyone else of blame. Even Japanese are divided on this subject. Most Japanese have been able to buy into a nearly total victim-hood scenario due to the bombs, a scenario that allows them to avoid acknowledging the militarism that dominated their politics for 40 years and the war crimes that were committed by Japan. But even in Japan there are some who buck this PC trend and pay the price but they are closer to a balanced view.

    On 30 June 2007, Japan's defense minister Fumio Kyuma said the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan by the United States during World War II was an inevitable way to end the war. Kyuma said "I now have come to accept in my mind that in order to end the war, it could not be helped (Shikata ga nai) that an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and that countless numbers of people suffered great tragedy." Kyuma, who is from Nagasaki, said the bombing caused great suffering in the city, but he does not resent the U.S. because it prevented the Soviet Union from entering the war with Japan.[22] Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue protested against Kyuma, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized over Kyuma's remark to Hiroshima A-bomb survivors.[23]

    In the wake of the outrage provoked by his statements, Kyuma had to resign on 3 July.[24] However, the comments of Kyuma were almost similar to those made by Emperor Hirohito when, in his first ever press conference given in Tokyo in 1975, he was asked what he thought of the bombing of Hiroshima. Hirohito then answered : "It's very regrettable that nuclear bombs were dropped and I feel sorry for the citizens of Hiroshima but it couldn't be helped (Shikata ga nai) because that happened in wartime."[25]

    My father was in the South Pacific and in the occupation of Japan. He went to Hiroshima 6 weeks after the blast and saw the devastation up close with his own eyes. He did not glory in it or rationalize it. He did not hate the Japanese or conversely revile the US for making the choice that they did. But he understood.

    You are free to keep your outrage for your own reasons and do not want to moderate it with a fuller picture. Some of the sources that you mention are also not entirely accurate and conveniently disregard information that at least partially invalidates them. I was not alive back then or involved in the decisions made and even now in hindsight with plenty of hindsight and revisionism there is still a lot of simplistic thinking and arbitrary conclusions on both sides of the argument.

    The US is always bad, lets look for reasons that prove that... The US is always good, lets look for good excuses for any bad stuff... The Japanese were victims, lets look for evidence that backs that up... The Japanese were war criminals who deserved what they got so lets look for all the worst things we can find to paint the darkest picture... That's what everyone does about everybody... just substitute the names above... The truth is always in a hard to pin down area in an uncomfortable middle where there are not as many absolutes to cling to.

    Every act good and bad is the product of cumulative events and thinking and limitations of fact and understanding. It is possible that if a genetic double of you with as much of your mindset as possible given this impossible hypothetical exercise... might have been a party to a decision like the one to go ahead and bomb as the US did. Or maybe not. It it easy to say no to a more immediate horror however abstract or not fully understood ... and less easy to defend why such an abominable act (and viewed more so in hindsight) is still the better, even more moral alternative to a larger, longer, diffuse and therefore less dramatically visible choice resulting in vastly more death and destruction. And why that choice might be by far the best is more easily denied with faulty quotes, and unquestioned views of "authoritative sources" who were not there but who have the luxury of being digital saints dispensing pass/fail judgments long after the fact.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Sat Oct 10, 2009 at 11:41:52 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  i can't help you (0+ / 0-)

      Presented, repeatedly, with facts, you close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears, and shout "LA LA LA."

      It's a common affliction.

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