Thursday, August 04, 2005

Choices among crazinesses

Both Austin Bay and Clive Davis recently cited
this famous essay
by literary critic Paul Fussell in their posts on the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb.

I had read Fussell's 1988 essay, provocatively titled "God Bless the Atomic Bomb," years ago. But this recommendation by two bloggers I admire and respect made me go back and read it again. And, as with so many things I've read post-9/11, I find it seems to have more depth and relevance than ever.

Fussell is a WWII combat veteran himself, which gives his work a perspective not often found among literary critics, especially literary critics today. Or course, in WWII, even literary critics (or literary critics-to-be) were not immune from serving. Read the whole thing--it's not only thoughtful, but extremely well-written. Fussell is not one to pull his punches.

I'm not familiar with most of Fussell's work, but I did read his masterpiece The Great War and Modern Memory when it first came out in the mid-70s. It's about World War I as seen through the prism of the literature of the times. Apparently, even long before I became a neocon, I must have been interested in the topic of war--particularly World War I, the neglected war as far as my history courses were concerned.

We had always spent a great deal of study on the early history of the US up to the Civil War, and then somehow ran out of time when we got to the twentieth century. So WWI was reduced to a couple of battles and then the Armistice, and memorizing "In Flanders Fields." I had no real indication of the extent of the destruction wrought during that war, not only to human life, but to the way of life and thinking that preceded the war. Many, in fact, judge that the modern era really dates from that war.

I came to this interest in WWI obliquely, through the mechanism of literature. Somewhere along the way I had encountered a quote from author Henry James that grabbed my attention and seemed to contain a mystery (I no longer have the quote, unfortunately). It was, as best I can recall, from his diary, and it expressed the idea that WWI had caused him to totally revise his notion of what the previous decades had actually been about. The idea of history as a progression forward and upwards, of things leading slowly but inexorably to a better and more civilized world, was one he had apparently held until the utter shock of WWI changed everything for him and plunged him into despair.

James took ill not long after the war began, and he died in 1916, before the war was concluded. Post-WWI, though, it seems that James had suffered a profound disillusionment and reorganization of his worldview not unlike that which began with the events of 9/11 for many of us today.

James's reaction was shared by many people who witnessed WWI, one of the main themes of Fussell's excellent book. It was the James quote that had introduced me to that phenomenon, and Fussell's book was my first exposure to the watershed nature of WWI. Through the device of looking at the literature of the years immediately preceding the War and comparing it to that during the war (particularly the marvelous poetry--by which I don't mean the ubiquitous "In Flanders Fields"), Fussell draws a picture of how--especially for the generation coming of age at that time--"everything changed" during that war.

One of the writers Fussell features is Wilfred Owen, a brilliant young poet who was an officer in WWI and was killed, ironically, just a week before the Armistice. If you're not familiar with the poetry of Wilfred Owen, nearly all of it set in WWI, please take a look. He focuses on the pain and horror of the human suffering of war, much as John Hershey did in Hiroshima, without going into the context of that suffering. So, Owen doesn't discuss politics at all--the "brutal calculus" of war is not his topic. The human costs are, and he is one who knows them all too well, and paid them himself in full measure.

Here is an especially telling excerpt from Fussell's atom bomb essay, about the brutal calculus of WWII as opposed to WWI, and particularly the decision to drop the bomb. But it applies to all decisions in all wars:

Lord Louis Mountbatten, trying to say something sensible about the dropping of the A-bomb, came up only with "War is crazy." Or rather, it requires choices among crazinesses. "It would seem even more crazy," he went on, "if we were to have more casualties on our side to save the Japanese..."

"Choices among crazinesses"--exactly. And not all crazinesses are equal. Some, although awful and crazy, are better than others, more awful and more crazy still.

The final words of Fussell's fine essay are particularly memorable. They are a general guide to judging history itself, and those who make the weighty and difficult decisions that help determine its course:

The past, which as always did not know the future, acted in ways that ask to be imagined before they are condemned. Or even simplified."


At 12:31 PM, August 04, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One historian, I think V. Hanson, made the point that, by mid-August, a Soviet army of 1.2 million would have been attacking a Japanese army of 1 million.
The Japanese were less well-equipped but would have had the advantage of being on the defensive.

Both armies were notable for the willingness of high command to accept and even to decree horrendous casualties among their own troops.
The fighting would have been extraordinarily savage.

And my father and probably four of my uncles would have been killed without the bomb.

At 1:56 PM, August 04, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

- talk about PTSD, had we invaded Japan, how many fanatical women and young boys and old men would have had to been killed by our troops on the lines? Can you imagine the toll this would have taken on combat troops? How many weeks to subdue Japan via invasion? How many body pits? How many human assaualt waves armed with clubs and knives and hoes and machetes? They would have done it had the emperor so ordered it. There are lots of unknowns about that aspect of that war.

At 3:25 PM, August 04, 2005, Blogger David Foster said... you distinguish the A-bomb as used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the massive conventional bombing emplyed against Tokyo, Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin, ad other cities?

At 3:36 PM, August 04, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ho chi mihn-

Even if Japan would have surrendered on the same date without us using the bomb, Hiroshima and Nagasaki still would have burned to the ground, killing just as many if not more civilians and soldiers than the 2 A-Bombs did. These cities, along with several others, were saved from the firebombing that had already destroyed nearly all of the major and moderate sized cities of japan.

I don't think that it makes a terrible ammount of difference whether these cities were extirpated by the firebomb and its backdraft, or the atomic bomb; both methods were equally terrible, and the former has far outstripped the latter in the number of men and acres of city it has destroyed in WW2.

At 5:10 PM, August 04, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

Taken from the VFW Magazine, 8/05 issue:
9/15 - 11/15/1944 Battle of Peleliu
US Marines:1336 KIA 6031 WIA
And speaking of reasons for sacrafices, is the threat of islamic fundamentalism any less than that of the Japanese during WW2?

Ho - Just a reminder, as we are shown authors at the top of posts. I do not read your posts. I have no need to read anti-American sentiments here or elsewhere.

At 7:08 PM, August 04, 2005, Blogger Jack said...

The Japanese high command voted to continue the war after the Hiroshima drop.

They then voted 3-3 after the second drop.

It was only the Emperor that broke the deadlock.

They could have surrendered in May, June, or July.

Instead, they tried to bleed us dry, fighting what had become an impossible war. A bad decision that cost the lives of thousands of Americans and Japanese, deaths that lie on their heads, not ours.

At 7:17 PM, August 04, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a cabal of Japanese militarists who tried to stifle the Emperor's surrender talk.
Whatever reverence they had for him was trumped by an interest in continuing the war.

At 9:02 PM, August 04, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, we have the minutes of the Japanese War Cabinet. So we know they wanted to continue the war even after the second bomb. All the rest is handwaving to try to obscure that fact. Look at Ho's forst reply -- that's a lot of handwaving.

The ships of the British liberation of Singapore, Operation Zipper, were only a few days from hitting the beach when Japan surrendered. Had the Japanese still been fighting, it would quite possibly have been the worst Allied disaster of the war. (See e.g. Miracle of Deliverance: The Case for the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Stephen Harper.) Because Japan surrendered when it did, it's unknown.

At 9:21 PM, August 04, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

Taken from the VFW Magazine, 8/05 issue:

1/9 - 7/4/1945 Philippines/Luzon campaign
10,640 KIA 36,550 WIA

2/19-3/26, 1945 (35 days) Iwo Jima
Marines 5,931 KIA 17,372 WIA
Navy 982 KIA

7/29/1945 Pacific
USS Indianapolis is hit with a torpedo 882 Sailors KIA

4/1/- 6/22/1945 (less than 3 months) Battle of Okinawa
Army 4,718 KIA
Navy 4,022 KIA
Marines 3,443
total WIA = 36,681

6/15-7/9/1944 (24 days) Saipan
Marines 3,152 KIA

And speaking of sacrifices made, is the threat of islamic fundamentalism any less than the Japanese of WW2? I don't have any answers to the following questions, do you?
Of the 1.6 billion muslims on the planet, how many wish harm to the US? How many contribute or otherwise support terrorist organizations? How many intend to contribute/support? How many muslims are actively engaged in terrorist groups? How many muslims are opposed to terrorism? How many are speaking out? How many have reported suspicious activity? How many would? These are valid questions with no answers as of yet. Another disturbing question is at what point does our Constitution actually protect terrorists who with but a few suitcase nukes could collapse our economy and throw us into almost total chaos for a number of years?
The war on terrorism is really just getting started.

Lastly, not much mention is ever made about our troops that die of non-hostile action in Iraq.
12/17-12/18/1944 the US 3rd Fleet loses 769 men in a typhoon off the Philippines.

At 9:25 PM, August 04, 2005, Blogger chuck said...

You might enjoy this book by Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth. It is her autobiography for the years 1900-1925 and covers her service as a nurse in the war. The book can drag a bit, but there are lots of memorable incidents, from her fiance's uniform being returned to his family, bloodstained and smelling of the trenches, to her irrational conviction that she was growing a beard when back at university after the war.

At 9:29 PM, August 04, 2005, Blogger chuck said...

Darn, correct link: Testament of Youth.

At 9:30 PM, August 04, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had we gone in conventionally, its very probable that northern Japan would've been conquered and occupied by the Soviets, who then would have purged the Samurai class, etc. and the subsequent development of Japanese industry would likely have been severely curtailed - and we wouldn't be online now posting stuff, probably.

Also, the UN would never have intervened in Korea, nor the US in Vietnam. With a weak Japan, Taiwan would never have been, Australia would be more militarized.

At 10:22 PM, August 04, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho wrote: It is my opinion that the use of the 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

Yes, that is the conspiratorial theory that since the 60’s has become almost an accepted tenet of modern history … but not quite – since new documents recently released by the U.S. about the interception & decoding of Japanese communications near the end of WW2 reveal that the Japanese were not anywhere near ready to surrender before the atomic explosions. Their real strategy was to cause so many casualties during the invasion of Japan that the Allies would be forced to treat for terms favorable to the Japanese Imperial clique & thus be able to resume war at a later date. The reason this information was not made public sooner was because it was considered embarrassing since the U.S. necessarily had to intercept Allied communications at the same time, namely communications of the USSR, U.K. & France - & didn’t want that known until a lot of time had passed. Sorry to blow another hole in another theory. Ho, in all fairness to you, the same theory has been held by not a few historians, historians as a group being subject to the same bias as the rest of the intelligentsia. One only has to ask the question: Why was it necessary to drop 3 bombs before surrender? The simple, elegant answer is that it was because they were stubbornly determined not to surrender until they got the terms they wanted. Ho, you really need to read the article in the Weekly Standard that neo-neocon linked to in her post “Hiroshima anniversary: what might have been.”

Also here’s an excerpt from a book review of Codename Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan, a book that uses material from the same recently released documents.

Both sides expected a full mobilization of every Japanese citizen to fight what would be the largest invasion of all time. As Japanese generals preached about "100 million souls" all dying together, the American leaders searched for any alternative to the "decisive battle" as the Japanese military referred to it. The book described how the U.S. leaders grasped at the atomic bomb as a last, desperate hope to avoid this bloody climax their enemies sought.
A striking contrast are the recently declassified U.S. intercepts of Japanese diplomatic communication, which show Japanese leaders resisting surrender a full two weeks after the first nuclear bomb fell. By the end of the book, the reader no longer wonders why Truman dropped the Bomb, but how the Japanese leaders could refuse the mercy of a peaceful surrender. Responsibility for the bombing finally rests squarely on the shoulders of the Japanese "cabinet."

And finally, here’s a description of a program due to air on the History Channel entitled “Japan’s Atomic Bomb.”:

A revealing look at the untold story of Japan's atomic bomb, and how they may have detonated a nuclear device just two days before surrender. Since the end of WWII, conventional wisdom claimed that Imperial Japan was years away from building an atomic weapon--this special shatters this view. Using once secret Japanese wartime documents, we provide evidence that Japan had world-class nuclear physicists, access to uranium ore, and cyclotrons to process it. They devised an innovative way to deliver the bombs using 400-foot long Sen Toku submarines, capable of carrying and launching airplanes. Most startling--just six days after Hiroshima, Japan tested its own atomic device on a small island 20 miles off the Korean coast. The sobering conclusion is that Japan may have been just weeks behind the US in the race for the bomb.


At 10:56 PM, August 04, 2005, Blogger gatorbait said...

Neo, I think you'll enjoy linking to ,and readingfrom, the Great War Society. It is a fascinating group and the intellectual exercises there are gripping.

At 1:00 AM, August 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Frank of The Weekly Standard recently wrote an article on the subject. It can be found here

At 6:17 AM, August 05, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

I was not aware of what Mr. Moulder has pointed out about Japan nearing nuclear capability. I hope we have learned from history and can take action that is needed with Iran and their nuclear program. We worry about jihadis getting their hands on nuclear material, but nobody talks much about the almost certain guarentee that they would obtain said material from Iran. I sincerely hope that as they near completion their reactors will be destroyed. Iran has huge energy reserves and has contracted with China and I imagine they can and will contract with India as well. They really don't need to sell oil to the West given the massive market potential of India and China. With that flow of cash and nuclear weapons, the real exportation of terrorism will begin. As the old saying goes, you ain't seen nothing yet.

At 6:46 AM, August 05, 2005, Blogger Mom said...

Thank you, Neo, for the pointer to Wilfred Owen's poems. The one called "Happiness" is particularly wrenching, describing a personal loss of innocence like the one you're describing in the wider society.

About Hiroshima and Nagasaki: I am no historian and can't venture an opinion on how the war in the Pacific would have turned out without them. But it does seem to me that the use of A-bombs in Japan has had an enormously powerful effect on history ever since, by showing us all in unmistakable, horrific specificity exactly what we'd face if they were ever used again. Would the Cuban Missile Crisis have ended the way it did if Kennedy and Kruschev hadn't known so clearly exactly what would happen to their cities if either of them pushed the button? Would the Cold War itself have ended with a whimper instead of a bang?

I am around Neo's age, and I spent my teen years and my 20s convinced that it was only a matter of time until some country, somewhere, used The Bomb and triggered World War III. I worried desperately about whether I ought to have children and doom them, apparently, to such a terrible world-wide ending. Then came the 80s and Reagan and the fall of the U.S.S.R., and amazingly, my fears (and those of many, many others of my generation) turned out to have been -- well, not entirely unnecessary, but exaggerated.

Of course, we aren't out of the woods or anywhere near it. Nuclear weapons are still here -- the threat doesn't go away, it just transmogrifies, so that now we have to worry about rogue nations and terrorists with dirty bombs targeting individual cities, instead of world-wide holocaust. But we have made it through 60 years -- SIXTY YEARS -- since WWII in which no leader anywhere has pushed that button. I am not at all sure that this would be the case if the terrible events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not taken place. Don't misunderstand -- I am not necessarily saying that the deaths in those cities were worth it in some way as a sacrifice. That would get us back to the historical calculus about WWII that I don't know enough to attempt. I'm just suggesting that at least, as a planet, we may have learned something from the event.

At 7:39 AM, August 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would never ask God to bless the atomic bomb, because I don't think that is what God is about truth be told. As for Truman authorizing the use of the atomic bomb Monday morning quarterbacks can call the right play from this vantage point sixty years on. However,Truman made it at the time and had to live with the consequences.

At 11:46 AM, August 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

(from "Dulce Et Decorum Est." Translation: It is sweet and honourable to die for one's country.)

At 2:11 PM, August 05, 2005, Blogger Jack said...

"The Japanese wanted assurances that the "unconditional surrender" we demanded did not mean removal, punishment or humiliation of the Emperor. Once they were given the Japanese did surrender."

Wrong, as we know from intercepted radio traffic:

"Newly opened archives of radio intercepts of messages between Tokyo and its diplomats abroad, which President Truman was sworn never to talk about, ever, reveal that the Japanese generals and their emperor did not consider themselves defeated. Some of these intercepts were conversations between Tokyo and diplomatic officials of U.S. allies. They reveal that even if Washington agreed to preserve the emperor that Japan regarded as "divine" there was no likelihood that Japan was ready to cry uncle."

But that is really beside the point, just another hole in your historical revision.

The point is that this did not occur in a vacuum, there were men dying on ships, planes, and islands throughout the Pacific everyday that the Japanese continued their pointless war. Fighting continued unabated, and Allied POWs starved unabated in prisoner of war camps - men whose death had already been ordered should they fall into a position to be rescued.

But even at the most basic level, it wasn't up to us to surrender to Japanese sensibilities. They started the war, they continued it. And any President that sacrificed American lives for Japanese lives in that situation deserved to be impeached. Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have forgotten that war isn't about making the enemy happy, but killing him until he cries uncle.

But we know you're not serious about any of that. Only the most delirious could ever convince themselves that our most suicidally inclined enemy we ever fought before Al Qaeda was just on the verge of surrender. Nevermind the holdouts we found until the 1970s on isolated islands throughout the Pacific, nevermind the thousands of kamikazes held back for Operation Olympia, nevermind the suicadal batallions recruited to attack Marines with bamboo spears... You've found the perfect propaganda point, something that only the evil Americans had the guts to do, and you're sticking to it.

At 12:13 AM, August 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why didn't they drop a nuke on an unpopulated area and say, 'See that goddamn horror? We'll drop another one on your heads in two days if you don't surrender.'

At 3:11 PM, August 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

Why didn't they drop a nuke on an unpopulated area and say, 'See that goddamn horror? We'll drop another one on your heads in two days if you don't surrender.'

History itself gives you an answer with the fact that it took 3 bombs on populated areas to make them surrender. Given the evidence of that stubborn of a mindset it is obvious that bombing on an unpopulated area would have had no effect & that Truman would have had to drop 3 more before they would have surrendered. My guess is that the warlords would have interpreted such humane action as weakness. It might have even served to prolong things – 5 bomb-runs instead of 3(1 on an unpopulated area – 4 on populated areas).

At 4:42 PM, August 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is obvious that bombing on an unpopulated area would have had no effect

It's obvious, is it?

Considering the number of cities flattened with conventional bombs while the skies were wide open, I doubt the warlords considered their enemies to be either humane or weak.

Were diplomatic channels open throughout the a-bomb drops? Like, ok, that's one. Surrender? No? Ok, that's two. Surrender? No? Ok, damn, here's a third.

At 9:44 PM, August 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said

It's obvious, is it?

Considering the number of cities flattened with conventional bombs while the skies were wide open, I doubt the warlords considered their enemies to be either humane or weak.

Were diplomatic channels open throughout the a-bomb drops? Like, ok, that's one. Surrender? No? Ok, that's two. Surrender? No? Ok,

Yes, it is obvious to me. Of course, I’m not a member of the ‘blame America’ club & I guess that makes a difference. Why would they surrender after a drop on an unpopulated area when they wouldn’t surrender until 3 were dropped on populated areas? Use your common sense, Anonymous. And diplomatic channels open? Oh please, the Japanese could’ve surrendered at any point during the war – it was entirely up to them. They didn’t surrender before they did because they didn’t want to.

At 10:29 AM, August 07, 2005, Blogger Tom Grey said...

I think, in Vietnam, that if the USA has given an A-bomb to S.Vietnam to use on some N.Viet big military base, the N. Vietnamese would have made a peace agreement that they would keep.

And the 800 000 murders there, and 2 million in Cambodia's Killing Fields, would NOT have happened.

Nobody knows the "what ifs" -- but unwillingness to fight to win is terrible.

"The Emperor" wante to surrender -- but he didn't really run the country. Save US lives, drop the bomb, then the second one (some argument about waiting another week? nah...).

END the war. Can't easily do that in Iraq.

At 11:02 AM, August 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two were dropped on populated areas.

Hiroshima: 1945.8.6
Nagasaki: 1945.8.9

Decision to surrender: 1945.8.9
(The internal decision, accepting the Potsdam Declaration at a midnight meeting of ministers before Tennou Hirohito.)

If anything's obvious, it's the power of the weapon itself.

I'm not a member of the 'blame America' club

Ah. Right. Sorry I brought up the question. [backs away slowly, waving flag, smiling]

At 3:41 PM, August 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Truman announces the first atomic bomb drop:

"The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in the first attack to avoid, in so far as possible, the killing of civilians."

At 6:27 PM, August 07, 2005, Blogger Jack said...

Yes, right, right, dissent is patriotic, Chomsky's an American patriot, up is down and black is white.

The Japanese could have surrendered at any point. While you're dabbling, men are dying throughout the Pacific, JAPANESE are starving on the home islands, and I'm sure you'll empathize with this next one, Soviet soldiers are soon dying in Manchuria, as agreed to at Yalta.

They also could have withdrawn from China at any point prior to the war, instead of killing tens of thousands of people a year for their 'co-prosperity sphere,' read imperialism.

Instead they chose to fight a "war for oil," attacking the United States because it wouldn't allow their imperialism and rape [literally and figuratively] of China go unopposed. Yet not surprisingly in this context, you're all understanding about war for oil and imperialism. I'm not shocked.

This is very much about propaganda, you've already shown your true colors many times in the past. Feigned innocence aside.

At 6:35 PM, August 07, 2005, Blogger Jack said...

Above post to Ho, obviously.

Same tune to every song.

At 10:09 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho: I have tremendous tolerance for dissent on this board. But I request that you stop the gratuitous insults and the F-you's. Not called for at all. And it certainly doesn't add a bit to the force of your arguments, as you no doubt know.

I have never banned anyone, and I don't want to start now, nor do I want to make this a registration-only comments section. So I'm asking you politely to tone it down.

At 11:02 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, good old in-your-face patriotism, the signature, gauche, American trait. When threatend it drives even an eloquent leftist to type FUCK YOU in capital letters.

If only you would all agree on how a patriot thinks and behaves! If only every man, woman and child would adopt that very same posture!

What a nirvana the United States of America would be.

What a shining light on the hill.

At 12:13 AM, August 09, 2005, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> My point was the Japanese wanted to surrender. And that a massive U.S. military invasion ...[snip]...

"There are lots of unknowns about that aspect of that war."

Well, other than the fact that this is absolute BS, is KNOWN to be BS, and can be PROVEN, publicly, to be BS, you're spot on!!

The US had access to all the Japanese military and diplomatic transmissions during the war -- they'd cracked Japanese codes towards the beginning and kept cracking them all during the war.

It was clear from these that the military leaders were doing nothing but buying time and trying to play the Soviets against us. The leadership realized that the USA's desire to fight such a battle as the Battle of Japan would have been was painfully low, and if they held out, they could rig things so that they would stay in power.

Here, read and learn:
Why Truman Dropped the Bomb

Further, as the above notes, each and every month of occupation, some 250k to 400k casualties were occurring in areas occupied by Japan -- mostly non military. This dwarfs the total cost in Japanese lives as a result of the two bombs.

The apologists are stupid, shortsighted, determined to demonize the USA, and have nothing but their own damnfoolishness to support their claims.

Dropping the bomb was an ugly decision, but still, indisputably, the right decision. Q.E.D.

At 12:24 AM, August 09, 2005, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Absolutely not. I wonder though, had the a-bomb been ready, if we would have used it on Germany "to save lives"? Yet clearly as our military presence helped shape Europe's future, I wonder how a U.S. military presence in Asia could have shaped theirs,

And what variation of Earth history did YOU learn? Are you from some alternate reality where Napoleon won at Waterloo? Where der Kaiser never started WWI?

I'm curious, because your comments make no sense in light of what happened in Asia in the aftermath of WWII -- perhaps you never heard of the occupation of Japan? The Korean War?

What sort of "US military presence in Asia" do you think was called for? Full occupation?

We should have occupied China? Korea? What?

...or are you just a blithering idiot with no grasp of historical events at all?

At 12:42 AM, August 09, 2005, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> He was our ally then. Where the hell did we go?

After the French, of course. The French were our "allies" at the time, which meant we sided with them over Vietnam.

A stupid error, but understandable in context.

At 12:44 AM, August 09, 2005, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> I wonder if Roosevelt was murdered? ..I bet you don't.

You're right... but then, we've never been fitted for a tinfoil hat, either.

You been hearing them voices again, ain'tcha?

At 12:59 AM, August 09, 2005, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Ah, good old in-your-face patriotism, the signature, gauche, American trait.

Patriotism? American?

"Deutschland uber alles"?

I seem to recall that there are a few slogans that some other nations have, too...

At 1:34 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho’s reply to Nick: It is you who does not grasp the missed opportunities at the end of W.W.II, when our traditional allies (England and France) were at odds with U.S. (Roosevelt) Asian objectives, and our future, Asian Cold War "enemies" were our friends. In the context of a quick fix a-bomb over Japan saving lives, our quick exit from the region set the stage for many future wars, and millions of deaths.

This is speculation designed to condemn the U.S. Ho never wonders what might have happened if Japan had prolonged the war for another year or so – or even have somehow emerged victorious. Oh no, that wouldn’t fit in with Ho’s mindset, which is to blame America. It would make any rational person shudder to think of those alternatives. It’s typical of the Blame America Club & fits right in with neo-neocon’s recent Orwell post, vis-à-vis the left’s penchant & talent for propaganda. Did the U.S. stop a bad guy? Yes, but that doesn’t matter to the BAC because the BAC will make ridiculous conjectures & propose that the U.S. actually caused more deaths by doing so & claim it’s “no wonder people hate us.” BAC members love to beat their breast & wallow in guilt, even if they have to go to bizarre extremes.

More of Ho’s grotesque speculation: Regarding Roosevelt's possible murder, at the worst possible time, I just found out his medical records are missing, and he was moved swiftly out of State, where an autopsy would have been required. I still wonder, Roosevelt died at the worst possible moment, but with your grasp off history I doubt the importance, our possibility would ever even cross your mind.

The next step for Ho is to imply that Bush’s grandfather murdered Roosevelt & set Truman up as his puppet. Speaking of “grasp off[sic] history,” where’s a straightjacket when you really need one?

At 10:59 AM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In an earlier post I said:"This is speculation designed to condemn the U.S."

Ho takes a shot in reply: I didn't condemn the U.S., the Truman administration did when they quickly pulled out of Asia (facilitated by the a-bomb) and "jumped sides", betraying our war time allies, our own American principles, not to mention paving the way for the wars that followed.

Ho did condemn the U.S. & now Ho does it again. His contention is that by not occupying all of Asia after the defeat of Japan (an impracticality) the U.S. had "jumped sides", [thereby]”betraying our war time allies, our own American principles, not to mention paving the way for the wars that followed.” If that’s not condemnation I’ll eat your hat. But Ho is forever saying something & then claiming later that he did not say it even as he repeats it. Readers, our allies in WW2 were the UK, France & Poland & we did not betray them. To say we did is a lie.

Ho saysYou may not be aware of it, but the riff towards the end of W.W.II in the U.S. government was very real and intense, especially between European and Asian sections of the State Department, the military and the white house. And of course between Europe and the U.S. In your view I suppose General Stillwell and most of his subordinates, General [sic]Cheenault and others who knew what was going on there, and dissented from Truman's policies, were all self-hating, anti-American, lefty [sic]loonyies as well.

There is always a “riff,” indeed sometimes many riffs in any organization worth its salt. Stillwell & Chenault, insofar as they promoted any policy to occupy all of Asia after Japan’s defeat, were simply wrong - if they actually thought that. Perhaps you could cite some sources? They were not “self-hating, anti-American, lefty [sic]loonyies.” That would be you, Ho.

In an earlier post I said:"Ho never wonders what might have happened if Japan had prolonged the war for another year or so – or even have somehow emerged victorious."

Ho’s reply: Even if they prolonged the war a year (if they could) more lives would have been saved by laying the ground work for peace on the mainland that a U.S. military [sic]prescence would have facilitated. Had we chose to [sic]capitalise on our good relations with our future foes that is. A Japanese victory in any case was highly unlikely.

I think what Ho means here(Ho is nothing if not vague) is that the U.S. should have betrayed our wartime allies(the UK, France & Poland) & embarked upon an imperialistic occupation of all of Asia after Japan’s defeat. Naturally I disagree. First, because it would have been a betrayal, second, because it would have been impractical & third, because our resources were better used in NATO to keep Papa Joe Stalin from gobbling up Europe.

Earlier I said: "Oh no, that wouldn’t fit in with Ho’s mindset, which is to blame America."

Ho’s lengthy reply: It's not about me block-head, and it's not to blame America, it's to interject into the Japanese a-bomb discussion a point seldom heard: That the quick end and exit from that war the a-bomb facilitated denied us the opportunity (and time)to make the most of our Asian allies on the mainland, [sic]utilise our friendship and great deal of goodwill accumulated in the fight against Japan, which most likely would have steered us clear of the China, Vietnam and Korean wars etc. Saving more lives in the long run then the a-bomb supposedly did, not to mention America's good name (for standing up [sic]agaisnt European colonialism) A point obviously not easy to convey to someone like yourself, unaware of those relationships and missed opportunities, nor very interested to learn about them. ..Par for the course in America's conservative cesspool.

The above boils down to: America should not have used the atomic bomb, but instead should have kept on with a conventional invasion of Japan & after the U.S. would have brought Japan to an unconditional surrender(as recent revelations have shown, a surrender not at all certain), the U.S. should have continued with the war in the Pacific by occupying all of Asia in order to force China not to foster communist expansion out of China into the rest of Asia. Ho apparently thinks that China would have stood by, compliantly & with holstered guns, while the U.S. did this.

In an earlier post I said this: "..because the BAC will make ridiculous conjectures & propose that the U.S. actually caused more deaths by doing so & claim it’s “no wonder people hate us.”

Ho’s reply: Maybe to you it's "ridiculous" to suggest that America stand on our principles when our war time allies need us most. To me it's not. And by the way, how many deaths did the Chinese, Vietnam, Korean wars, and the Indonesian massacres cause? 10,000,000 or more? Again, all of which could have been averted if the U.S. [sic]capitalised on it's W.W.II-Asian relations, and not retreated under the cover of the a-bomb. And that's exactly why the Vietnamese and Chinese hate(d) us. We jumped sides, sold them out, betrayed them, then tried to kill them. If that's not grounds for hate I don't know what is.

More breast-beating, more wallowing in self-imposed guilt based on the wildest of speculation. I’m beginning to realize that Ho apparently thinks Vietnam & China were our allies in WW2. Ho, just so you will know: The Allied nations in WW2 consisted of the US, the UK, France & Poland. We did not jump sides away from our allies, we did not betray them or try to kill them. And no power in the world was going to prevent the Communists from trying to incorporate Asia into their totalitarian sphere. They were determined to do that then & are still determined to do that.

Earlier I said: "BAC members love to beat their breast & wallow in guilt, even if they have to go to bizarre extremes."

Ho’s reply: Perhaps you're right, I am coming from a "bizarre extreme" to expect people like you to acknowledge or swallow our betrayal of our war time allies, or even suggest that sticking up for them when it counted might have cemented a friendship, rather then war.

We did not betray our wartime allies, which consisted of the UK, France & Poland, quite the contrary, we stuck up for them with NATO.

Ho’s final shot: The A-bomb defeated Japan, but I see no logic in praising a strategy to end a war quickly, and save lives, when it was an integral part of a larger strategy that paved the way for the return of European colonialism and numerous other wars (which we even took sides in), and many millions of more [sic]more deaths. It was a failed strategy, in both human and diplomatic costs. Face it, we had our chance and blew it, big time. Truman was an idiot.

Here again we see a continuation of the Blame America Club’s favorite & cherished themes: America the Great Satan causes all ills, is always on the wrong side & American leaders are either charlatans or idiots. All this based on pure speculation of the kookiest kind & a mistaken grasp of history.

At 11:02 AM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The only people who thought the Japanese were "defeated" and ready to surrender are parochialists ignorant of Japanese culture and their honor code.

MacArthur knew the Japanese honor code far more intimately than Eisenhower.

For the Japanese to surrender, meant about the same thing as Roosevelt witholding key intelligence from the Haiwan Commanders before Pearl harbor.


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