[sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-Hiroshimaa and War Crimes

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 06:24:29 CUT

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     don't believe nor have I previously seen the argument made that
     Hiroshima was targeted because it was an Army headquarters. To destroy
     an army hq does not require the obliteration of an entire city and its
     civilian population. I have, however, always considered the bombing of
     Nagasaki the greater crime since, although technically it was a
     different type of atomic weapon, the US and the airmen involved had
     already seen what had happened to Hiroshima, and could anticipate what
     havoc the dropping of the bomb in Nagasaki would cause. In its earlier
     fire-bombing of Tokyo, which took a greater toll of lives, the US had
     already established the principle that the lives of Japanese civilians
    > had no value. These were all war crimes and had the Japanese won the
     war, the perpetrators would have most assuredly been hanged or worse.

     While we refrained from bombing Germany's industrial sector (which US
     capital wished to preserve for post-war investments) we, with the
     British, totally destroyed the cities of Dresden, Hamburg, and Cologne,
     which had no military value, but whose obliteration served to demoralize
     Germany's will to fight. Again, by the book, these were war crimes, but
     since we won, the matter became academic. Did the pilots in all these
     I doubt it, and suspect they were only carrying out another assignment,
     in other words, "only obeying orders." The Nuremberg laws, however, do
     not accept that as an excuse.

     Closer to home, and not in a shooting war, there were a couple
     of instances where soldiers didn't obey orders. In 1968, as I recall, a
     National Guard unit from Arkansas balked at being sent to Chicago to
     police the Democratic Convention (Does anyone else remember that?) and
     when the National Guard was called to assist the Alameda sheriffs and
     the Berkeley and UC police at the time of People's Park, one guard
     member, whose name I don't recall, decided he'd had enough and refused
     to obey any more orders. I have a photograph of him being arrested and
     handcuffed by another guardsman while still wearing his gas mask. He was
     the only courageous one of the lot. Think of the implications of that.

     Jeffrey Blankfort

    Jerry West wrote:

    > Hiroshima was a valid military target being an Army headquarters, and
    > neighboring Kure was a major naval base, so one could make an argument
    > for bombing it. What if the pilot truly believed that by dropping his
    > weapon he would save upwards of a million American lives? (the estimates
    > on the invasion of Japan, another needless exercise in my opinion, were
    > horrendous). Is he more of a war criminal for bringing a quick end to
    > the war, or for refusing and maybe dragging the war on for who knows how
    > long at great cost of life on both sides?
    > Remember, the question here is not whether the bombing of Hiroshima was
    > right or wrong, but whether the pilot was wrong and a war criminal if he
    > truly believed that he was saving lives by doing so.
    > Whether there was actually good reason to bomb Hiroshima or not is not
    > the issue. For the sake of this point you must assume that from all of
    > the information provided to him the pilot believed in good faith that
    > there was.
    > - --
    > Jerry West
    > Editor/publisher/janitor

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