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

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: Mon Jun 26 2000 - 02:37:34 CUT

  • Next message: Jerry West: "Re: [sixties-l] Gore v. Bush"

    I wrote:
    > don't believe nor have I previously seen the argument made that
    > Hiroshima was targeted because it was an Army headquarters.
    > and Jerry West replied:
    > Hiroshima was a target of military significance. If you want me to dig
    > up the references and supply more facts, just say so.
    > I wrote wrote:
    > To destroy an army hq does not require the obliteration of an entire
    > city and its civilian population.
    > JW repied:
    > Neither one of us can put forward a credible argument on that point
    > without the detailed information on Hiroshima available in 1945 to the
    > planners who ordered the bombing.

    In all the material I have read justifying the bombing of Hiroshima, the
    fact that there was a military base these has not been put forth as one
    of the factors that were used in selecting it for a target. And I think,
    as far as my statement that the destruction of the base did not require
    the obliteration of the city and mass murder of its population it is as
    Melvin Belli used to say when he was making an irrefutable point in
    court, "Res Ipsa Loquitur," or "the thing speaks for itself. It is not
    me that needs to furnish the credbility.
    > I wrote:
    > I have, however, always considered the bombing of Nagasaki the greater
    > crime....
    > JW repied:
    > Me too, and as I have stated before in my opinion there was no need for
    > the use of the atomic bomb, at least not in relation to the military
    > requirement to defeat Japan. Whether it was a crime or not and if so,
    > who were the criminals is another story. Personally I think that the
    > planners and politicians knew what they were doing and are culpable, the
    > aircrews not. Being ordered to drop tha A bomb does not register the
    > same as being ordered to bayonet a baby (a Japanese practice, ask the
    > survivors of Nanking).

    The dropping of the bomb was a criminal act on the part of every one
    involved from Truman to the bombardier with the president being the main
    malfactor. While bayoneting babies is a dispicable act, dropping napalm
    on human beings is equally horrible, as is dropping bombs on civilian
    targets. The distance from which one does the killing does not lessen
    the culpability of the killer.
    I wrote:
    > ....had the Japanese won the war, the perpetrators would have most
    > assuredly been hanged or worse.
    > JW replied:
    > Unsupportable bombast, also highly improbable. What is the point?

    Why unsupportable? It would have happened if the Japanese had won. The
    point is that the winner determines that the losers were the criminals.
    Was the gunning down of Japanese prisoners who were trying to surrender,
    surely a criminal act, prosecuted by the US authorities?
    I wrote:
    > While we refrained from bombing Germany's industrial sector .... we ....
    > 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.
    > JW replied:
    > Although I do not approve of the tactic of terror bombing civilians,
    > destroying an enemy's will to fight certainly has military value, so
    > scratch that arguement. As for the culpability of the pilots, you have
    > to put your self in their shoes with their knowledge and listen to the
    > rationale that they went on to judge that. Again, we are not asking
    > people to stick bayonets in babies so the perceived reality is not as
    > clear as you seem to want people to take responsibility for.

    Excuse me, perhaps you would like to scrap the Geneva Conventions, as
    well. The saturation bombing of a civilian city with its predictable
    horrors is every bit as bad as sticking bayonets in babies, although it
    lacks the gruesome visuals when it is done at a distance. Since neither
    you nor I have experienced being bombed from the air where we live (I
    don't recall the North Vietnamese having such capabilities to do it
    "Nam), it is somewhat cavalier to dismiss the experiences of those who have.
    I wrote:
    > In 1968, as I recall, a National Guard unit from Arkansas balked at
    > being sent to Chicago to police the Democratic Convention.... and when
    > the National Guard was called to assist the Alameda sheriffs.... one
    > guard member.... decided he'd had enough and refused to obey any more
    > orders.
    > JW replied:
    > Courageous moves that should be applauded, and a lot can be said for
    > regular military units that resisted the Vietnam War once consciousness
    > had been raised.
    > Probably the greatest contribution of the civilian anti-war movement to
    > ending the war was raising the debate and public opinion to the point
    > that enabled the appearance of the anti-war movement within the military
    > which threw the reliability of the military into the garbage can. Nixon
    > and Kissinger were saddled with an Army that could not be counted on to
    > fight effectively.

    And with that, I completely agree.

    Jeff Blankfort

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jun 26 2000 - 20:59:04 CUT