Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Japan had to tell Obama NOT to apologize for Hiroshima/Nagasaki

Rate this topic


brian0918
 Share

Recommended Posts

A heretofore secret cable dated Sept. 3, 2009, was recently released by WikiLeaks. Sent to Secretary of State Clinton, it reported Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka telling U.S. Ambassador John Roos that "the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II is a 'nonstarter.'"

Unfortunately, their reason for rejecting his apology was not the right one:

The Japanese feared the apology would be exploited by anti-nuclear groups and those opposed to the defensive alliance between Japan and the U.S.

http://www.investors...ot-Accepted.htm

Edited by brian0918
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As someone said... the next President will need to go around the world apologizing for Obama. And yet... I think he is not particularly out of mainstream in his ideas. I know quite a few Americans who think nuking Hiroshima was an immoral decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yikes, that guy has almost no grasp of the true facts in regards to warfare, the philosophical roots of warfare or the morally proper response in order to those that initate such conflicts.  If he did, he would not portray a morally courageous act as an act of barbarism.

Whereas I take the view that it was a truly moral act that saved far more lives than it has cost ( even to date ).  NOT doing it would have been a comprimise to evil and an act of moral cowardice.

But yeah, this stuff is typical.  Even amongst military historians / those that write about "war crimes" etc, there is very little understanding of the true nature of warfare of the principles behind what is or is not moral in such situations.  Hell, military historians do not ( generally speaking ) even know how a war should be won properly ...

Edited by Prometheus98876
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tyco: You'll recall from your history lessons that we gave the Japanese an ultimatum first, and when they ignored that, Hiroshima (a city of military importance) was chosen as a target. We then warned the Japanese about future attacks if they did not surrender. They chose not to surrender, and only then did we proceed to Nagasaki.

Obviously there were innocent people killed, and obviously that is the fault of the Japanese government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a relatively recent M.Sc. thesis on this subject:

America's Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb on Japan, by Joseph H. Paulin

http://etd.lsu.edu/d...ThesisFinal.pdf

Abstract

During the time President Truman authorized the use of the atomic bomb against Japan, the United States was preparing to invade the Japanese homeland. The brutality and the suicidal defenses of the Japanese military had shown American planners that there was plenty of fight left in a supposedly defeated enemy. Senior military and civilian leaders presented Truman with several options to force the surrender of Japan. The options included the tightening of the naval blockade and aerial bombardment of Japan, invasion, a negotiated peace settlement, and the atomic bomb became an option, once bomb became operational.

Truman received recommendations, advice and proposals from civilian and military leaders within the first two months of taking office after President Roosevelt died. Only after meeting with the senior leadership to discuss the various options did Truman authorize the planning and execution of the invasion of Japan. However, the extremely large casualty estimates presented by the Chiefs of Staff remained a concern for Truman, especially in the wake of the bloody battles on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. These estimates became the driving factor for Truman’s ultimate decision to use the new weapon against Japan and to end the war before anymore Americans service members died unnecessarily.

The decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan was only Truman’s decision to make. All the other leaders provided their recommendations and advice based on the events that shaped the brutalities of the war in the pacific. At no time did Truman receive advice on not using the atomic bomb. Critics and military leaders’ disapproval of his decision came after the war had ended. To this day, Truman’s decision remains a controversial topic among scholars and will continue to be a source of debate well into the future.

There is also a recent book about the subject:

Miscamble W.D., The Most Controversial Decision - Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan (Cambridge Essential Histories), Cambridge University Press, 2011

In its Chapter 7, "Necessary, But Was It Right?", the author writes:

Those who rush to judge Truman’s decision to use the atomic bombs must hesitate a little to appreciate that had he not authorized the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki thousands of American and Allied soldiers,

sailors, marines, and airmen would have been added to the lists of those killed in World War II. This would have included not only those involved in the planned invasions of the home islands but also American, British, and Australian ground forces in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific who expected to engage the Japanese in bloody fighting in the months preceding such assaults. Added to their number would have been the thousands of Allied prisoners of war whom the Japanese planned to execute. Could an American president have survived politically and personally knowing that he might have used a weapon that could have avoided their slaughter? To further complicate the rush to judgment one must acknowledge that Truman was likely correct in March, 1958 when he told Tsukasa Nitoguri, the chairman of the Hiroshima City Council, that the atomic bombs prevented a quarter of a million Japanese deaths in an invasion.

Hard as it may be to accept when one sees the visual record of the terrible destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japanese losses probably would have been substantially greater without the atomic bombs. Furthermore, the atomic attacks changed the whole dynamic of the occupation of Japan. Ironically , they facilitated a quick and easy surrender and a broadly cooperative populace in a way that no other method of military victory could have guaranteed.

Moreover, the use of the awful weapons abruptly ended the death and suffering of innocent third parties among peoples throughout Asia. Rather surprisingly, the enormous wartime losses of the Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, and Javanese at the hands of the Japanese receive little attention in weighing the American effort to shock the Japanese into surrender. The losses in Hiroshima and Nagasaki assuredly were horrific, but they pale in significance when compared to the estimates of seventeen to twenty-four million deaths attributed to the Japanese during their rampage from Manchuria to New Guinea.

Alex

Edited by AlexL
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those who haven't heard it, relevant to this topic, Bill Whittle posted his own excellent reply (video PJTV)) to Jon Stewart's having called Harry Truman a war criminal for the atomic bombing of Japan.

"Originally broadcast on May 7, 2009, PJTV brings this classic Afterburner out of the vault for the anniversary of atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Jon Stewart gets his facts wrong about America's use of the Atomic bomb in World War 2. Should Harry Truman have been prosecuted as a war criminal? Whittle takes you back to those fateful days and tells you the facts about the history altering decisions to drop two Atomic bombs on Japanese cities."

Edit: For the record, I've read that Jon Stewart apologized for his comment about Truman a week or two later, on his show.

Edited by Trebor
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

There seems to be some sort of false-dichotomy going about between 'not nuking two cities full of innocent families' and 'ending the war by demostrating superior firepower.'

No, there isn't. If you think that Japan would've surrendered over anything less than exactly what was done to it, you don't understand Japanese culture and history.

Had the cities been spared, Japan would've never surrendered. The war would've ended exactly when the last Japanese soldier died, not a second sooner.

The death of soldiers was expected. In fact, there was no less expected of soldiers, but to fight to the death. Only when the nation itself was threatened with annihilation did surrender become justifiable in the minds of Japan's leaders. Before that, surrendering to save soldiers would've meant depriving them of their honor and purpose for existing. It would've been treason: an unconscionable crime against Japan's entire 1500 year history.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, Objectivists who seem to think torching hundreds of thousands of innocent people is acceptable, do you accept the bombings that took place after we dropped two nukes on Japan?

Are you not an Objectivist?

Of course the answer to the above quote is yes. If we are for the total destruction of a city why would we not be for its partial destruction.

Though it sounds like you and I would have different estimates of the number of "innocent people" that existed in Japan. Most of the adults were guilty of allowing their government to become aggressive and they reaped what they sowed.

If you are averse to the killing of any so called "innocent" people, then obviously you are against us using bombs all together, correct? If so, should we have fought the Japanese at all in WWII? If so, what weapons should we have used?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, Objectivists who seem to think torching hundreds of thousands of innocent people is acceptable, do you accept the bombings that took place after we dropped two nukes on Japan?

Out of curiosity, what were Japanese conscripts guilty of, that the civilians were not? I assume you are in favor of killing the soldiers of an enemy army, right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Though it sounds like you and I would have different estimates of the number of "innocent people" that existed in Japan. Most of the adults were guilty of allowing their government to become aggressive and they reaped what they sowed.

I don't intend to delve into the question of ending the war with the bombings themselves.

But I do object to assigning collective blame to the civillians of Japan.

That might apply in a freer or more democratic country but you don't seem to grasp of how little a say Japanese civiliians had in their government.

Japan was essentially a military dictatorship after 1930 although most simple history books will list it as being run by a parliment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I do object to assigning collective blame to the civillians of Japan.

That might apply in a freer or more democratic country but you don't seem to grasp of how little a say Japanese civiliians had in their government.

Japan was essentially a military dictatorship after 1930 although most simple history books will list it as being run by a parliment.

Where did the military's power come from?

Edited by Nicky
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where did the military's power come from?

If you need me to go back to the 13th century where the complete political disenfranchisement of the avergae Japanese solidified under feudal rule it'll take me awhile as I'm at work and it would take several pages to paint that picture.

If you want the cause directly leading to WW2, the fall of the Taisho democracy (it was very short). When Meiji died in 1912 a wave of liberalism gradually swept over Japan. Japan fought with the Allies (as allies)in WW1 as you recall.

A series of catostrophic financial and natural disasters (Great Kanto earthquake had influence) destabilized the political structure allowing for more and more military power grabs. The military rule was challenged early and often but the leaders of such movements always ended up... assassinated.

So, look, I'm not saying that the justification for ending the war in such a manner wasn't made on valid arguments. And it can certainly be rationally argued that in war sometimes civilians might be looked at as acceptable collateral damage.

What I am saying is that the average Japanese citizen was powerless and had been powerless for centuries so saying that they were responsible for what their military was up to is just not accurate. Even when the Japanese were allowed to vote during the Taisho period only a deliberately selected 1.1% of the population could vote.

edited to clarify a poorly worded statement

Edited by SapereAude
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nowhere else can an Objectivist be found blaming individuals for the failure of the collective. There were many anti-militarists in Japan and none of them deserved nor was it necessary for them to be vaporized.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am against the wholesale murder of a people even after their government has admitted defeat.

I'm not an historian, so I really am asking you. When and what cities did we bomb after 2 September 1945 (The surrender ceremony)? Or when and what cities did we bomb after 15 August (Hirohito's radio announcement)?

I'm sure we didn't bomb anything after the Treay of San Francisco in April 1952.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you need me to go back to the 13th century where the complete political disenfranchisement of the avergae Japanese solidified under feudal rule it'll take me awhile as I'm at work and it would take several pages to paint that picture.

If you want the cause directly leading to WW2, the fall of the Taisho democracy (it was very short). When Meiji died in 1912 a wave of liberalism gradually swept over Japan. Japan fought with the Allies (as allies)in WW1 as you recall.

A series of catostrophic financial and natural disasters (Great Kanto earthquake had influence) destabilized the political structure allowing for more and more military power grabs. The military rule was challenged early and often but the leaders of such movements always ended up... assassinated.

I'm asking for the source of their power, not the history of how they came into that power.

The Japanese Empire expanded and assumed control of about half of Asia, in a matter of a few years. That takes a lot of things a small group of men can't possibly possess, to accomplish. A few men can't conquer a large part of the world, all by themselves. What I'm asking is, where do you suppose all the might, manpower and resources to accomplish that, and then challenge and fight as an equal the greatest industrialized nation on the planet on top of it, came from?

How can you attribute all those "achievements" to just a few men?

What I am saying is that the average Japanese citizen was powerless and had been powerless for centuries so saying that they were responsible for what their military was up to is just not accurate.

What is inaccurate is the notion that World War II was fought between armies. It wasn't, it was fought between nations. My position isn't that the average Japanese is responsible for what the military did, my position is that they are responsible for what the nation of Japan did.

And what the nation of Japan did was this: conquer half of Asia, subjugate several other nations, establish an empire, and attack and fight the nation of the United States.

So, look, I'm not saying that the justification for ending the war in such a manner wasn't made on valid arguments. And it can certainly be rationally argued that in war sometimes civilians might be looked at as acceptable collateral damage.

Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were all targeted. The destruction of these industrial and population centers was not collateral damage, it was very much direct and intentional damage. If you wish to justify their destruction, you will have to justify the direct targeting of non-combatants, not collateral damage.

In my opinion, non-combatants are a justifiable target, whenever they participate in the war effort through other means. The distinction in moral quality, between combatants and non-combatants who build bombs and weapons, is arbitrary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion, non-combatants are a justifiable target, whenever they participate in the war effort through other means. The distinction in moral quality, between combatants and non-combatants who build bombs and weapons, is arbitrary.

By your argument every non combatant tax payer in the US is a fair target for our enemies. We make the money that fuels the military and pays for the weapons we kill them with.

I reject that completely.

Edited by SapereAude
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...