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Is All Fair In Love and War?

Malcolm B Duncan is a NSW based lawyer, satirist and independent politician. Several of his personalities are regular Webdiarists. The eighth and latest part of the Chronicles of Nadir series by 'Tom Lewis' is here.

by Malcolm B Duncan

There’s a lot of bombing the bejeezus out of all sorts of people around these days and Webdiarists seem to be much keen on discussing it recently so I am grateful both to SWMBO and the Librarian at St Vincent’s College Potts Point for bringing to my attention AC Grayling’s Among the Dead Cities: Was the Allied Bombing of Civilians in WWII a Necessity or a Crime? Bloomsbury Publishing, London 2006.

Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London and he raises some interesting points that I thought germane to a few recent debates on WD. Grayling of course is a philosopher while I am a legal philosopher so we differ from the outset however some of the questions he raises and analyses raise interesting points about warfare in general, air warfare in particular (including the use of tactical nuclear weapons) and moral culpability.

He writes very much from a British perspective, having grown up in post-war England but he analyses the attitude of Bomber Command to "area bombing" in Europe as against tactical bombing by the US 8th Air Force and the fire-bombing of Tokyo and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The pacifists amongst you will be sad to learn that he starts from the premise that the war, on the part of the allies, was a just war and that just war is permissible [pp 210-4] but comes to the conclusion that both area-bombing in Europe and the atomic attacks were immoral, disproportionate and unnecessary.

For reasons which will appear below, I differ but not without some disquiet.

His starting point [p10] (I said he was a philosopher) is:

I reported the assertion that ‘deliberately mounting military attacks on civilian populations, in order to cause terror and indiscriminate death among them, is a moral crime’. I then asked: Are there ever circumstances in which killing civilians in wartime is not a moral crime? Are there ever circumstances – desperate ones, circumstances of danger to which such actions constitute a defence – that would justify or at least exonerate them?’ I take the assertion and these questions as my terms of reference.

Here, it should be noted that he is dealing with aerial bombardment specifically. Although he is not an historian the book contains a fairly detailed history of the bomber airwar for Europe. He points out that at the beginning of the campaign standing orders required that:

Bombing was to occur only on definite visual identification of a target to avoid accidental harm to civilians [p 30]

and he takes into account the actions of the Germans (14 May 1940 Rotterdam 30,000 civilian casualties [p35] which was an accident and the night of 24-5 August 1940 when the Luftwaffe accidentally dropped their loads on London rather than the target – an aircraft factory [p38]) in inflaming public opinion in favour of revenge. The Blitz commenced on 7 October 1940.

On 9 July 1941 the War Cabinet authorised the issue of the following directive to bomber command:

switching its primary attention from oil and naval targets to ‘dislocating the German transportation system’ and ‘destroying the morale of the civil population as a whole and of the industrial workers in particular’ . [p 47]

By 14 February 1942 (a rather ironic date) that changed to:

"The primary object of your operations should now be focused on the morale of the enemy civil population , and in particular on the industrial workers. [p50]

He gives but does not principally rely on the bombing of Dresden:

Eight hundred RAF bombers attacked on the night of 13-14 February 1944; and the next day and the day after, the Americans followed with 300 and 200 aircraft respectively. The Americans aimed at the railway marshalling yards, but the RAF night attack of the 13-14 used a stadium in the city centre as its aiming-point. The majority of bombs dropped in Bomber Command’s night attack were incendiaries, 650,000 of them. The firestorm that resulted wiped out the Baroque city, and killed somewhere in the region of 25,000 people.[p 72]

He then turns to the attacks on Japan, principally the conventional attack on Tokyo on 9-10 March 1945 in which 1,667 tons of incendiaries were dropped creating a firestorm which killed more than 85,000 [p 77] and the ensuing atomic attacks which, in a view which is at least controversial if not outright surprising from an Australian or US perspective, he asserts were unnecessary and morally indefensible because on any view of it Japan knew it was defeated and "victory was no longer genuinely doubtful" [p79]

The book then considers the points of view both of the bombed and the bombers He points out [p104] that on a rough estimate, it took 2.25 tons of bombs to kill one German civilian and that bomber command lost 7,700 aircraft in the process. [p 104] It is a passing criticism of the book that such figures are not specifically footnoted but as I say he is not an historian and for the purpose of the overall argument there is no need to doubt the numbers although one might doubt whether they really were all civilians.

Fairly [p 134] he raises the important question of what is a ‘military objective’ and goes on in a number of places to discuss the various theories that if industrial production of an enemy is a legitimate target (think no power in the Gaza strip) are the industrial workers themselves not legitimate targets? Developing that idea (and he doesn’t) what about the people who grow their food or make their clothes? What about the children now 12 who may be fighting the war of terror in 5 years time? Where does one draw the line?

All good questions. Is ‘total war’ morally wrong and always indefensible?

In discussing the revenge question he quotes something which should be remembered:

[Vansittart in his Bones of Contention, March 1945] wrote ‘The Germans are savage to a degree almost inconceivable to anyone who has not had actual experience of them, and are a people born to deceit.’ These were not his own words; he was quoting from the first-century Roman historian Paterculus, and he went on to quote Tacitus, Seneca, Claudian, Nazarius, Ammianus, Marcellinus, Quintillian and Josephus to the same effect. [p 165]

Plus ca change? As a partial aside, I was struck at the 1916 display at the Australian War Memorial on Saturday by the heedless, even wanton, destruction wrought by German artillery on French civilian targets on the Somme. In confining himself to air warfare, Grayling does not address that in his moral assessment and WWI was a very different scenario but where lay the moral compass there?

Back to the book:

In the case of the USAAF in the pacific theatre, the ferocity and destructiveness of its air-bombing campaign these are also explainable by two factors. One was the belief and hope that a bombing campaign could win the war against Japan without an invasion. The other was – to use blunt terms – racism towards and anger against the Japanese. There were at least four main reasons for this. One was the perfidy of the Pearl Harbour attack. Another was Japanese cruelty to American prisoners of war as testified by those liberated during the American advance along the Pacific islands. A third was the ferocity of the Japanese as fighters in contesting those advances. The fourth was the tactic of Kamikaze attacks …[p 109]

Apparently to this Pom, ANZACs didn’t play much of a role in the Japanese defeat.

There is then a chapter on "Voices of Conscience" relating domestic protests both in Britain and the US against air tactics (interestingly, Eric Blair was not one of them [p204]).

He then proceeds to discuss the case against the bombing and the case made to justify it.

He points out that every German soldier had a paybook which contained a clause stating that he was not required to obey an illegal order [p 230] and ultimately concludes that the bomber pilots should have refused orders to fly area-bombing rather than specific target missions. He also assesses the effectiveness of the bombing concluding that it achieved neither its objective of destroying German morale (just as the Blitz and the V1s and 2s did not destroy British) nor of destroying German production which continued to increase every year of the war despite the bombing until its oil supplies were so disrupted that industry could not continue.

Taking these points one by one, they have a post hoc ergo propter hoc quality about them. Assessing the lawfulness of a command in wartime is difficult on the ground, how much more difficult in the air? One is being subjected to flack at all the targets one attacks, and how, practically as a pilot, navigator or bombardier does one assess the correctness of the target information? If intelligence tells you it’s a factory making widgets for tanks and it happens to be a large housing estate how is the flyboy to know?

The argument about destroying German morale is largely correct but by golly Japanese moral soon crumbled when the atomic message sunk in.

As he rightly concedes elsewhere in the book, one of the reasons German production continued to increase (and morale was maintained) was that the Nazi regime had an almost endless supply of slave labour to perform tasks like rubble clearing, burying the dead, re-building, manning factories etc and this was an incredibly low maintenance workforce – you could starve it to death and just get more. Where, I ask you, is the moral balance in doing whatever may be necessary to destroy a regime that behaves in that manner?

He then advances a completely unacceptable post hoc argument: the death camps. He correctly labels these as crimes against humanity but, given that their true nature was, at best, known to very few outside the very highest eschela of Allied Governments while they were operating and only became widely known after they were liberated, it seems logically impossible to use them as a justification for bombing Germany beforehand. Not so, perhaps, with the Japanese. The rape of Nanking and the Manchurian campaign were known before Peal Harbour and the roll-back of the Japanese advance revealed their true barbarity, particularly in their treatment of prisoners of war.

Grayling turns the argument to Japan and says it was morally unjustifiable to bomb Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima because

The defeat of Japan was not in question when the Tokyo firebombing happened in March 1945 [p 263]

In my view, this is the most questionable assertion in the book. Macarthur was assembling an invasion force and anticipated over a million casualties (not troops fighting - casualties) if they encountered the resistance they had on useless defensive campaigns like that waged by the Japanese on Iwo Jima. To my mind, that sways the moral balance considerably. Does Grayling really believe that the Emperor would give in or his troops would not fight to the last man? He refers to some peace overtures [p 264] by "Japan’s military command" (not footnoted) but these were not overtures from the Emperor or his Government.

The uncontestable fact is that after the dropping of the two atomic bombs, even the Emperor gave in. Weighing the loss of life to troops on both sides (and the inevitable civilian casualties in house to house fighting), dropping the atom bombs was eminently justified both tactically, strategically and morally. It is interesting also to note that none have been dropped anywhere since.

The area-bombing argument, however, falls into a different category. Grayling quotes [p 280] Admiral Ralph Ofstie [where do they get these names?] of the United States Navy giving evidence to the House Armed Services Committee that "strategic bombing was ‘inherently inaccurate’ [and] … militarily ineffective." That is not to mention the blind rate (bombs that fail to explode like the famous exocet which lodged in a British battleship during the Falklands and which, had it exploded would probably have changed the outcome of the war). Bombing is notoriously ineffective and the examples are almost limitless: carpet bombing in Vietnam; smart bombs in Iraq, shelling in any war you like to name – Bosnia, Afghanistan, etc, etc. Further in a world where military targets are rarely isolated from major civilian areas (look at Fleet Base in Sydney or the Pentagon) wide-spread bombing campaigns are bound to cause massive civilian casualties, more massive the more and bigger the bombs.

Yet area bombing must be viewed (particularly in the modern context of warfare) in a more legalistic sense in my view. Is it within the rules of engagement defined as the rules of war (necessitating that there must be a formal declaration of war first) from the outset? If it is, it is in; if not it is out. That, of course begs the question, what if a modern country is not a signatory to the Geneva convention and its protocols and it issues rules of engagement which allow terrorism or genocide?

To what extent must international law (if there is such a thing) or morality influence the terms of those rules of engagement?

What if there is no state to declare war? What of "freedom fighters"? Where, Webdiarists does the balance lie? How does Grayling’s moral philosophy inform the debate?

From my point of view, area bombing is not a moral question – just a bad allocation of resources. The odd nuke, effectively used however, can save lives.

Over to you but not out.

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Links? You want links?

Phil Kendall, G'day and thanks for the kind words about my links. In view of which I offer this site. Lots of stuff to delve into. Will keep Jenny (G'day) busy for a long time and I can almost hear her imprecation to Ian "pedal faster, I'm downloading a very large article!"

There is in this article on the site a reason for examining this issue:

For some who are accustomed to the popular beliefs about this matter,
this study may be discomforting, although that is not its intent. But
if we learn from past occurrences, it may make our future
decision-making abilities more capable of saving the lives of our
soldiers and sailors and of people on all sides.

 Seems a pretty good reason.

Nice serve you just posted elsewhere. 

Cheers.

Pavlov Dogs.

G'day Jenny Hume and Phil Kendall, a matter of happenstance, as Jenny mentioned the second bomb last night there appeared this morning this article about Nagasaki.

Today is the anniversary of what did not happen. Sixty-one years ago yesterday,
the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The scale of nuclear devastation was
apparent at once. The next day, no decision was made to call off the bombing
of Nagasaki. Why? Historians debate the justification of the Hiroshima attack,
but there is consensus that Nagasaki, coming less than three days later, was
tragically unnecessary. President Harry Truman's one order to use the atomic
bomb, given on July 25, established a momentum that was not stopped.

"The 509 Composite Group, 20th Air Force, will deliver its first special bomb,"
the order read, "as soon as weather will permit visual bombing after about
3 August 1945 on one of the targets: Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata, and Nagasaki."
The order instructed the Air Force to deliver "additional bombs ... as soon
as made ready by the project staff." The second bomb was the only other
one ready, and because it was ready, it was used. If others had been ready,
pity Kokura and Niigata. Truman's order was written by the project director,
General Leslie Groves, who compared the new president here to a man jumping
on a toboggan that was already speeding downhill. Watch out!

It is commonly said that war operates by the law of unintended consequences,
but another, less-noted law operates as well. War creates momentum that barrels
through normally restraining barriers of moral and practical choice. Decision
makers begin wars, whether aggressively or defensively, in contexts that are
well understood, and with purposes that seem proportionate and able to be accomplished.
When destruction and hurt follow the outbreak of violence, however, and then
when that destruction and hurt become extreme, the context within which war
is begun changes radically. First assumptions no longer apply, and original
purposes can become impossible. When that happens, what began as destruction
for a goal becomes destruction for its own sake. War generates its own force
in which everyone loses. This might be called the Nagasaki principle.

The Nagasaki principle comes in two parts. It can operate at the level of close
combat, driving fighters to commit atrocities that, in normal conditions, they
would abhor. It operates equally at the level of the commanders, leading them
to order strikes out of desperation, frustration, or merely for the sake of
"doing something." Such strikes draw equivalent responses from the other
side until the destruction is complete. After the fact, massive carnage can
seem to have been an act for which no one is responsible, like the result of
a natural disaster.

That's when a second aspect of the Nagasaki principle comes into play - the
refusal to undertake a moral reckoning with what has been done.

Worth reading. I would like to post the entire article but there are copyright and such issues perhaps.

I referred to kneejerk reactions and like one of Pavlov's dogs up pops one of the usual suspects with further ranting evidencing his usual ignoring of material that has been posted. I will make an exception to my no response rule in order to seek some clarification of one of his claims.

CP, in reference to the Japanese government you wrote:

They had to be sacked first And only then the surrender came.

Please provide, with substantiation, the date this happened, the names of the members of the government who were sacked and the names of those who replaced them.

Jenny, I know the problems of slow access times - I wish I had had broadband earlier as dial up was very trying when doing research. But at least it was better than no internet at all, which is the way I did the first few years of my uni work as an external student. I did my Hons solely on material I downloaded, no recourse to books at all. And was complimented on the research. So a great boon particularly in respect of current affairs.

Phil, keep putting it out there. We need to shake the tree. Pity about video limitations otherwise you might have enjoyed this 80 examination of manipulation of the US media by a certain element. I'm not sure someone you mentioned in your post would enjoy it.

Cheers.

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds[1]

G'day Bob Wall.

Keywords: ground zero; war, murder - immorality and conscience; survival.

Events: A-bombing * 2, 9/11 & Iraq. Background: Israel.

From 'Bringing up Baby': "A fair exchange is no robbery".

What did we get in exchange for the murdered innocents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Dresden, also Frankfurt, Würzburg, Hamburg, Tokyo - and now Iraq, Lebanon; any others y'wanna add? Whadda 'bout Iran?

My state of mind: They're mad, all of 'em. Stark, raving mad. But not 'just'; they're armed to the teeth and murderously dangerous with it.

But the United States no longer basks in the reflected glory of its soldiers unlocking the gates of concentration camps, or handing out chocolate bars to children. Americans are now seen as the invaders and occupiers. The humanitarian image began to tarnish at least as early as the nuclear attacks upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki, atrocities that most of the world now recognize as serving American postwar geopolitical interests, rather than the propagandized purpose of shortening the war. These bombings - along with earlier raids on such non-military targets as Tokyo, Dresden, Würzburg, Hamburg, and other population centers - revealed to the world that not even an American government was immune to the vicious and inhumane virus of state power.

[lewrockwell/shaffer] - another 'good one' from Bob.

Then, I found The end of the beginning. Is it a psyop? Surely it can't be true?

Regardless of any impending ceasefire, the removal of Hizbullah and the Iranian nuclear position sets up the prospect of an US war against Iran
By Dan Plesch

08/08/06 "The Guardian" ----US forces are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in the Middle East in a few hours. US readiness for more war is just one indicator that the present war is likely to spread and intensify in the coming months.
...
Awaiting his orders, George Bush has more than 200 strategic bombers (B52-B1-B2-F117A) and US Navy Tomahawk cruise missiles. One B2 bomber dropped 80,500lb bombs on separate targets in 22 seconds in a test flight. Using just half the available force, 10,000 targets could be attacked almost simultaneously. This strike power alone is sufficient to destroy all major Iranian political, military, economic and transport capabilities.
...
Such a strike would take "shock and awe" to a new level and leave Iran with few if any conventional military capabilities to block the straights of Hormuz or provide conventional military support to insurgents in Iraq. If this was not enough, the latest generation of smart bombs now being delivered to the US air force quadruples the number of weapons all US warplanes can carry.

[via ICH]

Our situation is a direct result of 61 years of we the sheople's Conga-line representatives arse-licking the US, all the world over. Talk about being held hostage by terrorists! The US, with its cripple-illegitimate sprog Israel have embarked on murder for spoil; the mightiest armed forces in the world are rampaging under black-flags. The US and Israel have become the greatest terrorists the world has ever known - or ever likely to know. Despite one other 'big-name' presence in the same pantheon, US/Israel won't be 'topped' - or stopped. Except by the greenhouse, perhaps - but we'll all be properly buggered if that's the way it goes.

-=*end*=-

PS

Lawyer: "Might is neither right nor wrong; it just works mate."

Me: All wars require at least one aggressor. Aggressive war is illegal; any killing by the aggressor is murder. Murder is also illegal. Tell us, Mr Lawyer: Why can't your laws stop war, stop the killing? Well, matey?

-=*=-

Ref(s):

[1] J. Robert Oppenheimer 1904–67
American physicist
1 I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita…‘I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.’ on the explosion of the first atomic bomb near Alamogordo, New Mexico, 16 July 1945
Len Giovannitti and Fred Freed The Decision to Drop the Bomb (1965)
2 The physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.
lecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 25 November 1947, in Open Mind (1955) ch. 5
3 When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb. in In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer, USAEC Transcript of Hearing Before Personnel Security Board (1954)
[The Oxford Dictionary of quotations]

Facing up to reality

Bob Wall. "Jenny Hume, I give a simple answer for now to your question and that is that I think the Allies should have seriously considered Japanese approaches. You will have noted from material provided on the thread that these approaches began months before Potsdam."

Bob, the Allies did consider Japanese attempts at negotiations for a conditional surrender with the Potsdam signatories (you yourself  mentioned the Japanese discussions with Russia). And rejected these.

As no such negotiations were were entered into with Japan's Nazi German allies (could you seriously imagine such a thing?), why would you imagine the Allies would equivocate for Japan sake?

Given its attrocious conduct since its invasion of China so many years before? The millions dead? Vast territories across the Asia Pacific and Asian Continent under Japanese occupation?

What was to discuss, for heaven's sake?

And since the Japanese government was not even prepared to willingly surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or despite the stern ultimatum presented at Postdam, Japan surrendering only after the Emepror personally intervened and sacked the government, and even then after debate within the War Cabinet, his expressed and documented reasons being the deployment of the Atom Bombs, why would you imagine the Japanese Government was doing anything other than stalling when it called for "negotiations"?

And who should have ben party to thse negotiations?

Indeed why just the major Allies?

Should Ho Chi Minh have been asked? Or Mao Tse Tung? How long would have these fanciful "negotiations" have gone on? And with whom?

Did the Japanese offer an Armistice? Call for a ceasefire?

Would the Japanese government have stayed in place? Or abdicate voluntarily?

If so, then why not simply surrender?

A phased withdrawl from China? The rest of occupied Asia and the Pacific? Or could they hang on to bits of it?

 Then, why not a negotiated settlement with Nazi Germany, too?

Are you kidding?

The Japanese government had ample opportunity to surrender well before the final, unequivocal ultimatum was spelled out in absolutely no uncertain terms at Potsdam.

Surrender. Or face destruction.

But they didn't. They preferred instead to go on sacrificing the lives of their people and major homeland cities, all in the face of impending invasion - and even after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

They had to be sacked first And only then the surrender came.

So it had been in their power all along. There's no need for you to defend the Axis powers on this point.

Give it up.

The next question.

Jenny Hume, I give a simple answer for now to your question and that is that I think the Allies should have seriously considered Japanese approaches. You will have noted from material provided on the thread that these approaches began months before Potsdam. What I am asking of people is to examine why the Allies pursued the course they chose and some reasons have been provided. If you are able to read the links in full the situation might become clearer.

Recall the quote from J. Robert Oppenheimer that I posted "I am become Death destroyer of worlds." It was a huge step and should be examined free of prejudice or kneejerk defence of "our side" as some have done. It is a case of, as I wrote elsewhere, asking the next question, then the next, then ...

On your deprivations - or are they? - at least you have SBS. I missed it for some years after I departed the Big Smoke but it arrived here eventually. But enjoy the simpler pleasures, everyone might have to before too long.

 

Just ten minutes. Cheers Bob

Bob Wall: Thanks, will try and take the time to access the links and some of the earlier posts as I really want to know what was going on in the last stages of that War.

 Deprivations? No. Don't miss any of that stuff, and wouldn't bother with it even if it was accessible out here. Rather sit in the sun and watch the birdlife which is truly amazing. But SBS. That I cannot do without so was really pleased when it finally reached us.

But the slow net access is a bit irritating and limits one's capacity to engage in any lengthy discussion on line.  It took exactly ten minutes to access WD and load just this thread and your one comment. So you can see the problem. Rather limits one's capacity to access even comments and threads, let alone the links. And without reading the links people post one cannot really address what it is they are saying and debate it. So I give up most of the time.   

Better go. Forgot the census so better attend to that.  Cheers.

Commemoration.

Angela, that post (6/8) did not quite meet the criterion some set, ie., Us good, Them bad. Had a lot more basis in reality however. As we are in the midst of the anniversaries of the dropping of the Bombs I will link a few articles on aspects of the matter for people to think about. I am aware that thinking also does not fit the criteria some wish to impose. And practice.

The first article is from Tom Engelhardt and is wide ranging - especially if you follow the internal links. The main story is from Tom's personal experience.

There is The Manhattan Projection which delves into the dark side of human nature and the manipulation of fear in re US forpol.

On the specific matter of the A-bombs there is The Hiroshima Myth.

The Ninth of August is a call for Christians to remember the victims of all 9ths of August.

The author, Gary Kohls, MD, is obviously not from the "nuke 'em all" branch of Christianity. But the degree of adherence to Christian ideals is the core of the article.

Tying past and present and doing something about it, as does "our" Bryan Law, a story about direct action.

The least we can do is ask questions and reject the spin lest the "inevitable" truly does come to pass through our failure to confront issues. Some seem not to think there are problems, so crossing threads and referring to Douglas Adams, do they have their SEP field generator turned up to maximum power?

Strike sheople; new word!

Strike sheople; here's the new 'real thing': the boobeoisie![1]

Encompassing all those from the middle class; in Marxist theory, the capitalist class, which is opposed to the proletariat, the lower or industrial working class... any and all of 'em who are surrounded by towering speakers, a whopping amplifier and a big flat-screen plasma or LCD screen - addicted to whatever, with or less often without the DVD-driven and/or Pay-Cable/Sat supplement to their free-to-air TVs (aka the boob-tube - the new opiate of the masses - "What else is there?") - formerly sheople, now the boobeoisie.

There has been some discussion, as to whether it's 'sheeple' or 'sheople'. I think 'sheeple' didn't quite 'cut it'; the dominant image is of a harmless woolly Dodo wandering (relatively) aimlessly along, perhaps in conscious search of feed or wardah®, with a string of compliant others peacefully plodding along after; so many or so often that they wear a narrow path for themselves across the field.

On the other hand, 'sheople' could be a contraction of shame(less) and people; shame because of the way that they abuse their intellects (zombie-ing out in front of their TVs), shameless because of knowing exactly what they like (zombie-ing out in front of their TVs) and shame again for thinking that's all there is ("Der - what else is there - except zombie-ing out in front of TV?") Since they're all looking roughly in the one direction ('watching' might be stretching the applied mental effort), they are not exactly plodding along in line - although that's admittedly what they mostly do when they're on their way to vote.

There has been some discussion, as to whether it's arrogant to call any voters either 'sheeple' or 'sheople', mostly from our more rabid right-whinger 'friends' in here. (They think that all 'lefties' are wandering Dodos but (some less than others) are often too precious to say so; but since it's more usually notional 'lefties' (I'm just anti-war, anti-rip-offs) using 'sheeple' or 'sheople', the right-whingers think they might be 'getting the finger' and so they begin to spit and rage.)

I myself have deployed 'sheople'; I do so based on observation, see the TV story described herein and any elsewhere. But henceforth (if approved) it's gunna be the boobeoisie!

They've all got (or getting) degrees from the "Boob-Tube U!"

-=*end*=-

PS

G'day Bob Wall and thanks for the links. Verrry interesting! The 'boobeoisie' came from here:

The war against Iraq could not have been undertaken without the arousal of fears – generated by a consistent pattern of governmental and media lies – that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” which they intended for immediate use upon America. Coming on the heels of 9/11, the boobeoisie fell for this big lie with the same eagerness as earlier generations had in earlier wars.

[The Manhattan Projection]

Then there's this:

The stark fact is that the Japanese leaders, both military and civilian, including the Emperor, were willing to surrender in May of 1945 if the Emperor could remain in place and not be subjected to a war crimes trial after the war. This fact became known to President Truman as early as May of 1945.

[The Hiroshima Myth] And as we know, the Emperor stayed on. The story says that the 'unconditional surrender' clause was actually to ensure that the Japs didn't surrender until the A-bombs were ready. Ummm... how many US service & other allies' personnel d'y'reckon died between May & Aug '45, I wonder?

And this:

"Two of the most terrible war crimes occurred on August 6th and 9th, 1945. On August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, killing more than 100,000 people (including U.S. prisoners of war). Three days later the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, Japan, killing more than 50,000 people. Use of these weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations were abominable crimes against humanity.

[a story about direct action; (WMDs Discovered Here)]

-=*=-

Refs:

[1] from 'Boobus americanus'.

Henry Louis Mencken, 1880–1956, American editor, author, and critic, b. Baltimore, studied at the Baltimore Polytechnic. Probably America’s most influential journalist, he began his career on the Baltimore Morning Herald at the age of 18, became editor of the Baltimore Evening Herald, and from 1906 until his death was on the staff of the Baltimore Sun or Evening Sun. He also played a key role in the production of two extremely influential national magazines. From 1914 to 1923 he was coeditor of the Smart Set with George Jean Nathan; together they founded the American Mercury in 1924, and Mencken was its sole editor from 1925 to 1933.
Mencken’s pungent, iconoclastic criticism and scathing invective, although aimed at all smugly complacent attitudes, was chiefly directed at what he saw as the ignorant, self-righteous, and overly credulous American middle class, members of which he dubbed Boobus americanus. His essays were collected in a series of six volumes, Prejudices (1919–27).

[The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05]

And all that....

Bob Wall/Phil Kendall........any and all of 'em who are surrounded by towering speakers, a whopping amplifier and a big flat-screen plasma or LCD screen - addicted to whatever, with or less often without the DVD-driven and/or Pay-Cable/Sat supplement to their free-to-air TVs (aka the boob-tube - the new opiate of the masses.

Take heart Phil.  There are a lot of people who don't share in all that, (nor want to for that matter) and it sure as hell is not missed out here. All we and most of our neighbours have got out here is a plain old Teev, an occasional phone line, a nigh on useless mobile, and you can make, cook and eat your brekky while you wait for the vintage PC to fire up on line so a girl can see what you've all been up to. No fancy speakers, no cable, no DVD, no big flat thing, and none of that free stuff.  No video shop within a hundred ks of the place either, so all up no chance of being brainwashed out here - not even the old SMH to browse, unless you want to drive fifty ks to get it.

But things aren't all that bad. SBS has recently hit the scene, and we've got the flicks in the hall once a month and a bowl of soup before start time, courtesy the local ladies from out and around.  Then in between there is the pianoeeey and the other half strumming away some good old country songs --- keeping the Aussie culture alive. 

So booooo to all those boobies or whatever you are calling them and all their fancy stuff that takes a PHd in Electronics to run anyway, unless there is a kid around to sort it out for you..

Now Bob: I will not raise this with Phil in case he gets another attack of the allergy. But don't you think the Japanese should have averted the second A bomb by surrendering after the first? They could have saved all those extra lives, but they clearly prevaricated even after the awful toll of Hiroshima. That to me was a war crime on the part of the Japanese emperor and his military.  I still have to be convinced that the war would have ended sooner rather than later, thus negating the need for the A bomb, but until I can access the posted  links I cannot consider the arguments surrounding all that.

By the time the old PC manages to fire up and find a link here, half an hour has gone. So it is pretty hard following arguments in a thread when you cannot get up the links that underscore what people are saying. And now I hear Telstra has dumped its roll out that would have given us broadband and faster access. Oh well. Life in the slow lane. No use complaining because no one is listening down yonder anyway.

Cheers Bob.  

ad hominem vs. propaganda - still a slight allergy

G'day Jenny Hume and Bob Wall.

First: ad hominem. If a person admits to (what sounds very much to be) racist feelings (however nicely put; "misgivings": racism n. 1 belief in the superiority of a particular race; prejudice based on this. 2 antagonism towards other races.  racist n. & adj. [POD]) it is neither a 'big leap' to say so, nor is it an 'ad hominem' attack; rather it's a simple acknowledgment: "I heard what you said". In my original response I said that such an attitude may be understandable, all the more so given the level of applied propaganda - and no beating-about-the-bush, many real misdeeds - most of which were unknown, i.e. not public knowledge, at the time(WW2) were already there or have been exposed since to re-enforce the then-propaganda, only to be met by a second denial "I am not propagandised".

Again I beg to differ; I think it (propaganda) is all-pervasive[1] and really, one has to ask Q: Why? A: Because crime is planned (it was) if not underway (it is); the propaganda is needed to a) misrepresent the crime then b) persuade the sheople (boobeoisie; 'Boob-Wah-Zee') to 'go along'.

One of the more unpleasant Ah-Ha!s exposed in my researches since first hearing of the horrendously brutal "Shock and Awe" (aka Blitzkrieg, no bones about the truly gruesome but nevertheless unavoidable association), is that we the sheople are being deliberately mislead. Then, they try to tell us that we live in a democracy. Sorry; mutually exclusive. And once again, criminal.

I would say in hindsight that I too was propagandised; I trusted the MSM because that was my nature and initial stand-point. Not any more; Oh no!

Allergy facit: we will all get along better, if we stick as close as possible to provable facts; condemning some ex-axis population who were (like we are) a) lied to, b) otherwise kept in the dark, c) have no say in what the 'leaders' do anyway (i.e. Howard: anti-wars 'a mob') and finally d) most of the ex-axis people weren't even born then is, to put it mildly, more than a bit unkind - but also unjustifiable. This (my own attitude) is not to deny that bad things happened (we know they did; it's a fact); rather that we must now, more than ever a) expose the truth, b) disallow crime and c) therefore, and only so, do better.

-=*=-

The reason I address you Jenny, is that I think that 'it might be worth it' -yeah; "there's value there." Big hearted or arrogant?[3], and I think you can contribute positively. Apropos the A-bombings, all indicators are against them having been employed as a so-called 'last resort'. Read the links. Oh. You have a problem with links?[4]

-=*=-

Partial A-bomb summary:

1. The US knew about radiation sickness. I dimly recall a Feynman account of somebody fiddling with a near-critical amount of stuff (Pu/U? - doesn't matter), which the person had arranged in a pyramid-form with a hole in the top. The person then dropped another piece so it fell through the hole. In passing through, the mass went Oh, so close to blowing; the room flashed blue, and the fella got a bit unwell...

2. After the bombing there was as total a press-exclusion as possible. Some got through (first was Wilfred Burchett) and were properly aghast. The US scientists gathered detailed data. The targets were relatively pristine, were reserved as such(?!) and known to be largely non-military. Truman lied about it in his first statement.[6] Lying is always a dead give-away of criminal intent.

3. As noted by me yesterday, Truman knew in May that the Japs were ready to surrender. Not followed up; why (the bloody-Hell) not? It's in Bob's links.

4. As previously mentioned, the US was deliberately setting out to confront Russia and begin the cold war. (Again, with a view to ripping-off resources.)

5. There is probably more but I've had enough. Q: Jenny, why can't you "get up the links that underscore?"[4]

-=*end*=-

Refs:

[1] See Parkinson, theAge, "How Blix has failed the UN" against Blix (exactly what business was it for Parkinson? We needed info, not biased bile.[6]) The assertion by Geoff Pahoff of MSM bias against Ußrael[2] is risible - Oh, if only I had a few more words to express my utter disgust of pro-wars! ("The full story", with sourced and checkable quotes, Geoff, please. ASAP - put up or ...! Also in context; you could do us a study of the current filthy pro-Israeli MSM bias since the latest illegal Israeli attacks and incursion.)

The use of the charge "left-wing" (in the US "Liberal") press-bias is a right-whinger propaganda technique on its own as regards filth; the inference is a) to reinforce the endlessly repeated untruth-as-truth assertions, b) dismiss any occasional anti-status quo story as propaganda (the cheek!) and c) reinforce any pro-status quo story: "See! If it's good for the pro-status quo and comes from the 'left', it's gotta be double true!"

The pro-Israeli sympathy drips from the speakers, on both AusBC and SBS. Not always; but far more often that not; in fact, far too often not to be despicably deliberate. Boo! Hiss! Aggressive war is murder.

[2] Ußrael. (ß = ss.) My intention is to deliberately associate the US and Israel with the Nazi "SS". I've had enough; the US and Israel are deliberately setting out to murder for theft; the US for oil/resources, Israel for land. I see no difference between the 1939 invasion of Poland or that of the US 2003 into Iraq, or Israel 2006 into Lebanon, or Israel any time into any bit of (ex)Palestine they didn't legally purchase. None. And, we're supposed to be smarter now? When we talk of propaganda that's what we're getting, in avalanche proportions.

Then, think of the 'free-kick' all this is giving Howard, who has slithered away, lower than a black-snake's belly ("Who do you trust?") I give this free-kick knowingly, with the qualification that Labor (as possible 'cure') may well be even worse than the filthy disease which Howard and his toady Liberals undoubtedly are. But the Liberal voters just love him and them; illustrates the state of their moral values. No matter how (apparently) bad, Latham should'a got the nod. One fact that might'a prevented that: Latham himself turned chicken and joined the Conga-line of arse-lickers himself. All for the cats!

[3] Big hearted or arrogant: I do not have anything against anyone personally (pro-wars, pro-status quo possibly excepted); we are all only ciphers in cyberspace; but no-one can condemn any-one for the actions of a dastardly few of some particular race - unless one also subscribes to racist theories. By logical exclusion, it's one or the other. Note: If some-one went to some ex-axis country, say, actually looking for trouble, they could probably find it. Consider the question: "Do you think it was OK for your country to have...(done some extreme nastiness?)" No accusations.

[4] Problems with links: Is it a) time (i.e. slow internet), b) technology (i.e. slow PC) or c) finger trouble? If it's (a) or (b), you could speed things up a bit by turning pictures off. It means not getting all the info - but mostly, the pictures are a) ads or b) not much more than for emphasis. (On the IE window, click Tools, Internet Options, Advanced; scroll to 'Show Pictures' and un-click the box; click Apply then OK.) If it's (c) see my copy'n paste tutorial ('bon-bon'), and here's another tip: to open a new window for a link (it keeps the 'from' window, i.e. the WD index, say - and so saves re-reading time), right-click the link and then click 'Open in New Window' or just type the letter 'n'.

If you set 'Show Pictures' off but then want to see some picture, right-click the picture and then click 'Show Picture' or just type the letter 'h'.

[5] Parkinson:

Mystifyingly, Blix chose to bury in the appendices of his latest 173-page report to the Security Council an account of the discovery of a new and dangerous weapons system in Iraq: remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, potentially capable of carrying chemical or biological weapons to targets hundreds of kilometres away. Why should this matter?

The drones, like all the rest of the S**T presented by the US at the time, were known (i.e. by the real spies) to have been worthless. Parkinson, as a professional, should'a known - or should'a just shut-up; rumour is death, vis-à-vis war. As for J. Miller at the NYT: how can one not accuse them of being filthy propagandists for the most vicious of crimes; i.e. brutal and cold-blooded mass-murder for oil?

[6] A *big* lie:

 ...August 9
President Truman speaks to the American people via radio broadcast He states, "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in the first instance to avoid, in so far as possible, the killing of civilians."
(The official Bombing Survey Report stated: "Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as targets because of their concentration of activities and population." More than 95 percent of those killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were civilians.)

[nuclearfiles]

iI's all my fault

it's all my fault_1550

From 'Bringing up Baby': "It's always some-one else's fault!"

Well, perhaps not. Not 'in here', anyway.

I sit here in my cosy-warm, sunlight streaming in out'a a perfect blue sky. Pink Galahs fly directly at me (they know where I sit), veering away at the last moment (they never hit the windows, unlike some 'Squeaks'.) Screeching as they 'jink', the Pinks demand/implore: "Cheep! Cheep! (i.e. here: Breakfast!)" - Yes, boys; but try to show some manners, please.

I am not getting my point across; it must be the way I talk or the lack of trying, so here goes again; let me put that, another way:

-=*=-

I am.

I - me, myself and I - think, therefore: "I am!" - Yeah; and I'd like to keep on doing so, for as long as my cosy-conscious sanity lasts.

As for me, so for mine; the bloke next door and so-on down the street and out into the wider world, also far beyond our wide-brown-to-foamy-clean-blue-sea borders.

All of us, starting from me and working up to the vast multitude like sweet round peas all lined up in a crisp green pod: "We are!" - And we want to keep on being so.

But not 'just' being; see the chezPhil morality[1], I/we do not wish to be lied to, cheated, stolen from or (shudder) killed.

The last - 'being killed', is usually referred to as 'being murdered', but note; the first 'weasel word' for today: 'usually'. This usage is 'forced' upon me, since discussions 'in here' have revealed that there may be such a thing as 'legal' killing, which is not to be considered murder. OK; I think we can probably agree, that there may be such a thing as 'accidental' killing ('Der, I didn't think!') and in aggravated circumstances, killing in self-defence, or in the defence of some mortally threatened third (a child, say). We do know from actual experience, that killing in the self-defence scenario is very rare, and we try our best to eliminate all 'accidents', with admitted varying degrees of success. But the number of these 'non-illegal' killings is really quite low.

Sooo, we have a general rule, well summed up by some mythical(?!) god's command: "Thou shalt not kill". Actually, we don't need any 'god' for this story; I include it precisely because Howard maintains that we are in a 'Christian society': "and according to the Judao/Christian ethic which is meant to govern conduct in this country..."

Note that the next 'weasel word' has befallen us: 'meant'. Howard indicates that he knows what's 'right' but acknowledges that the government he 'leads' is incapable of transforming "what should be" into "what is". Q: Why that? Just why is it, that "what should be" isn't? (Howard and his ilk may know, but if so they seem to be a bit shy about telling us.)

A: "The answer lies in the soil!" - Well, not here; along with "35 years!" and "42", the good old 'stock answers' just don't butter the pumpkin.

-=*=-

At the personal level, "Thou shalt not kill" is both well recognised and well observed. One 'little' murder is enough to cause uproar; the sheople - and I use the word advisedly - demand that the perpetrator be found and punished, ASAP. This is quite a normal response - we'd really have to worry in its absence, but that absence never happens. So all efforts are made, usually with success but complicated by the mass-nature of our society; some 'perps' really do 'get away with murder'. But not too many, and not through lack of trying (to apprehend).

Assuming we are all 'comfortable' with the argument so far, we can 'move up' a notch, and consider war. Now, war involves killing; if we didn't know that already we could again observe or 'leader' Howard; when asked about the Israelis killing innocent Lebanese, Howard said something like "There's a war on"[2].

Now, deploying the chezPhil principle of proportionality[within 1], we can see that the basic (one-on-one) law "Do not Murder!" scales to armies: "Do not Murder!" Q: If not why not? Here I specifically address Malcolm B Duncan but not exclusively; indeed, on this point I need either a) support for this statement's truth (I'm convinced) or b) its falsification (i.e. by any pro-war; IMO not possible.)

Assuming this point; i.e. that murder is murder, whether done one-on-one or in 'remote-control' mode by some army, we see that all war is illegal, with the possible exception (as before) of self-defence. But note that if all 'defence forces' stay home behind internationally recognised borders, there can be no war. But there still is; why? Obviously, some army always has to invade; the invading force is assumed to be the aggressor. Q: did this apply in the case of the US (and UK, Aus) crossing into Iraq? A: yes; the US were illegal invaders, now become illegal occupiers: murder for oil (yeah; and 'stuff' the UN - because it is. Stuffed, that is. Mostly by the US, hmmm?) Q: does this apply in the case of Israel crossing into Lebanon? A: yes; but the pro-wars cry "Justified!" - to which I say "Not!"

The situation of Israel is 'complicated' by the fact that the people now referred to as Israelis are in - admittedly contested; see the 'stuffed' UN, and the fact that only 6% of Palestine was sold to the Israelis before the without-paying partitioning - these Israelis are in illegal occupation of parts of what was once known as Palestine. Sooo, if they're illegally there, then they have no right to defend that illegal possession. (But note the full-blast propaganda effort; Hollywood-style actors giving us the news; how wronged the Israelis, how wrong the terrorists! - But all killing is terror, both by Hamas, say and the Israelis.) Similarly, however, the dispossessed have no right to kill the illegal occupiers, but no effective policeman (or clever lawyer) will settle the dispute. Q: Why not? A: Silly question; follow the money, it is not in the interests of the 'big end of town' to give Palestine back to its rightful owners. Sooo again: "Blam!" - being just another name for murder, this time for land.

-=*=-

Armies do not (usually) invade without an order. Under the Nuremberg (non!) defence, soldiers performing illegal acts are equally guilty, along with those who give the orders (as, and not incidentally, are any accessory 'apologists' giving actual assistance; advocating war could certainly be assessed as assisting). Sooo, having determined all the guilty, a policeman or two are needed. Q: where are they? A: Silly question; see above 'stuffed' UN.

Q: need that be? A: no; what is missing is the will - of the sheople. We don't really need the UN; we can do the job ourselves. Everyone simply says "NO WAR!" - and if anyone makes a move to kill another, we just pick him (or her, but it's mostly men) - pick him up with a helicopter and deposit him into an inflatable rubber raft in the middle of Lake Eyre, say. Not too many would volunteer as killers then, we'd be free of war: no sweat. It's that simple (but not simplistic); all together now, just say "NO WAR!" Surely, if we all cried it out load enough, they'd have to stop? - We are, after all, in a democracy, and we the people are sovereign. Hmmm?

Ta ra! - One more iteration. Which toadally stupid person cannot understand, that in any war there must be at least one aggressor. Nuremberg told us that the aggressor is wrong, full-stop. Even without Nuremberg, it must still be obvious, that no-one would start a war unless they thought that they could profit from it. Ergo, all war is a) profit driven and b) illegal; it remains only to remove the profit motive and to prevent the crimes, and the profits that result. You must remember; the US was quite open about it: those not 'with us' (i.e. not with them, the US) will not share the spoils. How utterly hideous! Then, the same for any pro-wars apologists; unless such are motivated by some perverse pleasure at seeing murder performed, any pro-war is assumed to be pursuing some profit or other. In other words, both the direct 'actors' and the support 'gallery' are pursuing armed robbery with actual violence; murder for profit - and that, lay-dees'n gennelmen, is a crime. So, why can't the sheople see that, and again say "NO WAR!?"

-=*end*=-

PS Dear reader, you may well be sick of reading my pleas for sanity, but the victims of war are a lot sicker for their troubles, and the dear departed are neither sick nor well; they're 'just' dead and gone - but not forgotten, and not 'just' either. Ask yourself: do you wish to be killed? Assuming the answer 'no', why should anyone be killed?

The sheople of course, will not act. Stuck dozing before their TVs, they'll vegetate there until the lid blows off Hell. Hence, possibly, Richard's comment to Angela (g'day to both): "The sense of fatalism in the air at the minute is almost palpable."

PPS to the pro-wars (Malcolm?): put up or shut up; disprove me (you can't and I won't keep), so don't even bother answering, just get lost. Leave me - and our poor, suffering world - in peace.

-=*=-

Refs:

[1] The chezPhil morality is entirely based on "Do unto others..."

One only has to ask: would *you* wish to be lied to, cheated, stolen from or murdered? Then for 'you' substitute 'yours', 'a neighbour', 'some person far away'?

Then, the chezPhil principle of proportionality is based on the mathematical idea of induction (if for the first; if for one and so the next, then so for the entire multitude); acceptable morality 'scales' from individuals to nations and thus to the world.

And to tie this off quite neatly, the chezPhil morality folds into the great Aussie "Fair go, ya mug!"

A corollary:

...be free, be whatever you are, do whatever you want to do, just so long as you don't hurt anybody.
[HAÎR]

New addition (spelled out for the slower amongst us); the 'basic' crimes:

Lying, cheating, theft and/or murder.

Let's face it; it's not too hard but it is pretty-well all-encompassing. All we need to do is (fairly!) implement it; any enforcing would be minimised by correct & timely instruction (cf. 'Bringing up Baby').

-=*=-

[2] PRIME MINISTER:

I understand why people are anxious. I understand why people are desperate with worry about their loved ones. My counsel and my response to them is that we are doing all we can, but we are in a war zone, and when you get into a war zone, particularly when you are an innocent third party, it’s very difficult.
...
Look, we would all like a ceasefire. I mean, nobody wants war, nobody wants anybody killed. I don’t want soldiers killed, I don’t want civilians killed. I’m appalled at the loss of life and once a conflict like this starts, innocent civilians become the victims and I feel also for the soldiers who are killed as well, let’s not ignore that. But you have to, amidst all of this, understand how it started and the difficulty faced by Israel is that in the past there have been situations where the conditions for ceasefires have resulted in a heavy disadvantage for Israel’s defensive position.

Note the use of yet another 'weasel word': "But..." ("It's always some-one else's fault!") Can anyone smell hypocrisy?

The Origins of WWII

I've been away and I'm feeling a bit crook.   I'll deal with the sort of intellect that is capable of neologisms like "sheople" when I'm in a more clinical mood but I can't let the Angela Ryan/Gareth Eastwood exchange go without correction.

In Europe, WWI never ended as far as the Chiefs of the German Staff were concerned.   Read JWH Wheeler-Bennet's Nemesis of Power (an eyewitness account from a very well connected ex-diplomat who was there and formed part of the "occupation" force for a while).   The Chiefs of the German Staff were planning Round II from at least late 1917.   That was why it couldn't be  either the Emperor or the Army who signed the surrender.

As to the East, WWII had been inevitable from the invasion of Manchuria as has been noted by many who have posted.

War is not preventable Angela Ryan.   How many insurgencies have we had in this century alone?    Why do the Hutsis and the Tutu keep at it?   Why do MacDonalds hate Campbells?    Why do people hate lawyers?   (You'll keep Mr Kendall)  Why do we have trade wars?   Why do they spill over into the real thing?   Because we're all human dear lady.

First thing, let's kill all the people who want to make war - that should bring a lasting peace.

learn from it or repeat it

Hi Malcolm, Sory to hear of your illness/  I knew the details of the travel would probably be jealous so not sorry to hear of that....my trip was to Israel/ Lebanon and obviously cancelled after initially postphoning in April.! You can pick your friends but you can't pick where they live eh?

I take issue with "Sheaple" as I prefer the spelling with double "ee",ie Sheeple. Gives a more grass roots and less educated appearance to the word, whatever the "visual appearance" equivalence is of onomatopoeia. Well oh wordsmith? Noting recent additions to the lexicon this one is a minor trangression when compared to internet inspired neoligisms authenticated by The Macquarie. it's all about the authentication process ,no matter how clinical one is.

And so we get to history.There is the clinical side to history where the data and evidence is examined,primary,secondary and tertiary sources and a story told from that. In doing this there is great interpretation,and hence accidental bias-from source error/fault or unconscious observer error,or deliberate bias more commonly known as propaganda. Imagine your annoyance as Sheeple is added to the Macquarie's Dictionary despite your views it should not be and able to justify those arguments. Perhaps it is not added by other dictionaries who have either not allowed the arguments for it or have not even experienced the word in usage in their area and not aware of it.

Then imagine how complicated cause and efect with multiple factors are put tpgether and interpreted in the explanation of an event that results in WAR.

Look at just the Israeli / Lebanese war right now. Wouldn't we get a different history there if say Geoff wrote it as compared to say Phil. And what would be considered accurate in 70 years when all are dead and much of primary sources are gone and depending upon the importance of the story being a certain way,perhaps much evidence being removed  or discredited as fabrications. Imagine if this episode resulted in the open WW4. Do you not think the events may be very differently remembered depending upon who is the final writer,the victor?

Already I have linked discussion about the UK response to Manchurian events

?q=node/1550#comment-53289

and the failure to make Japan accountable despite League of Nations resolutions. It was not the Manchurian events but the failure of accountability for them that furthered the march to war.The hypothesis was that the Soviet Union was the predicted greater enemy and this Japanese aggression may even aid in attacking such (land bridge etc).Thus from the East Japan was reinforced and permitted territorial expansion(and funded via loans from international bankers ). Looking at the other front..: German remiliatrisation and expansion was not seriously challenged,even with the quartet agreement  tabled to combine to attack Soviets from the West. Indeed a Japan german agreement did indeed occur.

This is what I meant by supporting teams rather than issues. We see repeated examples of that such as Franco ,Hitler, then later Suharto and Saddam and South American dictators all the way to now and the US and Israeli military actions.

  If instead issues were the point there would have been no Japanese expansion and no German dicatorship. In steps it occured,each time Hitler is on record as watching the response,testing the waters. Right from the Remilitarisation(funded generously by international bankers) , taking the Rhineland to park tanks again,Austria Anschluss and Sudentland (with Chech swallowed up). All before any declaration of war or even threat......., boycott, embargo,oil sanction, blockade of Swedish Pigiron(80% of German steel from it),and blockade of food (German imported a third of it's nations food) and chemicals and financial stop. Much could have been done. Even after Poland there was no attack by the "allies".And there was still support from the US industrialists and bankers. Still communism was the boogie man,as nowadays Isalmofascism/terrorism is. Too late the real fascism raises it's head to attack.

Hamas was a recent example of how one can financially blockade a government,threatening to impound all resources used by them. Imagine if Hitler had been Hamased(the military action was unnecessary as it was about to collapse) nd all resourses and overseas funds frozen. Ouch..

A war does not just happen. It is often planned as a solution for many months if not years. It requires the Sun Tzu techigues to guarantee victory and the Machiavellian tricks to enable it to spark.

It must be percieved as right/justified, by fear or injustice against the people. A righteous ,essential event with no choice.  Propaganda is the tool not to be underestimated.

The enemy must be dehumanised and their suffering negated.  Trivialised.

The appropriate weaponry and soldier needs to be available for the kind of war to be waged.The information war must be equally up to the task internally and externally.

The end point must already be decided,the limits determined.

From this, looking at each point and considering it carefully,it can be seen that war can indeed be pre-emptively prevented,and once started ,derailed from both within and without.

Again using the current conflict, if the US threatened immediate and total jet fuel embargo,oil embargo,satellite blocking, missile/fuel bombs held back and threatening to enforce payment for all the harm and damage done. The Israeli warchips have been allowed to blockade Lebanon,that is not hard to challenge with the number of other military in the water there. A complete communications jam as in Iraq war would  also have had effect. Again ,ships run on Diesel.

If the media bombarded the israeli population with the reality of the suffering in Lebanon and rehumanise the victims and the language usage is adjusted (comes to mind is the ABC  David Hardacre.imagine him crying  in Beirute after the bombings as well as in Israel,rather than actually having to be even asked the casualties when based there(spent the transmission reporting on what the Isaeli government had said,no local interviews or hospital visits thereto cry over),then the reality of war,especially one so very one sided , may reduce national support, or make the prosecution of such a war more "humane",knowing their own people are watching.

Financial penalites? Apparently the Saudis are suing for 12 billion-don't hold your reath for that settlement. In come (income) the lawyers.It would be interesting if Israel is held accountable for all the damage it has inflicted. And Syria for the Hezbolah damage.Would this make nations think about war as an too expensive solution?

And as to preventing escalation with WMD? Again using the current conflict as an example .As to the nuclear weapons of Israel,these require GPS/fuel/ and the Diesel powered German subs for retaliation required refueling. The bio and Chemical weapons,should the Samson option be unleashed, are the things unable to be stopped. Imagine a smallpox with the unstoppable mousepox adjustment our own scientists discovered. Nice.This is an area which needs urgent international address now, as wioth other nations with such.

Personally I think ,after the example of ruthless limitless suffering that Israelis are willing to impose upon others ,that WMD are just as dangerous in their hands as Iranian. After this demonstration against the people of Lebanon, I am sure every nation neighbour would be scarmbling to get it's hands on a bit of MAD deterrent with a more radicalised attitude to the situation. Thus this war has resulted in such consequences, as did Iraq war(see north Korea scramble for mountain removal bombs).

Thus, if the international community unifies and opposes war it can be done in almost every situation. If the nation ,each one, has to then pay the cost of the damage to the other,no matter who wins or loses,perhaps conflict when it does occur will be strictly military.

The ww2 occured because there were people who compromised universal values and agreements already agreed upon internationally. The reason for this should be more openly debated. I suspect the "greater foe syndrome" allowed motes to collect in apparent allies eyes. Thus the allies were unaccountable and became monsters in power and action, with (in ww2 nazi agents were well described in all the allies power circles) sympathisers protecting the protagonists until it was unable to be stopped.Eventually the allies became the enemy(albeit for a short while before the longer ColdWar). Even during ww2, stopping the continous supplyof Pigiron(Sweden throughout the war) and oil and coal would have been crippling for the war machine and threatening to take the "safe funds" in foriegn accounts.. 

A few words from someone who saw it coming:

"The Arabs of the world ow declare a Holy War against Amerca.   We are now engaged in a sacred conflict against the Americans"

Replace the highlighted words with the words Jews, Germany, Gernmans and you have the exact words from the American Lawyer Untermyers' speech in 1933.  It seems some saw what was coming and were not heeded, although I am sure it did not help the local Jewish Germans to be associated with that American boycott against German goods and for the Germans to find out about the Balfour Agreement (1919)>  Perhaps that explained some of the antisemiticism.  I am sure others have studied ths part more fully.

War can pbe prevented and predicted.  Seek the fascist state, the controlled media, the dehumanising process, the uncompromising doublespead and propaganda, the militarisation and unaccountability to iinternational conventions of behaviou and protective infilltrations in powerful governments as the Nazis had promoting another common enemy.  For six years the Nazis under Hitler should have been stopped.  Don't tell me that was was inevitable or unstoppable.  Too many good people did nothing until the battle was huge.  We can learn from this or repeat it.  The military industry would love us to repeat it, as would the future Lend Lease

Cheers 

Richard:  Lend Lease.. don't get me started.

PS It is better to "out" warmongers (and their reasons) than sink to their level and kill them, satisfactory though that may feel.   Keep permanent solutions for lawyers... oops sorry the Bard infulence again.

I note yeat again that absolutely no-one has been held to account for either the intelligent "failurs" that led to the invasion, nor the failure of military tactics that led to the failure of having a peace.  This lack of accountability is dangerous and protects the witless and corrupt and perhaps even the traitors.  It allows a team to keep battling another inings when it should have been out of the league.

I am thinking about Iran and Syria.

Richard:  Angela, I wonder how many people currently share a sensation of waiting for the inevitable?  The sense of fatalism in the air at the minute is almost palpable.


 

Fatalism in the air is the deceptive narcotic to placate action

Hi Richard , I refuse to accept that.Such a destiny is one I will fight as the result is so horrendous,a bit like Nazification- just under another name. I notice thre is a huge battke going on behind the scenes and many of the American boobus,the sleeping giant,are awakeing and saying what the shit is going on? What worries me is the time constraint has already pushed things ahead of schedule methinks. Events will unfold and unravel but will this be allowed to happen? Cornered animals are the most dangerous.

I remember Gus's cartoon. the house of cards-that is all this is,an illusion based upon a gossama of lies that need brushing aside and hands cleansing. The base of the cards is 9/11.  Destroy that myth and the whole dirty lot comes crashing and all the dots are joined.

That is the one thing that this site could do to take an action that may make a difference. All the other issues are baby water background and if a  Nazi Germany-like regime further establishes. The issues of power and corruption at the very highest and very worst  must be addressed immediately to stop the progression towards the abyss and perpetual war that benefits the select few who want it .

What is a real shame is how many Good people are sucked in to enable the final steps that will cast them aside and their expendable causes.It has all been done before and mistakes corrected.

One flick of the switch and we have a nuclear holocaust and only the scattered survivors to guess at the real causes,but what would they matter by then? We could have learned from the last but no.

Yes , I agree there is a direction,just as 9/11 had cause and effect planned, but such were even changed as can be this now.

It takes the Sheeple to awake and care. It takes the shepherds to realise the danger to their flocks is real and the promises that are not. the evidence is all out there and is clear.

There, end of sermon. And I did like the wicca idea. our washingmachine repair man has just finished and told me all about the local wicca and what they really stand for. Absolutely facinating. Winnershins is what we need now,about 5years worth.

Cheers

 

The magic world of hindsight

Angela, re “there are very few wars that are not entirely preventable” maybe so, but a small scale engagement (i.e. war) may still be necessary. Once you’ve been invaded (e.g. Poland in 1939) any stance of ‘No war’ becomes useless. Angela, do you honestly think there was a way to prevent Hitler from enslaving most of Eastern Europe without resorting to hostilities?

Re “If one looks at the real causes and backers and reasons for war, rather than the facile history one reads in high school texts and Hollywood movie reworkings of how it happened”. Where does one find the ‘real causes and backers and reasons’ behind WW2? Is The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer acceptable? I learnt a lot from that book.

Fundamental flaw with the 'No war' slogan.

Phil, no war is an admirable and desirable goal, but a meaningless position or basis for law. The problem with a simplistic position or law banning/outlawing war is enforcement. If a nation wages war against another, some kind of warlike activity is required to stop it and prevent it recurring in the future. Murder has been outlawed in tribes and now nations since the beginning of humankind. This has not prevented its regular occurrence. Phil, in my view, 'No war' in just a meaningless slogan, irrelevant in the real world.

Phil, once war is outlawed, what's your idea of an effective response to someone breaking your newly enacted 'no war' law? Our course any kind of warlike response (involving possible killing) is now illegal. You could answer this question by providing a few ideas regarding what the allies and Poland should have done in order to return Poland to the Polish people. You are against killing Phil, so what methods should the allies have used to stop the further slaughter of Jews during the Holocaust? In my view, England and France shouldn't have let Germany into Austria or Czechoslovakia without a fight, WW2 would have been much shorter. Chamberlain's obsession with peace at all costs (just like 'no war') ended up costing millions of lives. 

Phil, there are times when war is justified.

Richard: Gareth try telling that to a group of schoolkids and see how far you get- smart little buggers, they are.

MAD solutions make war obsolete

Hi Gareth, If one looks at the real causes and backers and reasons for war,rather than the facile history one reads in highschool texts and Hollywood movie reworkings of how it happened,one can see there are vey few wars that are not entirely preventable.

If one looks at the list makings and rounding up of the Jews of Europe and the sending off for resettlement and the urgent attempts to find homes in so called Western Nations,that shut their doors to these people,yes even with the Jewish communities there backing this to their shame,then one can see there is much more to the plight of the Jews of Europe than facile history gives us. That fact that they were left in camps to be worked as slaves for not just German companies but other European and American industrialists and then once the invasion of Soviet Russia failed were killed is something that deserves great study in detail. By this one can establish what may have been done to prevent such.And those sanctimonsiously hiding behind the prevention of such study and thus keeping safe from their role being revealed may well one day be held accountable for the deaths.

The refugees of Germany and Europe were denied entry despite knowing the treament they were recieving.

Why? The camps well may have been emptied of the vulnerable before the final solution was enacted by those so vile.

And I do not think the German people did know of the details of what was happening. Prof Martin describes the Berlin the Jewish centre of Berlin having still 10,000 residents at the end of the war. It was the communists in Germany(socialists and unionists and oppostion to NAZI) that were openly rounded up and taken.

The second World war was not about Jews of Europe officially but about Comunism and Nazism,facism. You are spot on,that war would never have happened if the Rmilitarisation of the Rhineland had been opposed-but it was not ,as Hitler was seen as a bulwark to Communism-much as Suharto and other dreadful regimes later supported- with eve attempts to divide Europe control made by France/UK/Germany and Italy in early 1930s treaties. These were blocked by the Communists in France(Stalin's speech when Hitler invades shows they were indeed aFifth column for him).

Personally I belief if politics was more about issues than teams a better total solution and method for such will evolve,but people have to learn about giving and taking and thinking more of others situation.

 

You may still think war is a solution Geoff,but is it if all nations have WMD and the ability to respond-MAD if attacked? If it is not then a solution,why is it a solution now?

Cheers

 

immoral vs. illegal

Sheople everywhere, I call upon you to unite in the face of all unfairness; be it 'only' immoral or 'strictly' illegal: let's outlaw war forever.

We the people never benefit from war (only the fat-to-the-point-of-obscene-cats ever can and do), and too many people (even just the one is one too many) are being 'pink-misted' to death, aka murdered.

And here, the first 'blame' accusation: I blame lawyers in the first instance (yes, including 'our own' Malcolm B Duncan) for not doing a proper job on the law. I think the correct term for this failure may be 'pettifogging', and as an example I will document an exact circumstance which occurred 'in here' (if I find the time - Ahhh, got it[1]). Generally, I was railing about 'killing being illegal' and Malcolm suggested very special circumstances where it may not (mainly, if not only, by lawyers) be so considered. One specifically (and understandable), a parent in defence of a mortally threatened child where the threat is immanent and actual; so divorced from context as to be categorised by me as 'risibly breathless'. The current context, as then, being US/Israeli aggressive, invasive & illegal wars. Whadda y'gunna do, Malcolm (as parent of said threatened child)? Climb into the sky and attack the pilots?

Bully for Malcolm, and that incident (plus another) soured any positive relationship I might have built with him - to this day and probably, most likely, looong into the future if not actually f'rever. Malcolm may stand for public office, but who will stand up against US/Israeli slaughter of innocents? (You, dear reader may ponder; here's the other interesting bit from Malcolm: "Might is neither right nor wrong; it just works mate.") And so, from the part to the whole (it's only human, as am I). But lawyers in general (i.e. our Fed. parliament is simply plagued by 'em) have (not just IMHO) *a lot* to answer for.

Another curious quote:

... one of the difficulties faced by the present political culture is precisely that it blurs the distinctions between morality and the law. One cannot legislate morality: if one could there would have been no homosexual acts between males before 1985 in NSW and there would be no murder.

[WD_1314/Malcolm B Duncan]

My comment: more pettifogging. Why bracket homosexuality with murder? And if there would be no murder why not? Simple assertion just doesn't cut it. One has to ask: just why one cannot legislate morality - of Malcolm's cited objections (i.e. a minority's sexual preferences or self administered recreational drugs - Ooops! I added the last myself, as a similarity) fall into the ambit of 'no legislation required'; see following.

My morality[2] is extended by the corollary:

...be free, be whatever you are, do whatever you want to do, just so long as you don't hurt anybody.

-=*=-

Intro over; to today's case (in a nutshell): NO WAR!

1. It is generally illegal for one person to kill another.

1a. The exception to generally is tiny, and you'd better get a good lawyer. (cf. Malcolm's 'self-defence'.)

2. The one-on-one case 'scales' to nation-on-nation. (If not, why not, Malcolm?)

2a. The invasion of Poland in 1939 is usually considered to have been both wrong and a valid reason for 'the allies' to go to war. I think we need not contest this, and we may 'move on'.

2b. WW2 ended with a 'bang!' - actually two; both the legality and morality of these are contestable (an' I do). But, we may 'move on' today, nevertheless.

2c. As after WW1 (i.e. the 'war to end all wars' - a particularly sick joke), after WW2 the victors set up the UN with an idea of preventing future wars; didn't work - for whatever reason, my favourite is "white-anted" by the 'black-hats', aka the US.

3. Bullying; in the playground or the office or wherever is, shall we say, frowned upon. If bullying contains violence, even if 'only' threatened, it becomes illegal - and rightly so. The ultimate bullying act would be killing, generally (see 1 above) regarded as murder.

3a. See (2) above, the one-on-one case 'scales' to nation-on-nation; bullying between nations begets war.

3b. Ergo war, involving killing as it does, generally is (or by rights should be) regarded as illegal.

3c. The general exception to any killing is 'self-defence'. But see Malcolm again: "The use of disproportionate force in a domestic situation (i.e. killing where breaking an arm would be sufficient) defeats a defence of self-defence or provocation." Whadda 'bout Israel, this very moment, into Lebanon, hmmm? A bit more than a tad (Ooops! Wasn't me, Gov) - err, a bit more than a bit disproportionate, perhaps? No, not 'perhaps'; it is disproportionate, extremely so.

3d. Especially in the case of invasion, that could be toadally avoided by making it an absolute rule: all defence forces to remain behind legal home-country boundaries. The trick, of course - and the reason this just won't (99.9%; never give up hope) ever happen - is that if all forces stayed home war would be impossible - and Heavens to Betsy! - we can't have that, Oh no. And exactly so, say I, do the lawyers pettifog. But note: we the people are sovereign; we could make war illegal, if only we acted all together. And the lawyers could help, as opposed to pettifog.

4. "Geopolitics does not operate on the level of the individual." Q: OK, Malcolm (recalling that assertion doesn't cut it), why-the-bloody-Hell not? A: (From 'Bringing up Baby'): They just don't want?

-=*=-

Conclusion: Well, I just don't want. The sheople everywhere also say (when politely asked): "They don't want," just as all propagandists know. I'm fed up with it, and so would be the sheople, if they only turned all their flat-panel TVs off. I say bugger the sheople; any reasonable, honest and aware person who does not campaign against all war in general and US into Iraq and Israel into Lebanon in particular are - simply put - traitors to us, we the people and to our world. War's murder pure and simple, it's gotta be stopped; any pro-war-apologist-supporter makes him/herself accessory to - and therefore equally guilty of - murder: NO WAR! (Bastards!)

-=*end*=-

PS

I mean really, Malcolm (or any other, we don't blame it all on him); don't you see there's a real problem? Lots'a people shriek: NO WAR! - Yet our 'leaders' ordain war. *Both* can't be right; if it's us, we the people who are in error, why doesn't some-one, any-one, convince us (aka educate and correct any erroneous reasoning - but no lies!) that war's actually quite OK - then people like me could rest easy, knowing that all the poor, innocent victims were dying horrible, ugly and violent deaths, for our esteemed leaders' acceptably good and worthy cause?

Or will you just not bother, dismissing me if not the whole topic as 'mawkish'?

-=*=-

Refs:

[1]

The point you seem to miss is that there are legitimate reasons for killing. That may or may not make killing a good thing. I have been through this innumerable times before: self-defence including the killing of a person threatening the life of another, particularly a child (and here threatening means on the point of inflicting death or serious physical injury) is but one example of lawful killing. That there are lawful instances of killing does not make it morally right for everyone. You may have a particular mindset that says killing is completely unacceptable in any circumstances (and if I am correctly detecting a religious flavour to your posts, please remember that the Biblical prohibition is on Murder not killing per se - otherwise poor old David would be up for a war crime over the Goliath incident).

[Malcolm B Duncan]

BTW Malcolm, I take that 'religious flavour' gibe as a direct assault on my integrity. I cite "Thou shalt not kill"[3] partly and precisely because Howard maintains that we are in a 'Christian society': "and according to the Judao/Christian ethic which is meant to govern conduct in this country..."

[2] The chezPhil morality is entirely based on "Do unto others..."

One only has to ask: would *you* wish to be lied to, cheated, stolen from or murdered? Then for 'you' substitute 'yours', 'a neighbour', 'some person far away'?

Then, the chezPhil principle of proportionality is based on the mathematical idea of induction (if for the first; if for one and so the next, then so for the entire multitude); acceptable morality 'scales' from individuals to nations and thus to the world.

And to tie this off quite neatly, the chezPhil morality folds into the great Aussie "Fair go, ya mug!"

New addition, a corollary:

...be free, be whatever you are, do whatever you want to do, just so long as you don't hurt anybody.
[HAiR]

Let's face it; it's not too hard but it is pretty-well all-encompassing. All we need to do is (fairly!) implement it; any enforcing would be minimised by correct & timely instruction (cf. 'Bringing up Baby').

-=*=-

[3] The 'applicable' commandments (some would see (7) as optional):

6. "You shall not murder" - The Hebrew Bible [and Malcolm] makes a distinction between murdering and killing (see Jewish interpretation below).

7. "You shall not commit adultery"

8. "You shall not steal" (sometimes interpreted as kidnapping, since there are other injunctions against stealing property in the Bible).

9. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" [lie]

10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house..." (in Exodus, the text reads "... neighbor's house, ... neighbor's wife, nor his manservant..." etc. while in Deuteronomy, "thy neighbor's wife, ... thy neighbor's house, his field" etc.)
[From wiki.]

David C: On contrition

David: Generally I agree with you on the matter of German contrition over the Holocaust, nothwithstanding the long delay in freeing up the plunder stashed in Swiss bank accounts. I cannot believe that the Germans did not know about that, after all I assume they stashed it there. It should have been freed at War's end to help those most directly affected by the Holocaust. Not to do so, was to me to compound the crimes committed.

I too visited Dachau, but back in 1975.  A truly ghastly place that I could not get out of quick enough. I encountered quite a bit of hostility on the part of Germans of middle age back in 1975 in Germany, so I think the contrition has been a lot more evident in the following generations. I guesss in 1975 I was moving amongst those who had not only fought in the war, but had suffered most from it,  and no doubt some did not exactly have very clean hands. Maybe they were just defensive, and understandably so. I still encountered that in the few older Germans I knew in Australia, and one praised Hitler to the day he died. I doubt he was alone in his views.

I was only reading today in an article concerning the philosopher Professor Peter Singer, of whom we have seen some Posts here, (and who I admit had probably the most profound effect on my life of any 20th Century intellectual), had in fact lost three of his grandparents in the Holocaust. To what extent that has influenced his  philosophy would be interesting to consider. He is certainly very controversial (and I would not agree with him on some things) but contrary to what he himself argues, his influence has resulted in the betterment of not only the lives of millions of animals world wide, but human lives as well through the work of people who tried to apply some of the principles he espoused. I think of the work of Christine Townend in India as a good example.

The Japanese. We are agree there is not much evidence of official contrition there. To me a nation that cannot admit the atrocities it commits in war, could be seen by its victims to believe that in fact it had not committed any. Given the scale of the atrocities that were committed, that I think is quite disturbing. So they will commemorate Hiroshima, while ignoring Sandakan, the Burma railway, the rape of Dutch women on Java.  Not good enough in my view. When I see that I am afraid my heart does harden somewhat. But as I said in my first post, when my generation is gone, those feelings will go with us, and even the Japanese by then might be prepared to more objectively examine their history. 

The aboriginal Sorry issue. I agree with you but not totally. So maybe we can take this one up at a later date on the appropriate thread when I have more time, but it is certainly an issue to which I have given a lot of thought.

My father's family were explorers, and then early squatters on large sheep runs but we were not among those who went out on killing sprees, though clearly they took their land. One old aboriginal Queen said that the only family she would allow her tribe to work for was the Humes and to this day we have good relations with those indigenous people who claim descent from some of our menfolk. In fact my father sought them out to include them in his family history, much to the anger of some of the uppity rels on the Monaro! He left me to publish the thing, and some of them have never spoken to me since. Oh well, you can't win them all, can you?  But as I said, this issue will take us off onto byroads, so another time, and another thread.

Cheers David. Spar anytime you like. I'm always prepared to shift ground in the face of sound argument on anything.

Frankenstein's monster against Stalin turns

I have long suspected part of the reason for WW2 was that the warrior states whose faults were allowed due to their future task of defeating Communisim found their own life and turned upon their parents … a bit like Frankenstein's monster .

Here is a Soviet sympathiser’s view of history with bits we seem to have collectively forgotten - or were there no movies about these details?

History is interesting when examined from another perspective. This is something I found from the Russian pint of view and here it is in English:

"....Japan attacked China to occupy Manchuria in 1931. That spelt the start of World War II, on the correct estimation by Henry L. Stimson, U.S. Secretary of State in the Hoover Administration and Secretary of War under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Why, then, did the United States prefer to stay an observer in the ominous developments, and Britain oppose sanctions against Japan even after the League of Nations qualified its attack as aggression? What was making them so lenient toward the aggressor country? Was it that they knew the secret Tanaka Plan, on which the seizure of Manchuria and China's north was to provide Japan a bridgehead eventually to gain control of the Soviet Far East and Siberia? There are many more questions to ask, too.

The answer can be found, in particular, in the Arita-Craige agreement of 1939, in which Britain recognized Japanese interests in China and so accepted Japanese expansion - at a time when Khalkhin-Gol fighting was at its peak and involved several tens of thousands as the Soviet Army clashed with Japan's Kwantung Army. The agreement was signed just when Tokyo was persuading Berlin to adopt a formula that would automatically draw Germany into warfare on Japan's side in case of a Soviet-Japanese armed clash. Germany, on its part, was actively preparing to attack Poland, as was known in London. All that gives ample food for thought.

Even more information appears when we come back to Europe. I have no intention to delve here into who, and how, brought Hitler to power in January 1933. The heart of the matter lies in the word "reaction," a short word yet so rich in content. A mere six weeks later, London, with Mussolini's mediation, offered the Nazi leader a draft pact, on which Britain, France, Germany and Italy would form a quartet to manage European affairs at their own disposal, without the slightest attention to anyone else's interests. Soviet interests would be ignored worse than anybody's. Pointed parliamentary opposition in France buried the idea, and it did not have any notable influence on the developments.

Piece after piece was bitten off the Versailles arrangement as Germany ostentatiously ignored its military restrictions. The Versailles guarantors never gave it a deserved rebuff. On the contrary, they rewarded Germany as they put up with the stabbing of the Spanish Republic, the annexation of Austria and the division of Czechoslovakia. Why such tolerance? Why were the democracies so generous at that time? An outspoken reply came from Lord Halifax, then Britain's foreign secretary, as he told Hitler that the West approved of the way Nazis were making short work of the Communists, and Hitler could count on their benevolent understanding if he behaved similarly on the undesirable forces in other countries, especially in Eastern Europe.

Soviet initiatives for collective security and joint rebuff to Nazi attacks were doomed in Europe, the way it was those days. We can say so today with absolute certainty. The European democracies were pursuing different ends: to channel German energy into an armed conflict with the U.S.S.R. Poland's plight put an end to those expectations. London and Paris went so far as to declare war on Germany, the one that came down in history as Phony War.

The democracies made pretence of fighting while actually sitting on the fence. What were they waiting for? What was Washington trying to dissuade Berlin from? Into what was it persuading Britain and France in February and March 1940? Casting aside fine words, the U.S. was telling those obstinate Europeans: "Enough of your home squabbles! Get down to business - attack Russia all together!"

That was how history repeated itself. Not that it made a beeline - it moved in zigzags, by fits and starts. The Soviet Union made a contribution, too, yet the West continued to cling to its general stance, which ruled out Soviet coexistence with the democracies.

But then, one can say, warnings about German aggressive preparations reached Moscow from London and Washington in spring 1941. That is true - but the Soviet dictator knew full well what was behind the British advice. Britain could not be sure until June's first ten days that Germany was really determined to make war on the U.S.S.R., so London was insistently calling Moscow not to wait for Nazi hordes to flow over the Soviet frontier but make a preventive blow on the Wehrmacht, for instance, to help Yugoslavia, then invaded by German panzer forces. Stalin clearly saw it would be a suicidal move in spring 1941. If the first shots came from Soviet guns, it would have been even more difficult for the U.S.S.R. to establish an alliance with the United States.

According to certain sources, the German government did not rule out sangfroid failing Moscow to enable Berlin to pass Operation Barbarossa as a defensive move to prevent aggression from the East. I wonder what messages were coming to Berlin from Washington those days.

To pile calumny on Great Britain and the U.S. is the last thing I want. More than that, I admit that their fate was also at stake, so every plausible alternative had to be pondered in London and Washington. But as we analyze facts and British and American documents, we cannot accept the Western concept of recent history without reservation. That concept is overly off-handed as it divides the involved parties into the "clean," i.e., those known as democracies, and the "unclean," that is, all the rest. The concept passes the "clean" for aloof registrars of developments that came out of a clash between elements out of their reach. Those historians are too modest. Carried too far, such modesty is by no means to their credit, considering the tragedy that started on June 22, 1941. ..."

I guess you can see it is important who writes the history and who makes the movies about it.

Cheers

Welcoming empathy

Here is a blog exchange between (amongst others) a person in southern Lebanon and a person in northern Israel. Read it and weep, but only if you have several free hours. 


"Sad day for all of us... This just sickens me ... Don't know what else to say... Stay safe Dovster and hope your ex doesn't make a return visit. God help us all. Excuse me while I go prepare for the wrath of the IDF..."

...and.. 

"BEYFlyer, again, I very much hope that this ends as quickly as possible and that you, your friends, and your family escape from it both unharmed and with as little disruption to your lives as possible."


Normal human beings do not want to destroy other's lives;  it takes a subhuman to encourage and welcome war.

Avoiding empathy

David Curry: Hi. I hear what you say and I don't think we need to spar as such! And no offence taken. I am not like some others on WD who seem to me to search for allegations made that are not intended!  Nor do I ever entrench myself in any position as I am the first to admit there are probably facts on most issues of which I might not be aware.

Probably I have been a bit unfair to myself on this thread. The people who know me, including the elderly German lady I spend time with across the road to brighten her day, know that I am a very caring sort of person. She is a very sad person, interned by the Czecks underground for 2 years with 4000 others, 2000 of which died, including her brother and father. I spend time with her because I can, and she is lonely since her husband died last year. If anything I take on too much of other people's sadness. 

And as for Phill Kendall and the racial prejudice bit, that is actually quite funny, given my son is engaged to a lovely Japanese girl. And not to mention the dozens of young Japanese that have stayed with us so often at the farm, with one family coming back year after year just to live with us, sometimes for six months at a time - all gratis. They ring up and say can we come, and we never say no.

I guess when I say I am a bit reserved when I am with Japanese and German people, I really mean en masse. But I would never discriminate against any of them. It is not in my nature to discriminate against any person, on grounds of race, religion, politics or anything else. But I would be lying if I said the memories of what happened to some of the people I loved, do not sit fairly much to the fore in my mind when I am in Germany or Japan, and that a sense of not wanting to be there tends to come over me. I guess that is what I mean by a sense of reservation. Maybe it is just that I do not want to be reminded of that which I would rather forget, and being amongst Japanese and German people makes that more difficult. 

I think I would be more comfortable with the Japanese if they were to admit that their prosecution of the war they embarked on had been so sadistically barbaric. Those 2000 soldiers, marched almost to a man to their deaths; that dying child crying for a banana.  The failure to admit that that sort of behaviour was so morally wrong does trouble me David, because it begs the question as to whether they as a people, would be capable of more of the same, given the chance. If a nation and its people cannot admit to its atrocities, then what does that really tell us?

And why did it take so long for the German people to make any amends to the Jews, in terms of at least restoring their property where that was possible? We do not want to get into collective guilt, as most Germans will tell you they either did not know what Hitler was doing to the Jews, and even if they did, they were powerless to stop it. That is probably true, albeit that it must have taken a lot of people to run those camps, round the people up, ship them off, bury them, in that four years. But would not one have expected that at the end of the war, when it did become patently obvious what had been done, there would have been a cry go up all over Germany: This was done to these innocent men women and children, and we have to make amends, if it takes us a hundred years. Was there such a cry? Not to my knowledge and that bothers me David for what it tells me about them as a people. Maybe they were just too war weary to care. But if you had walked down to Belsen and taken a look when the war ended, could you have remained silent if your people had been responsible for that place? How could anyone? But many were and that troubles me.

But to come back to your point. Empathy.  I have no doubt whatsoever that the bombing of any city is a horrific thing in terms of its effect on the people in that city, irrespective of where it is. Every person in the world will one day meet death. And none of us want to go out in a firestorm. I do recoil in horror at the thought of any child burning to death. In fact four of my extended family, including two small children were incinerated some years ago in a car accident and to this day I cringe at the awfulness of  that. I cannot think of a worse death, though no doubt there are, such as that of those children Mengele experimented on who died long and cruelly painful deaths.  I do not like to think of any person dying a cruel and painful death, least of all an unnecessary one.

So that brings us to the point of this thread. IMHO if the bombing of a city is seen as necessary to try and bring a catastrophic world war to an end, then it is probably justifiable, despite the suffering it causes. In that sense I think Hiroshima was justifiable as I do not believe surrender of the Japanese was as close as some here would postulate and the continuing deaths in those prison camps and in the fighting, would have been just as ghastly as for those in Hiroshima. Violent death is ghastly no matter what form it takes. So it comes down to numbers really. Did more people die in Hiroshima than would have done if the war had dragged on for another six months or even more? We will never know that.

As for Nagasaki. Same argument as Hiroshima did not bring surrender. Why did the Emperor wait four days for the second bomb? I lay the blame for Nagasaki at his feet. I consider it a war crime against his own people that he dragged his feet. He could have prevented Nagasaki and he did not.

Dresden. If the area bombing of German cities was in retaliation for the random bombing of British and other cities, then I think that was justifiable, but only if  the intention of that bombing was to serve notice on Hitler, that this would not be tolerated, and it was believed that such would deter him. If however it was just out of revenge, and nothing else, then no, I don't think it was right. I think you would find though, that nothing is quite so clear cut in war.  

I have read of the effects of the fire bombs on Dresden and I have seen countless newsreels of the effects of bombing on cities generally during that war. It would be a ghastly death for anyone to suffer and I would rather that no person ever suffered such a death. If in saying that I am demonstrating pity for those who died such a death, then I must retract what I originally said on that score.

I think you would find David if you met me, I can even empathise with the suffering of an insect. Burning to death would be ghastly. So I cannot even light a fire till I have picked the little blighters off the logs.

Cheers and if you want to spar further I'll try and keep up!

Sparring gently

Jenny – thanks for your long reply.  You’re right, we aren’t too far apart on this issue.  You seem, from this and other posts, to be a very compassionate person – which is why I was genuinely surprised by your original statement about not feeling ‘any pity’ for the victims in Dresden etc.  You clearly do feel pity, plus empathy with the survivors who saw loved ones incinerated.  That’s not a position incompatible with your view that area bombing and the atom bombs were needed to end the war.  As you say, if the strategy was about ultimately saving more lives than it destroyed, then it’s a valid moral case.  I don’t agree with you on the strength of the case, but that’s OK! 

I share your view about Japanese denial of war guilt, although I’m also one of the ‘black armband’ brigade who thinks Australia has a similar problem in dealing with what we have done to indigenous people.  For example, I’m with Howard when he castigates the Japanese for their refusal to acknowledge their appalling war crimes in their history books, but why doesn’t the same argument apply to what White Australia had done to Indigenous people?  It’s pure hypocrisy, I think. 

Just as it says something about the Japanese that they refuse to face their guilt over wartime atrocities, what does it say about Australia that we would rather forget about all the terrible things done to Indigenous people?  I really think that until Australia fully acknowledges the uncomfortable truth about our appalling treatment of Indigenous people over the last two hundred years (and including very recent history), that we can’t really be a mature nation.  Other nations like New Zealand and Canada seem to be able to do it – why can’t we?  John Howard would say we should ‘move on’ – but not the Japanese. 

But yes, the Japanese should apologise unreservedly for their barbaric conduct in World War II, and they haven’t. 

I’m not sure you’re right about German contrition, although you may be right about repayments to Jews.  I actually thought the real problem with contrition in Europe was with the Swiss, who have for decades held onto vast fortunes stolen by the Nazis from Jews, hidden in those unassailable Swiss bank accounts.  They are also understandably reluctant to talk about their role in returning Jewish refugees to the Germans. 

The Germans, I’m pretty sure, have beat themselves up for decades about the Holocaust.  I went to the Dachau concentration camp in Munich a few years ago, as part of my trip through Europe, and there was certainly no attempt in the displays to cover up the atrocities committed there.  On the contrary, they had enough photos of medical experiments and piles of bodies to give me nightmares for weeks.  German leaders have made symbolic visits to Auschwitz, and don’t forget they have laws that put Holocaust deniers in jail.  I’m pretty sure German students are taught all the uncomfortable truths about what their forefathers did – unlike the Japanese. 

I think on the evidence Germany has taken full responsibility for its wartime sins and has made strenuous efforts to atone for them. 

The collective guilt thing is interesting.  It’s hard to know how many Germans were enthusiastic Jew killers.  Certainly, quite a few.  As you say, there were a lot of people involved in the Holocaust.  But if you read Victor Klemperer’s diaries (he was a German Jew living in Dresden, married to an ‘Aryan’), even he wasn’t sure.  For every Hitler youth who spat on him for his yellow star, another stranger would approach and tell him something like ‘Hang in there, we’re not all like that’ – even when it was a crime to fraternise with Jews.  It’s still an open question, that one, I think. 

Anyway, I really should get to bed.  A pleasure exchanging thoughts with you, Jenny.  Good night! 

Poland, 1918-1939

Greg Moylan, my knowledge of WW1 is close to zero. So I will ask you these questions: What did Poland do from 1918-1939 to ban war and create an international police force to enforce that ban? What did Poland do from 1918-1939 to spread worldwide goodwill?

I concede that in those times and earlier it was harder to forsee an attack (although the sight of a psychopathic leader and increased expenditure on weaponry should have woken someone up) and so a surprise attack would have had to be met with self-defense, but not a counterattack on civilians. The Polish response to the years of German threat was poor. Just hoping that signatures = goodwill or security demonstrates incompetance.

But war at that time was taken as a given. As far as I know, the creation of the UN was the first serious attempt to ban war worldwide. If we work more seriously towards a ban on war while building international goodwill, we will also have evacuation plans that work and intelligence agencies that work. The planet is big enough for 36 million evacuees if enough nations are truly united. Imagine if the same amount of money that is spent on war and propaganda is spent on real preventative measures.

Presumably, you don't like war but believe that it is necessary for self defense and for defense of the weak. In my philosophy (see my website www.worldwidehappiness.org) survival activity is followed by security activity and then by happiness activity. Focussing on self-defense keeps us at the level of survival, which is really only required when knowledge and technology are non-existent. Now that we have knowledge and technology, we should be operating at the security level and that requires spreading goodwill. Widespread goodwill comes from working for the happiness of all people. Nothing like that has seriously been attempted yet.

Now in 2006 we have the knowledge and resources to make huge changes, the only thing missing is the will. We tolerate war, starvation, and domination because we are immoral or ignorant or incompetent. If prowar and antiwar people get together and focus on how to end violence, starvation and domination, then we will find the way.

Re: tsunamis and hurricanes, govts should warn people close to the sea or in low-lying land that they are in danger of tsunamis. People will then only live in those areas out of poverty or because they accept the risk. But the US govt has all the resources required to build levees and to alleviate hurricane disasters more effectively.

NO! - times three, as in 'Bags full, Sir!'

1. NO! To Jenny Hume; on 3 grounds:

a) Your statement: "But I nonetheless always feel a certain reserve toward them [Japanese], as I do toward the Germans."

b) Definition: racism n. 1 belief in the superiority of a particular race; prejudice based on this. 2 antagonism towards other races.  racist n. & adj. [POD]

c) If the shoe fits (i.e. 2 antagonism towards other races), wear it. I don't wanna make a big thing out'a this, but at the same time you can't deny facts, that's just 'not on', not in here. Yes, we know that they and things were bad; no argument at all - and I make absolutely no apology for any baddie back-then. (Accusations are another thing.) But: recall 'bringing up baby'; one can't damn a whole race for the sins of their fathers. Or, perhaps you can, and be comfortable with it too. I'm presuming that you're consistent, and boycott ex-axis new-made stuff too? Or, at least feel like boycotting? Hmmm. As for being propagandised, only you can know - and hopefully with eyes wide open; good luck. You may regard this place as your recreation - please enjoy; I see it as a work-place, see (3) below.

2. NO! To C Parsons; on 3 grounds:

a) Futility: you have already been comprehensively 'deconstructed' on this topic. As was shown from your very own reference: "even without the atomic bombing", the survey did not conclude that the mass-murderous A-bombing was considered to have been required for the matters at hand; in fact the contrary, as any and all can plainly see: QED. Geddit yet?

b) Ignorance: asking for documentation of 'matters of high state' (... what in [my] view accounts for the Emperor ...) might be possible if such matters were perfectly documented (haw, haw, haw!) - but is otherwise perfectly ridiculous; asking for any such is simply pushing s**t uphill with a pointed stick. But see (a) which deals in info from your own authority contradictory to your stance. In addition, I have provided evidence, if what one reads on the ndl.go.jp site (National Diet Library, equivalent to aph.gov.au here) can be trusted, of a serious discrepancy between that site and all the English translations found by me on the net. This casts the "cruel" statement somewhat into doubt; a challenge for you, C Parsons, would be to obtain an officially certified translation of the picture-graphics cited.

c) Evil: C Parsons, you stand parallel with the 'standard' pushed-paradigm. That paradigm (including both known and unknown deceits, recall the 'cute' concept of "victors' history") is maintained by the full force of the US and its 'agencies of truth', namely the (mostly corrupt!) MSM, Madison Ave. and Hollywood, plus the miriad of institutions and individuals with any sort'a 'personal stake' in one of history's most desperately criminal acts, namely the A-bombing mass-murders. It's in the collective interest of all in this group to cry 'justified' (and with sufficient humanity to quail as they do so - but fat chance); it's your choice to join them.

Tip: C Parsons, if your use of 'revisionist' is aimed at me, it destroys your credibility, pure and simple. And sorry, but not sorry at all; you won't 'sucker' me.

3. NO! For the third time, to any un-original pushed-paradigm apologist (whether mild-mannered, murder-proponent or milquetoast); I'm just not interested in being harried by any part of the standard-story thought bogus (i.e. B, B & H as saviours of democracy - haw, haw, haw again), as pushed through the (largely corrupt!) MSM, incl. big bits'a the AusBC (Boo! Hiss!) I can 'take or leave' that pushed-paradigm rubbish at my leisure, elsewhere and else-when. WD is valuable, to explore ways out'a here, not to re-hash or have re-heaped what the corrupt representatives of the plutocracy (better: kleptocracy) try to force down all the sheople's necks - usually successfully, or show me the required, deserved revolution?

Let me put that, another way: the status quo is ruining our planet, so no more of the same! Geddit yet?

So this is the workplace is it?

Phil Kendall: You wrote:

This place: I see it as a work-place, see (3) below.
3. NO! For the third time, to any un-original pushed-paradigm apologist (whether mild-mannered, murder-proponent or milquetoast); I'm just not interested in being harried by any part of the standard-story thought bogus (i.e. B, B & H as saviours of democracy - haw, haw, haw again), as pushed through the (largely corrupt!) MSM, incl. big bits'a the AusBC (Boo! Hiss!) I can 'take or leave' that pushed-paradigm rubbish at my leisure, elsewhere and else-when. WD is valuable, to explore ways out'a here, not to re-hash or have re-heaped what the corrupt representatives of the plutocracy (better: kleptocracy) try to force down all the sheople's necks - usually successfully, or show me the required, deserved revolution?

Hmm. WD is your workplace? Yes. I guess you write so much of this stuff you could not possibly have time for much else. Now  you wouldn't be trying to harry or brainwash would you Phil? Not pushing a few paradigms of your own I hope? 

Trying to find a way out? Well, when one set's oneself in concrete, that can be a tad difficult. Note: 800 or so inputs from just a few WDists on the Israel threads and not a grain of sand moved.  Now I hope there is no racial prejudice in there anywhere which is getting in the way of the exit sign.  

No that cap does not fit here so don't try forcing it.  Buy their stuff? Depends on the price Phil. Chinese might be cheaper these days. They may not be squeaky clean on some things but I would rather buy from a country that is not into killing the whales thank you.  And I don't buy Canadian either if I can help it. Something to do with clubbing baby (seals that is) to death. Got some reservations there too Phil.

Ruining the planet. On that I will agree.  So today I have got a lot of real work to do so now I am out of here. Trees to plant.  At least I won't have to fence them off from the sheep. BTW: Don't understimate sheep Phil. They are a lot smarter than you think.

C Parsons: Hang in there. You might just be able to prise a bit of concrete free and show the way out.  Pity all those millions who were murdered back then aren't here to help you out.

The awkward facts that just won't go away.

phil kendall: "But I did like this bit: "Given an adequate supply of atomic bombs, the B-29s based in the Marianas had sufficient strength to have effectively destroyed in a single day every Japanese city with a population in excess of 30,000 people." Nice!"

Phil, could you please point us to any source indicating that the USA, or anyone else for that matter, had more than two (ie 2) serviceable atom bombs in 1945?

Thanks.

Also, what in your view accounts  for the Emperor of Japan's express statement that the dropping of the Atom bombs was decisive in  Japan's acceptance of the Allies' call for Japan's unconditional surrender, as outlined in the Postdam Ultimatum?

And why do you think he dismissed his government to appoint another when the War Cabinet argued that Japan should not surrender?

Also, do you have any evidence whatsoever that Japan was prepared to surrender unconditionally prior to the Potsdam Ultimatum, or at any point pror to its dismissal by the Emperor?

Any whatsover?

I realise these are awkward facts from the historical revisionist point of view, but what do you think they mean?

Competence, as well as morality

Malcolm B Duncan, As well as morality, there is the question of competence. If war could ever be legitimate (and it cannot), it would be only in an emergency. So much can be done prior to emergencies arising. Doesn't the fact that an emergency (the last step in a chain of causes) occurs indicate that the government is incompetent?

Indeed, why do most governments (and oppositions) get taken by surprise so many times on so many issues? Why is their eye off the ball? It seems that they are in a reactive rather than proactive mode of operation at least on many important issues.

Upon taking office, a government should lock down security (including preparation for pandemics, hurricanes, etc) and work towards creating an environment where people do not want to make war.

Then if an attack did somehow come, the nation could use its great evacuation plans etc, and they could use their improved negotiation skills, and they could use the international police (that the incoming govt worked to set up in cooperation and goodwill with other governments) to stop the attacks. Also, the international police will be equipped with better protective clothing and weaponry that causes minimal or no death. Actually, more money could be spent at Lockheed Martin on developing such equipment.

Unfortunately, people still presume war is a legitimate tool of government. I do not know if this is a hangover from Stone Age times or if it's deliberate propaganda.

Greg Moylan, I agree that old fashioned aid is not satisfactory. However, aid is necessary in emergencies. No food for a prolonged period = death. Using aid together with a long-term approach as you suggest is the way to go.

Competence in the Real World

Martin Gifford, you given us these insights

If war could ever be legitimate (and it cannot), it would be only in an emergency. So much can be done prior to emergencies arising. Doesn't the fact that an emergency (the last step in a chain of causes) occurs indicate that the government is incompetent?

and

Upon taking office, a government should lock down security (including preparation for pandemics, hurricanes, etc) and work towards creating an environment where people do not want to make war.

Could you assist us by explaining just precisely what the Government of Poland could have done in 1939 to avoid war when it discovered that the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union had signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on 23rd August 1939, a non-aggression treaty between the two of them, the centrepiece of which was the partition of Poland between them, as well as Soviet seizure of Finland and the Baltic States.

Negotiate, using their superior negotiating skills, as German Stukas bombed Warsaw, Gdansk and Poznan and German tanks swept across the Polish Plain in a blitzkrieg attack, while the Red Army swarmed in from the East?

Capitulate? Trust in the good intentions of the invaders? Hand its officer corps over to the Soviets in the confidence that they would be treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and not massacred in Katyn Forest? Trust that, despite Nazi ideology that the Poles as Slavs were untermenschen to be enslaved as Germany sought lebensraum for its pure Aryans, their intellectual elite would not be thrown into death camps or shot out of hand and that the ten percent of its population who were Jewish would be treated with kindness?

Evacuate 36 million people to where, precisely?

Dust off their well laid plans for handling hurricanes (not a common problems at Poland's latitude) and for pandemics?

Martin, for the Poles that was real-world stuff. Millions of them died. Since your post assigns as much moral responsibility to the Poles for being invaded as it does to the invaders it is incumbent on you to demonstrate what logic, if any, underpins your argument. Otherwise you will be seen as falling into the depraved trap of moral equivalence which blames the victim as much as the perpetrator for the injury done to the victim.

So go for it Martin. Explain to us how, in the real world, the government of Poland could have avoided the calamity that descended upon it on 1st September 1939, nine days after the signing of the Molotov-Rippentrop Pact.

As you do so, contrast the Poles with the Finns, who fought a bitter but successful war of attrition in 1940 (without, as far as I am aware, any plans for mass evacuation, international police forces using non-lethal weapons or hurricane management) with the Soviet Union which preserved their country's independence and their people from the tender mercies of Stalin's totalitarian state and explain how their action in doing so was, as you say it is, illegitimate.

And no, Martin, the fact that an emergency arises does not indicate that a government is incompetent. The tsunami that devastated Aceh province in Indonesia in December 2004 was the product of a massive undersea earthquake, not the incompetence of the Indonesian government. Given the proximity of the earthquake to the Aceh coast it is doubtful in the extreme that even if there were an early warning system it would have made the slightest difference to the devastation and death toll from that event in Aceh. You, however, would have us believe otherwise. Please explain that.

Would you shake Clement Attlee's hand?

Jenny Hume: "Somehow it seems to me almost a betrayal of those I knew who suffered so much at the hands of the Germans and the Japanese to be asking, was the killing of them in their cities morally justified? Maybe it is only those who come after my generation who can dissect that issue objectively."

Or rather, our generation can perhaps dissect the issue dispassionately, rather than objectively.

It was their lives and their freedoms they were struggling to protect and advance after all. And perhaps that gives them a degree of objective insight that is simply not available to us at this remove.

In which case who are we to cast judgement on those who enjoined the greatest, most dangerous and worst conflict in human history.

But as I said, neither objective nor dispassionate analysis is the purpose of the revisionist programme. It's propaganda for today they want..

David Curry: "To me, though, it in no way questions or undermines the courage of the millions of Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought the Axis, to explore the morality of a decision such as the one to drop the atom bombs – made by a handful of people at the highest levels."

Those people who were visited with the responsibility for making that awesome decision had also a responsibility to those millions of Allied servicemen and servicewomen, and possibly a billion or more civilians of every stripe, under their charge.

If I ever had ever had the honour to have been in the same room as Harry S Truman or Clement Attlee, I would have held out my hand to shake theirs, not slyly castigate them for being "murderers" or "war criminals".

And that quite apart from such colossi as Roosevelt and Churchill who paved the way to the defeat of the Axis.

Maybe when we are gone

I confess I have searched my soul and cannot dredge up any pity for the Japanese who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or for the people of Dresden. So I cannot find any moral argument to advance against the bombings of those cities in WW2. I've asked myself why that is so, given that the suffering of any living thing generally causes me genuine heartache, and the Japanese and Germans did not hurt me personally. I was too young to know or understand why some of the family would not be around anymore, or why others seemed remote, and in one case somewhat mad.

Maybe Phill Kendall has a point about bringing up baby. We take in all sorts of messages at a very early age, and they are not always easily erased just through later intellectual analysis of their validity as a platform from which to develop one's values in adulthood.

Maybe it was not a good idea to let small children listen in to adult conversations at the end of the war. Probably we were not supposed to be listening in the first place, but I can recall always hanging around. Stories of native babies bayoneted in New Guinea; the fate of the little girl in the Japanese prison camp,  who died crying for a banana, only to have the guards heap bananas on her after she died; graphic stories of Alamein. And looking back, The Scourge of the Swastika, describing in detail the nazi death camps, was probably not a particularly good read for kids. I can still see those pictures of piles of naked bodies. It was all so visual and the messages driven into the psyche still prevail.

Somehow it seems to me almost a betrayal of those I knew who suffered so much at the hands of the Germans and the Japanese to be asking, was the killing of them in their cities morally justified?

Maybe it is only those who come after my generation who can dissect that issue objectively. For I can feel no such objectivity and many of my generation, born at the outbreak of the war, I suspect would feel the same. 

Surely when a nation fights a war of that magnitude, it's whole economy is geared to the war effort. Without that being the case, the war could not be prosecuted. Even the mother knitting socks is contributing to that effort. Probably the children, the very elderly and the sick are the only true civilians, and many of those were shipped out to safe havens in Britain at least. Those adults who stayed behind were all contributing to the war effort in some way or another, and in the eyes of the Germans were no doubt legitimate targets. As were Germans to the Allies. As for the Japanese, well they killed whoever got in their way, and they did not care how they did it either.

And as for revisionism:  the Japanese are very good at that. They see no reason to say sorry. Nothing to apologise for as far as they are concerned. They mourn their dead from the holocaust that was Hiroshima, while failing to acknowledge to this day, that which they themselves inflicted on millions. Thank God we won that war is all I can say. We were spared occupation by a sadistic people, who lacked at that stage of their history, any morality at all. And the fact that they do not wish to this day to acknowledge the barbarity of what they did, let alone apologise, tells us something, does it not?

I have known many Japanese and have some very good Japanese friends. But I nonetheless always feel a certain reserve toward them, as I do toward the Germans.

Now don't all scream at me at once.

matters of principle

Subtitle: Who's fault is it?

G'day Jenny Hume.

"But I nonetheless always feel a certain reserve toward them [Japanese], as I do toward the Germans."

This could be an example of racist prejudice - but don't worry; I'm not gunna hold it against you, because I think know what you mean. Especially for people who could experience the horrors of WW2 1st hand' as it were (not me). Even if only through the 'good offices' of the MSM of the time, there was plenty to be scared/horrified about. Then a lot more afterwards, as some of the nastier, hitherto 'hidden bits' surfaced.

As an aside, all the more surprise, then, to find on my initial wanderings through the Aussie hinterland lots'n lots'a Landcruisers. Why were the farmers buying this Japanese WW2-military-look-alike? Only recently did I find out. I met a bloke whose father was a newly franchised dealer, back then. Each time he got hold of a new one, he'd set off in an essentially random direction, until some farmer bailed him up, usually brandishing a sheaf of pound-notes, demanding a quick exchange. Holy Toledo, Batman! Why that? Ahhh... Wanna know what the dealer's son told me? That the pre-existing alternative was sooo bad - I leave the rest to the imagination. This aside has a point: the pragmatic farmers were willing to over-ride any racist prejudice they might'a had - but only (I presume) if the deal was good enough.

Ramifications, anyone? How about "Keeping interest rates low?" (Say hello, sheople!)

-=*=-

Getting back on-track, let's have another look at 'bringing up baby.' There's a book (actually more than one) called "The Age of Reason" of which we only need the title. I use it to specify the period in any young life, before which all data is ingested totally without validation: what s/he hears/reads is what goes in, absolutely unedited. It is this pre 'age of reason' period (called possibly 'the age of innocence') which is (deliberately - criminally!) exploited by (some? all?) religions, to indoctrinate (pollute!) the young mind, first by awaking the fear of death then offering the (extremely improbable) bait of 'eternal life'. As quoted by Arthur C Clarke, "Give me a boy for six years, and he is mine for life." [3001: The Final Odyssey] Such indoctrination is much harder with an aware intelligence.

It gets worse. I said above 'hears/reads,' but whadda 'bout sees? My contention here, is that the combined 'audio/visual' channel into our brains remains always open; ta ra! TV. In a horrible perversion of WYSIWYG, what any person sees on TV goes in, absolutely unedited. That is to say, there is no 'age of reason' vis-à-vis TV; and it's just no good to say: "Oh, it's only a movie!" TV has the capacity to present all possible perversions (I'm not saying it's all bad), but people do tend to absorb the offering - then incorporate selected bits into their internal list of available options - if you get my drift?

I think that the ever-present TV screens of Orwell's "1984" were absolutely spot-on, and now the sheople are lining up outside Hardly-Normals, even mortgaging their houses to get 5.1 channel surround-sound, DVD driven wide-flat-screen 'home-entertainment' systems - one of whose major functions is to corrupt while anaesthetising intellects!

TV as 'What else can we poor sheople do?' - but nevertheless, TV as mind-control. What utter madness!

Trying desperately to stay on-track, the title of this thread is 'Is All Fair In Love and War?' - and my subtitle: Who's fault is it?

I now introduce one of my favourite devices, the binary-split. Here, I will posit two different classes of people; on one side the Plutocrats[1] and on the other the rest - the latter is us, we the people. The Plutocrats (not necessarily a conspiracy-cabal; all it takes is a general, even unspoken, agreement on modus operandi, ie how best to rip us off) - the Plutocrats have their hands on the levers of power, and don't much care for us, as long as we 'behave'. Specifically, we can go Malthusian[2], even being encouraged to do so.

-=*=-

Q: How does all this fit to the theme of the thread?

A: We're talking about how one group of 'innocent' citizens regards another group of 'innocent' citizens, and how one side should regard the hideous mass-slaughter of the other. Note that in this formulation, it's not a matter of choice, into which group any particular individual may fall - ie which side are you on? Hmmm.

Now, recall my personal morality, summed up by "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you," which has the implicit 'if no good possible then certainly no harm' as exactly what one might actually 'do'. Getting the drift yet?

-=*=-

Long story short: "They hate us for our freedoms!" is a filthy lie; swallowed holus-bolus only by sheople. We the people are being propagandised; look no further than the AusBC and SBS coverage of the current (murderous!) operations of the US' illegitimate sprog Israel, and how the sympathy for the murderers drips out'a the speakers. This may partly be because a lot'a the news-feed comes to us from US-dominated sources, but some is disgustingly home-grown and must be deliberate. Boo! Hiss!

If you need a refresher on propaganda, get it here. Search for "a big lie". Here's another bit: "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Recall that irrespective of how many (and it was lots) demonstrated against the B, B & H illegal invasion of Iraq, there we are. Our wishes were acknowledged only as coming from a 'mob,' then disregarded. Innocents were directly slaughtered by "Shock and Awe" and continue to be slaughtered by the brutal US occupiers. (Yeah, yeah: tell me about 'insurgents' - or perhaps 'freedom-fighters'? Then tell me how the US might'a 'provoked' it all.) By the logic of saying that the innocents of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and now Iraq), also Frankfurt, Tokyo, any Japanese, German and now Iraqi somehow 'deserve' what they got or are getting (ie mass-slaughtered, the modern 'grunt' term is 'pink-misted') - that makes us both guilty and valid targets.

I will (as usual, but never needlessly) labour the point: if we have a 'democracy' at all, it is defective (understatement). We have no real choice; ie neither of the Lib/Lab ugly sisters are on our side. Essentially, they're just in charge of bribing us to be silent, for the least cost to the Plutocrats. As pointed out elsewhere, 'representative democracy' has major flaws. Then, we are 'imperfectly informed' (joke, Joyce!) Worse, each politician lies more than the next (in a circle, now!) Sooo, if we get propagandised (we do), if we don't get all the right information (we don't), and if we did it wouldn't help us (because no 'representative' can possibly accurately represent) then basically, we're passengers. As much, or possibly more so for those on any other 'side'. Innocents on both sides are neither decision-makers nor valid targets.

Can't get away without a kick: whadda 'bout those who support the (rotten!) status quo, ie support, say, an illegal, mass-murdering invasion of Iraq: murder for oil? Well, of course those people are not sheople, Oh, no! Rather, they make themselves accessories, and are therefore just as guilty as the so-called 'leaders'.

Q: Just who starts these bloody wars? You? Me? Or the Plutocrats, and their poodle-politicians?

A: Follow the money: who benefits?

-=*end*=-

PS There is a book I do not recommend (at least not to the faint-hearted): Absolute Friends, by John le Carré. In Economic Hit Man, Perkins tells of the jackals; in Friends we can see how they might operate. Friends gave this particular anti-war agitator great pause.

Refs:

[1] plutocrat noun often derogatory a person whose power derives from their wealth. [Oxford Pop-up]

[2] Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766–1834), English economist and clergyman. In Essay on Population (1798) he argued that without the practice of ‘moral restraint’ the population tends to increase at a greater rate than its means of subsistence, resulting in the population checks of war, famine, and epidemic.
DERIVATIVES
Malthusian adjective and noun
Malthusianism noun [ibid.]

Racially prejudiced? No

Phill Kendall: No, I am not racially prejudiced and if I had had my way in my misguided twenties, I would today be living with a Chinese forester in the jungles of Borneo, instead of being married to a red headed Scot here in OZ.

Nor was I ever brainwashed. Throughout my life I have known friends and family who had suffered a lot at the hands of the Japanese, in Java, in Changi, in New Guinea, and at the hands of the Germans in prison camps. Others grieved all their lives for brothers, fathers, sons, who did not come home in two world wars, my mother included. Her brother forever missing - no body, no grave, no closure. My French relatives suffered horrifically, and one cousin, in reprisal for two German soldiers killed by the Resistance, was shipped off to the unimaginable horrors of Buchanwald concentration camp at just fifteen, where he spent four years. Two friends (who came here as children, Jewish Hungarian refugees at war's end) tell me they had virtually all their extended family shoved off to the Nazi gas chambers. And the pictures from that book from my childhood, are right there to tell me what all that means for them.

So brainwashed in childhood with family and media propaganda? No  Phil.  Just aware of the facts and how it affected individual lives of people around me, right down to the present. So, while I do not practice any form of discrimination,  I still feel as I said, a certain reserve when amongst Japanese or German people.

Yes Phil. War is horrific but Hitler and Hirohito started something that saw 50 million people lose their lives. And they fought it with total barbarity. Yes, I believe there are degrees of barbarity. 

No I will not judge those who made the decisions to bomb Dresden and Hiroshima and Nagasaki and I cannot see those decisions to have been immoral. Easy for us to throw stones from this safe distance to it all. Yes C Parsons, I would shake Truman's hand, and that of Bomber Command's Harris. Remember it was Hitler who started bombing cities, not Churchill. Are reprisals a valid response? I believe in some cases they are. If the war had gone on, Hitler may have started to think twice about bombing cities again. So it could serve to deter further deliberate attacks on civilians.

I do not believe the Japanese would have surrendered without the A Bomb, or at least, not for quite some time during which time the POWs would have continued to be marched to their death, as with the Sandakan march, or been starved or worked to death. And allied soldiers would have continued to die in their thousands. Hirohito could have saved the people of Nagaski by broadcasting to the world on radio that Japan was surrendering.  He had four days in which to do so, and he did not. So he was responsible for the deaths at Nagasaki. 

I do not believe that we can draw parallels between later wars, except perhaps that in the former Yugoslavia. There the legacy of Hitler lived on, in the massacres at Srebrenica. Old scores, old wounds.

Oh yes, of course Israel. Well without Hitler there would likely be no Israel. Israel is Hitler's child, not America's. If it had not been for Hitler, there would still be thriving Jewish populations across Europe. America was left to help raise the child. What should it have done? Abandonned it? Allowed it be be killed off?

The child Israel has grown up, and bred up. And it is full of resolve to never see itself the victim of mass murder again, and there are those around it whose stated aim is to annihilate them. If you want to judge the way it goes about defending itself, then first I say, remember Belsen and all those other places that are burnt into its collective psyche.

Ah yes, Hitler has a lot to answer for. His legacy lives on in Beirut today. We now condemn the Israelis for immoral acts, a people who were subjected to the worst immoral acts in history. I would agree with Roslyn Ross on this point at least. Violence begets violence, and the memory of it will live on for generations, and return to haunt us.

Oh no, we have not seen the end of Herr Hitler's legacy, not by a long shot. How the people of Beirut today must wish he had never lived.

Finding Empathy

Jenny - Hi, I enjoy your posts, don't think we've sparred to date.  I am surprised that you are unable to feel any pity for the civilian victims of the firebombing of Dresden and the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. 

This is not an attack on your personal character – and you wonder about the lack of empathy yourself - but I suggest that you have simply avoided the attempt to feel empathy. 

First, let me say that there is no doubt that Japan and Germany needed to be defeated, given the Holocaust and the barbarity with which both armies conducted themselves (although, along weird racial lines - Germans treated English and American POWs quite well, but starved the Russian untermenschen to death).  I am not one of C Parsons’ ‘revisionists’ trying to argue, for example, that the invasion of Poland was ultimately the fault of France and Great Britain because they imposed ridiculously harsh penalties on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles.  If any man was ever truly evil it was Adolf Hitler. 

But in my view, the civilians who endured the firestorm in Dresden were just as much victims of World War II as the civilians who died in the London Blitz. 

To feel otherwise, it seems to me, is to subscribe to the notion of collective guilt i.e. that the German and Japanese civilians were all somehow as responsible as their leaders for the atrocities.  The issue of collective guilt is another thread, perhaps, but can I just say that, based on my readings, I don’t feel the same way.  To say that all Germans were responsible for the Holocaust is like saying every Australian is equally responsible for Australia’s cruel treatment of refugees.  Were German toddlers as responsible for Auschwitz as Hitler? 

And things get really complicated under a dictatorship like Hitler’s, where dissent is usually punished by summary execution or incarceration.  Would you and I have led a street protest in Berlin in 1938 against the Nuremburg Laws, knowing we’d probably be shot or sent to Dachau?   I don’t think so.  Would we have harboured Jews, knowing the penalty was death?  I like to think we would have, Jenny, but it’s a hard one, isn’t it?   

Can I suggest - and I mean this seriously, not sarcastically - that you read some firsthand accounts of those on the ground in Germany.  I once watched a documentary in which a German woman talked about her experience of the firestorm generated by the area bombing of Hamburg.  She saw young children become stuck to the melting bitumen of the road on which they were fleeing and then become human torches in the intense heat.  Picture any child you happen to know – a niece or nephew perhaps - in the same frame, multiply it by tens of thousands and tell me you still don’t feel any empathy. 

In the same documentary (wish I could remember the name) the woman met two American bomber pilots who had dropped bombs in the same raid.  In response to her story one of the pilots simply said (I’m paraphrasing) ‘Well, we had to defeat Hitler’.  The woman nodded wearily – ‘Yes, of course’, but her eyes told a different story.  It wasn’t Hitler in the middle of that apocalyptic firestorm. 

(Incidentally, some aircrew – who, I might add, were incredibly brave – did reflect on the firestorms with less moral certainty than the two Americans I’m referring to.) 

I feel very strongly that virtually all of the appalling atrocities committed in war through the ages are a result of lack of empathy for a particular group of people, which comes directly from their dehumanisation.  It seems to be instinctive for humans to do so – tribalism etc. – but if we don’t challenge it I think we’re doomed, I really do. 

Why did the Germans in the death camps coolly take part in genocide?  Were they all psychopaths?  There were too many people involved for that question to be answered in the affirmative, surely (although undoubtedly psychopaths were involved - Mengele, for example).  Germans who took part in the Holocaust almost invariably felt that the Jew was less than human – like rats, in fact, to refer to the propaganda films of the period.  As a result they often felt no empathy whatsoever for people just like themselves, except that they were Jewish, as they directed them to the gas chambers.  Their very blood tainted them, even the children. 

Please don’t misunderstand me here.  I’m not suggesting your lack of empathy for the German victims of area bombing puts you in the same category as the Germans running the death camps.  Not for a minute.  I’m just being provocative in exploring where a lack of empathy for fellow human beings can lead. 

I challenge you to ponder on those tens of thousands of human torches – mothers, young children, the elderly - and tell you me you still feel as certain about the morality of the area bombing of German cities.   You might still think it was ultimately the best strategy for winning the war, but I hope it troubles you. 

Difficult questions should always be asked.

C Parsons – thanks for your considered response, you make some good points. 

I should first let you know that I’m with you in your admiration for the men and women who fought against the Axis.  Having recently read Kakoda and Stalingrad I am left humbled by the courage ordinary people found in the most extraordinary circumstances.  As you say, they did a terrific job. 

To me, though, it in no way questions or undermines the courage of the millions of Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought the Axis, to explore the morality of a decision such as the one to drop the atom bombs – made by a handful of people at the highest levels.  It’s about the morality of how war is waged, a question which, given human nature, is always relevant.  I think there is an important issue of precedent.  If, as you seem to suggest, it’s a simple equation that says it’s acceptable to drop an atomic bomb to save American lives then the issue is as relevant now as then.  Consider that Bush Jnr has talked seriously about the possible use of ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons. 

A bit of reflexivity is always a good thing, in my books. 

C Parsons, do you concede that, morally, it was necessary for the US to consider alternatives to dropping the atom bomb?  Do you think that, if there was any evidence that a negotiated surrender might have avoided the bombs, it should have been considered? 

I don’t think it’s enough to say that because the Allies – the good guys – dropped the bomb, that it must automatically have been the right thing to do.  If the Nazis had acquired the atomic bomb (and they were working towards it) how would we view their having dropped it on London?  As a monstrous war crime, of course.  The deliberate murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians?  War crime.  But only if committed by the Axis.  Yes, I’m sure I’ve been corrupted by postmodernism, but I’m sorry, I can’t help asking the question. 

On the conditions for surrender, I think you’ve muddied the waters unnecessarily.  The situation with Germany was completely different to Japan.  For one thing, there were no secret peace feelers coming from Hitler, a psychopath who took as much sick pleasure from his countrymen’s suffering as his enemy’s.  As far as he was concerned, Germany should die right along with his dreams of world domination.  There was no indication of any inclination to surrender until the very last days of the European war, when (I think) Himmler and Goering tested the water, and it was never going to have Hitler’s authority. 

On the other hand, the Japanese were actually seeking to negotiate peace, well before American troops had even invaded Japan.  Now, I’m not an authority on the Japanese surrender but my understanding is that the only real sticking point for them was whether they could retain the Emperor on surrender.  (There was also some concern, I think, about whether he would be tried for war crimes.)  If granting that one condition – retaining the Emperor - had facilitated surrender, along with, say, a harmless demonstration of the atom bomb, do you think it should have been tried out?  It seems to me that if alternatives weren’t considered seriously as an option, it was a moral lapse on Truman’s part. 

And how much influence did the dropping of the atom bomb have on the Cold War arms race?  The fact that the Americans had dropped not just one but two of the damned things must have provided some serious encouragement to the Russians to build as many nuclear missiles as they could, once they acquired the technology a few years after the war.  After losing 20 million people in World War II the Russians were hardly going to sit back and do nothing about their security. 

Then for years people of my generation (I’m 41) lived under the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD), which was somehow supposed to guarantee peace!  It did, in the end, but given how close we came to worldwide nuclear destruction over the Cuban missile crisis, and the odd flock of birds, there was nothing sure about it.  The Americans had used atom bombs before, why wouldn’t they again?  I for one had regular nightmares about the nuclear holocaust that I thought inevitable. 

Just thoughts, is all. 

tell me no lies; my truth is no spam

Thanks to C Parsons, for a prime example of doublespeak, by alluding to my post as both 'spam' and a diversion as he attempts diversion himself by dragging in yet another straw-man: that (some, unspecified?) pacifists might ardently campaign on behalf of "Hizbolla, Hamas and the Ba'athist and Mahdist militias". What utter, puerile rubbish!

Then C Parsons tries to tempt Bob Wall (g'day!) into conceding a suggested falsehood, namely that an unconditional surrender could only be obtained by an invasion of the Japanese mainland or deploying the A-bombs.

Well, news for you C Parsons; I for one do not agree that the survey concludes any such thing: "Nevertheless, it seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion."

But I did like this bit: "Given an adequate supply of atomic bombs, the B-29s based in the Marianas had sufficient strength to have effectively destroyed in a single day every Japanese city with a population in excess of 30,000 people." Nice! I understand that the US was actually running out of targets; 'lucky' that Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and Kokura, the 'socked-in' primary) were still relatively 'pristine,' eh?

In fact, the question can be turned around:

Instead of "The A-bomb saved (US) lives (at the cost of a few 100s of 1000s of Japanese innocents),"

 one could quite easily posit "The A-bomb *cost* many (US) lives (as well as those of a lot'a 100s of 1000s of Japanese innocents)."

All one would need to prove is that they dragged-out the war till the A-bombs were ready; if they'd followed-up on the peace-feelers, they could'a stopped the war that much sooner (with associated reduced US casualties), and headed off those pesky Russkies quicker too. Hmmm?

It pays to use your brains, and not just parrot the pushed-paradigm. We all *know* that the pushed-paradigm is just chock-full'a filthy lies.

Unnecessarily taking lives is murder

Gareth Eastwood and Stuart McCarthy, unnecessarily taking lives using the excuse of self-defence is murder. The same principle should apply to war. So war is murder.

Re: starvation - I should rephrase what I said - I would get nations to agree to respond immediately with aid to prevent starvation. How's that?

Re: "How does one go about enforcing a ban on ‘warlike activities’? Doesn’t enforcement imply the use of ‘warlike activity’?" No. As when police use negotiators to gain the release of hostages or to get shooters to drop their weapons, we could have an international police force doing a similar thing. Police are not allowed to act independently in the way a individual countries currently can, and police are not allowed to bomb a neighbourhood with a "near enough is good enough" philosophy.

Re: "Martin do you realise you have just said you would do nothing?" How is negotiation and developing international cooperation doing nothing? I would add that if I thought my population was in danger, I would evacuate them before killing 100s of people in the other country.

Re: "Also if I was in your constituency, what plate would I be stepping up to? A dinner plate?" Generally, the Middle East problem centres on the fact that the violently anti-Israel crowd are spread out over many countries. They have no spokesperson that has authority to negotiate on behalf of them all. So it is up to Israel and its allies to make the grand gesture because they do have (or could easily have) spokespersons who can negotiate on behalf of them all. Under Clinton, the peace plan broke down at the last hurdle - Arafat refused to let Israel keep a major temple. At that point, Israel could have made the grand gesture of giving away that temple and that could have sealed the deal. Although the Israelis love that temple, it would be worth the sacrifice for peace in the region. In the long-term the increased goodwill would lead to Jews being allowed to visit the temple anyway. People are more important than temples.

Yes, a full dinner plate presented with intelligence and in a spirit of goodwill helps. Conflicts can be resolved by finding common ground, and happiness is the best common ground.

Aid is not a panacea

Re: starvation - I should rephrase what I said - I would get nations to agree to respond immediately with aid to prevent starvation. How's that?

Well actually, pretty bloody woeful. For most of the people facing starvation the issue is lack of development of their agricultural sector, largely caused by crazy economic policies pursued by their governments and because they don't have property rights giving secure land tenure so that their farmers can confidently build agricultural production.

The aid game, shipping in large amount of food grown elsewhere actually destroys the local agricultural sector and much other "aid"distorts the local economy, as resources are misallocated to meet the needs and whims of the imported foreign "experts".

Spam sandwich

Phil Kendall: "This 'high moral ground' is definitely a big advantage, specifically to the pacifist (and to all law-abiders in general) - and equally *not* available to the pro-war, pro-killing crew. "

Well, I do agree, Phil, that 'pacifists' expend an awful lot of energy and time pontificating from the 'high moral ground'.

As a result, it doesn't seem to matter what they do or say, they imagine their have permanent, exclusive occupancy of that particular piece of real estate.

This leads to some of the more bizarre outcomes among the 'pacifist' crew.

Such as their continually trumpeting their moral superiority while ardently campainging on behalf of the likes of Hizbolla, Hamas and the Ba'athist and Mahdist militias of the Iraqi "resistance" (who killed about 6,000 people in the last few weeks alone, by the way).

Anyway, thanks for the Spam. Nice diversion, that.

Bob Wall, Hi!

Could I refer you to this passage from the Survey Summary;

"We underestimated the ability of our air attack on Japan's home islands, coupled as it was with blockade and previous military defeats, to achieve unconditional surrender without invasion."

Would you concede then that the Survey concludes that the principal strategic objective of the Alliance, namely the unconditional surrender of Japan's military imperialist regime, could not be achieved;

a) without an Allied invasion of the Japanese mainland, unless

b) the Allies deployed the overwhelming superior power at their disposal in the form the Atomic Bomb?

Roslyn Ross: “I support the right of the Iraqis to fight for their freedom. I don't support the violence of methods used.”

- on June 19, 2006 - 7:40pm

Roslyn, would you agree those fighting the Axis Power were confronting something of a similar moral dilemma?

What methods should they have used in your opinion?

Thanks

A ban on starvation

Martin Gifford, generally speaking taking a life in self defence is not considered murder. The same principle applies to war. So Martin, war is not murder. I’m amazed that you are blind to this.

Re “I would work towards banning warlike activities (and starvation)” On the starvation bit Martin, how exactly would you go about ‘banning’ starvation?

Re “I would work towards creating an international police force (and emergency force) to enforce a ban on warlike activities (and starvation)” How does one go about enforcing a ban on ‘warlike activities’? Doesn’t enforcement imply the use of ‘warlike activity’? I imagine it would be pretty difficult to enforce a ban on ‘warlike activity’ without using force.

Re “I would ask my constituency to step up to the plate and be the hero in the relationship (as Dr Phil would say). I would make a commitment to the happiness of both sides of the conflict and work towards that.” Martin do you realise you have just said you would do nothing? Also if I was in your constituency, what plate would I be stepping up to? A dinner plate?

 

the unbelievable lightness of being...

...alive, and why should anyone try to stop me continuing so?

In 'black vs. white' I outlined the basis for my personal morality, summed up by "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you," which has the implicit 'if no good possible then certainly no harm' as exactly what one might actually 'do'.

Restated in the clearest possible text: NO! - to lying, cheating, theft or murder.

This 'high moral ground' is definitely a big advantage, specifically to the pacifist (and to all law-abiders in general) - and equally *not* available to the pro-war, pro-killing crew.

Alternatively, the pro-war, pro-killing crew have to somehow justify one, more or (usually) all of lying, cheating, theft and murder - and especially, the latter. One of the commonest ways 'they' (the pro-war, pro-killing crew) attempt this justification is to use 'big' (more weasel than really 'grown-up') words, like strategic, geopolitical and diplomacy. This last, as we know, is otherwise known as lying. But not 'just' little lily-whites, Oh no! The diplomats' lies are more often than not used to cloak or disguise (however thinly) cheating, theft and/or murder. Ooops!

-=*=-

A quick 'head-out-the-window' weather-check reveals a grim scenario: water restrictions, longer and drier than recalled droughts, melting glaciers. 'No probs,' say the climate-change nay-sayers; just build another dam, an' all that ice isn't 'harvestable' anyway. How little do they know.

Then down to the servo for a fill-'er-up. Ooops again! Gettin' on for $1.50/ltr; bugger! How little have we left? Oil I mean, but the $s'll go West PDQ too.

We of the 'lucky' wide-brown have 'wealth for toil,' but basically only if you're a big-time mining-share owner. They (the fat-cats) get the wealth; we (the people) do the toil; if we (the people) get anything from our fabled mineral-boom at all, it's largely on the trickle-down theory, with the trickle-down drying-up just as fast as most'a the out-back creeks are.

To complete this "Things is crook in Tallarook" lament, we've got draconian IR on the way, globalisation coming into full bloom, the last few pitiful privatisations to come (including Medibank Private and not excluding the Snowy; I bet'cha that's just been 'put-off') and the final destruction of Medicare waiting in the wings. Yep, Hanrahan: we'll all be rooned.

-=*=-

Q: What's all this got to do with A-bombs (let alone Israel), I hear you say?

A: Well, they're all to do with the 'status quo,' and the A-bombs (as the 'grounding' of Israel) were critical 'tipping-points.' The A-bombs declared to the world (we the people, who largely mis-heard the real message, 'just' becoming terrorised) and to the 'cognoscenti' (those who pretend to 'understand' things military, as well as the associated things strategic, geopolitical and diplomatic - aka lies, etc) that it was 'game-on' - the US had declared "Empire!" - and had (lots'a!) blood on its hands - as do the founders, 'keepers' & supporters of the US' illegitimate sprog, Israel. I recently submitted a WD piece titled "The Wandering Jew" (a book-title, actually) which was censored to "Wandering," making my theme seem more than usually obscure. My thesis in both cases (i.e. the US empire declaration & the founding of Israel) is that both were based on murder-most-foul and have remained so; the US stealing thereby a totally undeserved portion (5% pop. gets 25%) of the worlds' precious (non-renewable!) resources, and Israel the (illegitimate!) title to what was (and by rights should remain, at least at '67 if not '48 borders) Palestine. Phew! But the point again, as if yet another reiteration were needed: with murder-most-foul assisted theft already in their backgrounds, it's just Oh, so easy to continue thus - and so they do.

Sooo: since the status quo has dropped us right in the poop, it's gotta be stopped. Stop the US! Stop Israel! Stop the killings! NO WAR!

Oh yeah: an' a fair suck on the sauce. No more resource-rent rip-offs! Get sustainable, or get lost!

-=*end*=-

PS Along with the weasel-word apologists comes the accusation: revisionist! Let me be perfectly clear: I am but one of many who suspect the intentions of those behind the particularly horrendous slaughters typified by Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and now Iraq). Unfortunately, all evidence is *not* presented (self-interest, anyone?) - and that in itself is incriminating, if not outright damnable. Those who would dominate the world through lying, cheating, theft and murder are hardly likely to volunteer their intentions, after all. Some evidence is misrepresented; despite assertions to the contrary, I do *not* think, for example, that the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (Pacific War) document is at all unequivocal in justifying the A-bombing. The Emperor's 'surrender statement' is claimed to convey exactly that: that the A-bombing was pivotal. I can't claim to know one way or the other, but it certainly is conceivable that the text was supplied whole or at least in-part by the US, then there's the accuracy of translation (recall the Iran president's supposed map-wiping). The 'official line' denies validity to any Japanese peace-feelers (in the face of adequate documentation), or that any such peace-feelers were ignored in order to complete the A-bombing project (recall the Iraq imbroglio's supposed but non-existent WMDs and phoney UN resolutions, all bunkum).

Apart from the slaughter of innocents, the A-bomb project had a totally 'understandable' dual-intention of data gathering and Russia/world intimidation, both of which were subsequently carried out. Retribution against Japan would be assumed, but the very fact that the controversy continues must tell us something. Then, had the US honoured the promise of peace we might'a had an OK-world, and none of this introspection would be happening, there'd simply be no need. The A-bombing act must be considered in its entire context, which turns out to be almost unequivocally bad, just as the illegal invasion of Iraq must be so considered, which also has turned out to be similarly bad (yeah. Just as we, the anti-wars always predicted.) The thin excuse of democratising Iraq was matched in Japan by the (admittedly not quite so thin) excuse of saving US lives. Some good resulted (perhaps a hastened end of war - except that the earlier peace-feelers were not followed up; the end of Saddam) and some benefit of the doubt may have been in the offing - but in both cases, it cannot be said that the means were justified by the eventual end - in Japan, the seamless transition to 50+ years of Cold War (actually re-heating); in Iraq, the overwhelming 'end' being the vicious US boot on Iraq's neck and the ripping-off of Iraq's oil.

Finally, we come back to WYSIWYG. See above; US murdering & ripping-off out'a all control, Israel likewise whilst yapping at the US' heel (as, shamefully, does Aus & the UK) - and with the greenhouse-world threatening to burn us all up. As well as being ripped-off, we're now being potentially sentenced to death, as were the hapless innocents in Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Iraq.

QED, I think. But who could be happy, with being sentenced to death?

-=*=-

Notes:

1. Hiroshima:

 ...at 0915 hours (0815 hours Japan time), the atomic bomb is released over Hiroshima at 31,600 feet (9,632 meters); it explodes 50 seconds later at an altitude of 1,900 feet (579 meters); 80+% of the buildings are destroyed and over 71,000 people (Japanese figures; US figures say from 70,000 to 80,000) are killed. After an uneventful return flight, ENOLA GAY lands on Tinian at 1458 hours local, followed within the hour by the 2 observation B-29s. The force of the explosion was unlike anything ever seen. Birds burnt up in mid-air. People died in a myriad of ways: their skin peeled off, their brains, eyes and intestines burst, or they burnt to cinders standing up.
Although there is tremendous destruction and death, it is still less than the firebomb raid on Tokyo during the predawn hours of 10 March 1945 when 279 B-29s dropped 1,665 tons (1,510 metric tons) of incendiaries on the Tokyo urban area from 4,900 to 9,200 feet (1,494 to 2,804 meters) destroying 267,171 buildings, about 25% of the total in the Tokyo area, rendering over 1 million persons homeless, killing 83,793 and wounding 40,918. (Jack McKillop)

[andrew.etherington]

2. A *big* lie:

 ...August 9 President Truman speaks to the American people via radio broadcast He states, "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in the first instance to avoid, in so far as possible, the killing of civilians."
(The official Bombing Survey Report stated: "Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as targets because of their concentration of activities and population." More than 95 percent of those killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were civilians.)

[nuclearfiles]

3. Nagasaki:  ... I could go on, but surely the point has been made. The phrase "Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb" does occur in the several translations of the 'Imperial Rescript of the Termination of the War' that I have been able to find. None of these translations are 'official;' here is a possibly definitive version but only as Japanese 'picture-script' graphics; p1, p2, p3, p4.
One report says: "The Emperor's announcement is hard to understand because he speaks in archaic court Japanese, but one fact is understood" as a preface to the "cruel bomb" clause. Why some would seek to stress this is clear.

There is a conflict with this: "the kokutai has been maintained" here (ndl.go.jp), and each of the translations.

Here is a report that says it was only *after* the entry of Russia (admittedly on the same day as Nagasaki) that the Emperor reacted: "I agree with the foreign minister [to accept the Potsdam]." is the beginning of his answer. He then reviews events of the past several months. Then he goes on: "Some advocate a decisive battle in the homeland as the way to survival. In past experience, however, there has always been a discrepancy between the fighting services' plans and the results."

It remains unclear, as to whether the A-bomb (like oil in Iraq) was a) the deciding factor, or b) a contributing factor. In both cases, many innocents were slaughtered; if the slaughter was avoidable (my thesis), that makes it murder.

Under the terms of 'history by the victor' (not to mention the plethora of lies) there is nothing to suggest that the "cruel bomb" text was *not* demanded by the US (mad if they didn't). Ask yourself again (means, motive, and opportunity): who benefits?

-=*=-

PPS The 'sheople' and "The Big Lie": Bob Wall (g'day!) stated on Irises, "One could be suspicious about a government that is obsessive about secrecy in a supposedly open democracy."

One might think, that if a war were 'just,' then lies would not be needed; the people would 'go along' willingly. When propaganda is employed (yeah. Like here: Boo! Hiss! - Turning people into sheople when they 'take the bait' - and they do), we know that the war is not justifiable, and so in Iraq, say, we have bloody mass-murder for oil.

So-called 'sophisticates' (more correctly sophists) advance copious 'justifications' for outright lies. Some current ones: 'operational reasons,' 'commercial in confidence;' add your own favourite. I note here that just like B, B & H's fabled Iraqi WMDs, Howard's 'people-shredders' were never found. We are swamped with such s**t, and it gets ever worse. What Faustian bargain is imposed upon us, to be forced to live with such absurd hypocrisy?

Epilogue:

The title of this thread is 'Is All Fair In Love and War?'

Those who mix love and lies (or any unfairness) add unnecessary hazard.

Those who mix politics and lies may do so only at the sheople's pleasure. When *both* sides of politics lie (yeah. Like here) then democracy is both pure farce [2 absurdly futile proceedings; pretence] and sham. It is not without good reason that the term 'sheople' is employed.

Those who mix war and lies resulting in the deliberate mass death of innocents are not 'just' the ultimate criminals, perhaps they should themselves be 'terminated with extreme prejudice'.

Karma: He who lives by the sword would (in a fair world) also die by the sword. Preferably with no delay.

Reality

Martin Gifford, you wrote:

I would work towards creating an international police force (and emergency force) to enforce a ban on warlike activities (and starvation).

Sending an 'international police force' into a foreign country to 'enforce a ban on warlike activities' is by definition war. And according to your definition, all war is murder. Not a sound plan.

War is Murder

At the level of moral principle, war is murder. Murder is approved at the national level when it is called war. It's amazing to me that people blind themselves to that.

If I was a national leader I would work towards creating an environment where people did not want to engage in warlike activities. And I would work towards banning warlike activities (and starvation), and I would work towards creating an international police force (and emergency force) to enforce a ban on warlike activities (and starvation).

In the meantime, if someone kidnapped a few soldiers and fired a few rockets into my country, I would not bomb the country of the kidnappers. I would negotiate for the soldiers' release and take a long-term view of what I wanted to achieve. I would ask my constituency to step up to the plate and be the hero in the relationship (as Dr Phil would say). I would make a commitment to the happiness of both sides of the conflict and work towards that.

Where there's a real will, there's a way. The problem is that leaders wait around and react to attacks rather than seriously working on prevention.

Black vs. white; agree with Angela

I don't suppose it's giving too much away, to admit that I naturally and often incline towards taking a stark binary view; that is to say, a 'one thing or its opposite' POV (hint for JH: copy'n paste 'define: POV' into google, without the quotes. If you just have to type it, don't forget the colon.)

In this case, to kill or not to kill?

In attempting to answer this question, I will cite *no* reference, neither the Biblical "Thou shalt not kill!" nor any other - apart, that is, from my own 'internal reference': my considered thoughts and feelings.

-=*=-

The starting point for chezPhil's DIY morality is "I think therefore I am." (Yes, it does happen to be a quote; but as a statement of the blindingly obvious, it may not actually be 'patentable'.) The important thing to note here, is that I (and here a (great or small?) leap: I presume all others) think all'a time; I can't turn it (thinking) off, and although I (believe that I) have a notional 'free will', sometimes an issue becomes so dominant, it has to be pursued. Like "Stop the killings!" for example. A subsidiary example would be "Stop the rip-offs!" then more generalised to a "Fair go, ya mug!"

I would claim that "I think therefore I am" is inbuilt; it's just what people do.

-=*=-

Then, to the second part; a result of actual experience: "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you." The archetype experience is the first appearance of a thuggish act in some young life. This, I would claim, is an invariant; either a parent, sibling, friend or some outright foe (and not just one but all of them) will perform an act of rank unkindness. With a parent, it could be the first (shockingly disappointing) lie. With a sibling, it could be the first cruel theft or a relative's or some other thug's (painful, unexpected as well as unjustified) hit.

As a small but necessary aside here, I think that all children will get at least one 'smack!' - if only in the cause of survival (and the number of smacks would generally be less in inverse relationship to the available intelligence). An example of a justified and rather gentle 'tap' would be assuring full attention to the command "Do not go into the kitchen!" The theme of smacking was recently raised 'in here'; I took it to be specious (in the context) - and tried to say as much. A smack in the cause of survival is quite different from thuggish bullying.

What I'm leading up to, is the first (conscious) traumas and their consequences. In the case of the trauma being a parental lie, trust probably goes out the window, perhaps never to return. In the case of a theft or a blow, the result may be smouldering resentment, with or without a revenge component. Whether in the nursery or schoolyard, (depending upon relative size, perhaps) one or more episodes of bullying may well occur.

-=*=-

The above seems to me to be enough (necessary and sufficient) to derive a personal morality. Religious or secular instruction may add a veneer of some variable thickness, but the basics will be set by direct experience. Long story short; my thesis here is: killers are *made*, not born.

And the fundamental question under discussion is not whether any of the hideous Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki slaughters were justified (my answer: NO! to them all, plus all other murders) but whether killing (i.e. war) is a valid (moral!) construct. That wars happen is also blindingly obvious, the real questions are a) whether they're a tolerable construct and then b) assuming no, how to stop them.

I note that at least two of those apparently supporting the hideous slaughters admit to military 'service'. An interesting question would be why, and what came first: the desire to kill or the actual military 'service'. My suggestion should be by now obvious. And the solution.

As for killers, so liars, cheats and thieves.

So (as ever), to labour the point: 'bringing up baby' is a critical occupation, and should not be attempted by the uneducated. All of us 'in here' are set in our ways, probably indelibly so. It is only the babies-to-come who have a chance of escaping being made killers, and that will only happen if a sufficient level of education is imparted to all potential parents. That the status-quo is uninterested in change is another blindingly obvious, so where to (and how) from here?

-=*end*=-

PS

Bryan Law (g'day!) says he 'grew frightened of nuclear war when [he] was 9 years old (Cuban missile crisis)'. I couldn't put such an exact date or event on it, but it could'a been reading of the absolute horror of the A-bomb attacks in a somewhat similar time-frame. Angela Ryan (g'day!) wrote: 'Japan clearly saw itself as the future Empire of the East' but went about it in its own brutal style. Germany had set out to conquer the world, or at least a good part of it. As well as deliberately seeking out and slaughtering the odd few minorities. We can possibly all agree that war against that particular axis was 'just', and the pro-wars argue that in total war, anything goes. Alternatively perhaps, there are descriptions of the Harris' bomber command being a force unto itself (i.e. out'a control), and Truman needing to use his 'ace in the hole' or face possible censure or dismissal or both. Both, IMHO, exceedingly poor 'excuses' for the premeditated mass-slaughter of innocents.

My own feelings on Dresden are that it was mostly (evil) malice, and the A-bombings were also malicious but on an exquisitely higher degree of evil. (They knew what was coming; the targets were reserved - pristine, and they deliberately excluded the press. Except for Wilfred Burchett.) It was a vicious dual act; to gather data, to demonstrate the power - to intimidate the Russians more than the Japanese, in the first visible steps to setting-up the Cold War. And to terrorise, again not 'just' the Japanese but the whole wide world as well. WYSIWYG; it worked. Follow the money (the means, the motive, and the opportunity): just who benefited?

BUT: after WW2, when we were all supposedly smarter, the wars and rip-offs just didn't stop. If anything, they increased, now by 'our side' (i.e. "Economic Hit Man"). I have described elsewhere 'in here' the utterly filthy way lots'a mining entities (let's say mainly Anglo-dominated) are ripping-off we the (world's) people. We have the US and its illegitimate sprog Israel dominating the world with their military power; the killings - outright murders - just go on and on. It's really only a difference in degree, and an exceedingly small difference at that, between the old evil axis and what we can now see of the current domination. Until now (i.e. internet) we were also dominated by the largely controlled and complicit MSM; we really didn't have a chance. Now we do; we can actually see what's going on. Each of us needs to do something about this (i.e. build a sufficiently large majority to say "NO!" to all the murderous rip-offs); to 'capitalise' on our moment of good luck - before 'they' - or the greenhouse - sinks us all.

The allies did a pretty terrific job. Despite Bob's opinions.

David Curry: "C Parsons - I don't think there is any doubt that the dropping of the atomic bomb ended the war in the Pacific.  I also agree with you that to have invaded Japan would have cost a huge number of lives, on both sides, and was therefore not a viable option for America."

And I certainly agree with you, David, that what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was no picnic.  

As to whether the Allies should have been prepared to accept conditional surrender terms from the Axis depends on a range of hypothetical factors.

Let's have a look at some of them.

Would have surrender  with the Nazi and Militarist Imperialist regimes left intact have been acceptable politically and morally throughout Europe, the USA and throughout the Asia Pacific regions?

If so, under what conditions?

Should the Nazis, for example, have been permitted to walk away from their responsibility for the extermination camps?

Should the Axis powers been accountable for the losses of tens of millions of lives as a result of their aggressive foreign policies?

Should the Japanese regime have been left in power notwithstanding its years of historically unprecedented pillage, genocide and mass murder, rape and the massive destruction of Chinese cities and the wholesale devastation it visited the Philippines, Korea, Malaya, Indochina, Burma, Indonesia, New Guinea and so on?

Tens of millions dead. Fifty-five million in total.

Would the Japanese have been prepared to surrender their territorial conquests? Keep in mind, they were still holding on to most of them in 1945.

Would the Nazi and Japanese leaders and their paladins have submitted themselves to international justice short of their total defeat and unconditional surrender or actual destruction?

If not, would it have been acceptable to the civilised world to let them walk?

If not, what would happen if the Axis high command hadn't so submitted voluntarily?

Fifty-five million dead by 1945 in scores of nations around the world.

What terms or conditions would have been acceptable to all the parties involved given that?

What would have been acceptable to Hitler? Tojo and Suzuki? And simultaneously to Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt? And Chiang Kai Chek?

Not to mention Mao Tse Tung? Marshall Tito? Ho Chi Minh?

What would you suggest?

What if "negotiations" with the Nazis and the Japanese militarists had gotten underway, what conditions would apply in the meantime?

A global armistice? Were the Japanese in 1945 offering a ceasefire? Were they offering an Armistice?

And then what?

Do you see the problem here?

David, I'm not kidding when I say this: You and I are not in any position to pontificate to the Greatest Generation, the men and women who struggled to defeat the Axis, about what they should have done in the twilight year of 1945.

Because all things considered, I think they did a pretty terrific job.

David Curry: "Also, would it have been possible to provide a harmless demonstration of the atomic bomb to the Japanese, rather than dropping it on a city?  They would have figured out pretty quickly what such a terrible weapon would do to their cities."

David, the Japanese War Cabinet didn't even surrender after the Atom Bomb blew Hiroshima to smithereens.

Wasn't that a sufficiently convincing demonstration of what such a terrible weapon would do to their cities?

They didn't even surrender after the second Atom Bomb blew Nagasaki to smithereens.

They actually got into a debate with the Emperor about it.

And he had to actually sack them before the surrender came.

Can you see why I'm not prepared to quibble with the people who were dancing in the streets of the free world the day the bombs dropped?

Bob Wall, Hi!

Could I refer you to this passage from the Survey Summary;

"We underestimated the ability of our air attack on Japan's home islands, coupled as it was with blockade and previous military defeats, to achieve unconditional surrender without invasion."

Would you concede then that the Survey concludes that the principal strategic objective of the Alliance, namely the unconditional surrender of Japan's military imperialist regime, could not be achieved;

a) without an Allied invasion of the Japanese mainland, unless

b) the Allies deployed the overwhelming superior power at their disposal in the form the Atomic Bomb?

Roslyn Ross: “I support the right of the Iraqis to fight for their freedom. I don't support the violence of methods used.”

- on June 19, 2006 - 7:40pm

Roslyn, would you agree those fighting the Axis Power were confronting something of a similar moral dilemma?

What methods should they have used in your opinion?

Thanks

(Where do those two go, I wonder?)

 

I'll take Manhattan

Bob Wall: "Here is a link to the actual report summary, which is, unlike your one page link, 32 pages long."

Bob, Hi! Could I refer you to this passage from the Survey Summary;

"We underestimated the ability of our air attack on Japan's home islands, coupled as it was with blockade and previous military defeats, to achieve unconditional surrender without invasion."

Would you concede then that the Survey concludes that the principal strategic objective of the Alliance, namely the unconditional surrender of Japan's military imperialist regime, could not be achieved;

a) without an Allied invasion of the Japanese mainland, unless

b) the Allies deployed the overhwelming superior power at their disposal in the form the Atomic Bomb?

To put the potential costs of option (a) into some perspective, consider the costs to both the Allies and the Japanese of the battle to take the island of Iwo Jima.

Iwo Jima, one-third the size of Manhattan, was on Japanese home soil, but some 650 miles from Tokyo.

The US sent more Marines to Iwo than to any other battle, 110,000 Marines in 880 Ships.

One hundred thousand men fighting on a tiny island for 36 days Iwo Jima was one of the most populated 7.5 miles on earth.

In 36 days of fighting there were 25,851 US casualties (1 in 3 were killed or wounded) just at Iwo Jima - a tiny speck of a place. Some units suffered 75 per cent casualties.

There were an estimated 20,000 Japanese casualties.

For an island one third the size of Manhatten.

Despite this, there was no Japanese surrender.

The next step would have been to start rolling back the entire Japanese archipelago.

And then what? Occupied Asia?

Other alternatives

C Parsons - I don't think there is any doubt that the dropping of the atomic bomb ended the war in the Pacific.  I also agree with you that to have invaded Japan would have cost a huge number of lives, on both sides, and was therefore not a viable option for America. 

However, the question that deserves to be asked, without being shouted down as a pro-Axis historical revisionist, is whether there were any alternatives to dropping the atom bomb.  It seems to me intellectually lazy to say, "Well, the war was terrible and the atom bombs ended the war, so dropping them was a good thing to do". 

Let's remember, briefly, that what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was no picnic.  We are talking about the deaths, in the initial explosions and shortly after, of 210,000 people, mostly civilians.  It was not much fun on the ground.  The total death toll rose to 340,000 within five years.  Thats a lot of people.   

Surely, given such a terrible toll, it should at least be asked whether the Japanese might have surrendered if the Allied requirement for unconditional surrender (which, as I have pointed out, slipped in virtually by accident) was dropped.  Churchill, at least, considered more flexibility.  Shouldn't we, too? 

Also, would it have been possible to provide a harmless demonstration of the atomic bomb to the Japanese, rather than dropping it on a city?  They would have figured out pretty quickly what such a terrible weapon would do to their cities. 

I'm not saying these options would have worked - how can we ever know? - but perhaps they should have at least been considered. 

Whitey Bojangles

I replied to the racism issue two days ago, but my comments must have been lost in the system.

I understand it suits Greg Moylan to misrepresent my views, but I have never said that whitey is completely responsible for the Pacific War, just that white racism played its role in denying the Japanese their aspirations for an empire similar to that of Britain, USA, and France.

Nor have I ever said that military empire is a good thing.

What I have said is that if one accepts the logic of imperialism, then what makes “us” a good empire, and “them” a bad empire?  I’d like people to remember here that modern Japan was created after the US used military force in 1853 to “open” Japan for trade and exploitation, and that the vigorous and successful response of Japan took all the European powers by surprise.

For Greg to assert that “by the 1930s the concept of imperial glory was on the wane among Western powers and by then, too, Japan had no good reason to fear threats to its security from Western powers” is both a laughable interpretation of history, and an example of the racism I cite.

Firstly, no European power I know of was planning, or had indicated in any way, that it was seeking to divest its Asian colonies.  Perhaps you could enlighten me further on this Greg.

Secondly, the Japanese were not afraid of European military threats, they desired their own empire and were pissed off that the European powers sought to deny them the same kind of trading advantages (at gunpoint) that they themselves enjoyed.

BTW there is considerable non-white racism in Japanese culture, and many forms of racism around the world – but no indication so far that nuclear weapons will eradicate it.

US -Japan Relations In the 1930s

Bryan Law the use of the term Whitey in any context carries a racist overtone, To use that term to ascribe racist motivations to the conduct of the United States in its policy with respect to Japan's seizure of Manchuria and invasion of China, without providing any evidence for that, and against the evidence that the United States supported Chinese self determination and opposed territorial acquisitions by any outside powers in China (the US had no "Concession" there), was in the process of divesting itself of its own colonies (see below) and had taken a principled stand against all aggression, as articulated in Roosevelt's 1937 "Quarantine Speech" where he said of Japanese and Italian agression :

[extract]

Without a declaration of war and without warning or justification of any kind, civilians, including vast numbers of women and children, are being ruthlessly murdered with bombs from the air. In times of so-called peace,ships are being attacked and sunk by submarines without cause or notice. Nations are fomenting and taking sides in civil warfare in nations that have never done them any harm. Nations claiming freedom for themselves deny it to others.i.

 

is blatantly racist as well as being ignorant and uninformed.

You claim to have studied the Pacific War in depth so I wonder so why you ask

Firstly, no European power I know of was planning, or had indicated in any way, that it was seeking to divest its Asian colonies.  Perhaps you could enlighten me further on this Greg.

Surely with your in depth study you have come across the Tydings-McDuffie Act passed by the US Congress in 1934 providing a ten year timetable for the independence of the Philippines. and the Government of India Act 1935, intended to lead to India achieving Dominion status (ie the same defacto independence status as held by Australia, New Zealand, Canada and and South Africa) within the British Empire. Well since you apparently haven't, consider yourself enlightened.

However, Bryan, expert as you are on the Pacific War,  can you now enlighten us on your comment

Japan was indeed talking to both the USA and England about imperial arrangements in Asia (since before WW1, in which they were all allies). 

Can you point us to any evidence of such talks between Japan and the United States on imperial arrangements in Asia in the 1930s which supports your contention that the Pacific War could have been averted if the United States and Japan had shown good faith and mutual support through the League of Nations in articulating and upholding fair trading conditions but that those talks had only failed because the United States could not stomach such a thing?

I await this evidence with baited breath. Or will I just get more uninformed racist twaddle?

Historical revisionism 107 - Cherry Picking

Craig Rowley. "C'mon, Greg Moylan, you have been most unfair in taking just one element of my answer to the rhetorical question and expanding it to fit C Parson's straw man. "

That reminds me.

'Cherry picking' the historical record has become the principal modus operandi of the historical revisionist approach since revisionist David Irving's humiliating court defeat when he tried to sue Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher Penguin Books after they exposed him as a deliberate liar.

The penalty Irving paid for his deliberate falsification of historical records put revisionists on notice that they couldn't simply invent accounts and forge documents and expect to get away with it any more.

Certainly, with respect to really gullible audiences, circulating outright historical forgeries like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the like still work, but with semi-educated audiences a more refined method is necessary.

This is where 'cherry picking' comes in.

The revisionist combs over the historical record and selectively reports only those details which could plausibly support the counter-factual 'historical' account, or at any rate reports only those 'facts' that are not inconsistent with the revised account.

So, the revisionist accounts of Japan's surrender in 1945 simply never include the crucial parts of the Emperor Hirohito explanation to his people as to why he sacked his government and announced the decision to accept the Allies terms.

They simply ignore the fact that the signatories to the Tehran and Potsdam accords were treaty bound to act together in calling for the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and Japan and their allies.

They simply ignore the principal strategic objective of deracinating the political forces that gave rise to Nazism and Japanese Militarism and the determination to remake the political landscape of Germany and Japan.

And, rather than dislodge awkward historical data that would crucially rebutt the scenario the revisionist is trying to create, they just by-pass them, chery picking suitable 'facts' as they go.

Isolated trivia, letters, diary entries, that sort of thing.

Excellent contemporary examples include the 'skeptical' and 'conspiracy' accounts of the World Trade Centre attacks which focus exclusively on anecdotal reports of Hassidic Jews in New York 'celebrating' at the time of the attacks and the presense in New York of an Israeli intelligence agent; and Richard Neville's 'analysis' of the video-tape of hostage Nick Berg being beheaded by Iraqi "resistance" fighters in which he insinuates that the murder was carried out by 'white people' who 'faked' the video.

That there are thousands of Hassid Jews living in New York is simply ignored, and that Osama Bin Laden boasted of his attacks is ignored, that the global intelligence community buzzes around the United Nations in New York like bees around a honey pot is ignored, as are the countless other awkward facst relating specifically to the attackjs, eyewitness reports on board the aircraft, etct, etc, etc.

That Jordanians and Iraqis are typically white, and that al-Quaeda actually posted and bragged of the Nick Berg video, that the "tell tale" Orange jumpsuit Nick was wearing was chosen for its symbolic value by his murderers, are simply omitted from Neville's 'account'.

Fo example, it wouldn't be too hard if you were to ignore crucial events, to construct a revisionist account of the downfall of Nazi Germany in which, because they "deliberately refused to accept peace overtures from Heinrich Himmler", the Americans "needlessly protracted" the conquest of Germany and "caused the ruin of Berlin" and so "deliberately let Russian soldiers rape thousands of innocent German women and girls".

Wouldn't be surprised if someone hasn't already tried that one, actually.

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