James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, August 06, 2005

60 Years Ago Today

... that the Bomb fell on Hiroshima.

It was another of what seems to be scores of "turning points" in our history. This is when the USA became a "superpower," and when the President became, unquestionably, the most powerful man on earth.

Before the Bomb, Presidents usually asked Congress for a declaration of war against a country before waging it. But they haven't since. Why?

The USA's nuclear arsenal is our trump card. The real power behind nuclear weapons is the diplomatic advantage of the President's ability to press the button whenever he feels like it. If Presidents were constrained by the Constitution to ask Congress to declare war, he'd be at a diplomatic disadvantage. The ability to launch nuclear strikes without Congressional declaration is the means by which the USA can hold the world hostage. And the reason countries seek to develop such weapons for themselves is for deterrence: the USA doesn't bully countries with nuclear weapons.

This is the age of Nuclear Terror, thanks to the good ol' USA.

15 comments:

  1. You're exactly right that we don't bully countries who also have nukes. Bullies never pick fights with someone who may fight back, be it in a schoolyard or a nation. That said, the bomb would never have been dropped without Pearl Harbor. "Those who complain about the way the ball bounces are usually those who dropped the ball in the first place."

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  2. "That said, the bomb would never have been dropped without Pearl Harbor."

    Agreed, but that hardly excuses the terrorist attacks on Japan. Are you asserting that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a military base, is justification for terrorism?

    To me terrorism is never justified. The attacking of civilians for political or miltary gain isn't justifiable.

    Face it the attack on Hiroshimi and Nagasaki were terrorist attacks done by the government of the USA. They were not necessary then and that has not changed since.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-bird5aug05,0,760322.story

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  3. Whether they were necessary or not depends on your perspective. It killed 200,000 and 140,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. Civilian casualties? The emperor was prepared for an American land invasion, and was spreading propaganda for women and children to defend their country with knives. If there had been a land battle in Japan, would more than a quarter million people have died? There's a very, very good chance.

    I also disagree that dropping the bombs were terrorist attacks. We were nations at war. Throughout Europe, cities were levelled by bombing. If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrorist attacks, then the logic follows that much of WWII was not warfare, but terrorism. I've got a post on justice coming up on my blog which may help explain my point, but I'll summarize it this way: if I hit someone, I have no say in how they retaliate. Japan struck the US. How dare they complain about the force and "fairness" of our attack on them.

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  4. Actually there was no need for a land invasion as Japan was willing to surrender. The only condition they would not accept was the resignation of their Emperor. The US, under Truman, insisted on being stubborn fools and would only accept an unconditional surrender. I hardly think dropping two nukes is worth the unconditional surrender we were going for, and in fact the unconditional surrender was never technically achieved:

    "By the time August 6, 1945 rolled around it was not a matter of "stopping" the Japanese. Stopping them from what? They had already lost the war and they knew it. President Truman was urged by several advisors - among them Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and Joseph Grew former Ambassador to Japan - to modify the demand for "unconditional surrender" by telling the Japanese they could keep their Emperor. This concession was eventually made anyway. Had it been made first, a Japanese surrender could likely have been obtained without either a land invasion or the a-bomb. Had Truman informed Japan that the a-bomb had been developed, and then given a demonstration of its destructive power that did not involve bombing a city full of civilians, this together with the guarantee that Hirohito could keep his throne, would have made Japan's surrender certain."


    Furthermore, your indirect comparison of the attack on Pearl Harbor (a military base) and the attacks on Hiro and Naga (both were cities) is ridiculous. I particularly take issue with this statement:

    If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrorist attacks, then the logic follows that much of WWII was not warfare, but terrorism.

    That is false. The attacks on H. and N. were done to deliberately attack the civilian population to coerce the population to get the goverment of Japan to stop the war. Terrorism is defined as such:

    terrorism

    n : the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimindation or coercion or instilling fear

    Add in the fact that we never even notified the Japanese people or the Japanese government that we would drop a nuke on Hiroshima and clearly one can see it was a terrorist attack.

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  5. Ridiculous: What was the bombing of London by the Germans, to name only the most famous example.

    And you're half right about a surrender. Half the Japanese government was against it, and half for it. The problem was that the Japanese emperor was against it, and thought it would be wonderful if "Japan were destroyed like a beautiful flower" in a land invastion. The more I've read about Japan and its culture, particularly prior to and during WWII, the more I've come to understand that the Zero pilots were not the few - they were the majority, more than willing to die for their emperor.

    I fear that many oversimplify bombing in wars. It's either unfair and aimed at civilians or fair and aimed at military personnel. Unfortunately, we've moved from the age of medeival warfare where two armies line up and go after one another.

    Secondly, your definition of terrorism, while easily found on-line, is a bit dated and oversimplified. It's like defining war as a battle where men line up on horses, archers in the front, and do glorious battle. Sure, that's war, but only one small and outdated definition. Here's a better definition I found on-line: "Terrorism is a controversial and subjective term with multiple definitions. One definition means a violent action targetting civilians exclusively. Another definition is the use or threatened use of violence for the purpose of creating fear in order to achieve a political, economic, religious, or ideological goal. Under the second definition, the targets of terrorist acts can be anyone, including civilians, government officials, military personnel, or people serving the interests of governments." I prefer the second. Because the Pentagon is the basis of our military, and while not housing arms, is the base of all our military. So was that not a terrorist act? What about the bombings of our embassies, which for years were blown up, Marines stationed at the front gate more often than not the casualties. But there were civilians inside? Terrorism is no longer such a simple thing as an act exclusively against civilians.

    If Pearl Harbor was not terrorism, then was the attack on the USS Cole not terrorism either? Just curious as to how you would differentiate the two. Can we justify any attack on any military installation, ship, or post, regardless of the attacked country's current involvement, or lack thereof, in war? A nation at war is fair game, a nation standing on the sidelines is not. So I'm saying that "the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a military base," is not justification for terrorism, but it was in turn its own form of terrorism. The US was not at war with Japan at the time. In fact, it was an attack which aimed at taking us out of the war before we entered, by attacking naval ships that were docked in port. Once Pearl Harbor took place, well, all bets are off. There has never been a fairly fought war. That's an oxymoron.

    Alas, this is a complex issue which cannot be so easily summarized and sides taken in such short exchanges.

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  6. I'm not going to argue anymore about the dropping of the nukes. I can already tell you are too much of a American nationalist to ever admit it was wrong, and that it was in fact a terrorist attack.

    Because the Pentagon is the basis of our military, and while not housing arms, is the base of all our military. So was that not a terrorist act?

    Not really, a terrorist attack deliberately targets civilians. Now some civilians did die (the ones in the plane) the rest was a military target. The civilians that died were viewed as collateral damage. Why is it so hard to realize that terrorists justified the killing of innocents just as we do--they are merely bystanders.

    It was clearly an attack but to say it what terrorism is a bit of a stretch.

    If Pearl Harbor was not terrorism, then was the attack on the USS Cole not terrorism either? Just curious as to how you would differentiate the two.

    No it wasn't. It was a military target. Terrorism must involve deliberately attacking civilians.

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  7. Please point out where I said Pearl Harbor wasn't a terrorist attack. I may be wrong in my opinions, but please don't put words in my mouth. I simply stated that in my opinion, Pearl Harbor was just as much an act of terrorism. According to Wikipedia, "No definition of terrorism has been accepted as authoritative by the United Nations. [1] In November 2004, a UN panel described terrorism as any act: "intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act". [2] This does not define what would count as an "intention" to cause death or injury to non-combatants. A controversy exists over whether this proposed definition would include an action like the American nuclear bombing of two Japanese cities at the end of World War II. " To say that the men sitting on the boats in Pearl Harbor were combatants is simply taking too much of an Anti-American stance. To say the men on the Cole were combatants is blind as to what they were doing. I can see you're too intent on being "independent" to admit that maybe the US and Japan were on equal terms in the war, and the US wasn't the big, bad bully with the nukes and Japan the small, innocent victim.

    I'll also add that no one can agree on what the definition in this day and age of terrorism is. To say it *must* involve civilians is going against that which experts are unsure of, have added the terms "non-combatants."

    Seems I've ruffled your feathers by disagreeing, and for that I'm sorry. I didn't think my claims were "ridiculous." In fact, you didn't address my specific example of bombing during WWII to support my claim.

    Again, I thought an exchange of ideas was possible, but that's what's wrong with politics nowadays, putting words in others' mouths and defining terms to suit one's on cause. What is sex? What is is? And that's why so few people can talk about politics without it becoming mudslinging.

    I was hoping for more, but I've clearly offended by disagreeing.

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  8. I think there must be a misunderstanding here. I did not put any words into your mouth. You asked this:

    "If Pearl Harbor was not terrorism, then was the attack on the USS Cole not terrorism either? Just curious as to how you would differentiate the two."

    So I was responding to your question.

    Speaking of putting words into people's mouths:

    and the US wasn't the big, bad bully with the nukes and Japan the small, innocent victim.

    Show me where I said that. I merely argued that the attacks on H and N were unnecessary. Any objective person would agree.

    As for this:

    To say that the men sitting on the boats in Pearl Harbor were combatants is simply taking too much of an Anti-American stance.

    What you call anti-American, I call objective. I don't believe in nationalism, it blinds people.

    As I said earlier you are obviously too much of a nationalist really look at international issues objectively. Your post indicates to me that I was spot on.

    Seems like the only person who had their feathers ruffled was you.

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  9. My point was this, and I'll repeat it with my feathers firmly in place: if the bombing of Nagasake and Hiroshima was a terrorist attack, then so were the bombings of London during WWII, a comparison you "took issue" with. Yet, you never disclose how they were different. I'll add Warsaw to that comparison. They are the same, civilians were specifically targeted. And this has always happened during warfare. Indians did it to settlers, settlers did it to Indian homesteads, the British did it during the Boston massacre and other spots in America. I'm sorry,but your definition of terrorism must apply to all. You can't say that if America does it it's terrorism,but if Germany or the Brits or the Indians do it, it's OK. I'm simply asking you to apply your definition to all countries and all instances the same way. By your definition of terrorism, if N&H were terrorist acts, then nearly ever war ever conducted has used terrorism. I don't mind which side you take, but you can't selectively apply your outdated and, as I mentioned before, unnaccepted definition.

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  10. You can't say that if America does it it's terrorism,but if Germany or the Brits or the Indians do it, it's OK.

    DCome on now, you talk about other people putting words into your mouth, when in fact it is you who is putting words into my mouth. I never said they weren't terrorist attacks.

    Any attack that is done to deliberately attack civilains--regardless of whether it is done by a state or a group of people--is a terrorist attack.

    I thought I was clear about that.

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  11. Here's what you said:

    Furthermore, your indirect comparison of the attack on Pearl Harbor (a military base) and the attacks on Hiro and Naga (both were cities) is ridiculous. I particularly take issue with this statement:

    If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrorist attacks, then the logic follows that much of WWII was not warfare, but terrorism.

    That is false.

    Now you're saying it's true, and agreeing with me. The prosecution rests.

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. Terrorism and war are indistinguishable. Both entail the use of violence to achieve a political, economic, ideological, or religious goal. Regardless if the targets are military or civilian, death is the result. Military personnel are civilians that were either forced or tricked into fighting a war. War and terrorism bleed into each other, which is why one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

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  14. I have deleted my previous post. I was drunk when I wrote it. I have no idea what I was trying to say. Sorry about that. :)

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  15. Hamel

    My position has been the same throughout. You are doing exactly what the Bush campaign did to Kerry, to me. You are quoting me out of context.

    When you said this: If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrorist attacks, then the logic follows that much of WWII was not warfare, but terrorism.

    I may have replied with "That is false", but I also went on to say this:

    "The attacks on H. and N. were done to deliberately attack the civilian population to coerce the population to get the goverment of Japan to stop the war. Terrorism is defined as such."

    I later went on to say:

    Any attack that is done to deliberately attack civilains--regardless of whether it is done by a state or a group of people--is a terrorist attack.

    That has been my position throughout.

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