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Friday, 12 September 2014


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The UK and Europe?

Althouh Americans generally dont like to hear this... dropping the bomb in no way helped the war effort, any many many generals at the time understood this as much. Here is a quote from a good article citing one such point, and i think the USA could learn from this even today:

Although many others could be cited, here, finally, is the statement of another conservative, a man who was a close friend of President Truman’s, his Chief of Staff (as well as President Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff), and the five star Admiral who presided over meetings of the Combined U.S.-U.K. Chiefs of Staff during the war—William D. Leahy:

“[T]he use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender. . . . [I]n being the first to use it, we . . . adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

Given that I am a Chinese and my life (and my dad's live) has been profoundly changed by the Japanese (who occupied Hong Kong 3 years plus) and killed a lot of Chinese in the Mainland, sorry I do not have the same feeling as others. I may be looking after cows instead of looking after millions dollars worth of PC, but my life may be better. And we may not have communist China if there is no Japanese (as the communist themselves admitted). Further, unlike Germany, Japanese never regret or definitely not apology for the war they started. Just regret they have not won. And they are starting it the revision of history again and again.

Ok. Whilst America may have no reason to drop the bomb in heavily populated area (or may have I am open to this line of argument), I think the bomb is needed otherwise what you would see would be not just that 140k Japanese but millions more of Chinese and 140k+ American, on on top of millions of Japanese.

I "admire" the warrior spirit of Japan and their quick modernisation for their ability to conquer such large part of Asia and fight even America down to pearl harbour and the "unlucky" lost in the Mid-Way etc., just as I "admire" the discipline and the capacity of the Nazi to conquer France and nearly the whole Europe in such a short time. But they are same same same devil (as you know devil also have a lot of power and you can "admire" or "fear of that" power). But you note you really have to bomb to the last before Nazi surrender. Japan at that time still have a very large part of Asia and they would fight to the last ounce like the Nazi. Kamikaze is just a start ... City by city and island by island and If you bomb normally to the last, how many do you want ...

Feeling guilty afterwards whatever we are in peace time, that is not what look like in the war period. And if they won, I am not sure they would regret whatever like we is doing now.

And they have not apology for the war and not just regret (for not winning?). If they did, I would change my mind to think the bombing. Not now until that apology comes.

BTW, just in case you wonder, I am anti-communist to the core as a Hongkonger even I am under this communist China rule. And they are not very good in history as well. Just I have to stand firm in my life as an individual that Japan and communist China has done a lot of bad things to Chinese people. Millions and millions have died immediately or afterwards under both. And I hope one day both are gone down in history as, well, just as villains. Not America as villains. You are not, well, at least not in WW2. You saved the world! (The nationalist Chinese as the Oxford Prof. has a book on the forgone alliance has done similar act as Britain and unlike France, survive and resist and not surrender to the end. In fact, only just one week ago the communist finally acknowledged this effort by the nationalist government which is now in Taiwan; strangely Taiwan is also .. Sigh)

It is an unfortunate part of human psyche (or perhaps it is just those of us in the 'developed' world) that we are obsessively envious of those random few who are richer, thinner, more beautiful but not constantly grateful that we are not one of the infinitely greater number who are ill, infirm, starving, in warzones...

I feel sorry for those in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and all these other, now (they weren't always), horrible places. Without being smug, I am glad it is not me. I am also glad that I am not one of the rich and famous (though I would like their money).

Talking of people finding themselves caught in the middle, if you haven't watched the BBC documentary on war photographer Don McCullin it is excellent. It is on YouTube at:

Love the post! No Us, Them. Just We. Most of the world problems and atrocities comes from an I that makes some of Us and Them forget We are all the same on this only boat we have.

"You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you" -- Clausewitz

Thank you, Mike.

The new environment must be good for the soul. Maybe the best piece you have ever written from my particular insignificant moment and place in the world. Thanks!

Well, just a quibble that doesn't lessen anything you wrote, but it's a big leap to say that it's widely acknowledged by Japanese that the victims of the Hiroshima bomb sacrificed their lives to save more lives.

Lesser known among Americans (and paid less attention even in Japan) was the earlier firebombing of Tokyo which claimed even more lives of people from infants to elderly than either of the atomic bombs.

Profoundly unfair indeed. We should think of the victims and try to prevent future victims.

We should also think of the tens of billions of innocent, defenseless non-human animals who are suffering horribly at this very moment in the factory farms of the meat, dairy, and egg industries, merely because people want to have fleeting tastes of their corpses and bodily excretions. Profoundly unfair. http://www.meat.org/

It seems like it would be so very easy to make the world a much better place.

Mike, Very moving piece, your thoughts are very well expressed. It gives us all pause to reflect on what we do as a nation, and what our leaders do for us, and how little control we have over what they do? Thanks for reminding us of the reality of our times. You keep us grounded.

"demented old men, loving grandmothers". Why is it that old men always get a bad rap while old women are loving grandmothers? :-)

Seriously though, that was a good post. Thanks.

I take issue with the formulation that the victims of the US strike on Hiroshima "sacrificed" their lives. I think it can be persuasively stated that not one person among the civilian victims would have wanted to be killed, given the choice. Their lives were taken from them. I personally feel the Hiroshima and Nagasaki strikes were disproportionate. While it is an academic matter, I seriously doubt the strikes would be considered lawful under international law as it stands today.

Thanks for the dose of perspective Mike. Important sentiments to remember on a melancholic day.

Amen, Mike.

My late mother and grandmother were buried in the rubble of their apartment building in Wiesbaden for three days after being fire-bombed by the allies in 1945. None of my immediate family supported the Nazis in any way, quite the opposite, but she and her mother had made the unfortunate choice to be born in Germany before two nasty wars.

What ever else it is, war is a license for murder.


That is quite well said.

Sympathize with all you said but:

"It's widely acknowledged now, by both Americans and Japanese, that the victims of the Hiroshima bomb sacrificed their lives to save more lives..."

Actually, that's highly debatable, and can be convincingly argued that the bombs were meant more as a show of force to our about to be #1 enemy- the USSR. But don't take my word...

Admiral William D. Leahy, who served as Chief of Staff for both FDR and Truman:

"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.


As pretty as they are oleander shouldn't be planted where there are dogs or children. It is a highly toxic plant in every part (flower, leaf, stem, nectar), and dogs (like children) often like to put pretty green things in their mouths.

As with so much of life, there's real irony in the Oleander as the official peace flower. It's one of the most toxic plants, with all parts of the plant showing severe toxicity. Here's a short published description of it's toxicity:


Oleander is extremely toxic. Major toxicity includes disturbances in heart rhythm and death. Other signs of toxicity include pain in the oral cavity, nausea, emesis, abdominal pain, cramping, and diarrhea.

War war is stupid and people are stupid
And love means nothing in some strange quarters.

Boy George

One of the many constants in life is "The Victors Write The History" can you imagine the response of the European/American peoples had Japan or Germany developed the nuclear ability first and used it in a similar fashion to save lives by speedily ending the war in their favour!!!

For an analysis of the war in the Pacific, and a background to the bomb, I must highly recommend "Nemesis" by Max Hastings. I learned much. Never realised the bomb was insignificant compared to the deliberate fire bombing of civilians. Which is why they didn't drop it on Tokyo - there was nothing left to bomb. And while I agree the Japanese have been in denial about their war history, I was shocked by what the Russians got up to in Manchuria - they even took the rail tracks when they left.

The Japanese mentality was linked to 'honour', as is much of the muslim world. Which is why I find it a little disturbing when Americans go on about the honour of their serving soldiers with god on their side.

Excellent thoughts, Mike.

The heart-rending price the innocents pay in war is without understanding.



"It's widely acknowledged now, by both Americans and Japanese, that the victims of the Hiroshima bomb sacrificed their lives to save more lives, but that might not console the dead."

I'm sorry, Mike, but I have to take issue with these lines. As has been mentioned previously, there was no question of "sacrifice". Sacrifice is voluntary. This (and the firebombing) was indiscriminate murder. And the fact that the Japanese were doing plenty of murdering of their own doesn't lessen the charge. Your argument can be construed as: "shock and awe" directed en masse at civilians quickly ends wars. This is the slipperiest slope imaginable. And if the roles had been reversed and Japan done the same thing to the US, how would you have responded? How do you respond to the current bombing of civilian sites in Gaza?

"Among them were certainly people of every imaginable sort, including many who in no way deserved to die:..."

I would replace "many" with "most". It takes a lot to say: a person deserves to die.

[I hope you didn't read my piece to be in any way supportive of the use of atomic weapons, or even warfare in general. If so you certainly misread. --Mike]

"[I hope you didn't read my piece to be in any way supportive of the use of atomic weapons, or even warfare in general. If so you certainly misread. --Mike]"

No of course I didn't :). But I still take issue with some of the phrasing, even in opposition.

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