Hiroshima Regrets

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The White House has stressed Obama will not apologize for America’s use of the bombs when he visits the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park — the first sitting president to do so.

An apology would please some in Japan.

Related: The State of Nuclear Weapons 70 Years After Hiroshima

“Of course everyone wants to hear an apology. Our families were killed,” Hiroshi Shimizu, general secretary of the Hiroshima Confederation of A-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, told The Associated Press.

However, it would risk alienating Americans back home — especially giving the trip’s timing just ahead of Memorial Day.

Retired Army Staff Sgt. Lester Tenney, 95, spent more than three years in Japanese prison camps, and still has the blood-stained, bamboo stick Japanese troops used to beat him across the face.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Here is a proposed apology :

 

To the people and government of Japan,

It is a pleasure to visit your beautiful land, a nation the United States has enjoyed good relations with since 1945.  The events of 1945 are upper most in my mind as I stand here in the city of Hiroshima.  It is a grand city today, a tribute to the hard work of the Japanese people and a tribute to the role that Japan has played in the world since 1945.  Hiroshima of course was largely destroyed by the United States on August 6, 1945 due to the blindness of the Imperial government in not surrendering prior to that time.  Then Nagasaki was largely destroyed by the United States on August 9, 1945 when Japan still hadn’t surrendered.  Japan finally did surrender on August 15, 1945 and the great blood letting that goes by the name of World War II finally came to a close.  Thinking about all this I have a few regrets:

 

  1.  I regret the loss of innocent lives in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  2. I regret the necessity of Japan and the US going to war at all, caused by Japan waging a war of imperial expansion and making a dastardly sneak attack on the US on December 7, 1941.
  3. I regret that millions of my countrymen had to put their lives on hold for years in order to repel Japanese aggression and I especially regret those who paid the ultimate price in stopping your nation’s march of conquest.
  4. I regret that Japan in its war of aggression slew some twenty million innocent civilians.
  5. I regret that Japan treated with unprecedented savagery my countrymen luckless enough to be guests of the Emperor during the War, along with all other Allied POWs, many of whom died in captivity due to forced starvation, brutality and casual murder by their Japanese guards.
  6. I regret that your former Emperor was so drunk with power that he approved of Japan attempting to conquer Asia, that he was so blind as to think that Japan could possibly win a war against the United States and that he was so cowardly as to lack the will to call publicly for peace until after both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  7. I regret that the Japanese government has never forthrightly admitted the shameful record of Japan during World War II and has instead told lies to its students for generations, seeking to paint Japan as a victim rather than as the aggressor state that the historical record reveals.
  8. I regret that too many of my fellow countrymen are focused only on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and are blind as to the events that made Hiroshima and Nagasaki the sad final notes in a symphony of blood begun by Japan.
  9. I regret that blunt, honest talk such as this is so rarely engaged in between nations and peoples.
  10. I regret that truth is always in short supply in this world.

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55 Comments

  1. Obama is thinking that he needs to apologize for the imperialist US forcing (trying to stop Japanese aggression) the Japanese to righteously bomb/sneak attack Pearl Harbor.
    .
    Because Nanking. They should have dropped them on the emperor and the war-mongering generals. I don’t know who (probably some politician in the White House) picked (target selection) Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cities in Japan with material numbers concentrations of Japanese Christians.
    .
    Does anybody care what that moron says? This simply is another lie. Sadly, his imbecilic worshippers won’t see it, as they have failed to see thousands of lies he’s constantly spewed since the 2008 campaign.

  2. First, I agree with this post. The Japanese committed a war of aggression throughout the Pacific in the 1940s, and to end it the United States utterly destroyed two cities. Lives on both sides of the conflict were saved by this action. Should we now forgive the Japanese? The fact that we rebuilt their country after WW II demonstrates that we did forgive them. But we should never let the world forget the terrible atrocities which the Emperor committed, murdering and torturing millions throughout the Pacific rim.
    .
    Second, on an admitted tangent, consider carefully the completely successful rebuild of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cites on which nuclear bombs were dropped. There was no million year uninhabitable zone. The radiation decayed away, people moved back in, and reconstructed was completed. The cities are more prosperous now than they were before the detonation of the nuclear devices in 1945. Therefore, if all things nuclear are the fearsome and deadly stuff that enviro-wackoes make them out to be, why are there people living in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? In fact, why have bears, wolves, deer and other wild life returned to and prospered at Chernobyl? And why did US NRC Chairman Jaczko over-react, demanding an unnecessary 50 mile evacuation zone around Fukushima?
    .
    Folks, this is all about an agenda – a liberal progressive agenda: apologize for the necessary thing that saved lives, and emasculate any peaceful use of the technology that cauused that destruction because that peaceful use just might help people prosper and become energy-independent, building a firm technological foundation for the betterment of the nation. It’s about control: revise the historical past so that people do not know where they come from, and enslave them in the present so that they cannot do anything without help from nanny Caesar.
    .
    Therefore, I say yes to a strong nuclear weapons deterrent – the enemy (Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, etc) will know that mutual obliteration comes from initiating teminal aggression. And I say yes to nuclear energy – let’s tell the Muslims to go drown in their mineral slime, and let’s stop polluting the air we breathe by burning fossil fuel. We have enough thorium and uranium in Earth’s crust to fuel a technological civilization at the energy consumpition rate of the average American for 9 billion people or more for the next 10 thousand years or more, and with that technology we can colonize the outer planets of the solar system and not put all our eggs into one basket – Earth.

  3. Does anyone think that the Japanese wouldn’t have used atomic weapons if they’d invented them first? I know that that’s not proof that a thing is moral, but the US was probably the least war-crimey of all the players. Maybe France wouldn’t have used them, but then again there wouldn’t have been anywhere they could have used one beneficially. Everyone I can think of used everything they had except for poison gas on the battlefield.

  4. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were picked because they had not been wiped out by LeMay’s carpet bombing incendiary campaign.

  5. I also regret the fact that your country (Japan) has not found the courage to come to terms with and atone for what the Imperial government did during that time. You can set the example for the younger generation by telling them the truth about that dark period of your history by letting that truth by taught in your schools.

    Back in 2005, I took a trip back to Japan to places I was stationed in the mid to,late 80s. One f the places I visited was Peace Park in Nagasaki. They show a video timeline of the building to the dropping of the atomic bombs. At one part, they showed the footage of Pearl Harbor. And the caption underneath read, “The United States declares war on Japan and Germany.” Nothing about the unprovoked attack by the Empire of Japan. My jaw hit the ground so hard it about knocked the floor out from under me.

    The Japanese people have an enormous capacity for honor. Despite the fact that Christianity has hardly been a statistical error in Japan, it’s martyrology is the most glorious in Church history. The Catholic in Japan survived two centuries without any clergy. The Church no where else can make anything close to that claim. And to think that many Catholics don’t hold them in high enough regard to exhort them to come clean with this part of their history is beyond insulting.

  6. Love Fr. Miscamble’s defense of bombing Hiroshima. He is one of the only bright spots at Notre Dame nowadays, and they are trying to snuff him out for upholding orthodoxy.

    Is there any place left Obama hasn’t apologized to, or any dictator left he hasn’t made friends with, or any allies he hasn’t insulted or distanced? Any perversion that has not been lifted from margins of society and transformed into a brave choice? Any deal or treaty left unsigned that unleashes enemy influence and power and curbs our own? Any specialty group that hasn’t been whipped into a frenzy and ‘justifiable’ riots that police are not permitted to oppose? Any historically traditional principles or values that built up our country besides religious liberty, capitalism, marriage & family, work ethic, respect for police & for the law that hasn’t been derided, damaged or destroyed? Well get ready. You can complain all you want about Trump but the real outrage and damage is being done right now under our noses by Obama and nobody makes a peep! And there’s more coming from this- worst president ever! And worse than any to come.
    BTW- no mention of our POWs and MIAs in Vietnam? and Memorial Day around the corner… someone tell me I’m wrong on that. Please.

  7. Christine says:
    “Is there any place left Obama hasn’t apologized to, …”

    Confederate States of America

  8. “he Catholic in Japan survived two centuries without any clergy. The Church no where else can make anything close to that claim.”

    See, I was about to say “Chicago”, but then I realized that’d be mean.

    But I know what you mean. St. Paul Miki is one of my favorite Jesuits. How great that order could be!

  9. “Christine says:
    “Is there any place left Obama hasn’t apologized to, …”
    .
    Yes, the United States of America, which he tore down.

  10. Check’s article is a joke, a bad one. I love the America bashing that permeates the piece.

    This vice is nothing less than a heresy condemned by Pope Leo XIII in 1899 as “Americanism.” Americanism, no less virulent in our day than it was in Leo’s, combines a collective sense of Christian exceptionalism (America as the “Shining City on a Hill”) with the hubristic conviction that America can draw up her own moral code. The American myth of a Shining City on a Hill has grown more powerful since John Winthrop fired the hearts of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 with the idea that they were building something ordained by Scripture. Herman Melville, who penned the novel Moby Dick, in 1850 wrote:

    Americans are the peculiar, chosen people—the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world. . . . God has predestinated, mankind expects, great things from our race; and great things we feel in our souls. . . . Long enough have we been skeptics with regard to ourselves, and doubted whether, indeed, the political Messiah had come. But he has come in us. (White-Jacket, ch. 36)

    The myth was used to justify our government’s treatment of the aboriginal population. When America began her westward expansion, John Dix, senator from New York, explained Manifest Destiny in religious terms, “It is the behest of Providence that idleness, and ignorance, and barbarism, shall give way to industry, and knowledge, and civilization” (Congressional Globe, 1848).

    Later, Abraham Lincoln would justify a war that claimed 600,000 lives by describing America as “the last best, hope of earth” (Annual Message to Congress, 1862) and Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (regrettably sung in Catholic Churches today) invokes apocalyptic imagery casting America herself in the last battle.

    His ignorance as to both Leo XIII and American history is appalling.

    His obvious ignorance of the historical facts surrounding the dropping of the bombs is demonstrated by a supposed estimate of American casualties in an invasion of the Home Islands at 50,000. Prior to dropping the bomb we had incurred 78,000 casualties in taking the island of Okinawa alone. For more on casualty estimates, none of which included 50,000 casualties for the entire invasion, see the link below:

    http://www.upa.pdx.edu/IMS/currentprojects/TAHv3/Content/PDFs/Operation_Downfall.pdf

    If we had invaded it was planned that we would have used atomic bombs to clear the beaches. Fall out casualties alone, which no one was thinking of at the time, might well have been in the tens of thousands. Of course the US was just beginning to become aware that Japan had guessed where the invasion of Kyushu was planned to come ashore and was flooding the area with new units. An invasion of the Home Islands would have been the bloodiest undertaking of the American military in our history. Thank God and Harry Truman it never came about.

  11. It’s likely that Truman suffers torments in the fiery nether regions, but likely not for Hiroshima.
    .
    Mac provides the facts above. Brevity is the soul of wit:
    .
    Dropping the bombs saved millions of lives and ended a war that the US did not start. Any other argument is simple-minded horse hockey.
    .
    Such wrong-headed, catechetical thinking (E.G., After WWI the US and Japan were “given” Pacific island protectorates: Japan militarized its “protectorates,” the Quaker in the US White House refused to prepare for war in the Pacific) greatly contributed to Japanese massacres of millions of innocents from 1937 to 1945.
    .
    Like everything limp-wristed liberals spew, the massive, unnecessary evils attendant to their getting their way don’t matter because their intentions were “pure.”

  12. Do these lavender colored clerics think that God should have apologized for nuking Sodom and Gomorrah, and for threatening to do the same to Nineveh through his prophet Jonah if they didn’t straighten up and fly right?
    .
    I slept on a foam cot next to thermonuclear tipped subrocs in the torpedo room on my sub because there wasn’t enough rack space in berthing. If push had come to shove and I was the only one alive able to follow an order to do a launch, then you can be darn sure I would have done my duty, albeit with great fear and trembling. That resolve (and the communists knowing that that resolve existed) on the part of both sailors on submarines and airman in missile silos is what kept the Cold War from getting hot.
    .
    These accursed limp wristed wimps know nothing, absolutely nothing. We don’t want to use these weapons, but rest assurred that had our enemies had them no such reluctance would have existed among the Imperial Japanese or the Nazi Germans, and certainly no such reluctance exists in today’s Iranian government.

  13. “That resolve (and the communists knowing that that resolve existed) on the part of both sailors on submarines and airman in missile silos is what kept the Cold War from getting hot.”

    Comment of the week LQC! Take ‘er away Sam!

  14. “Hiroshima and Nagasaki were picked because they had not been wiped out by LeMay’s carpet bombing incendiary campaign.”
    PF, that’s the cart before the horse. They and Kokura and Niigata were set aside prior to Lemay’s campaign going into high gear. They were reserved so that the effects of the new weapons on pristine targets could be studied.
    Also, aircrews were told not to overfly the four cities unless ordered to do so because there was a concern that if shot down they might become nuclear causalities.

  15. Philip, I didn’t follow all of your links, but my prior research has demonstrated that some of the stories concerning Fatima and the attack on Hiroshima are untrue. Several Jesuits WERE injured in Hiroshima, two severely. They all survived, which could be considered a miracle, but writing that says they were all unharmed is false.
    See http://todaysmartyrs.org/pdf/By%20Incident%20Date/Todays%20Martyrs%201945-08%20August.pdf and then follow the links to the original sources for the evidence.

  16. Ronald Knox and Evelyn Waugh also were lefty pacifists, too (from Waugh’s bio of Knox):

    Peace in Europe and the Socialist regime in England brought [Knox] little comfort. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki appalled him. The event, which others were greeting with jubilation constituted for Ronald a triple outrage on Faith, Hope, and Charity; on Faith in that the actual mechanics of the device, the discovery, as he phrased it, of ‘an indeterminate element in the heart of things’ seemed at first flush to cast a doubt on the hypothesis of causality and so on the five classical proofs of the existence of God; on Hope by ‘the prospect of an age in which the possibilities of evil are increased by an increase in the possibilities of destruction’; on Charity by ‘the news that men fighting for a good cause have taken, at one particular moment of decision, the easier, not the nobler path. At the moment of victory a sign appeared in heaven; not the comforting Labarum of the Milvian Bridge, but the bright, evil cloud which hung over Hiroshima. In this sign we were to conquer’.

    Evelyn Waugh, Monsignor Ronald Knox, Chapman & Hall, 1959.

  17. Thank you TomD for passing along your research regarding this “miraculous” story.
    One does get the viewpoint from the author that only minor injuries were reported from the Jesuits housed close to ground zero.
    Utter destruction surrounded their compound.

    Was this the case?

    Please, if you will, share your research about this over exaggeration concerning the protection of these consecrated individuals.

    By the way, I am not disputing your claims, I’m just curious as to the written testimonials, since I believe a movie is soon to be released or recently was released that portrays a miraculous protection.

    Thanks in advance.

    Your previous link gave some light information as to the identification of SJ’s at Hiroshima.
    I do appreciate your work.

  18. Tom, I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again:
    Most of the people building bombs today are not Christians.
    A number of them have made comments that go way beyond any Western bloodlust on this subject.
    If you don’t want to see more dead children, the answer is not to argue Catholic theology, it is to become a missionary and convert souls. You can argue the theology with them after you convert them.

    Philip (and all), have a good weekend too.

  19. “Ronald Knox and Evelyn Waugh”

    They have a great deal in common with current critics of the bomb: they were bone ignorant of the events involved and they were not among the troops who would have to fight their way through the Home Islands if the bombs were not used.

  20. “Yeah, those pacifist wussy libruls JPII, Fulton Sheen”

    Both were in favor of nuclear deterrence during the Cold War that involved nuclear weapons targeted against cities that made the atom bombs look like fire crackers. John Paul was close to a pacifist by the end of his life, and Bishop Sheen actually was a critic of the Vietnam War.

  21. Actually Don, I think these two comments from the same LQC are more deserving of the comment of the week award:

    “Do these lavender colored clerics think that God should have apologized for nuking Sodom and Gomorrah, and for threatening to do the same to Nineveh through his prophet Jonah if they didn’t straighten up and fly right?”

    “These accursed limp wristed wimps know nothing, absolutely nothing. We don’t want to use these weapons, but rest assurred that had our enemies had them no such reluctance would have existed among the Imperial Japanese or the Nazi Germans, and certainly no such reluctance exists in today’s Iranian government.”

    But apparently, I don’t get to make that decision.

  22. I am working on a reply to Miscamble for my blog. It will partake of Anscombe’s reasoning, in greater or lesser extent. I will post it here when I am finished.

  23. I’m amazed that opponents of this war crime are accused of ignorance. So rather than continue to argue facts, such as the grossly inflated and ridiculous claim that there would be half a million US casualties in an invasion (not “millions” as I’ve seen repeated), or the obvious facts that Japan was thoroughly beaten and could have been blockaded and their military targets bombed until they surrendered or were rendered ineffectual to defend against invasion, I’ll just remind the arm chair analysts that the men who actually knew the most about the facts and circumstances on the ground, at the time, thought the bombings to be unjustified or immoral or both.

    Yes, those lefty, pacifist, wussy, America-hating libruls, Eisenhower, MacAruthur, and Chief of Staff Admiral Leahy all opposed the bombings. Were these men “ignorant of the events involved and… not among the troops who would have to fight their way through the Home Islands if the bombs were not used”? (a statement that assumes it’s morally OK to execute women and children to save combatant lives).

    Eisenhower presumably knew a thing or two about large scale invasions said of the bomb:

    In 1945 … , Secretary of War Stimson visited my headquarters in Germany, [and] informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act…. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and second because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face.’ The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude, almost angrily refuting the reasons I gave for my quick conclusions.

    Admiral Leahy’s judgment was this:

    the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. … My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

    And that famous hippie pacifist MacArthur was quoted by his biographer and by his consultant Norman Cousins as saying that “no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.”
    Other America haters who believed the bombings to be either unnecessary or immoral or both were Joseph Grew, the Secretary of State during the war; John McCloy, the Assistant Secretary of War; Albert Einstein, and a host of other knowledgeable officials and experts at the time.

    So please, insist if you must that killing women and children directly and intentionally is justified to save combatant lives, but don’t try to portray those who disagree (including those of us who take seriously the Church’s teaching on just war) as ignorant of the facts.

  24. “I’m amazed that opponents of this war crime are accused of ignorance.”

    First, it wasn’t a war crime and second your comment, as I will demonstrate, continues to demonstrate such ignorance.

    “such as the grossly inflated and ridiculous claim that there would be half a million US casualties in an invasion”

    Considering that the nation had just incurred 78,000 casualties Tom taking Okinawa, probably a half million American casualties was well within the ball park to take the Home Islands through invasion, albeit likely on the low side, with several million Japanese casualties likely. You do know that we planned to use atomic bombings as part of the invasion, don’t you? Admiral Leahy, who you love to quote, predicted that the invasion would cause at least 268,000 American casualties.

    “or the obvious facts that Japan was thoroughly beaten and could have been blockaded and their military targets bombed until they surrendered or were rendered ineffectual to defend against invasion,”

    A blockade would have killed millions of Japanese Tom through famine. MacArthur after the surrender just barely averted famine through massive shipments of food from the US. Our incendiary campaign, which was the only way to destroy the disbursed Japanese industry, had already killed many times the number of civilians that died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    “Yes, those lefty, pacifist, wussy, America-hating libruls, Eisenhower, MacAruthur, and Chief of Staff Admiral Leahy all opposed the bombings.”

    Eisenhower almost certainly made no statement at the time, contrary to the self-serving fabrication in his memoir,

    https://books.google.com/books?id=A2Zv3VD6ptQC&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=eisenhower+stimson+meeting+hiroshima&source=bl&ots=pkwdfvdzWc&sig=2CGzA6h_2AEphc7TENHz5ks76E4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis6fOy2f_MAhUCOVIKHTXwAZ4Q6AEIMjAD#v=onepage&q=eisenhower%20stimson%20meeting%20hiroshima&f=false

    MacArthur was dismayed that he would not get to command the great invasion and argued even after Hiroshima that an invasion would be necessary (during the Korean War he called for the nuking of Chinese cities in Manchuria), and Admiral Leahy predicted prior to Hiroshima that the bomb would not work, Leahy preferring to starve Japan into surrender.

    In regard to your citations, and before you inflict junk history on this blog again which I will not tolerate, please buy and read Hiroshima in History: The Myths of Revisionism by Robert James Maddox (editor).

    http://www.amazon.com/Hiroshima-History-Robert-James-Maddox/dp/0826219624

    You are merely recycling the same sort of idiocy floating around the net as to Hiroshima and I will not allow such rubbish to be argued on this blog.

  25. Your blog, your rules, but facts is facts.

    More war-hating, anti-military wussies who knew the bombings were unnecessary, immoral, or both:
    Chester Nimitz, “The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan. . . .”
    Admiral Bill Halsey, lefty commander of the Third Fleet and hero of Guadalcanal and the Solomons campaign: “The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment. . . . It was a mistake to ever drop it. . . . [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it. . . . It killed a lot of Japs, but the Japs had put out a lot of peace feelers through Russia long before.
    General Hap Arnold, General of the Air Force during the war, “The Japanese position was hopeless even before the first atomic bomb fell, because the Japanese had lost control of their own air.” And, “it always appeared to us that, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse.”
    Curtis LeMay, the youngest four-star general in American history since Ulysses S. Grant and the youngest four-star general in modern history as well as the longest serving in that rank, and no philosophical opponent of nuclear weapons, also believed the war would be over in days, and said the dropping of the bombs “had nothing to do with the end of the war.” He said the war would have been over in two weeks without the use of the atomic bomb or the Russian entry into the war.
    Air Force General Claire Chennault, the founder of the “Flying Tigers” and Army Air Forces commander in China, stated that “Russia’s entry into the Japanese war was the decisive factor in speeding its end and would have been so even if no atomic bombs had been dropped. . .”

    Richard Nixon quoted MacArthur as being against the bombings on moral grounds, “MacArthur once spoke to me very eloquently about it, pacing the floor of his apartment in the Waldorf. He thought it a tragedy that the Bomb was ever exploded. MacArthur believed that the same restrictions ought to apply to atomic weapons as to conventional weapons, that the military objective should always be limited damage to noncombatants. . . . MacArthur, you see, was a soldier. He believed in using force only against military targets, and that is why the nuclear thing turned him off. . . .”

    In his memoirs, Ike, in addition to the statement I’ve provided before, said this:

    During [Secretary of War Stimson’s] recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives….

    But keep trying to convince us that the dropping of the bomb was a good and holy thing. I’ll stick with the experts. If it’s junk history, blame these men, not me.

  26. As to Nimitz Tom he was informed of the Manhattan Project in February of 1945. His response was that he hoped they would have more than two bombs to drop on Japanese cities.

    Halsey, who I am reading the latest biography about coincidentally, made his statement on September 9, 1946. He had been firmly in the starve ’em out camp, which included most naval commanders. By 1946 the Navy was battling against huge budget cuts and the belief that the atomic bomb made navies obsole.

    Hap Arnold and LeMay reflected the Army Air Corp view that their bombing campaign would have brought Japan to its knees by the end of August. There is absolutely no evidence to support that view, since the Japanese did not surrender after Hiroshima. LeMay made his comments in 1985 after supporting the use of nukes against Vietnamese cities during the Vietnam War. Lemay’s bombing campaign of course killed many times the number of Japanese civilians who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  27. Shhh. Don’t tell apology-tour Obama or his imbecile worshippers that Truman, who ordered them to drop the bombs, was a democrat.
    .
    Many years ago, I read John Toland’s book, The Rising Sun, a history of WWII Pacific from the Japanese standpoint. As I remember, the same (as had brought about the war) military gangsters were able and ready to fight to the last man, even after the first A-Bomb hit. The death-before- dishonor crowd was still strong enough to keep the war going. If necessary they’d have snuffed the emperor.
    .
    Re: them generals’ comments. You need to know the arrogance of them bast . . ., er, brass hats. Le May was opposed because the A-bomb wasn’t his “show” – that BS about Japan being weeks away from capitulation . . . In VN the arc light B-52 strikes weren’t splashy – his nukes would have gotten him more press. The post-war strategic bombing survey was enlightening. Mac Arthur same same. He was such a moral guy that he forced the hangings of a couple of Jap generals that beat him. Again, he got no “laurels” for A bombs.
    .
    The Navy had suffered hugely from kamikazes off Okinawa – that would have been eyewash compared to the kamikazes off Dai Nippon. And, they couldn’t run b/c the US ground forces (as before Okinawa) would have needed them right there. But, the admirals fired salvoes of 16-inch BS b/c they feared that nukes would make the navy irrelevant. JFK moved away from nuke deterrence in his adolescent embrace of snake-eaters, which romantic bravura/façade gave us Vietnam (500,000+ non/SF troops engaged), limited war, forfeited the initiative, no fire zones, sanctuaries, and etc.
    .
    Thing is when the enemy knows you won’t hit him with everything you got, he knows you ain’t serious. Ho and Giap knew it and so were willing to suffer (a million KIA) to the end-point of American (limited) resolve. I wish I didn’t remember this the day before Memorial Day.

  28. I have observed that there is a set of people who practice as a form of piety however false the ideology of anti-nuclear pacifism. That and not what Sacred Scripture actually teaches us is their religion, their defining philosophy. For them the account of Genesis 19 may never have existed and will never be stated:
    .
    24 And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.
    25 And he destroyed these cities, and all the country about, all the inhabitants of the cities, and all things that spring from the earth.
    26 And his wife looking behind her, was turned into a statue of salt.
    27 And Abraham got up early in the morning and in the place where he had stood before with the Lord,
    28 He looked towards Sodom and Gomorrha, and the whole land of that country: and he saw the ashes rise up from the earth as the smoke of a furnace.
    29 Now when God destroyed the cities of that country, remembering Abraham, he delivered Lot out of the destruction of the cities wherein he had dwelt.
    .
    Indeed, through his prophet Jonah, God threaten to do the same to Nineveh. Was God wrong for such mass, indiscriminate destruction?
    .
    Amici, my sponsor in a 12 step program told me long ago that sadly some people have to die that others may live. I don’t like that, never have and never will. Indeed, God Himself in Ezekiel 18:32:
    .
    For I have no pleasure in the death of any one, says the Lord God, so turn and live.”
    .
    Nevertheless, we see that man sacrificing man has been the case throughout Biblical history, and God – being God – does not change His eternal, righteous and holy response. This day and age of mercy on one side of the coin has a justice even stricter than that of the Old Testament prophets on the other. It was for the sake of justice that God permitted Hiroshima and Nagasaki to have gotten nuked as Sodom and Gomorrah had been before them, so that God’s mercy to both American military men and the Japanese people might be manifest. While man’s free will mucks history up, God’s sovereign will shall always be done. Blessed be the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  29. While some people are pointing out the obliteration of innocent civilians in the bombing of Hiroshima, and of Nagasaki as well, as a major bone of contention in this debate, I don’t think anyone has discussed the civilians and in particular, their assumed innocence. The civilian population of Japan was highly organized as a last defense fight them with forks if we have to army. School were closed down and even children were enlisted. In preparation for Operation Downfall- or their counter Operation Ketsugo- the Patriotic Citizens Fighting Corps totaled 28Mil. They were expected to use whatever they had: bamboo spears, muskets, longbows. I don’t know if I was perhaps exaggerating when I mentioned forks. A high school girl Yukio Kasai was issued an awl and instructed to go for the abdomen. This was the last line of defense in an elaborate military plan to kill as many soldiers as possible before they even landed.
    Happy Memorial Day…Let us remember, that they did not die in vain.

  30. Christine points out what may be a flaw in the analysis that large numbers of non-combatants were targeted at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On February 26, 1945, the National Resistance Program made men 15 to 60 and women 17 to 40 subject to training for a projected final defense of the homeland if it was invaded. 20,000 such conscripts fought at Okinawa.

    If the majority of the population was militarized, were they de facto military targets?

  31. Phillip, earlier on this thread I had a discussion with another Philip, and I made reference to a first person account by Fr. John Siemes SJ, a Hiroshima survivor and German missionary. This account was written only a month after the attack; here again is the URL:
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/mp25.asp

    According to Fr. Siemes’ account, the German Jesuit survivors, who saw firsthand the hideous effects of the bomb on human beings and who had attempted to aid the other victims, had the following debate in that first month after the attack: We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians. The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good that might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?

  32. Don, I have to say that I am getting rather tired of the way Tom McKenna et al debate the nuclear attacks on Japan. I am in total agreement with their objectives (no more deaths by nuclear war), but I cannot stand that way they debate. Year after year, thread after thread, they spin and misrepresent historical facts. You show that contemporary U.S. military leaders fully supported the use of nuclear weapons against Japan and Communist targets, and that their anti-nuclear comments are only driven by self-serving interservice rivalries. You repeatedly demolish their use of these military leaders’ anti-nuclear comments, and they repeatedly come back and reuse those quotes.
    I’m really tired of this game. Frankly, I think I could make a better argument against the attacks than they do.

  33. “I have observed that there is a set of people who practice as a form of piety however false the ideology of anti-nuclear pacifism.”
    LQC, I don’t think that there is a great problem with that from a theological viewpoint, as long as it is not a false save-my-own-skin piety. Many of the Christians in the Mideast who live under the thumbs of Islamists do something rather similar. Christians before the development of just war theory are another example. And that shows the real moral problem with this anti-nuclear position: it really is not moral unless and until they have convinced the large majority of Christians to join them. If the U.S. government in 1945 had adopted their position it would have resulted in millions of Christians (and non-Christians too, of course) being forced to (more or less) knowingly dying for an anti-nuclear Christian pacifism. Without some form of consent that is not really moral either.

  34. TomD,

    Thanks for your comment. I have read about similar debates among clerics present at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the time.
    It is interesting that Father Siemes understood that Japan was involved in total war including, one may conclude, blurring the distinction between combatants and non-combatants.

  35. Jonathan, are you the publisher of Sardonic ex Curia? If so I’ve already left one comment there. Let me know if that is where you want more.

  36. Yep, Phillip. Fr. Siemes one personal comment “It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians” is very interesting. I read it as meaning that a Tom McKenna may morally complain, but an Emperor Hirohito may not.

  37. There is simply no way that modern warfare can be consistent with Catholic doctrine. Napalm, carpet bombing, cluster bombs, armed drones – all that stuff is anticipated by everyone to inevitably kill civilians, children, and the like. But see, here’s the deal: I like living in the country total war has preserved for me. I like the fact that human slavery was ended here by a war which killed half a million Americans. I enjoy living in a house which is built on land wrested from Native Americans through genocide. I am curious as to how God will judge me for my duplicity, but I am sure He will not need to judge me for sanctimoniously holding forth that all this slaughter is justified, theologically, because it benefits me. I take precious little comfort from my one moral victory amid all this perfidy from which I have profited. But there you have it – I’m fickle.

  38. “There is simply no way that modern warfare can be consistent with Catholic doctrine.”

    Actually modern technology tends to be more discriminating when it comes to civilians than wars of the past. Sieges for example were grisly affairs where famine and disease could wipe out civilian populations in truly gruesome fashion. The common custom was that if a city was taken by storm, the civilian population was subject to plunder, rape and murder if they resisted. Captured soldiers were routinely enslaved if they were of a different religion. The chief slaughterer of civilians in military history is probably Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century. If modern modes of warfare are considered to be morally dubious under Catholic doctrine, than Popes were truly asleep at the switch morally in prior ages as they commanded papal armies and called for Crusades. Of course the neo-pacifism that now grips the Church has little in common with traditional Catholic attitudes or praxis towards war, probably a result of popes no longer leading secular states in war and Catholics in the West engaging in a holiday from history, along with most of the West, where all sorts of dubious utopian ideas are thought to be eternal truths rather than the passing transient residue of the unusual times in which we live.

  39. Warfare, modern or not, is not consistent with Catholic doctrine. Just war theology allows for self defense from greater evils resulting from war, but it is hard to say that just war theology is consistent with Biblical doctrines such as the Beatitudes. Why Hollis Hanover would think that non-modern warfare would be consistent is beyond understanding.

    Also, Hollis appears to not understand the meaning of the word ‘duplicity’. If he cannot stop himself from wallowing in imagined guilt then he should relocate to someplace where he can avoid it, like Antarctica.

  40. Don McC wrote:
    “…Of course the neo-pacifism that now grips the Church has little in common with traditional Catholic attitudes or praxis towards war…”
    Not exactly. This is true since Augustine, but probably not so before. Augustinian just war theology was a massive shift in Christian thinking on this subject, a shift that can be justified or disputed depending on how we perceive the demand to love our neighbor.

    “…probably a result of popes no longer leading secular states in war and Catholics in the West engaging in a holiday from history, along with most of the West, where all sorts of dubious utopian ideas are thought to be eternal truths rather than the passing transient residue of the unusual times in which we live.”
    Exactly right. Could not have been better put.

  41. “Not exactly. This is true since Augustine, but probably not so before. Augustinian just war theology was a massive shift in Christian thinking on this subject, a shift that can be justified or disputed depending on how we perceive the demand to love our neighbor.”

    Prior to the time of Constantine the Church suffered periodic persecution from the State and service in the Legions involved pagan sacrifice. Once this changed under Constantine the Roman military within a few decades became a largely Christian organization. Augustine was reflecting the praxis of the Church which had developed in the fourth century following the conversion of Constantine.

  42. True, I would just maintain that that pre-Augustine praxis was not unified by any means. It varied from place to place and from Christian to Christian. Legend or not, the story of the Theban Legion is quite instructive – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theban_Legion

    Remember too, that Roman army enlistments were effective for many years. Converts to Christianity could not abandon their military duty, and so the pacifists among them in the early church had to tolerate their service. How tolerant are pacifists today? Back then they were Christians first, today many are pacifists first and Christians second.

  43. “Pacifists first and Christians second”. Whoa, momma. Are the pages of your Bible which constitute St. Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7 stuck together? Christianity, to the extent it consists of following the words of Jesus of Nazareth, is pure pacifism. The compromises of Augustine, intended to give us a pass on some of the more onerous suggestions of Jesus, were political. I am all for getting a pass, all for being rich, all for forgetting that death, for a Christian, is not a bad thing. I am mildly opposed to being so thick that I think I am living a holy life by doing so. Maybe I am wallowing in guilt (get the hog pen analogy, wink, wink), but I enjoy my life even though I have no illusions about what it is I am wallowing in.

  44. No, Mr. Hanover, your previous comments show that you do have illusions, illusions that force you to wallow when you don’t have to. Did Jesus wallow in guilt over what his forefathers did to the Canaanites, Philistines, Amorites, etc. etc. etc.? There is no record of it (therefore it was of no concern to early Christians) and I for one doubt that he did. When YOU harm someone you can then wallow. In fact wallowing in the guilt of others is spiritually dangerous, because it can diminish one’s own perceptions on one’s own sins. I will concede that looking at the sins of the past has educational value, but that’s all.

    Your contention that Christianity is pure pacifism is contradicted by Apostles who had swords and a Savior who whipped moneychangers. I give great credence to Christian pacifism as practiced in the early Church and by holy conscientious objectors today (as many of my posts on this thread show). All I was criticizing are so-called Christian pacifists who are pacifists because their desire to not die exceeds their desire to not kill. That kind of person would not willingly put their own head on the chopping block.

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