Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why U.S. Nukes Did Not Shorten the War with Japan

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The 'bomb' did not shorten the war, nor did it affect --in any way --Japan's insistence upon retaining its emperor. Absolutely nothing was gained by the wanton murder of some 200,000 civilians.

U.S. President Harry Truman is said to have nuked Japan because he wanted an 'unconditional surrender'! In fact, he got nothing more than what had been offered prior to the use of two nuclear weapons first against Hiroshima and, later, against Nagasaki. The Geneva Conventions which prohibit genocide were not codified until 1948. But it is the purpose of the law to codify prohibitions against acts that are --already --wrong! The law cannot make right a wrong nor can it make wrong acts that are clearly right!
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. It was my belief that? Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of "face"
--Dwight David Eisenhower
It is said that Truman would accept nothing less than 'unconditional surrender' In fact, he did not get an unconditional surrender. The surrender was conditioned upon the retention of the Emperor, a request that the Japanese had made as it sued for peace.
"The Japanese Government are ready to accept the terms enumerated in the joint declaration which was issued at Potsdam on July 26th, 1945, by the heads of the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, and China, and later subscribed to by the Soviet Government, with the understanding that the said declaration does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler.
The bombing --the deliberate elimination of some 200,000 people --was in vain. Estimates of 150,000 killed and wounded in Hiroshima and some 75,000 at Nagasaki may be conservative. Clearly --these deaths were avoidable.

Eisenhower is vindicated by history. Indeed, as Eisenhower made clear: Japan sought terms which changed not a bit by the the use of the bomb.

The use use of the bomb is --in either case --an act of genocide against a civilian population. Genocide is now prohibited by by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.

Japanese leaders --military and civilian, including the Emperor --were willing to surrender in May of 1945 if the Emperor could remain in place.
The Japanese government wanted to surrender; its leaders, military as well as civilian, rationally understood that the war was lost. President Truman was fully aware? of the situation as early as May of 1945. A peace treaty could have been effected and the dropping of the bomb avoided.
But they had a determined attachment (irrational?) to? the emperor. Japan would have surrendered, very possibly as early as June 1945, had its ruling establishment received guarantees of the emperor's personal safety and continuance on the throne. This should have been the first step in an American surrender strategy.
--Journal of American History
Therefore, the U.S. use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction upon a civilian population changed absolutely nothing!

President Truman was fully aware of the situation as early as May of 1945. A peace treaty could have been effected and the dropping of the bomb avoided. Churchill and Stalin went along with the 'unconditional surrender' policy --but only reluctantly.

U.S. policy demanding an unconditional surrender was rendered moot by the fact that the surrender was not unconditional but contingent upon Japan retaining its emperor. In any case, it does not ameliorate U.S. targeting a civilian population. Japan's major cities were devastated. Casualties were already in the millions. Millions more were refugees. The fleet was lost. Merchant shipping could not leave home waters or sail from the few possessions still held by Japan.
U.S. policies and actions following the de facto defeat of Japan:
  • Targeted a civilian population, an action not yet covered by the Geneva Conventions of 1948.
  • Achieved NOTHING that Japan had not ALREADY agreed to.
As Japan, in fact, retained its emperor, it would appear that it was the U.S. --not Japan --that made concessions after the bombing.


Following is my response to a comment on facebook:

Someone had posted:
"An invasion force would have still have to go in at the cost of 1000's of American lives. Ask any vet who landed at any island we captured."
1) Thousands of American lives were already lost to Japanese fighting from caves.

2) The point missed is that peace terms agreed to had already been agreed to by Japan before the bomb was dropped. There was, then, no point in dropping the bomb if the intention was to effect a un-conditional surrender. In any case, the U.S. did NOT get an un-conditional surrender. There is no ex post facto justification for this war crime.


3) There is no evidence that people fighting in caves were in any way dissuaded by the bomb! None! Japan had already agreed to the terms that were --in fact --signed after the bombs were dropped. The bombs were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima --huge cities of civilians, not caves full of 'terrorists'!

What effect on cave guerillas did U.S. Military 'geniuses' think dropping bombs on civilian concentrations would have? Read Che Guerrilla. You may conclude that NUKES are powerless against a well-organized guerrilla force. IF folk were fighting in caves, what effect would bombs have? Clearly --no concessions were made as a result of NUKING the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki! NONE!

Today the US has been mired in Afghanistan for almost a decade! Guerrillas are fighting from caves, we are told! Do you propose that we NUKE Kabul because a rag tag band of guerillas are holed up in same caves some 100 miles away?

It would seem that if the US cannot 'win' a war against folk living in caves, then the U.S. would be well advised to get the fuck outt the war business.
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