Nuking Japan Was The Right Decision
Hey, look, the ultra-libs at Counterpunch are actually denouncing terrorism! Believe it or not, that’s actually pretty rare on the left. Usually, if you read a liberal blog or web page talking about terrorism or Iraq, it’s usually just an opening they use to launch into an attack on the Bush administration, the war, or America.
But in this case, Norm Dixon, in his column “The Worst Terror Attacks in History,” actually sticks it right to the terrorists — oh wait, he’s actually attacking America’s decision to nuke Japan.
Big surprise there, huh? Well, as per usual, the theory in Dixon’s column is that the Japanese were just about to surrender and we nuked them anyway, because America being — ya know, the source of all evil in the world — just does that sort of thing. In this case, our “war crime” was really all about impressing the Soviets, because Japan was done for.
Ya know, liberals keep putting forth this theory over and over, that the Japanese were through, they were finished, but they never explain why, if that’s the case, that they didn’t surrender EVEN AFTER we nuked Hiroshima. Only after we dropped a 2nd nuke on Nagasaki did the Japanese finally call it quits.
Furthermore, the Japanese were the ones who started the war, they raped and murdered their way across China & the Pacific, they savaged our prisoners, & they bombed Pearl Harbor. So as far as I’m concerned, they deserved everything they got and much, much more.
Last but not least, consider that had we not nuked the Japanese, we likely would have gone in with conventional forces and it would have led to a massacre on both sides that dwarfed anything that happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So not only did we save hundreds of thousands of American lives by dropping nukes, we likely spared millions of Japanese lives. Stephen McFarland explains:
“The Army favored a direct, frontal invasion of the Japanese home islands as the quickest means of forcing Japanese unconditional surrender. By April 1, 1945, Japan showed no signs of surrender, encouraging the Joint Chiefs to order the invasion of Okinawa. Three months of ground, sea, and air warfare cost the United States 50,000 casualties and Japan 110,000 dead. The Okinawa experience colored all future plans for defeating Japan. An invasion force against the home islands would confront a Japanese army of possibly five million and many times more civilians receiving rudimentary training in how to oppose any landing. Japan also prepared more than five thousand kamikaze aircraft. The Army’s invasion plan called for Operation OLYMPIC, the invasion of Kyushu, to begin November 1,1945, followed by Operation CORONET, the invasion of Honshu (specifically, the plain around Tokyo), to begin sometime in 1946. No one doubted the invasions would be successful. The question was whether the United States could withstand the American casualties that would result and whether it could stomach the millions of Japanese who would be killed in the process.22
Casualty figures were largely the product of the American experience on Saipan and Okinawa. Using the “Saipan ratio,” staff officers predicted American casualties could reach 1.7 to 2 million, though by the spring of 1945 this number had declined to 500,000. They knew, however, that the Soviet Red Army had suffered 352,000 casualties attacking Berlin in the closing days of the European war. The Army made plans to recruit and train 720,000 soldiers to replace those injured, killed, or otherwise indisposed in the invasions. It also ordered the production of 400,000 Purple Hearts.23
This is what the United States faced when General Lauris Norstad, chief of staff for Twentieth Air Force, told his chief operational commander, General Curtis LeMay, that “If you don’t get results it will mean eventually a mass amphibious invasion of Japan, to cost probably half a million more American lives.” Norstad and LeMay knew that Japan had already been defeated- the Navy blockade had assured that. The task was how to get the Japanese to surrender. As early as 1932, Billy Mitchell, sent on a tour of the Far East to get him out of the United States, observed that, though he was opposed to the bombing of civilians, the best way to defeat Japan would be to attack what he called Japan?s “congested and highly inflammable cities.” He was there just after a fire in Tokyo had killed 100,000.24
General Haywood Hansell began the precision bombing of Japan?s industries in November 1944, largely without effect. B-29s had to fly too far to carry meaningful bomb loads, but most importantly, the jet stream discovered high over Japan played havoc with the workings of the Norden bombsights that were to aim Twentieth Air Force bombs. Defeating Japan by destroying its capabilities or industries was not going to work. LeMay replaced Hansell, prompting Norstad to explain to Hansell that “LeMay is an operator, the rest of us are planners.? His assignment was to firebomb Japan’s paper and wood cities to weaken the ability of the Japanese to resist the impending invasion, but more importantly, to force the Japanese to surrender without an invasion. 25
After the war LeMay explained his intentions: “I’ll tell you what war is about. You’ve got to kill people, and when you’ve killed enough they stop fighting.”26 Tokyo was the first to burn on March 9, followed by Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, Kawasaki, and Yokohama. Hundreds of thousands were killed or injured, some incinerated and dead, some burned and scarred, some just shocked. Still the Japanese refused to surrender. Atomic bombs came on August 6 and 9 against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, targeted not so much as military weapons at the people of those cities, but as psychological weapons aimed at Japan’s military leaders.
In August and September 1945, 650,000 American soldiers were completing the last phases of their training for the invasion of Kyushu. Japan had concentrated its defensive forces near the beaches of Kyushu, where they would have been exposed to the concentrated firepower of 2,500 ships and 5,000 aircraft. Meanwhile B-29s, now joined by B-17s and B-24s flying from Okinawa, were preparing to burn the remaining Japanese cities. Mercifully, for both sides, the word to quit came in August, with the Japanese surrender following on September 2. The largest amphibious invasion planned in world history never happened.”
Because we nuked Japan, WW2 ended and the lives of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers were saved. That’s enough to satisfy me that it was an excellent decision…
Hat tip to Moonbat Central for the Counterpunch story.