Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hiroshima, Context & Terrible Choices

by JASmius

Maybe it's because Barack Obama has been around for so infernally long, bowing, conceding, retreating, apologizing, debasing, and otherwise doing everything short of turning the United States' remaining nuclear weapons upon itself so that all of his "friends" - which is to say all of our enemies, all of whom are nuclear-armed now because of him - will be able to concentrate on taking over the rest of the planet - all the national humiliations tend to numbingly blend together after a while - but I thought O had already groveled before the Japanese in pointed contrition for Hiroshima and Nagasaki years ago.

And in fact, I'm sure he has.  It's just that he's never actually gone to either of the sites themselves and drawn this much attention to it.  Later this year that is apparently going to change:

Seventy-one years after a U.S. atomic bomb devastated Hiroshima, John Kerry will on Monday become the first incumbent Secretary[/Commissar] of State to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of victims in the western Japanese city.

Kerry, the highest-ranked U.S. official to visit the site, arrived Sunday morning in Hiroshima for a meeting of the Group of Seven foreign ministers. His British and French counterparts are also expected to lay wreaths in the city’s peace memorial park -- the first time that serving foreign ministers of nuclear powers will commemorate one of the final acts of World War II.

Kerry may be testing the water for a potential trip to the city by Barack Obama when he visits Japan for a G-7 leaders summit in late May. The bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, and Nagasaki three days later, is widely seen in the U.S. as preventing a bloodier land battle and hastened the end of the Pacific War.

It isn't a matter of opinion, actually. as we'll discuss in a moment.

A trip by the president would likely stir controversy at home and trigger debate among the candidates to become his successor.

Ah, yes, I can hear it now; Ted Cruz will get it right (see below), Trump will jeeringly call Harry Truman a "low-energy weakling" for only nuking the two Japanese cities and declare that if he'd been POTUS back then, the "Japs" would be extinct today (then walk the comment back within a day or two and rush to Hiroshima to plant the YUUUUUGest, classiest wreath EVER squarely on top of Red Barry's), Bernie Sanders will insist that the only adequate contrition can't be rendered in words and vow to incinerate San Francisco and Seattle without warning sometime during his first term, and Hillary Clinton will try to echo whatever Obama says but will somehow piss off the anti-nukers by her inability to speak the twenty-first century dialect of "progressivism".  I'd say something like, "Man, I can't wait," except that I've already pretty much pre-empted the "debate" already.

"Kerry’s visit, following visits by U.S. ambassadors and other officials, suggests that a presidential visit is increasingly inevitable," said Tobias Harris, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence. "But the fact is that the president going to the memorial and, presumably, offering a statement could have unpredictable consequences at home, given that the politics of the U.S. atomic bombings is still fraught."

The "politics of the U.S. atomic bombings" suggests that that is a separate, compartmentalized topic rather than simply another manifestation of the Left's war on America, Western Civilization, actual history, and the very concept of truth.

David French said it succinctly in another context recently:

The Clinton/Trump ethic doesn’t just reflect a post-truth culture but one that’s positively anti-truth. Post-truth implies that the truth doesn’t really matter. Anti-truth means that the truth is your enemy — and so are its advocates.

In an anti-truth world, honesty is a threat. [emphases added]

A threat to what?  Simple: the Agenda, whether the ideologically extremist moral supremacism of the Left or the personal narcissistic aggrandizement of nascent authoritarian fascist ignoramuses.  Both are unAmerican, both are unconstitutional, both are despotic, and both are terribly dangerous.  And neither is particularly fond of the truth because it so rarely works in their favor or conforms to their Agendas.

The truth about Hiroshima and Nagasaki is much simpler than all that ideology and "me-me-me"-ism: President Truman didn't want to drop The Bombs.  Who would?

Let's put ourselves in his position for a moment.  A year earlier, Harry Truman was a nondescript U.S. senator from Missouri of which few had ever heard and about which fewer ever cared.  Then, in quick succession, he somehow became the compromise choice to be FDR's running mate in 1944 (wartime election, his incumbent veep, Henry Wallace was considered too leftwing for the "national unity" theme on which he planned to seek a fourth term, and Truman's obscurity made him an asset), and became vice president.  But even then he was invisible, excluded, even shunned and ostracized from war policy deliberations.  Harry Truman had served his purpose - helping to secure FDR's effective (and literal) lifetime presidency - and in ordinary circumstances would have languished there for four years and then returned home, his political career at an end, to haberdash again.

Not quite three months into Truman's veepidency, President Roosevelt dropped dead, and he found himself not only the leader of the free world and the most powerful man on the planet, but also learned for the first time all the details about the state and course of the Second World War, the Cold War that was lurking beyond it, and this little endeavor known as the Manhattan Project.  And that he was the one - the man who had made "minding one's own business" a lifetime career - whose decision it would be whether or not to use that unprecedentedly awesome destructive power, and against whom.

Winston Churchill once said that a leader can find himself doing in his official capacity what he would never have imagined doing as a private citizen.  Does anybody seriously believe that Harry Truman wanted that decision to be his?  To not only deploy city-busting weapons that would each kill in the six and five figures, respectively, but usher in a new age of warfare where human civilization could wipe itself out?  And, conversely, to have it be on his head if the atomic bombs didn't work?  Why do you think he coined the phrase, with reference to the presidency, "the buck stops here"?  Or "if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen"?  He didn't want to go down in history as the man who unleashed the nuclear age, but that was the fate that history dealt him, and he did not shrink from it.

The reason for that was a simple, straightforward question of numbers.  Allied casualty estimates for a conventional invasion of Japan were somewhere north of one million; for the Japanese, military and civilian alike, they were twenty million.  The track record of fighting in the Pacific made it clear that conquering the Japanese home islands was going to be a war of extermination, because surrender was not in their culture.  Every last man, woman, and child would have resisted U.S. forces to the bitter end.  Widespread use of chemical weapons would have been a large part of the Allied strategy.  The operation, if pursued to fruition, would have taken years.

If this description is sounding eerily like "Vietnam twenty years earlier writ horrifically large," congratulations, you've been paying attention.  Even for the "greatest generation," war weariness would have set in (REAL war weariness, not the mockery of that term misapplied to the Iraq war), the horrors being suffered and inflicted turning the public against continuance of the conflict.  "Unconditional surrender" would have been abandoned and some sort of negotiated armistice would have been reached.  Or maybe we'd have just quit and gone home, leaving Japan devastated but not defeated, still a bitter enemy and free to rise again, phoenix-like, perhaps to become the unleasher of the nuclear age themselves (Although in practice, they'd have almost certainly fallen under Soviet domination).

I'm not including what has come to light in recent years about how close the West came to losing the "wonder weapon" race with the Axis Powers.  Indeed, had Adolph Hitler's insane anti-Semitism, military ignorance, and megalomania not compelled him to make all the decisions himself, and horrendously, the Nazis would have had the world's first jet fighter, the Me-262 Swallow, at least two years earlier, with which the Allied landings in France could have been repulsed, and developed nuclear weapons first and, via U-boats and V-2 missiles, used them on us.  "Hiroshima and Nagasaki" would instead have been, say, "Boston and New York".  And the Japanese had such surprises of their own that allowing them an additional year or two would have sprung, changing the war's dynamic and direction.

Truman couldn't have known about those factors.  What he did know was that to "win through to absolute victory" in the shortest time with the fewest casualties on both sides, the atomic bomb was the way to go.  And even that was a gamble, as, as referenced above, the weapons could have failed, and it was possible - and very nearly did come to pass - that the Japanese wouldn't surrender even facing extinction as a nation, culture, and race, in which case an invasion would have had to go forward anyway through an irradiated wasteland as dangerous to the Allied invaders as to the Japanese survivors.

Blessedly, the Japanese did surrender (though even then not unconditionally) when Emperor Hirohito personally intervened, shedding his cultural image as a "god" to save what was left of his people by ordering an end to the war.  It is also not arguable that only by going through that apocalyptic experience could Japanese culture have ever been transformed and modernized the way it was, and become the staunch U.S. ally it has been ever since.

In life in general, but especially in geopolitics at the highest levels, choices are never black and white, good and bad; they're always shades of gray, choosing between a bad and a worse.  Harry Truman didn't want to order the mass death of almost a quarter of a million people on two single days; he did so to avoid having to order the piecemeal deaths of a hundred times that many over the next several years.  He became a small butcher to avoid becoming a mass butcher.  It wasn't a choice he wanted, but he made the right one.

And, most commonsensically of all, the leftwingnut notion of morality resting in things instead of people had not yet been moronically promulgated, and the capacity for moral reasoning had not yet been expunged from Western culture.  Which is why Barack Obama will go to Hiroshima, and probably Nagasaki, this summer and lay wreaths and profusely apologize for Harry Truman saving twenty million Japanese lives.

Because contemporary "nuance" isn't meant to be descriptive of the world, but deceptively protective of the leftwingnut Agenda.  And the reactionary, as opposed to principled conservative, response is to tribalistically blow nuance, reason, logic, and thought out the nearest riotous airlock.  Which, had the two mindsets been applied seventy-one years ago, would have either dropped "fat man" and "little boy" on San Francisco and Seattle or cleansed Japan from one end to the other with nuclear fire.

Because we live in an anti-truth age that may soon have us heading towards self-destruction from two parallel directions.

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