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QUESTION for those who support the use of atomic weapons on civilian populations

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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-13-07 11:58 PM
Original message
QUESTION for those who support the use of atomic weapons on civilian populations
The way I understand it is, if we are at war with a nation that attacked us first, and we think that using nukes might save the lives of soldiers by preventing a full-on invasion, exactly how many "saved" US soldiers' lives does it take to justify the use of nuclear weapons in civilian targets (which is, by definition, terrorism)?

I'm wondering, because we have already lost well over 3000 US lives in Iraq, as well as many thousands more crippled, maimed, suffering from DU poisoning, so shouldn't we have wiped all of Iraq's major cities off the map before invading, so that our soldiers could occupy the smoldering ash heaps without fear of IEDs? After all, Iraq did attack our best pal Kuwait, don't all Iraqi civilians deserve to die for that?

Shouldn't we have nuked Hanoi from the get-go? I'm sure that would have saved some US soldiers. And the Viet Cong deserved it. After all, they were attacking our puppet government in the South and for some reason expected the US to live up to their promise to allow nationwide elections. The nerve!

Oh, and what better target for nukes than Pyongyang back in the 50s! The leaders of the time were so foolish not to take it out! Now Kim Jong Il has the bomb!


And what tragedy that Lincoln didn't have nukes at his disposal back in the Civil War. 110,000 people died in that one. Just think how many could have been saved if we had "glassed" Atlanta, Charleston, Richmond. Oh, wait, confederates were still kinda like Americans, which would make them actual human beings. Never mind that one.



I know this post is dripping with sarcasm, but I am asking this question quite seriously:

ASIDE FROM Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when is the use of nuclear weapons on population centers okay?

My answer is "never". I'm curious to hear from the people who think that there is a legitimate use for these technological terrors.
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:01 AM
Response to Original message
1. Oh, and a sub-question:
Since nuking civilians is okay under said conditions, would an Iraqi resistance be justified in nuking US cities in retaliation against our unprovoked illegal invasion and occupation of their country, during which we have killed tens of thousands of people?


Or is it just the US that gets a free pass to nuke families while they sleep in their homes?
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
63. Notice how everybody ignored your question.
Including the people apologizing for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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Socal31 Donating Member (707 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:03 AM
Response to Original message
2. Two things they are useful for
1. We have them for the threat of MADD.
2. To retaliate for thier use on us. (Not a single nuke from a terrorist, but against a regime or standing army)


If Russia or China fired thier arsenal at us, then I would surely hope the "football" was opened and we launched at them.


So, thier uses are extremely limited. But I would never say never.
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Everybody dies. What a great idea.
I don't really think it is possible to win a nuclear war.
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Socal31 Donating Member (707 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:13 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Not possible at all
(MAD= Mutually Assured Destruction) It wouldnt be pretty. We'd all be in whatever "after-life" we personally believe in.

My point is if someone wipes out our country, im glad we have to ability to do likewise. As far as an offensive weapon, I truly hope that never happens.
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:14 AM
Original message
That's why these weapons are a waste of money and energy.
They can't be used. Ever.
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:20 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. So for you, revenge is sweet?
Honestly, for me, knowing the "enemy" was decimated would be ZERO consolation whatsoever for the loss of my country, my culture, my family & friends, the entire earth's ecology...
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Socal31 Donating Member (707 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. It wouldnt be sweet
Because I would be dead, so I would have no feelings. I just wouldnt want the people who caused me to die to be sipping cocktails on a beach.
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. Believe me, if they start launching nukes, NO ONE
will be sipping anything on ANY beach.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. What would we have to lose?
Massive population loss, massive wounded, radiation run amok. So now the 'enemy' can occupy us at their leisure? Maybe wait a few years until a few million more Americans had died of cancer, until we had started to repair and rebuild, then move in. After all, the longer they wait, the weaker we are as the effects of food shortages and radioactive soil are felt. Maybe even some sort of nuclear winter, depending on how many nukes are used.

Returning fire would at least take out the enemy as well, leaving us safe from invasion and able to rebuild and recivilize ourselves.

And, again, it's setting the precedent. By NOT nuking back, we're justifying using first-strike nuclear weapons for the rest of human civilization. It may not matter at the time, it may not matter a century after the time. But it will matter.
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:38 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. What do you think "they" would occupy?
What would be left to re-civilize and re-build? The weapons that this government has now are so much bigger and so much more lethal than the weapons that were used on Japan. Do you think it would be just a matter of sweeping up the broken glass? These weapons could make the land uninhabitable for ages. And radiation spreads. I can't imagine how any sane government could justify using them, I just can't.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #17
27. They would occupy the areas outside of ground zero
Nuclear weapons used against cities are airbursts, not ground bursts. The blast of radiation and atomic particles like neutrons would form radioactive isotopes of many elements, but the isotopes are usually fairly short lived. For example, steel would become radioactive for a while as alloying elements would form isotopes that would emit harmful particles for many days or weeks or months afterwards.

But it would have to be fairly close to the point of detonation to be affected. Radioactive dust and dirt, plus leftovers from the plutonium or uranium core would be blasted up into the air and blow downwind for days. Water vapor would condense on the dust and fall as radioactive rain. That's the 'fallout' that's mentioned so frequently. Tons, thousands of tons, millions of tons of miscellanious rock, dirt, wood, steel, glass, concrete, copper, aluminum, all blasted by radiation and fast-moving atomic particles, turned radioactive and drifting downwind.

The radioactive isotopes created, well, there is a direct correlation between half-life and intensity. The very strongly-emitting isotopos would disappear quickly. Half-lives might be measured in hours or days for most of them. The less-intense isotopes will last longer, half-lives of decades or centuries, or more.

However, the land downwind can be avoided, and areas outside the direct blast area would be unaffected. New cities would develop, the land would be worked, mutated strains of crops would be bred out. The cancer rate and birth defect rate would be horrendous for several generations, maybe longer. But we would survive. We would have no choice.

It would not be pretty. It would be a harsh, new world. The US might fragment into smaller nations run by a variety of government types. Despots, strongmen, plutocracy, democracy, communism. Deformed babies might be killed right after birth. Women who keep having deformed children might be sterilized, their caches of eggs warped by radiation.

Our civilization is very high up, so we have much further to fall. Doubtless there will be a lot of survivors unable to cope with the events afterwards that will kill themselves or be killed. Far more than, say, parts of Africa, where the collapse of civilization will not be noticed. Many old-time skills, like blacksmithing and carpentry and hunting and fishing and farming, are essentially lost to many people.

There would be a long period of Americans fighting each other for dwindling food supplies, tools, supplies, and luxury items. And land. Always the land. Canada and Mexico can face the prospect of mass migrations of desperate Americans trying to flee the devestation.

For a good book about life after a comet destroyed civilization, read "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Both are heavyweight sci-fi authors with numerous awards above their mantels.
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. I would have to assume that a comet would not spew
Edited on Mon May-14-07 01:18 AM by Kool Kitty
radioactivity, so surviving something like that sounds more feasible. In a MADD situation, don't you think that with all those bombs going off, the destruction would truly be mutual? What you cited sounds like it may be survivable, but all the dust alone would blot out sunlight for a very long time. What would you grow? How would you stay warm? I'm thinking this doesn't make me feel any safer. I don't think it's survivable, choice or not. (Unless, of course, you are a Zippo lighter or a cockroach. These are the only species that should survive a nuclear holocaust.)

Actually, I don't think I would have to worry much about it. I live in central-coastal NJ and with my proximity to the New York metro area, I'm sure we are a first strike-overkill target. I'm sure I would just vaporize in the first volley.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:33 AM
Response to Reply #29
38. No, it wouldn't
However, in the book the biggest part of the comet (which came apart under the stress of Earth's gravity on the way it, turning it from a cosmic bullet into a cosmic shotgun blast) struck the ocean, punching through the water to the seabed, then smashing through that into the mantle. The impact vaporized cubic miles of seawater. Untold hundred of cubic miles of water were smashed outward at supersonic velocities, making mile-high tsunamies. The impact area, a huge pimple on the face of the globe, is heated to well into the molten range as lava boils up from underneath the earth. For days or weeks, the ocean keeps trying to flow back into the impact area, but even more cubic miles of water are vaporized per hour.

The superheated steam created a permenant super-hurricane as millions of tons of steam per hour is created and floats upward, then spreads and cools. The super-hurricane spins off dozens of catagory-five regular hurricanes in all directions to last at the destroyed coastlines.

Saltwater blasted into the atmosphere falls a rain. At some point, all the water being vaporized at the impact point forms clouds that straddle the planet, making it rain continuously for months. No sun. Flooding. All that fun stuff.

We would have to make greenhouses out of plastic sheeting and wood. We would need grow lights and a source of electricity.

It would be very difficult. 80% fatalities in the first year I don't think is an unreasonable assumption.

Hope you have some Gor-Tex handy, because you'll need it. And a few cases of MREs whouldn't hurt, either.
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:37 AM
Response to Reply #38
40. Gore-tex and MREs?
Sure, more than enough to get me through a radioactive winter. I told you, I wouldn't have to worry about it. I live in an apartment condo, I don't even have a basement. Wait-I just remembered. I have a desk! When I was in grammar school, we used to have air raid drills and we got under our desks. They told us it would keep us safe. I'm saved! :applause:
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 02:07 AM
Response to Reply #40
48. Is it a wooden desk?
Mmmmmm... kindling... :-)
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #48
64. Yes, it is wood.
Oh my God. Are you saying that I wouldn't be safe? Are you saying that they lied to us in school? Bert the Turtle lied! ;)
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-15-07 04:08 AM
Response to Reply #64
66. Part of a Lewis Black album
He was talking about this in, I believe, Rules of Enragement.

I'm a Bicentenntial Baby, so I missed all the cool nuclear drills. Just the occasional fire drill. Too late for the 'end of the world' panic, and too young for the 'crazy gunman on campus' panic.

I miss all the fun... thank God!
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. MADD is non-use by definition.
I actually don't have a huge problem with some strategic deterrent.



As for your second point, how would life for the few survivors in a post-nuclear, nuclear winter, devastated America be better knowing that they were devastated too?

If such an attack did happen, occupying foreign forces would be the LEAST of our worries. We'd be begging them to occupy us and to bring food, supplies and medicine.

People really have no concept of what an actual massive nuclear war would be like, do they?
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #2
20. The U.S. is the ONLY country who killed innocents with nuclear devices
Remember that.
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Rev. Mother Ramallo Donating Member (103 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:20 AM
Response to Reply #20
32. Actually...
...they were not so innocent. When planning for a land battle with America, the Japanese armed their ordinary citizens--women and children--and told them ALL to fight us were we to come ashore...
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:25 AM
Response to Reply #32
34. A lot of our ordinary citizens are armed, too.
They aren't part of the armed services and they shouldn't be attacked as if they are.
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Rev. Mother Ramallo Donating Member (103 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 02:41 AM
Response to Reply #34
53. That's a different situation...
...then the Japanese were in. The government of Japan DID 'enlist' civilians to fight any troops that made landfall.
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #53
62. And you don't think our citizens would fight back if we were
invaded? I know i would.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:32 AM
Response to Reply #32
37. Would American civilians have taken up arms too if the continental US were invaded?
The answer seems obvious, to me anyway.
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Rev. Mother Ramallo Donating Member (103 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 02:43 AM
Response to Reply #37
54. I'm sure they would.
But, if they did and got killed in the process, I wouldn't exactly think of them as 'civilian innocents'.
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #32
46. They armed them with BAMBOO SPEARS.
You left out that part. And of course, they would have stood down on orders from the government...
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Rev. Mother Ramallo Donating Member (103 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 02:44 AM
Response to Reply #46
55. Yes
It would've been hand-to-hand combat and yes, they would've stood down if ordered to--the troops would've stood down if ordered to also.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #20
43. Not quite.
People have been killed by nuclear detonations in testing by other nations.
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. My answer is "NEVER", also.
I still don't understand why this government believes we are allowed to have (and use, apparently) nuclear weapons but other countries are not. I believe that these weapons are a crime against humanity.
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Sanctified Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:14 AM
Response to Original message
6. I would support a nuclear strike only after one has been launched on us.
Now I will also state my dog in the fight, I don't live in an area that would ever be the primary target of a nuclear strike so it's easy for me to say that. If perchance I did live in one of the heavier populated cities that would be a target maybe my stance would change.

In all honesty I would hope that our Government could come to a diplomatic solution before resorting to nuclear weapons.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:53 AM
Response to Reply #6
21. What is laughable is that no ME countries have the capability
And get rid of the warmonger Bush they would have no reason.

China owns too much of our debt, and Russia might slap us back.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:17 AM
Response to Original message
7. That's why the pro bomb people are trying to come up with
"tactical" or "battlefield" or "bunker buster" smaller nukes. They keep neglecting the fact that all will produce fallout and that fallout knows no national borders.

At least they thought about that back in the 50s and 60s. They knew the fallout plume from Pyongyang would affect Seoul and Japan, that the one from Hanoi would poison everything around.

The use of such things should be classified as a war crime. It's like other atrocities like DU, land mines, and defoliants--full of unintended consequences and able to kill for many years later.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:23 AM
Response to Original message
11. When they do it first
That's about it. Not doing it after being nuked by a foreign power would set the stage for it to happen indefinately. Look how pardoning Nixon has led to the presidential crimes committed by Reagan, Bush41, and Bush43, with few held accountable.



Unless there was a military so powerful conventionally that we would be unable to resist sucessfully when they invaded us. That is hard to imagine, considering how well-armed our civilian population is, but it is possible.

The problem is that population centers feed the mechanisms of war. That is where the arms and equipment are made, where food and munitions are processed, stored, and shipped. Where the economy is managed, where the power plants are, where the administrative processes are performed.

Can you imagine how much our country would be screwed up in Chicago was nuked? Major land, sea, and air arteries flow through there. How would our food move around? How would manufactured products cross the country? Refined petroleum products?

Nuking a city attacks all of these things. Unfortunately, it also kills a hell of a lot of non-combatants.

Which is why you should not really do it if you don't have to. One of the reasons that so many civilians were bombed in World War Two was because the high-altitude bombers, the B-17s and B-24s and B-29s and Lancasters, only had accuracy of about a quarter-mile on a good day. Throw in marginal weather, German smokescreens, flak, and opposing enemy fighters and that could really make accurate bomb dropping a dicey prospect.

Nowadays, with all the fancy guidence systems and fire-control systems, dropping a 500-pound bomb on a specific house is easier and more probable than a WWII heavy bomber hitting a particular city block. So there is no excuse for it nowadays.
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Blashyrkh Donating Member (816 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:27 AM
Response to Original message
13. Aside from?
I don't accept your premise that Hiroshima or Nagasaki were necessary or OK.
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rwenos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. Easy to Say
As the son of a veteran of WW2 in the Pacific, I find it too easy by half for you to reject the premise as an intellectual enterprise.

My Dad and all his shipmates were DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY when they heard about the A-bombs on Japan. Sobered, as any sane person would be. But happy. Not because they were monsters. But because they would be invading Japan if it hadn't happened. One million of them, at least.

I'm familiar with the ethical arguments on both sides, so don't bore everyone with the obvious ones.

Tell me why my Dad was wrong to be happy. Go ahead. Try.
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:41 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. My Dad served in WW II also.
I asked him once how he felt about the use of the bombs on Japan. He said that it was great because we had to win the war. I understood how he felt. (I didn't agree with him, but I understood.)
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. But the ME never attacked us n/t
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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:59 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. I know that the ME (I assume you mean the Middle East)
never attacked us. What does that have to do with what I posted?
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #16
23. Because innocent civilians were killed n/t
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rwenos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. Your Point Is Relevant to What?
Obviously, innocent civilians were killed. I'm not defending that. Innocent civilians are killed in all wars. My point, which you seem to ignore, is that the ethical calculus one applies to the decision to use atomic weapons on Japan depends, inevitably, on whether someone you know or love had some skin in the game. My Dad's skin was in the game. He was happy the war was ending. He was happy he didn't have to come under fire in an invasion of Japan.

I'm not trying to be a jerk. I just can't understand the revisionist view that bombing Japanese cities was ethically wrong. Horrible, yes. Wrong, no.
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:31 AM
Response to Reply #25
36. "Innocent civilians are killed in all wars"
That is so, but they are not necessarily TARGETED.

The United States purports itself to be the international champion of human rights and rule-of-law. Its conduct in wartime should reflect that to the degree that is possible while still winning.

The war could have been won, WITHOUT additional loss of US lives, and WITHOUT nuking Japan, that's why the bombings were wrong.
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Blashyrkh Donating Member (816 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:12 AM
Response to Reply #16
28. Excuse me?
As the son of a veteran of WW2 in the Pacific, I find it too easy by half for you to reject the premise as an intellectual enterprise.

Would my opinion have meant anymore if I told you I have relatives who fought in WW2 in the Pacific as well? Would it matter if I told you my godfather fought in the battle of Millen Bay?

Should it?

Considering it took you exactly one sentence to personally berate me as ignorant because of your assumed lack of experience on my part, I think it should.

I'm not going to tell you your Dad was wrong to feel how he felt. For whatever reason, that's how he felt. He's no more wrong than I am for saying that he was cheering the deaths of 100,000 innocent people. Which is, indirectly at least, what happened.
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:27 AM
Response to Reply #16
35. Your father's emotional state is irrelevant.
I have never criticized anyone but Harry Truman in regards to the atomic bombing.

People are free to feel how they feel about events as they happen. I don't care that your dad was happy after the a-bombing anymore than I care that some Palestinians might have danced in the streets after 9-11. All I care about is that thousands of innocent people were needlessly killed in both terrorist attacks.
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dave_p Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 05:55 AM
Response to Reply #16
56. Here's why he was wrong
"Tell me why my Dad was wrong to be happy. Go ahead. Try"

Because invasion was becoming increasingly unlikely regardless of the bombs. Your Dad didn't know that. Most of the Generals didn't even know it. But the top policymakers did. They hardly talk about invasion after mid-1945, even before most knew about the Bomb. MacArthur had been directed to draw up a plan for peaceful occupation as early as May, and by July US communications intercepts revealed that the Emperor and Cabinet wanted peace. Military hardliners disagreed: that's discussed here (start of subthread).

"One million of them, at least" is a later fabrication of the plausible US losses in an invasion. Apart from one memorandum unconnected with the planners, the million figure (or anything higher than isn't mentioned anywhere except in subsequent justification of the bombings. The Joint Chiefs of Staff in April projected 376,000 dead, but later estimates for the Kyushu landing indicated a far lower rate. In the event, Soviet intervention on the mainland destroyed Japan's strategic and diplomatic position as US analysts had foreseen.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 06:06 AM
Response to Reply #56
57. They didn't surrender after the first bomb. nt
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dave_p Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 07:00 AM
Response to Reply #57
61. ... nor after the second
... or rather not as a direct, unconditional result of it.

Others disagree: that's also discussed in the subthread I mentioned.
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SayWhatYo Donating Member (991 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 06:16 AM
Response to Reply #16
58. Why would have the US even had of invaded Japan?
One could argue that the US took the war with Japan too far and shouldn't have responded so harshly.

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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 06:26 AM
Response to Reply #58
59. I'm personally glad the the US insisted on reforming the Japanese government.
Although I disagree with the bombings, I think we did many things right in the occupation.

MacArthur wisely kept the emperor in place as a figurehead, while dissolving his political power.

The postwar Constitution and parliamentary democracy they crafted were ideally tailored for this culture, as Japanese have a great deal of sincere respect for law and order.

Large amounts of land that were held by the wealthy were redistributed to the peasantry, and in many ways they got a government more progressive than our own.



A big reason the Japanese military was able to run rampage over Asia was because there was no democracy, no free press in Japan, and the notion of emperor as God kept the people in line.

I'm very glad we occupied and modernized Japan, and I think most Japanese are too.

But I still think we could have done it without nuking cities.
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:21 AM
Response to Reply #13
33. That is most certainly NOT my premise.
That is the premise of Truman's apologists, which I am carrying to its logical conclusion. I think the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were terrorist attacks and a crime against humanity.

I thought my sarcasm would make that clear, but if it didn't, hopefully it's clear now.
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whoneedstickets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:35 AM
Response to Original message
15. It WASN'T and never will be justifiable..
..It was simply expedient in the WWII case. Cheap, fast and easy on the US military.
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rwenos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. Easy to Say
See my previous post. You've made a cheap point, one which establishes only that you have no relatives who fouht in the Pacific. As someone who does have such relatives, I find your point sterile and pointillistic. And too easy by half.
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:54 AM
Response to Reply #18
47. I had a relative who was killed and probably tortured by the Japanese.
The fact that the Japanese military was guilty of NUMEROUS war crimes and crimes against humanity does not make what we did any more "right".
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Eurobabe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:07 AM
Response to Original message
26. Never acceptable, not only for the human casualties
but what about the FUCKING ENVIRONMENT!!! This makes me want to scream -- what part of the connection between thyroid cancer and fallout do these warmongering idiots NOT understand?

Releasing nuclear material into our atmosphere should be a crime against humanity, it makes us ALL sick in the end.

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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:18 AM
Response to Reply #26
30. We introduced cancer into the innocents in Japan
We attacked innocents! They weren't troops fighting against us.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:20 AM
Response to Original message
31. No, we should not have nuked Vitnam. Unless you think my parents were fair game in that war.
Seeing as they are Vietnamese.
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:35 AM
Response to Reply #31
39. Rest assured, that was facetious.
But under the rationale the Hiroshima-rationalizers use, North Vietnam would have been fair game for nukes(as if napalm and hundreds of thousands of land mines weren't enough).

Looking at the whole, I think what we did to Vietnam was actually much worse than what we did to Japan, but it is another topic.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:42 AM
Response to Original message
41. poo-tee-weet?
"The advocates of nuclear disarmament seem to believe, if they could achieve their aim, war would become tolerable and decent. They would do well to read this book and ponder the fate of Dresden, where 135,000 people died as a result of an air attack with conventional weapons. On the night of March 9, 1945, an air attack on Tokyo by American heavy bombers, using incendiary and high explosive bombs, caused the death of 83,793 people. The atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed 71,379 people."
Schlachthof fuenf
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #41
42. I'm going to venture to say that most anti-nuke folks would like to end war, too.
Edited on Mon May-14-07 01:50 AM by Matsubara
I'm sure that seems like flights of fancy to a lot of people, but as a long-term goal for humanity, it is worthwhile and not beyond the realm of possibility.

And unjust peace is often preferable to a just war.

BTW the Hiroshima bomb killed 140,000. Nagasaki killed 74,000. Not that such numbers are of much relevance to the ethics of the bombing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshi...

PS - what is poo-tee-weet?
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:51 AM
Response to Reply #42
45. Yeah, I learned that firsthand.
Y'know, towards the end of the Vitnam War, it got to the point that nobody really cared what political ideology the US or North Vitnam were or the VC. No matter who won, it didn't make a fucking bit of difference to your ordinary civilian there. He was dead at any rate. The only thing people agreed on at the end was that the end of war was good, even if it meant the communists winning.

Sure, it's not really "living" when you have no political freedom, but for a lot of people, it sure was a whole hell of a lot better than dying.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 02:07 AM
Response to Reply #42
49. you could ask wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=poo-...

I guess all those numbers need to be qualified as estimates.
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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 02:11 AM
Response to Reply #49
50. Those numbers are widely accepted figures.
Japan has had very meticulous recordkeeping of its population going back hundreds of years. I'm confident enough that the figures are accurate.

If you have a beef with wiki, you can search around, and you'll find that most sources are consistent with those numbers, as is my hardcover encyclopedia at home.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 02:16 AM
Response to Reply #50
51. a beef with wiki?
They are the ones who said:

"In estimating the number of deaths caused by the attacks, there are several factors that make it difficult to arrive at reliable figures: inadequacies in the records given the confusion of the times, the many victims who died months or years after the bombing as a result of radiation exposure, and the pressure to either exaggerate or minimize the numbers, depending upon political agenda. That said, it is estimated that as many as 140,000 had died in Hiroshima by the bomb and its associated effects."

Using the words 'estimating' and 'estimated'.

They also say:

"However, Vonnegut's writings elsewhere (for example, see The Sirens of Titan), suggest that the Tralfamadorians in Slaughterhouse-Five are intended to satirize the idea of Fatalism. In the main body of the book, the Tralfamadorians represent the belief that war is inevitable. Their hapless destruction of the universe suggests that Vonnegut does not sympathize with their philosophy. To humans, Vonnegut seems to say, ignoring a war is not an acceptable choice when we actually do have free will.

This illogicality of human nature is brought up with the climax of the book. Ironically the climax occurs not with the bombing of Dresden, but with the execution of a man who committed a petty theft. In all of this horror, death, and destruction, so much time is taken on the punishment of one man. Yet, the time is still taken, and Vonnegut seems to take the outside opinion of the bird asking, "Poo-tee-weet?""

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Matsubara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 02:21 AM
Response to Reply #51
52. Thank you.
NT
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gravity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 01:49 AM
Response to Original message
44. Well if the nuke would prevent more lives from being killed
than it could be justified.

Of course, it's hard to imagine a situation where that could happen, especially when you take the long term effects of world politics and diplomacy. More than likely a use that will prevent a short term war or incident, could create bigger conflicts in the the future, like an enemy feeling more justified to nuke us.

Nukes should never be used, unless we are experiencing the most extreme scenarios where it becomes the only option. Something like that would be a once in a million years type event, so for practical arguments, I would say never.
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dave_p Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 06:28 AM
Response to Reply #44
60. One thing I'd add to that
We must always be very careful in weighing options based on relative casualty projections. There's a grave mismatch between the certainty of casualties associated with bombing a heavily-populated target and the uncertain dangers which may be invoked as arguments against not doing so.

When you drop a bomb on a largely civilian target, you exclude options of saving those lives. When other methods are adopted, options remain open for both sides: postponement of conventional action while you strengthen your forces; use of diplomatic or other channels to minimise loss on both sides; new tactics and perhaps new and less destructive weapons that weren't available to you before.

And relying on projected losses from alternatives to mass destruction is an unsafe proposition: estimates for US losses in the proposed November 1945 Kyushu invasion range from 31,000 casualties (i.e. deaths and non-fatal losses to troop strength) to 109,000 dead alone (the higher figure is absent from later calculations).

Few even of us pessimists foresaw the level of civilian death Iraq has suffered since March 2003. Conversely, I remember speculation at the time that the number in the Twin Towers and the speed of the destruction was likely to mean 20,000 dead in the 911 attacks rather than the 3000 actually killed.

A certain death by our hand should never equate to a foreseen death which may be risked by inaction and is subject to enormous margins of error. The case for mass destruction has to be overwhelming before it can be valid. And I question whether that case can ever be so overwhelming as to justify it.
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-14-07 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
65. They're not supposed to be used. It's supposed to be a threat
and a counter-balance against the other states that have them. If the time ever came for us to use them in retaliation, the whole world would probably already be so damaged from the fallout originating from the bombs used on us it probably wouldn't matter. Obviously that's something for nuclear physicists to determine, but in the end nukes are more of a bargaining chip than anything else.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-15-07 05:38 AM
Response to Original message
67. Never should they have been used, before in history nor in the future
we were well on our way to having some semblance of sanity concerning the use of nuclear weapons until the little man and dick came along. Now all bets are off the table
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maine_raptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-15-07 06:02 AM
Response to Reply #67
68. Unfortunately, madokie, the path toward sanity was between the big boys
Russia and the US.

Prior to Big Dick and his sidekick Smirk, the nuke madness was alive and well elsewhere (India and Pakistan).

God, I hope they are never used again. But should they be, then let us hope that it is VERY limited (one or two small devices) and that the resultant horror displayed before mankind via the modern media is enough to wake humanity up.

Once we learned how to control simple fire, let's pray that we re-learn that ancient wisdom in time.
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