Espiner on nukes

April 14th, 2010 at 6:09 am by David Farrar

Colin Espiner blogs:

New Zealand is, according to Key, happy to lend its credentials in support of Obama’s bid to stop nuclear arms from falling into the hands of terrorists.

It’s possibly a bit late for that, and possibly a little hypocritical, given that the US is the only country in the world ever to have used nuclear weapons against other people.

Ummm. Is Colin really equating the US use of nuclear weapons to force a Japanese surrender in WWII, to terrorists using nukes?

If not, then what is the hypocrisy?

Which brings me to my question. What was Sir Geoffrey Palmer doing at the weekend, calling for US navy ships to be allowed back into New Zealand ports? Can we really have our anti-nuclear cake and eat it, too?

The part of me that always felt proud at our nuclear-free stance and the speech David Lange delivered so beautifully all those years ago to the Oxford Union (you remember, the one about “uranium on the breath”) blanched at Sir G’s suggestion.

I don’t see why. Sir Geoffrey was not advocating a change in the law.

So was Sir Geoffrey right after all? As one of the architects of the legislation, it was a big call for him to say it’s time to let bygones be bygones.

But I suspect that such a policy change would be difficult to implement without changing the nuclear free law. For us to accept ship visits we would need to ascertain that they were nuclear-free and to do that they would need to tell us – and I’m pretty sure they never will.

No they do not need to tell us. Section 9(2) of the Act states:

The Prime Minister may only grant approval for the entry into the internal waters of New Zealand by foreign warships if the Prime Minister is satisfied that the warships will not be carrying any nuclear explosive device upon their entry into the internal waters of New Zealand.

That does not mean the PM has to ask about a specific ship. General statements that no surface ships currently carry nuclear weapons can be deemed sufficient to satisfy the PM.

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84 Responses to “Espiner on nukes”

  1. Viking2 (10,695 comments) says:

    http://media.nzherald.co.nz/webcontent/image/gif/140410toon.gif

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  2. slightlyrighty (2,448 comments) says:

    To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men”, Who were we to enjoy the security that the US provided, yet question the manner in which it was provided?

    That may well have been true when nuclear weapons were the sole purview of nations who, although politically opposed, were rational, at least by their own standards. The world has changed. We now have Nuclear weapons in regions that are giving us all concerns. When India and Pakistan both developed nukes, the world took notice. With Al Queda activity in that region, there is understandable concern.

    The timeline over the last 27 years has proved that the NZ line on Nukes is the desired one, and we have since moved from political pariah to model nation. We were right to question the manner in which security was provided, and the ability to have alliances with nuclear armed nations who understand and laud our position on Nukes, to the point of echoing it’s objectives, and respecting our stand, is extremely satisfying.

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  3. Matt Long (88 comments) says:

    Lange’s Oxford speech is still the most cringeworthy utterence by a Prime Minister of this country I have heard, the guy was a total buffoon.

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  4. tvb (3,937 comments) says:

    Lange thought he could make progress in foreign affairs by playing the smart alec including placing a coin in the hat of a senior British Military Officer. He did great damage to our interests, though we thought it was funny at the time. Under a new President who wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons our stance gives us moral authority. It would be a disaster if a terrorist group got nuclear weapons, they simply do not care and want to wantingly destroy everybody. At least the Russians were rational to deal with on these matters.

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  5. dime (8,746 comments) says:

    Matt – i agree. its been built up for years by our sad little media.

    uranium on the breath? how old was he at the time? 14?

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  6. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Would Espiner have been happier is the war had been allowed to continue in a coventional manner with 200,000 casualties each week?

    Would he have been happier to allow the fire bombing of Japanses cities to continue which was more destructive and cots more lives than the nukes?

    Would he have been happier if the Allies had invaded and taken (as well as inflicting) massive casualties on the Japanese main islands?

    Would he have been happier to allow the Japanese to continue to operate their biological warfare against the Chinese population on mainland China at the cost of well over a million lives?

    It’s evident that Espiner would have required a lot of deaths and untold destruction to acieve his version of moral acceptability. He’s actually a lot happier making a snering little acid comment about hypocracy from the position of being a completely ignorant tosser anyway.

    He’s a jouranlist (and not a good one) not an historian. He actually knows very little excpet how to tell other people what to think. If he wants to editorialise he should do so under that label, not present his opinions as news.

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  7. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    @ Murray Pretty sure that’s all bad. What SHOULD have happened is the west should have mounted an extensive bumper sticker and letter writing campaign to deter the agression of Germany and Japan. Faced with such passive (and pacifist) resistance they both would soon have crumbled and the world would be a much better place, particularly if that nice “Uncle Joe” Stalin got to spread the workers’ paradise around the world.

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  8. Inventory2 (9,788 comments) says:

    It’s interesting that Obama was saying today that the biggest threat the world faces is nuclear weapons, when in Copenhagen in December, the biggest threat to the world was climate change …

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  9. Paulus (2,291 comments) says:

    Agree with Matt Long – Lange was a fat buffoon.

    Having met him several times “business socially” he only proved that:-

    A. he could eat, as waitresses would follow him around, and

    B. his non stop, often exuding rude comments, mouth kept him awake.

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  10. CJD (334 comments) says:

    “Is Colin really equating the US use of nuclear weapons to force a Japanese surrender in WWII”-This has always struck me as a nonsense arguement. The Japanese had all but exhausted their offensive capability at this point. They could have been blockaded into submission. The point is that a white nation had no problem with testing their new toys on a nation they considered racially inferior. The plot thickens when one realises that they tested both a fusion and fission bomb in the two separate drops.

    [DPF: Blockaded into submission. Yeah Right. And as for thinking a race is inferior - those views were held by the Axis, not the Allies]

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  11. dime (8,746 comments) says:

    blockaded into submission? BAHAHAHAHA

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  12. metcalph (1,292 comments) says:

    CJD,

    How many civilian lives do you think a blockade could have caused?

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  13. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    Ever since as a kid my father showed my photos of Hiroshima that he took while on J-Force I have been horrified by the destructive power. It was terrible for the collaterally damaged, and seemed an unfortunate couple of experiments. But looking back, it would have happened somewhere, sometime anyway, I guess that was as “good” a time and place for it to happen, right from the start the dangers of escalation were obvious so have almost certainly been a deterrent to major conflict.

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  14. gravedodger (1,426 comments) says:

    Underthe influence of a succession of politicians and educators we now have in our midst a very large number of citizens who have come to believe in a pacifist philosophy that denies the lessons of history and the progress of the democratic peoples. I don’t see an early or even possible return to a realistic protection of our way of life in the face of a growing number of people world wide who are pursuing a path to domination aided to a large degree by the aforementioned pacific philosophy.
    At the very least I wish some party or other political grouping would attempt to part our well ingrained opposition to nuclear weapons(of which I am not one) from the enormous potential to embrace nuclear technology for our economic survival.
    The water melon greens and others among us whose very reason for existence is predicated on an irrational opposition or is it hatred of every thing American. This is openly supported by the media continuing to trumpet NZ’s “nuclear free status”, when the facts are very different as we are using nuclear technology to sterilize things, isotopes in medical research and treatment leaving us not even close to” nuclear free” and if those who are wedded to the theory, that we are going to hell in a handcart, are ever going to be pragmatic about climate change and resource depletion, then we must start to set the agenda of at least a “pebblebed reactor” ideally somewhere near our main population center and separate that fact from the philosophical opposition to military strength based on nuclear weapons.
    Let us at least call our attitude to things nuclear as a position of “nuclear weapons free”, which IMHO is our current status.

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  15. CJD (334 comments) says:

    Dime and metcalph (sounds like an orthopadic problem mate!)-maybe you could have phoned Superman to do it. There is an alternative reality to the American official history book you know! The Americans actually attempted blockade prior to and actually precipitated Pearl Harbour.

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  16. david (2,482 comments) says:

    dime, please don’t reinforce the myth that the “uranium on your breath” comment was the product of Lange’s somewhat limited intellect.

    It was the creation of one of his speechwriters on the plane trip over. As such it was scripted and planned. The only input Lange had was in the delivery.

    gravedodger, agree wholeheartedly. My contempt for the Greens was expanded yesterday when Locke whinged that police taking photos of demonstrators was bullying and intimidatory and was contrary to the human right to demonstrate without interference. IMHO they lost that right when they got violent, destroyed property and ruined years of research.

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  17. metcalph (1,292 comments) says:

    CJD,

    The yanks actually imposed oil sanctions, not a blockade, against Japan before Pear Harbour. Sanctions are peaceful measures, blockades are about sinking ships.

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  18. metcalph (1,292 comments) says:

    Oh, CJD,

    Once again how many civilian lives do you think would have been lost as a result of a blockade?

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  19. Fletch (5,716 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg, your post made me think that at least we have our three Waihopai activists to lead the charge if any offensive force dares approach our little island. I can actually picture them, standing on the beach, grizzled beards and wearing capes (made out of old bath towels) flying in the wind, threatening to puncture the enemy boats with pruning shears.
    Very quixotic.

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  20. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    # metcalph (453) Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Oh, CJD,

    Once again how many civilian lives do you think would have been lost as a result of a blockade?

    Depends on the length and nature of the blockade.

    I didn’t think that a blockade would have been an answer. But did you have to drop nuclear weapons in the middle of two cities and indiscriminately killing tens of thousands of civilians and wounding far more.

    How would such an act be viewed if it happened today?
    Would it not qualify as terrorism (the indiscriminate killing of civilians in order to force a government in submission)?

    WWII could not be fought today the way it was fought.

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  21. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    “The point is that a white nation had no problem with testing their new toys on a nation they considered racially inferior.”

    Yeah because of the sensitive way all those Germans died in firestorms created by “conventional” bombing. There is nothing inherently good or bad about the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan any more than there is in the “Fat Boys” and incenderies dropped. This hysteria about anything nuclear is part holdover from when we all thought we might die in the nuclear winter and part current green nonsense.

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  22. slightlyrighty (2,448 comments) says:

    CJD obviously looks at hsitory from a certain viewpoint. The idea that Japan could have been blockaded into submission is laughable given the fact that it was sanctions that caused it to take aggressive action in the first instance.

    The exhaustion of the offensive capability of the Japanese military fails to take into account the defensive actions that would have been taken should a land assault have been determined as necessary. Given the defensive actions of the Japanese on many of the islands of the pacific, particulary Saipan, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, and the probable extrapolation of those tactics to a battlefront on the home islands, with the population base therein, the carnage would have been terrible.

    To that end, a blockade was actually considered by the US, but deemed to be unlikely to succeed due to the atmosphere of militant nationalism prevalent in Japan at that time. It was determined that victory in Japan was to be gained on 2 fronts. One being a military victory, and the other into the feild of ideas, which would require occupation and rebuilding on liberal democratic lines.

    While it may be difficult to rationalise as such, that atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while devastating to their inhabitants, may well have been a more humane option than a conventional endgame invoving ground assaults against a militant nationalist regime with a large indoctrinated population to draw upon.

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  23. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    CJD you are absoutly wrong. The Japanese were not exhusted. They had a massive army on mainland China along with an entirely functional air force. Allied naval forces were taking an increased level of damage in operations at this stage.

    The Japanese military had not the sligtest intention of surendering even AFTER the two bombings. Have you actually made the slightest effort to undertake any study of the events or are you just mouthing pop culture assumptions? If you are cliaiming actual study then you are looking at a D-.

    What is your opinion of the Japanese being “exhusted” supported by the military coups to prevent a surender after Nagasaki?

    We also imposed sanctions, sanctions of war materials. And blockades are about stopping transit of the materials, not sinking ships. The war materials were sancations were in an effort to interfer with the Japanese invasion of China which began in the 20′s. You may have missed it but it was in all the papers and considered to be reasonably significant.

    The discussion about the bombing of Japan with nukes would be a lot more simple if the informationally crippled were given a good solid oportunity to keep their 21st coloured perspectives to themselves. Unfortunately we have freedom and democracy so everyone is free to talk utter shit and being given airspace.

    And finally, do you speak Japanese?

    You’re welcome.

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  24. dime (8,746 comments) says:

    david – i dont mind lange.. first term lange anyway :) it was just such a piss weak comment that has achieved legendary status for no reason.

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  25. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    “But did you have to drop nuclear weapons in the middle of two cities and indiscriminately killing tens of thousands of civilians and wounding far more.”

    Yep. There was no surrender after the first one. The actual casualties (then and later) were pretty modest in comparison to either the genocide conducted by the Japanese in China (in particular) or the deaths caused by conventional bombing in Japan.

    There was nothing “indiscriminate” about the killing. They were pretty sure most of the civilians in both cities were going to die. That was kind of the point, neither city had much military or industrial value at that time.

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  26. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    Yep. There was no surrender after the first one. The actual casualties (then and later) were pretty modest in comparison to either the genocide conducted by the Japanese in China (in particular) or the deaths caused by conventional bombing in Japan.

    I don’t think any of the attrocities that the Japanese committed on the mainland were part of the consideration of dropping the domb.

    And anyway, how does committing one atrocity justify the other?

    There was nothing “indiscriminate” about the killing. They were pretty sure most of the civilians in both cities were going to die. That was kind of the point, neither city had much military or industrial value at that time.

    So we are in agreement that they were targeting civilians deliberately? And you find that is acceptable?
    How does that differ from today’s (and the emphasis is on today’s) definition of terrorism?

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  27. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    The discussion about the bombing of Japan with nukes would be a lot more simple if the informationally crippled were given a good solid oportunity to keep their 21st coloured perspectives to themselves. Unfortunately we have freedom and democracy so everyone is free to talk utter shit and being given airspace.

    Why is it a problem to view the events of WWII (or any other historical event) from today’s point of view?
    And why is it unfortunate that we have the freedom to do so?

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  28. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    I youst to worry about nukes.. but when the world had enough nukes to destroy the world manytimes over.. I stopped worring…

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  29. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    “So we are in agreement that they were targeting civilians deliberately? And you find that is acceptable?”

    I wasn’t even alive. I hadn’t just fought a brutal war for the survival of civilisation for nearly 6 years. I hadn’t been sending young bomber crews to their deaths night after night day after day.

    I don’t think that sitting at my computer 65 years after the events makes me smarter or morally superior to those who made the decisions they did at the time any more than I am about to judge Henry for the massacre of French prisoners at Agincourt.

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  30. CJD (334 comments) says:

    Dōmo arigatō Murray!! Don’t know what history books you read but by the time the bomb were dropped the Japanese were mobilising civilians armed with broomsticks. I am not intrinsically anti-Nuke at all and you are right “Unfortunately we have freedom and democracy so everyone is free to talk utter shit and being given airspace” even you! And thank for comming to my support on blockades-I didn’t say “blockades are about stopping transit of the materials, not sinking ships,” Metcalph did. Eszett is right in this-it was an act of terrorism, and terrorism is easy to justify if you can categorise a nation as inferior or “infidels” for that matter.

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  31. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    Targeting civilians and civilian targets was standard in WWII.

    The first raid using low-flying B-29s carrying incendiary bombs to drop on Tokyo was on the night of 24–25 February 1945 when 174 B-29s destroyed around one square mile (3 km²) of the city. Changing their tactics to expand the coverage and increase the damage, 335 B-29s took off to raid on the night of 9–10 March, with 279 of them dropping around 1,700 tons of bombs. Approximately 16 square miles (41 km²) of the city were destroyed and some 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the resulting firestorm, more than the immediate deaths of either the Hiroshima or Nagasaki atomic bombs.

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

    And:

    The Bombing of Dresden was a military bombing between 13 February and 15 February 1945. In four raids, 1,300 heavy bombers dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. The resulting firestorm destroyed 39 square kilometres (15 sq mi) of the city centre.

    Exact figures are difficult to ascertain. Estimates are complicated by the fact that the city and surrounding suburbs, which had a population of 642,000 in 1939, was crowded at the time of the bombing with up to 200,000 refugees, and thousands of wounded soldiers. Earlier reputable estimates of casualties varied from 25,000 to more than 60,000, but historians now view around 25,000–35,000 as the likely range.

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

    And:

    Between 1939 and 1942 the policy of bombing only targets of direct military significance was gradually abandoned in favour of a policy of “area bombing” – the large-scale bombing of German cities in order to destroy housing and civilian infrastructure. Although killing German civilians was never explicitly adopted as a policy, it was obvious that area bombing must lead to large-scale civilian casualties

    These raids caused immense devastation and loss of life in Berlin. The 22 November 1943 raid killed 2,000 Berliners and rendered 175,000 homeless. The following night 1,000 were killed and 100,000 made homeless. During December and January regular raids killed hundreds of people each night and rendered between 20,000 and 80,000 homeless each time. Overall nearly 4,000 were killed, 10,000 injured and 450,000 made homeless.

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

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  32. david (2,482 comments) says:

    CJD, which part of “WAR” do you not understand?

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  33. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    @ Pete George I love the way your examples simply show (or purport to show, your source is wikipedia) Allied bombing. I think the point you are trying for is “Targeting civilians and civilian targets BY THE ALLIES was standard in WWII.”

    You didnt notice the deliberate targetting of civilian areas by the Germans for instance?

    The main objection I have to the bombing of Germany (and Japan to a lesser extent) was it was a very inefficient use of resources.

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  34. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    Churchill, in a memo sent by telegram on 28 March 1945 to General Ismay for the British Chiefs of Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff:

    It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land… The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. I am of the opinion that military objectives must henceforward be more strictly studied in our own interests than that of the enemy.

    The Foreign Secretary has spoken to me on this subject, and I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.

    Bombings like these, and Hiroshima/Nagasaki, seem to have woken military and political leaders to the modern destructive capability, and they mostly realised that tactics had to change for the better.

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  35. CJD (334 comments) says:

    David what part of “The point is that a white nation had no problem with testing their new toys on a nation they considered racially inferior. The plot thickens when one realises that they tested both a fusion and fission bomb in the two separate drops” don’t YOU understand??

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  36. Jack5 (4,211 comments) says:

    More flaky thinking from Espiner. The Espiner boys float on the surface of debates.

    If America hadn’t used its nuclear bomb, perhaps 5000 NZ men might have died in their part in the bloody, resisted invasion of Japan if the tenacious defence of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, both Japanese inhabited, are any indication. The Americans would not have carried the entire bloody weight of a final battle for Japan.

    Whether a demonstration of the A-bomb’s potential, rather than its actual use, would have induced Japan’s surrender is an interesting point.

    And were Hiroshima and Nagasaki any worse than the non-nuclear fire-bombing of Tokyo or the devastating British bombing raids on Hamburg? I think not.

    The self-righteousness of fellow New Zealanders who campaigned against nuclear weapons is sickening. They basically campaigned against the West being armed with nuclear weapons, not against Russian and Chinese nuclear weapons as well. Western communists and the Soviet government were active in stimulating anti-nuclear movements.

    Add hypocrisy to that NZ self-righteousness. The blind prejudice against nuclear-powered ships, as opposed to nuclear-weapons carrying ones has been ludicrous. There is no danger from nuclear powered ships.

    WHen NZ Lefties like Red Keith Locke lined up with AUstralians eyeing offshore gas to lead to NZ participation in the East Timor adventure, they happily turned a blind eye to the fact that the adventure was feasible only because of the threatening presence of a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier in the region. Similarly, the leftists will welcome a nuclear-powered US carrier if an earthquake devastates Auckland or Wellington. Such a giant nuclear-powered vessel could provide electricity until basic services are repaired.

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  37. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg, of course the Germans and Japanese caused extensive damage and deaths as well. What is different with them is their mindset stopped in 1945 as they were defeated and became occupied. Current thinking on civilian casualties (from our perspective) is based on British and US military evolution. The US learnt a lot in Vietnam – carpet bombing didn’t succeed. Opponents have changed tactics to combat the Might approach.

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  38. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    I think the west could navel-gaze far more than it does about the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombs, not to mention some of the conventional bombing of places like Tokyo & Dresden.

    Generally most people in my experience try to shut down the asking of these kinds of questions, on the basis that:

    [1] Japan was an enemy nation, therefore it was clearly ok to kill their civilians.

    [2] The Nazi mass-murder of Jews, gypsies etc killed over 6 million civilians, the atomic bombs “only” burned up about 100,000 civilians each, and 6,000,000 > 200,000 therefore it is inappropriate to ever discuss the rights and wrongs of the atomic bombing.

    [3] Without the atomic bombing, it would have been necessary to mount a land-based invasion of Japan, and this would have led to significant casualties on both sides, therefore the atomic bombing was clearly an acceptable alternative.

    Number [3] has merit but needs detailed discussion. [1] and [2] are not satisfactory reasons to stifle discussion IMHO. And yet the discussion is stifled again and again…

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  39. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    I don’t think that sitting at my computer 65 years after the events makes me smarter or morally superior to those who made the decisions they did at the time any more than I am about to judge Henry for the massacre of French prisoners at Agincourt.

    I don’t claim any moral superiority. And just to be clear, I don’t claim that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of terrorism. What I am saying that with today’s view you could reach that conclusion

    You are quite right to say that it is easy to make judgement 65 years later with the benefit of time and hindsight.

    You have to judge events with both, the morals of that time and today.

    The morals have changed in the last 65 years, especially on what is acceptable in warfare.
    In today’s world a Hiroshima or Nagasaki would not be possible. Neither a Dresden or Tokyo.

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  40. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    “In today’s world a Hiroshima or Nagasaki would not be possible. Neither a Dresden or Tokyo.”

    Sure it would. If Iran thought they’d get away with it they’s nuke Tel Aviv tomorrow. This Kim or the next might well try the same thing on the Korean peninsular. But apparently per RRM only the west needs to learn from the bombings.

    I’m just glad that “we” won.

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  41. slightlyrighty (2,448 comments) says:

    Actually, RRM, while Japan was considered “the enemy”, Most discussion in the US, and among the allies was not about how to destroy Japan, but how to remove the militant nationalism from Japanese politics. Sure there was an element of anti Japanese sentiment in certain circles but at the highest levels, actions were taken with the benefit of the Japanese People in mind.

    This statement is very hard to reconcile with dropping a couple of nukes, but the final result is not.

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  42. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    [Kiwigreg]: But apparently per RRM only the west needs to learn from the bombings. [/quote]

    Don’t be a dick. I can’t speak for Korean or Iranian elements and neither can you. However WE can ponder these events, or not.

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  43. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    As the Churchill quote indicates, the Allies came to realise: “Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land”.

    The British and US occupations showed that they wanted the occupied countries to recover and prosper, and they succeeded. The Russians didn’t do so well – actually, they did poorly.

    Extremists like some Muslim groups are different, they seem to have destruction as a goal. That’s why it is important they don’t get control of any nukes.

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  44. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    Japanese Home Islands were already invaded by the Soviets, they utterly crushed the Japanese in Manchuria, Korea, Sakhalin and Kuril islands so i tend to agree that the Nukes were used for political reasons.

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  45. niggly (779 comments) says:

    I’m amazed that Colin Espiner could either get it wrong (in advocating that Sir Geoffrey Palmer was advocating a law change, when in fact he wasn’t, Sir Geoffrey quite rightly said the US could send non-nuc powered and armed ships here eg sealift/troop carrying ships or the older Oliver Hazard Perry FFG7 Frigates etc, of which are not even “nuclear capable”, even under the CURRENT legislation).

    Was Colin being thick or obtuse or even disingenuous etc?

    Funnily enough over at Pundit, Tim Watkin said the same (mistaken) thing! Duh!

    Maybe that’s what happens when spotty teenagers (Colin and Tim) during the mid-80′s grow up to become journalists – they have no real understanding of the issue and simply have taken on the prevailing group think as they get older?

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  46. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    ^^^ Or maybe it’s because of the US “neither confirm nor deny” policy re nuclear armament/power on their ships, as discussed at length yesterday…?

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  47. dime (8,746 comments) says:

    “I don’t claim that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of terrorism. What I am saying that with today’s view you could reach that conclusion”

    how so?? it wasnt a group of militants operating inside japan.. it was fuckin japan!

    2 countries at war isnt terrorism imho.. its ummm 2 countries at war.

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  48. niggly (779 comments) says:

    RRM @ 12.02. Well remember both Colin (and Tim) are suggesting that Geoff Palmer was advocating a law change, when in fact he wasn’t! (Not so much the “neither confirm or deny” issue being the sticking point etc)!

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  49. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    If Iran thought they’d get away with it they’s nuke Tel Aviv tomorrow.

    So, following that logic, the US of 1945 is morally equivalent to Iran today?
    Iran dropping a nuke on Tel Aviv is the same as the US dropping it on Hiroshima?

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  50. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    # dime (1993) Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    “I don’t claim that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of terrorism. What I am saying that with today’s view you could reach that conclusion”

    how so?? it wasnt a group of militants operating inside japan.. it was fuckin japan!

    2 countries at war isnt terrorism imho.. its ummm 2 countries at war.

    The deliberate instantaneous killing of tens of thousands of civilians in order to achieve surrender of country would today be considered an act of terrorism, wouldn’t you agree?

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  51. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Nukes saved the west… Now it is the curse of the west.

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  52. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    CJD: “The plot thickens when one realises that they tested both a fusion and fission bomb in the two separate drops”

    They were both fission bombs.

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  53. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    The reason usually given to justify the use of nukes was that Japan would not have surrendered without allied troops invading and then fighting their way to the Imperial Palace, an operation that it was estimated would have cost hundreds of thousands of allied lives, and likely over a million Japanese lives.

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  54. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    They were both fission bombs.

    Don’t let facts get in the way.

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  55. dime (8,746 comments) says:

    eszett – no. id call it victory.

    sure, it ensures terror… but so did the nazi blitzkrieg.

    say Iran’s military nuked new york and the order had been given by the iranian president. i think people would incorrectly call it terrorism. what it would be though is an act of war.

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  56. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    I think what the yanks and russkies are worried about is that an unidentified terrorist could blow up any one of their cities with a bomb the size of a biscuit tin… and they can’t identify or blow up a country in which to retaliate.. making their nuclear arsenals useless.

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  57. dime (8,746 comments) says:

    they can identify where the bomb came from after the fact.

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  58. GPT1 (2,042 comments) says:

    Revisionism at its worst talking about hypocracy because the US dropped the only nukes used. Let’s just remind ourselves a few things about WWII:
    1. It was the bloodiest war in the history of humankind
    2. It was the most barbaric and total war in human history – ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, rape, pillage, targeting of civilians, fire bombing, kamikazhe, starving of prisoners and civilians, slavery etc
    3. It was total war. Virtually every nation in the world was fighting in it or being threatened by it.

    And then the Japanese. The surprise attack was good tactics but dumb strategy. From that point on it was just a matter of time before Japan was defeated – they awoke the sleeping giant (remember isolationism and neutrality had been the US creed of the 30s), Japans expansion in the Pacific was as brutal as it was swift. It was a horrible, nasty, brutal war against a fanatical enemy that had no concept of surrender. Japan had not been defeated in a war for, like, ever (over a thousand years). Flattening its soldiers, its cities and its industries and starving its population didn’t lead to a surrender. Okinawa was particularly nasty – civilians throwing themselves off the cliffs to avoid the invaders and shame of defeat and the myth of the million (estimated million casualites to invade Japan itself – plus Japanese casualties) no doubt weighed heavily on commanders from Truman down.

    Dropping the nukes not only ended the most brutal war in history it allowed the Japanese Emperor to force a surrender on his generals and save his people.

    The nukes were just one more terrible highlight in a war that is difficult to imagine for its barbarity. Placing liberal 21st century journalistic values on a decision made on the tailend of a war that cost at least 40 million lives (around 100,000 died in each bomb blast for memory) is a bit rich.

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  59. GPT1 (2,042 comments) says:

    Btw – if you want to be silly about it our own frigates are nuclear capable. The VLS is capable of launching tomahawk which can carry a nuclear warhead (W-80?). About as logical as turning away the USS Buchanan because it had ASROC which could, possibly, have a nuclear warhead. In the technical sense.

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  60. CJD (334 comments) says:

    Andrew W is right, both bombs were fission reactions, however one was of a uranium-gun type (Hiroshima) and the other a plutonium implosion device (Nagasaki) which still begs the question whether the exercise was a big experiment using guinea pigs from what was considered an inferior culture at the time.

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  61. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Andrew W is right, both bombs were fission reactions, however one was of a uranium-gun type (Hiroshima) and the other a plutonium implosion device (Nagasaki) which still begs the question whether the exercise was a big experiment using guinea pigs from what was considered an inferior culture at the time.

    The experiments were during the Manhattan Project, in theatre action is not the time to conduct experiments and risk your most secret weapon falling into the hands of the enemy.

    If you want to know why the Yanks dropped the bombs instead of invading – have a look at the casualty rates of invading Iwo Jima and Okinawa – the later where the Japanese troops fought to the death in defense of their homeland, and allied troops took almost 10% KIA from an invasion force of over 180,000.
    Now imagine the invasion force required to invade and subdue the Japanese mainland, looking at 10% casualties – ask yourself: Was your grandad there? Would he have survived?

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  62. david (2,482 comments) says:

    FFS CJD, you really have named yourself well. The dvices you describe had been sufficiently tested so that Truman was sure they would work but don’t let facts and logic get in the way of a good story, especially when you can blame someone.

    By the time the bombs were dropped the frog had certainly been in the pot for a while but it was still quite a way short of boiling. I would posit that the bombs were actually a humane end to what would have become a period of further bitter war and suffering for many many more than actually perished as horrible as that was. An action for the greater good for the greater number.

    As a side effect of course, it also cemented the USA’s position post-war as the world’s policeman (and theer have been plenty of instances where that status was not handled as well as it might have been ) but the alternative would have been an incredibly unstable geopolitical situation and we can only guess at what might have been. What the US demonstrated was that not only did they have nukes but they were prepared to use them – a situation that brought peace except for a number of small geographically contained conventional conflicts.

    I have lived my life under the USA’s nuclear umbrella and am thankful for it. Logic however plays no part in the minds of terrorists, neither does morality or respect for life so trying to revise history is a fruiless exercise when the attention should be focussed on how to prevent OBL from letting off a dirty device (it doesnt need to be a nuke, just conventional explosives spreading radioactive material into a city’s atmosphere would do). The amount of fissionable material unaccounted for is frightening.

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  63. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    The amount of fissionable material unaccounted for is frightening.

    Yep, and the vast majority of that is in the hands (or not as it is unaccounted) of our good ruskie friends – the darlings of the peace movement!

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  64. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    FFS CJD, you really have named yourself well. The dvices you describe had been sufficiently tested so that Truman was sure they would work but don’t let facts and logic get in the way of a good story, especially when you can blame someone.

    By the time the bombs were dropped the frog had certainly been in the pot for a while but it was still quite a way short of boiling. I would posit that the bombs were actually a humane end to what would have become a period of further bitter war and suffering for many many more than actually perished as horrible as that was. An action for the greater good for the greater number

    Really? Why was it necessary to drop it over two cities? Right in the middle of them? As a demonstration of power, could it not have been used on some remote military facility?

    It is more likely that the military wanted to the bombs and the consequences.

    To call the instantaneous death of hundreds of thousands of civilians humane, well, I beg to differ on that.

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  65. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    “Why was it necessary to drop it over two cities? Right in the middle of them? As a demonstration of power, could it not have been used on some remote military facility?”

    I don’t doubt that such a course of action would have been seen as US weakness in the eyes of the Japanese leadership, the result would have been a prolonging of the war, I’ve heard it said that those 2 bombs were the entire US nuclear arsenal at that time, so if the bombs had been used for less than maximum effect, and Japan hadn’t surrendered, then what?

    Wars are something sane leaders don’t risk losing by being nice, and you should never sacrifice your own people to save your enemy.

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  66. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    I don’t think I can add much to this debate other than to say that sometimes the media need to realize that being in the media does not automatically confer knowledge of a subject, you people need to perform research to be able to comment intelligently on a subject. Espiner’s article is a case in point

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  67. metcalph (1,292 comments) says:

    To call the instantaneous death of hundreds of thousands of civilians humane, well, I beg to differ on that.

    Whereas the slow death of hundreds of thousands more from starvation and disease resulting from a blockade is a more humane solution?

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  68. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    What annoys me about Don Brash losing in 2005 the most is that we lost the last opportunity to get rid of that utterly retarded, utterly irrational, utterly childish anti-nuke policy. Now Barky, who was wrong on the nuclear freeze in the 1980s and wrong about nuclear disarmament now, is crawling over it, and the smug tosser left will now be even more smug helping to internationally legitimise a policy that is totally wrong.

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  69. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    And eszett the twat and RRM the quart-wit reminds me why I hate the left so very, very much.

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  70. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    # Hurf Durf (1457) Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    And eszett the twat and RRM the quart-wit reminds me why I hate the left so very, very much.

    They can hold an intelligent debate where you are unable participate?

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  71. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Stuart Mackey@6:42 pm
    **I don’t think I can add much to this debate other than to say that sometimes the media need to realize that being in the media does not automatically confer knowledge of a subject, you people need to perform research to be able to comment intelligently on a subject. Espiner’s article is a case in point**

    And the lame BSA will back them up be saying they are only their opinions not fact.

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  72. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    # metcalph (454) Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    To call the instantaneous death of hundreds of thousands of civilians humane, well, I beg to differ on that.

    Whereas the slow death of hundreds of thousands more from starvation and disease resulting from a blockade is a more humane solution?

    I did not advocate a blockade, CJD did.

    However I do find it surprising that you cannot find anything concerning about the deliberate killing of civilians on such a scale.
    I don’t think the argument holds water that the Japanese would have been unimpressed if not a city had been hit, but a military facility.
    It’s hard, even today, not to be impressed by the devastation such a bomb can deliver

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  73. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    Hurf Durf (1457) Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    What annoys me about Don Brash losing in 2005 the most is that we lost the last opportunity to get rid of that utterly retarded, utterly irrational, utterly childish anti-nuke policy.

    You seem to have forgotten how quickly Don Brash pulled in his tail and retreated after the “gone by lunchtime” debacle.

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  74. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    His policy, even after the “backtrack,” was still superior to the leftist scumsucking DURP CLEEN N GWEEN shit.

    Very funny at the idea of your moral equivilence being intelligent, when most normal people would cast you aside as just another left-wing shitbag, but I digress. “I don’t think,” no you don’t, do you, twunt?

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  75. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    # Hurf Durf (1458) Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    His policy, even after the “backtrack,” was still superior to the leftist scumsucking DURP CLEEN N GWEEN shit.

    Very funny at the idea of your moral equivilence being intelligent, when most normal people would cast you aside as just another left-wing shitbag, but I digress. “I don’t think,” no you don’t, do you, twunt?

    Right! Your idea of intelligent debate is calling everyone you disagree with a shitbag. Nice!

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  76. niggly (779 comments) says:

    GPT1 @ 4.29.
    You bloody bewdy mate – that pretty much sums it up!

    Stuart @ 6.42.
    Nicely put too! Whilst I don’t want to be sounding harsh on Colin and Tim, after all I’m sure they are bloody nice guys etc, they both have this consistency to be somewhat misleading and biased at times (are they meant to be flippin’ journalists or partisan commentators expressing their personal opinions and beliefs)?

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  77. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    The problem, eszett, is the Luc Hansen effect: I can waste my whole evening demonstrating using facts and logic and not “well, maybe” and “the West is evil” that you are wrong but the fact is you aren’t going to read it and even if you did you’re still too thick to let it sink in. It’s much more fun and less time-consuming to spare myself the hassle and just call you a shitbag. Because, let’s face it, the only time I’d bother having anything to do with you people is if I was in the process of physically destroying you.

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  78. Crusader (225 comments) says:

    CJD said…

    The plot thickens when one realises that they tested both a fusion and fission bomb in the two separate drops.

    You obviously don’t know much about nuclear reactions.

    Both bombs dropped were fission devices.

    The fusion (hydrogen) bomb was invented in the early 1950′s.

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  79. Crusader (225 comments) says:

    OK, I have just read further down in the thread and someone else has already pointed this out to you.

    But to claim that the US was experimenting on people they thought were inferior is ludicrous. They were trying to win a war. As quickly as possible. Simple as that.
    The ultimate outcome was peace in short order, and a free and prosperous Japan (rather than one firebombed into the stone age with its people killed by the million in the following invasion).

    Fortunately the Americans were not naive enough to try the “demonstrate the device and blockade them” foolishness.

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  80. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    # Hurf Durf (1459) Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    The problem, eszett, is the Luc Hansen effect: I can waste my whole evening demonstrating using facts and logic and not “well, maybe” and “the West is evil” that you are wrong but the fact is you aren’t going to read it and even if you did you’re still too thick to let it sink in. It’s much more fun and less time-consuming to spare myself the hassle and just call you a shitbag. Because, let’s face it, the only time I’d bother having anything to do with you people is if I was in the process of physically destroying you.

    You obviously didn’t read my posts. Or just didn’t get it.
    Nowhere did I say “the west is evil” or anything like it.

    Again, nice arguments on your side. Name calling and threat of physical violence.
    Do you have anything of value to add here?

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  81. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Other than say you’re a knuckle-dragging lunatic, in case you’re in denial of it. I’m tired of dealing with the anti-nuke lot. Totally irrational. You’ve shown yourself just how backward and luddite your thinking is. David and Bevan at 5.15pm and 5.44pm have got it right, and as for your post right after theirs – absolute hilarity. Looks you would liked an invasion that would’ve killed tens of millions. Genius.

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  82. eszett (2,264 comments) says:

    # Hurf Durf (1460) Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Other than say you’re a knuckle-dragging lunatic, in case you’re in denial of it. I’m tired of dealing with the anti-nuke lot. Totally irrational. You’ve shown yourself just how backward and luddite your thinking is. David and Bevan at 5.15pm and 5.44pm have got it right, and as for your post right after theirs – absolute hilarity. Looks you would liked an invasion that would’ve killed tens of millions. Genius.

    Maybe you should learn to read before calling other people names.
    Nowhere did I say that I am anti-nuke. And nowhere did I state that I was for an invasion.
    And it’s not like you have added any kind of rational argument to the discussion, have you?

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  83. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    There, there, Ezzie Babe, just cos you got called out on your lunacy. Be patient and mummy will be there with your bottle soon.

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  84. Dazzaman (1,114 comments) says:

    So, following that logic, the US of 1945 is morally equivalent to Iran today?
    Iran dropping a nuke on Tel Aviv is the same as the US dropping it on Hiroshima?

    Spurious correlation eszett. Neither situation bears any real relationship other then the nuclear component.

    The deliberate instantaneous killing of tens of thousands of civilians in order to achieve surrender of country would today be considered an act of terrorism, wouldn’t you agree?

    Who knows? If you’re powerful enough to be able to do that, who’s going to argue with you? As far as WWII, it was WAR time…

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