I agree that it is very important to take steps to reduce our vulnerability to weapons of mass distruction; but they have to be the right steps. I think that some of the steps that we're taking are counterproductive, and only play in to the propaganda of those who would wish to turn people against us.
The effort to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction must be a multi-national effort. I fear that Bush's "my way or the highway" strategy may turn potential allies in this effort against us.
Particularly stupid is the "missile shield," and Bush's violation of the ABM treaty. One doesn't need an ICBM to deliver an a-bomb to the US, and the CIA has said that an ICBM is among the least likely delivery vehicles of an a-bomb from a third-world country to the US. A truck, like those used to ship tons of drugs in to this country, is much easier to use and doesn't give away its source.
You read what you wish into what I said - you have not read a full record what Lemay had to say at the time - only a third hand qoute. I have read his actual words!!!!!
I DID NOT CITE the opinions of any historians - I simply gave examples of three sources - incidentally they don't all three agree 100% - and suggested further research into a plethora of historians to be found a local library.
Casualty estimates ARE RELEVANT to any military decision, else we would criticize the people making the decision for not practicing due professional diligence. You may wish to assume they are not 'meaningful' to support the opinion you garnered from a college student's web site but that is an issue with your logic.
If you keep up with the news - there is a distinct possibility that Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, N. Korea and China could attack the US with weapons of mass destruction either in the near future or within a decade or two. To paraphrase you, I hope the history lesson we don't forget is from WWII - to fight the forces against us with whatever it appears at the moment to be necessary to win hands down and absolutely minimize AMERICAN and FREE WORLD casualties. The choice could be to do that or die, and it does not leave much room for armchair philosophizing. Listen to some of our dedicated highly professional senior people in the military/intelligence/national security arena and it will be an eye opener.
I've enjoyed our conversation; but I'm getting a bit tired of it, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you're getting a bit tired of it as well. I don't think that we're getting anywhere, and we seem to be repeating ourselves a bit. You're not going to change my mind, and I'm not going to change yours.
Here's my last objection -- it appears that you mistake the military leaders following Truman's order to use the a-bomb with their agreeing with Truman's decision. They were all good soldiers. They followed orders. Lemay ordered the bomb to be dropped because he was ordered to do so, not because he agreed with the decision. I'm sure that if you asked anyone in the military --and perhaps you were in the military yourself-- they'll tell you that at some time they had to follow an order that they thought was unwise.
You cite the opinions of a few historians; but I linked to quotes from the men themselves. You can argue all you want about which historian has the best interpretation of the historical record; but what I quoted was the commanders' thoughts in their own words, and it's pretty tricky to get around that.
You still bring up theoretical casualties from the land invasion, which, I repeat, are irrelevant since an invasion wouldn't have been necessary even if the a-bomb wasn't dropped, according to several quotes that were on the linked page. If you think that any of the quotes are fake, the page has footnotes that you can verify.
Again, while I enjoyed our debate, I believe we are both getting bored. I bet that many other people on the board, with far less interest in history, are even more bored than we are. It is commendible that you have so much interest in history. It's a shame that most of your countrymen haven't one tenth your interest in history.
Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it.
Disagree on "most" military leaders - the most senior such voiced NO opposition to Truman when they met to discuss it immediately prior to his decision. Disagree on Lemay - he was the commander who dropped it. He may have wished to not use a weapon of huge destruction, indeed he was dismayed at it's power, but he did not oppose it - instead he ordered Col. Tibbets and Maj. Sweeney to drop them.
I did not say MacArthur and Ike did not express dismay about the horrible destructive power of the bomb - they both did - just a counterpoint that they both later contemplated it's use - so they could not have been as concerned about the bomb as you say. I not that you included no reference to thier opinions on the probably casualties in the projected land battles in Japan - that would put their opinions in balance.
On casualties - Okinawa was similar terrain and conditions to the mainland of Japan and would have involved similary fighting. In that battle 12,000 Americans were killed and 240,000 Japanese killed. Projecting the probable numbers of troops, degree of resistance and tactics, the land battle alone in Japan was expected to produce 48,000 to 60,000 American deaths and 840,000 to 1,200,000 deaths. Those are highly professional estimates of military deaths alone, based on the most current experience then available, and do not include civlians either as combatants or unintended deaths. Weigh that against the death toll at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (estimates range up to 200 - 240,000) and one can see that the atomic bomb was justified. Indeed, the aerial bombardment survey done after the war showed that the firebombing practiced prior to the two atomic bombs was vastly more destructive and deadly - and would have caused countless more deaths if the bombs had not been dropped and the fire bombing had continued.
I will give you a couple of examples of historians and serious researchers who spent years studying ALL the record and writing extensively on it - not just a few simple quotes on a web site.
Samuel Eliot Morrison - Official Naval Historian of WWII. Author of the The Official History Of The US Navy In WWII and Two Ocean War, The US Navy in WWII. Edwin P. Hoyt, widely published historian and military writer. Another is a British journalist and historian whose name I cannot recall. Since I still have not unpacked my library from a move, I don't have the name at hand. If you are serious about balanced and objective examination of all viewpoints, I suggest you visit a major library and do some extended research.
To do so, you will have to read some of the "credible historians" that you apparently dismiss apparently in preference to list of supposed quotes on a college web site - by someone named Doug Long or something like that.
One can have reasonable doubts that he is a credible historian and that he has the same preconceived opinions as you.
Please read, look and think before you write off our country as "immoral". I agree that war is not "moral", neither a nuclear warhead nor a bullet from a M16 is "moral" - but like a householder who has been invaded by thieves or rapists - strictly "moral" choices do not present themselves in a righteous war of self defense. One simply, and hurriedly, picks the apparent lesser evils. That is what Harry Truman did.
You're obviously very well read and intellegent. However, not all of the statements were AFTER THE FACT. Most senior military leaders who knew that a decision was being made were against the use of the bomb, saying that it could not be justified as a military action. Even Curtis Lemay (remember "Bombs away with Lemay"?) was against it. It was civilians, such as the President and the Sec. of War, who were in favor of the bomb, and they used it to make a political point.
You say that MacArthur and Eisenhower used the threat of an atomic attack against the Soviets, and MacArthur was in favor of using the bomb in the Korean War. I heard the same thing and agree with you. However, their being in favor of atomic attack on a DIFFERENT occasion does not prove that they were in favor of it in the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Just because someone is in favor of a particular use of force on ONE occasion doesn't mean they are in favor of it on ALL occasions. Being in favor of an atomic attack in the Korean War doesn't mean that the same person is in favor of atomic attack in WW2 against Japan.
Also, you advise me to see what "credible historians" have to say. Could you give me a few examples of these historians. I suspect that the people you refer to as "credible historians" are historians who have many of the same opinions as you do, at least on matters that you consider important.
Same problem - the source you cite is apparently one person or one group's web site at a university. Even if all these quotes were valid and quoted in fully accurate context, they were made AFTER THE FACT by people who were largely uninvolved in the decision, and do not reflect the thinking of the decision makers at the time who had the full strategic assessment.
Certainly, MacArthur and Eisenhower might have been concerned about the awful destructive power - yet Mac wanted to consider using the bomb to fight the Red Chinese in Korea, and Eisenhower reportedly threatened in secret to use atomic weapons to force the Communists back to the peace table.
Few if any of the people quoted on the web site were in the decision making process. Before you assume that our country was guilty of unncessary mass murder on a horrible scale I think that you should take another look at what credible historians have to say on the matter - and without applying that keen hindsight.
I appreciate you keeping this debate on an objective level, and not getting personal. It is a pleasure to deal with someone who values logic over vitriol.
Having said that, you're wrong about Nimitz being in favor of bombing Hiroshima. Please see the following link . . .