Archive for the Nagasaki Category

Toxic fallout from US war produces record child birth defect rates in Iraq [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Depleted Uranium weapons, Genocide, Hiroshima, Iraq, Kuwait, Nagasaki, Pentagon, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on October 20, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
13 October 2014

In a report presented at the University of Michigan last Wednesday, “The epidemic of birth defects in Iraq and the duty of public health researchers,” Dr. Muhsin Al Sabbak, a gynecologist from Basra Maternity Hospital, and Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicology researcher, reviewed the ever-growing mountain of data showing that rates of cancer, child cancer and birth defects (BD) have reached historically unprecedented levels in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities since the 2003 US invasion.

The presenters argued that the extreme levels of pathological genetic anomalies in Iraqi cities, documented by numerous studies, are being generated by a hellish mixture of nano-particularized heavy metals and other toxins generated by the US military occupation and heavy bombardment of Iraqi cities.

Levels are now much higher than those recorded among survivors of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the presenters said, citing various studies conducted during the past decade…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/13/fall-o13.html

US plans to invest $1 trillion in nuclear weapons arsenal [World Socialist Website]

Posted in China, Encirclement of China, Hiroshima, Japan, Nagasaki, Nukes, Obama, Pentagon, Russia, Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, World War II on October 19, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Niles Williamson
23 September 2014

The New York Times reported on Monday that the Obama administration is planning to spend more than $1 trillion over the next three decades to significantly upgrade its nuclear weapons capability.

The front-page article, authored by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, serves a definite political purpose. It is a warning to Russia, China and any other country that may try to stand in the way of the American ruling class that the US military is preparing for nuclear war.

The Times writes: “With Russia on the warpath, China pressing its own territorial claims and Pakistan expanding its arsenal, the overall chances for Mr. Obama’s legacy of disarmament look increasingly dim, analysts say.”

The newspaper quotes Harvard Professor Gary Samore, Obama’s former chief nuclear weapons advisor and a stand-in for the administration itself: “The most fundamental game changer is Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That has made any measure to reduce the stockpile unilaterally politically impossible,” he told the Times .

While the Times article is couched in the language of defense, in relation to both Russia and China the US has played the role of aggressor. The US and its allies in Europe organized a right-wing coup in Ukraine that has been followed by a campaign of sanctions and war threats against Russia. And the Obama administration has been carrying out a “pivot to Asia,” asserting its control over the Asia-Pacific while encouraging the remilitarization of Japan…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/09/23/nucl-s23.html

“We used chemical weapons in Vietnam”: Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick explain how telling the untold history can change the world for the better [The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Afghanistan, Bill Clinton, El Salvador, Genocide, Hiroshima, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Nagasaki, Obama, Okinawa, Pentagon, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Vietnam, World War II on May 22, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Sep. 29, 2013

Joint Interview by The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and Shukan Kinyobi, Tokyo, August 11, 2013

Satoko Oka Norimatsu and Narusawa Muneo

The Japanese weekly Shukan Kinyobi and The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus jointly interviewed Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, co-authors of The Untold History of the United States, a 10-episode documentary series (broadcast on Showtime Network, 2012-13) and a companion book of the same name (Simon and Schuster, 2012), on August 11 in Tokyo. It was the 8th day of the duo’s 12-day tour of Japan, right after they visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki to participate in the 68th memorial of the atomic-bombing on August 6 and 9 respectively, and before they visited Okinawa, to witness the realities of the continuing US military base occupation and resistance to it. Stone and Kuznick, relaxed with a few late-afternoon drinks between two large public events in Hibiya, Tokyo, talked about the importance of learning and teaching history, the “thread of civilization” as a people’s “weapon of truth,” to defend against the power of the American empire, whose image has been molded on the continuing distortion of history and glorification of past wars. This applies to Japan and its government’s denial of aggression in its past wars, too. The interview ranges widely over their five years of collaboration on the Untold History.

Q. At the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War in 2012, Obama reflected on the war “with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor,” and initiated a 13-year program to “pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor.”[1] Why are the experiences of the Vietnam War being glorified now? Did the war not bring about disastrous outcomes, as you argue in your book?

Stone: There has certainly been a strong drift to the right both in the United States and now in Japan. The drift to the right started with Reagan, though some people would argue that it started with Nixon, and Johnson, after Kennedy was killed – you can argue that. The drift to the right accelerated under Reagan, and it was Reagan who was most aggressive in redefining the Vietnam War as, not a disgrace, but something to be proud of. He termed negativity toward the war as the “Vietnam syndrome,” which was quite strong, considering that only ten years before we had withdrawn from Vietnam and we were really lost. I think Reagan believed that he could revamp American society by giving it economic strength and historical purpose, as Abe is trying in Japan. You redefine the history, and you redefine the economy. Reagan starts it, and George H.W. Bush does it better. He is the one who suffered from the “wimp factor,” but after the Kuwait invasion in 1991 he announces that the “specter of Vietnam has been buried forever under the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula,”[2] and then this is backed by Clinton. So this is the tradition now. Obama recently made a statement on the 60th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War that “the war was no tie. Korea was a victory.”[3] He was praising the US military extravagantly.

So, this is a different kind of syndrome in the United States. No matter what history says, the military is worshipped. If you look at Obama’s statement on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, he does not really talk about the war when he says, “we reflect with solemn reverence, upon the valor of a generation that served with honor.” You can never question your soldiers’ valor. Many of the veterans who go to war want to feel that they served with honor, even if it was a losing cause or a bad cause. On the other hand, behind that is a revising of history where he is basically saying that the war in Vietnam was a noble cause. I think it was a lost cause; a bad cause. The battlefield of the future is the history. History, memory of history, and the correct memory of history is the slender thread of our civilization.

I know this in my heart, because if you think about it, in our own lives, previous lives, my life, your life, what do we have? Where are we right now? Every one of us has a history. We have loves, hates, affairs – we have gone through life and every single one of us has a say about history. Those people who remember history and have an awareness of themselves do better in life, generally speaking. They are able to evaluate themselves as they mature, they can change as I did, to evolve, if evolution comes from knowing who you are. So the very concept of denying your own past is lying at the greatest level. It goes to the heart of every individual and to the heart of a nation.

Kuznick: The Vietnam syndrome is very important. The attack on the Vietnam syndrome began as soon as the war ended. Gerald Ford during his presidency said, “We have to stop looking to the past; we have to look to the future.”[4] This was one week before the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the end of the Vietnam War. The process began from that point, to forget Vietnam, to wipe it from history – the causes of Vietnam, and the consequences of Vietnam. In 1980, Commentary, a leading neocon magazine, edited by Norman Podhoretz, devoted an issue to the Vietnam syndrome. Conservatives understood at that point that unless they could change the perception of the American people about the Vietnam War, they could not intervene capriciously in other countries and expand what had become an American empire. So they made a deliberate effort to change the narrative about the Vietnam War, because Vietnam had become for most Americans by that point a nightmare. Some people saw it as a mistake, as an aberration, but many of us understood it as an extremely ugly example of an interventionist American policy that had been playing out around the world for decades. So the right-wing made a systemic effort to cleanse history, because they knew that was essential to build the kind of empire that they wanted to attain, and, as Oliver says, Reagan pursued it most aggressively. But we saw it also with Carter. Carter starts his administration progressively, but by the end he had moved to the right and was talking about the nobility of the struggle in Vietnam. Reagan embraced it directly, as did Clinton who, in his student days, had actively opposed the war. If you look at what he says, it is the same as Ford, Reagan and everybody else: the nobility of the cause – the American troops were great, just because they fought and died, and you have to wave the flag for the American troops.

This was also essential for neocon proponents of “the new American century.” People behind George W. Bush again rewrote the history of Vietnam. Conservative obfuscation has been deliberate and systematic. Even in the naming. We refer to it in America as “the war in Vietnam.” We talk about “the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,” but we do not talk about the “American ‘invasion’ of Vietnam.” But that was what it was — a bloody invasion that began slowly and built up over the years, in which the United States used every kind of lethal power, except for the atomic bomb. We had free fire zones in which we were able to shoot and kill anything that moved. It was a war of atrocities. People say that the My Lai Massacre was an atrocity, but dismiss it as an aberration. But if you study the actual history, read Nick Turse’s recent book,[5] or look at Oliver’s movies, you see that Vietnam was a series of atrocities on a smaller scale. That is why the Vietnamese are surprised by the American focus on My Lai. They know that My Lais, though on a smaller scale, were occurring throughout the country with shocking regularity.

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC is powerful and moving. It has the names of all the 58,286 Americans who died in the war. The message is that the tragedy of Vietnam was the fact that 58,286 Americans died. That is indeed tragic. Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense 1961-68) came into my class and said he accepted the fact that 3.8 million Vietnamese died. The memorial does not have the names of 3.8 million Vietnamese or the hundreds of thousands of Laotians, Cambodians and others. The Okinawa war memorial tells a different story. It has the names of all the Okinawans, Japanese, Americans, and all the others who died in the Battle of Okinawa, and that makes a real statement about the horrors of war. The Vietnam memorial does not. If the 250 foot long Vietnam memorial wall contained all the names of the Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians, do you know how long it would be? Over four miles! What a statement that would make. But right now, there is a campaign to forget, and Obama participated in it when he welcomed the troops home from Iraq. Obama is the voice of the empire, and empire requires forgetting, cleansing, and wiping out the past about Vietnam, Iraq, Kuwait, Salvador, and even WWII. None of these stories have been told honestly and truthfully in the United States and that is why it is so important to fight over the correct interpretation of history; otherwise U.S. leaders are going to repeat the crimes and atrocities in much the same way that they got away with them in the past…

Excerpted; full article link: http://japanfocus.org/events/view/197

Bombs Bursting in Air: State and citizen responses to the US firebombing and Atomic bombing of Japan [The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus]

Posted in China, Corporate Media Critique, Depleted Uranium weapons, DPR Korea, DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Germany, Hiroshima, Historical myths of the US, Japan, Media cover-up, Nagasaki, Pentagon, Tokyo, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Vietnam, World War II on January 25, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 3, No. 4, January 20, 2013.

by Mark Selden

I US Firebombing and Atomic Bombing of Japan

This paper assesses and compares the impact and historical significance of the firebombing and atomic bombing of Japanese cities in the history of war and the history of disaster. Japan’s decision to surrender, pivoting on issues of firebombing and atomic bombing, Soviet entry into the war, and the origins of Soviet-American confrontation, is the most fiercely debated subject in twentieth century American global history. The surrender question, however, is addressed only in passing here. The focus is rather on the human and social consequences of the bombings, and their legacy in the history of warfare and historical memory in the long twentieth century. Part one provides an overview of the calculus that culminated in the final year of the war in a US strategy centered on the bombing of civilians and assesses its impact in shaping the global order. Part two examines the bombing in Japanese and American historical memory including history, literature, commemoration and education. What explains the power of the designation of the postwar as the atomic era while the area bombing of civilians by fire and napalm, which would so profoundly shape the future of warfare in general, American wars in particular, faded to virtual invisibility in Japanese, American and global consciousness?

World War II was a landmark in the development and deployment of technologies of mass destruction associated with air power, notably the B-29 bomber, napalm, fire bombing, and the atomic bomb. In Japan, the US air war reached peak intensity with area bombing and climaxed with the atomic bombing of Japanese cities between the night of March 9-10 and the August 15, 1945 surrender.

The strategic and ethical implications and human consequences of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have generated a vast, contentious literature. By contrast, the US destruction of more than sixty Japanese cities prior to Hiroshima has been slighted, at least until recently, both in the scholarly literatures in English and Japanese and in popular consciousness. It has been overshadowed by the atomic bombing and by heroic narratives of American conduct in the “Good War” that has been at the center of American national consciousness thereafter.2 Arguably, however, the central breakthroughs that would characterize the American way of war subsequently occurred in area bombing of noncombatants prior to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A.C. Grayling explains the different responses to firebombing and atomic bombing this way:

. . . the frisson of dread created by the thought of what atomic weaponry can do affects those who contemplate it more than those who actually suffer from it; for whether it is an atom bomb rather than tons of high explosives and incendiaries that does the damage, not a jot of suffering is added to its victims that the burned and buried, the dismembered and blinded, the dying and bereaved of Dresden or Hamburg did not feel.” 3

Grayling does, however, go on to note the different experiences of survivors of the two types of bombing, particularly as a result of radiation symptoms from the atomic bomb, with added dread in the case of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki hibakusha, not only for themselves but also for future generations.

If other nations, notably Germany, England and Japan led the way in area bombing during World War II, US targeting of entire cities with conventional weapons emerged in 1944-45 on a scale that quickly dwarfed all previous destruction. Targeting for the most part then and subsequently essentially defenseless populations, it was an approach that combined technological predominance with a priority on minimization of US casualties. This would become a hallmark of the American way of war in campaigns from Korea and Indochina to the Gulf and Iraq Wars. The result would be the decimation of noncombatant populations and extraordinary “kill ratios” favoring the US military. Yet for the US, victory in subsequent wars—Korea, Indochina, Afghanistan and Iraq being the most notable — would prove extraordinarily elusive. This is one reason why, six decades on, World War II retains its aura for Americans as the “Good War”, a conception that renders difficult coming to terms with the massive bombing of civilians in the final year of the war.

As Michael Sherry and Cary Karacas have pointed out for the US and Japan respectively, prophecy preceded practice in the destruction of Japanese cities. Sherry observes that “Walt Disney imagined an orgiastic destruction of Japan by air in his 1943 animated feature Victory Through Air Power (based on Alexander P. De Seversky’s 1942 book),” while Karacas notes that the best-selling Japanese writer Unna Juzo, beginning in his early 1930s “air-defense novels”, anticipated the destruction of Tokyo by bombing.4

Curtis LeMay was appointed commander of the 21st Bomber Command in the Pacific on January 20, 1945. Capture of the Marianas, including Guam, Tinian and Saipan in summer 1944 had placed Japanese cities within effective range of the B-29 “Superfortress” bombers, while Japan’s depleted air and naval power and a blockade that cut off oil supplies left it virtually defenseless against sustained air attack.

The full fury of firebombing and napalm was unleashed on the night of March 9-10, 1945 when LeMay sent 334 B-29s low over Tokyo from the Marianas.5 Their mission was to reduce much of the city to rubble, kill its citizens, and instill terror in the survivors. Stripped of their guns to make more room for bombs, and flying at altitudes averaging 7,000 feet to evade detection, the bombers carried two kinds of incendiaries: M47s, 100-pound oil gel bombs, 182 per aircraft, each capable of starting a major fire, followed by M69s, 6-pound gelled-gasoline bombs, 1,520 per aircraft in addition to a few high explosives to deter firefighters.6 The attack on an area that the US Strategic Bombing Survey estimated to be 84.7 percent residential succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of air force planners.

Nature reinforced man’s handiwork in the form of akakaze, the red wind that swept with hurricane force across the Tokyo plain and propelled firestorms with terrifying speed and intensity. The wind drove temperatures up to eighteen hundred degrees Fahrenheit, creating superheated vapors that advanced ahead of the flames, killing or incapacitating their victims. “The mechanisms of death were so multiple and simultaneous — oxygen deficiency and carbon monoxide poisoning, radiant heat and direct flames, debris and the trampling feet of stampeding crowds — that causes of death were later hard to ascertain . . .”7

The Strategic Bombing Survey provided a technical description of the firestorm and its effects on Tokyo:

The chief characteristic of the conflagration . . . was the presence of a fire front, an extended wall of fire moving to leeward, preceded by a mass of pre-heated, turbid, burning vapors . . . . The 28-mile-per-hour wind, measured a mile from the fire, increased to an estimated 55 miles at the perimeter, and probably more within. An extended fire swept over 15 square miles in 6 hours . . . . The area of the fire was nearly 100 percent burned; no structure or its contents escaped damage.

The survey concluded—plausibly, but only for events prior to August 6, 1945—that

“probably more persons lost their lives by fire at Tokyo in a 6-hour period than at any time in the history of man. People died from extreme heat, from oxygen deficiency, from carbon monoxide asphyxiation, from being trampled beneath the feet of stampeding crowds, and from drowning. The largest number of victims were the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly.”

How many people died on the night of March 9-10 in what flight commander Gen. Thomas Power termed “the greatest single disaster incurred by any enemy in military history?” The Strategic Bombing Survey estimated that 87,793 people died in the raid, 40,918 were injured, and 1,008,005 people lost their homes. The Tokyo Fire Department estimated 97,000 killed and 125,000 wounded. According to Japanese police statistics, the 65 raids on Tokyo between December 6, 1944 and August 13, 1945 resulted in 137,582 casualties, 787,145 homes and buildings destroyed, and 2,625,279 people displaced.8 The figure of roughly 100,000 deaths, provided by Japanese and American authorities, both of whom may have had reasons of their own for minimizing the death toll, seems to me arguably low in light of population density, wind conditions, and survivors’ accounts.9 With an average of 103,000 inhabitants per square mile and peak levels as high as 135,000 per square mile, the highest density of any industrial city in the world, 15.8 square miles of Tokyo were destroyed on a night when fierce winds whipped the flames and walls of fire blocked tens of thousands who attempted to flee. An estimated 1.5 million people lived in the burned out areas. Given the near total inability to fight fires of the magnitude produced that night 10, it is possible, given the interest of the authorities to minimize the scale of death and injury and the total inability of the civil defense efforts to respond usefully to the firestorm, to imagine that casualties may have been several times higher than the figures presented on both sides of the conflict. Stated differently, my view is that it is likely that the number of fatalities was substantially higher: this is an issue that merits the attention of researchers, beginning with the unpublished records of the US Strategic Bombing Survey…

…No previous or subsequent conventional bombing raid anywhere ever came close to generating the toll in death and destruction of the great Tokyo raid of March 9-10. Following the Tokyo raid of March 9-10, the firebombing was extended nationwide. In the ten-day period beginning on March 9, 9,373 tons of bombs destroyed 31 square miles of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe. Overall, bombing strikes destroyed 40 percent of the 66 Japanese cities targeted, with total tonnage dropped on Japan increasing from 13,800 tons in March to 42,700 tons in July.12 If the bombing of Dresden produced a ripple of public debate in Europe, no discernible wave of revulsion, not to speak of protest, took place in the US or Europe in the wake of the far greater destruction of Japanese cities and the slaughter of civilian populations on a scale that had no parallel in the history of bombing…

…Throughout the spring and summer of 1945 the US air war in Japan reached an intensity that is still perhaps unrivaled in the magnitude of human slaughter.15 That moment was a product of the combination of technological breakthroughs, American nationalism, and the erosion of moral and political scruples pertaining to the killing of civilians. The point is not to separate the United States from other participants in World War II, but to suggest that there is more common ground in the war policies of Japan and the United States in their disregard of citizen victims than is normally recognized in the annals of history and journalism.

The targeting for destruction of entire populations, whether indigenous peoples, religious infidels, or others deemed inferior, threatening or evil, may be as old as human history, but the forms it takes are as new as the latest technologies of destruction and strategic innovation, of which firebombing and nuclear weapons are particularly notable in defining the nature of war in the long twentieth century.16 The most important way in which World War II shaped the moral and technological tenor of mass destruction was the erosion in the course of war of the stigma associated with the systematic targeting of civilian populations from the air, and elimination of the constraints, which for some years had restrained certain air powers from area bombing. What was new was both the scale of killing made possible by the new technologies and the routinization of mass killing of non-combatants, or state terrorism. If area bombing remained controversial throughout much of World War II, something to be concealed or denied by its practitioners, by the end it would become the acknowledged centerpiece of war making, emblematic above all of the American way of war even as the nature of the targets and the weapons were transformed by new technologies and confronted new forms of resistance. In this I emphasize not US uniqueness but the quotidian character of targeting civilians found throughout the history of colonialism and carried to new heights by Germany, Japan, Britain and the US during and after World War II…

…The US has not unleashed an atomic bomb in the decades since the end of World War II, although it has repeatedly threatened their use in Korea, in Vietnam and elsewhere. It nevertheless incorporated annihilation of noncombatants into the bombing programs that have been integral to the successive “conventional wars” that it has waged subsequently. With area bombing at the core of its strategic agenda, US attacks on cities and noncombatants would run the gamut from firebombing, napalming, and cluster bombing to the use of chemical defoliants and depleted uranium weapons and bunker buster bombs in an ever expanding circle of destruction whose recent technological innovations center on the use of drones controlling the skies and bringing terror to inhabitants below.19

Less noted then and since were the systematic barbarities perpetrated by Japanese forces against resistant villagers, though this produced the largest number of the estimated ten to thirty million Chinese who lost their lives in the war, a number that far surpasses the half million or more Japanese noncombatants who died at the hands of US bombing, and may have exceeded Soviet losses to Nazi invasion conventionally estimated at 20 million lives.22 In that and subsequent wars it would be the signature barbarities such as the Nanjing Massacre, the Bataan Death March, and the massacres at Nogunri and My Lai rather than the quotidian events that defined the systematic daily and hourly killing, which would attract sustained attention, spark bitter controversy, and shape historical memory…

II The Firebombing and Atomic Bombing of Japanese Cities: History, Memory, Culture, Commemoration

Basic decisions by the Japanese authorities and by Washington and the US occupation authorities shaped Japanese and American perceptions and memories of the firebombing and atomic bombing. Throughout the six month period from the March 9 attack that destroyed Tokyo until August 15, 1945, and above all in the wake of the US victory in Okinawa in mid-June 1945, a Japanese nation that was defeated in all but name continued to spurn unconditional surrender, eventually accepting the sacrifice of more than half a million Japanese subjects in Okinawa and Japan to secure a single demand: the safety of the emperor. In preserving Hirohito on the throne and choosing to rule indirectly through the Japanese government, the US did more than place severe constraints on the democratic revolution that it sought to launch under occupation auspices. It also assured that there would be no significant Japanese debate over war responsibility or the nature of the imperial or imperial-military system in general, and the decision to sacrifice Okinawa and Japan’s cities with massive loss of life in particular.

From the outset of the occupation, the US imposed tight censorship with respect to the bombing, particularly the atomic bombing. This included prohibition of publication of photographic and artistic images of the effects of the bombing or criticism of it. Indeed, under US censorship, there would be no Japanese public criticism of either the firebombing or the atomic bombing. While firebombing never emerged as a major subject of American reflection or self-criticism, the atomic bombing did. Of particular interest is conservative and military criticism of the atomic bombing, including that of Navy Secretary James Forrestal, and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles and a range of Christian thinkers such as Reinhold Niebuhr. Thus Sec. of War Henry Stimson worried about the “growing feeling of apprehension and misgiving as to the effect of the atomic bomb even in our own country.”24

As Ian Buruma observes, “News of the terrible consequences of the atom bomb attacks on Japan was deliberately withheld from the Japanese public by US military censors during the Allied occupation—even as they sought to teach the natives the virtues of a free press. Casualty statistics were suppressed. Film shot by Japanese cameramen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings was confiscated…

…The Japanese authorities had reasons of their own for highlighting atomic bomb imagery while suppressing imagery of the firebombing. They include the fact that the dominant victimization narrative was preferable to having to engage war issues centered on Japanese aggression and war atrocities. Moreover, Japanese authorities preferred to emphasize the atomic bomb over the fire bombing for at least two reasons. First, it suggested that there was little that Japanese authorities or any nation could have done in the face of such overwhelming technological power. The firebombing, by contrast raised uncomfortable issues about the government’s decision to perpetuate the war through six months of punishing bombing with no alternative except defeat. Second, as Cary Karacas has argued, Japan’s bombing of Chongqing and other Chinese cities, including the use of Unit 731’s bio-weapons, raised uncomfortable questions about its own bombing…27

…The United States, in substantiating its claim as the unrivaled superpower, highlighted the atomic bomb as the critical ingredient in Japan’s surrender. It is worth recalling however, that six months of firebombing had laid waste to Japan and revealed the inability to defend the skies, but it had failed to force surrender. The atomic bombs further underlined the nature of American power, but it is important to note what the official US narrative elides: the Soviet invasion of Manchuria on August 8, one day before Nagasaki, was critical to the Japanese surrender calculus…

…The Japanese government also underlined the distinction between nuclear and firebombing survivors not only in its lavish funding for the museums in the two cities, but by making available funds to provide medical care for the victims of the atomic bombing. It is worth underlining the fact that it was the Japanese government and not the US government that provided, and continues to provide, substantial funds for the hibakusha. The larger numbers of surviving victims of firebombing never received either recognition or official support from national or local government for medical care or property losses, and they certainly never dreweither Japanese or international attention. In short, while the surviving victims of the atomic bomb were a continuing reminder to Japanese of their victimization, bomb survivors in other cities were expected to embrace the forward looking national agenda of reconstruction to build Japan again into an industrial power that would rise not under the banner of the military but under permanent US military occupation, a US nuclear umbrella and a peace constitution…

What then of the treatment of commemoration of the firebombing that destroyed 66 Japanese cities in 1945? First, it is notable that there is no national or even prefectural site of commemoration of the firebombing. National and most local governments—important exceptions include the cooperation of local governments in Nagoya and Osaka with citizens groups commemorating the bombing—have chosen not to memorialize the hundreds of thousands who died and were injured, and the millions who lost their homes and were forced to evacuate as a result of fire bombing35. In striking contrast to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, local and national governments have trained their eyes on the future, rebuilding the cities while doing their best to forget the trauma of firebombing and denying official responsibility for the victims. To my knowledge, there is no single state-sponsored monument to the victims of the firebombing preserved for reflection or education in ways comparable to Hiroshima’s atomic dome, which was embraced not only by Hiroshima and Tokyo, but was also designated as a World Heritage site…36

…through official Japan’s suppressing or downplaying the firebombing, America’s nuclear supremacy provides reassurance for Japanese leaders committed to maintaining Japan’s subordinate position in the US-Japan alliance in perpetuity: the US nuclear umbrella is the most powerful guarantee of Japan’s security. Thus, in drawing attention to the atomic bomb, Japanese leaders are simultaneously reaffirming their core diplomatic choice in the contemporary era…

Excerpted; full article with footnotes here: http://japanfocus.org/-Mark-Selden/4065?utm_source=January+20%2C+2014&utm_campaign=China%27s+Connectivity+Revolution&utm_medium=email

The Bombing of Nagasaki August 9, 1945: The Un-Censored Version [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Germany, Hiroshima, Japan, Nagasaki, Nazism, Russia, Tokyo, US imperialism, USA, USSR, War crimes, World War II on August 10, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Dr. Gary G. Kohls
Global Research, August 07, 2013

8 years ago, at 11:02 am on August 9th, 1945, an all-Christian bomber crew dropped a plutonium bomb, on Nagasaki, Japan. That bomb was the second and last atomic weapon that had as its target a civilian city. Somewhat ironically, as will be elaborated upon later in this essay, Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan and ground zero was the largest cathedral in the Orient.

These baptized and confirmed airmen did their job efficiently, and they accomplished the mission with military pride. There was no way that the crew could not have known that what they were participating in met the definition of an international war crime (according to the Nuremberg Principles that were very soon to be used to justify the execution of many German Nazis).

It had been only 3 days since the August 6th bomb, a uranium bomb, had decimated Hiroshima. The Nagasaki bomb was dropped amidst considerable chaos and confusion in Tokyo, where the fascist military government had been searching for months for a way to honorably end the war. The only obstacle to surrender had been the Roosevelt/Truman administration’s insistence on unconditional surrender, which meant that the Emperor Hirohito, whom the Japanese regarded as a deity, would be removed from his figurehead position in Japan – an intolerable demand for the Japanese that prolonged the war and kept Japan from surrendering months earlier.

The Russian army had declared war against Japan on August 8, hoping to regain territories lost to Japan in the disastrous Russo-Japanese war 40 years earlier, and Stalin’s army was advancing across Manchuria. Russia’s entry into the war represented a powerful incentive for Japan to end the war quickly and they much preferred surrendering to the US rather than to Russia. A quick end to the war was important to the US as well. It did not want to divide any of the spoils of war with Russia.

The Target Committee in Washington, D.C. had made a list of relatively un-damaged Japanese cities that were to be excluded from the conventional fire-bombing (using napalm) campaigns that had burned to the ground 60+ major Japanese cities during the first half of 1945. That list of protected cities included, at one time or another Hiroshima, Niigata, Kokura, Kyoto and Nagasaki. These relatively undamaged cities were off-limits from incendiary terror bombings but were to be preserved as possible targets for the new “gimmick” weapons of mass destruction.

Scientific curiosity was a motivation in choosing the targeted cities. The military and the scientists needed to know what would happen to intact buildings – and their living inhabitants – when atomic weapons were exploded overhead. Ironically, prior to August 6 and 9, the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki considered themselves lucky for not having been bombed as much as other cities. Little did they know.

Early in the morning of August 9, 1945, a B-29 Superfortress that had been christened Bock’s Car, took off from Tinian Island in the South Pacific, with the prayers and blessings of its Lutheran and Catholic chaplains, and headed for Kokura, the primary target. Bock’s Car’s plutonium bomb was in the bomb bay, code-named “Fat Man,” after Winston Churchill.

The only field test (blasphemously code-named “Trinity”) of a nuclear weapon had occurred just three weeks earlier (July 16, 1945) at Alamogordo, New Mexico. The molten lava rock that resulted from the heat of that blast (twice the temperature of the sun) can still found at the site today. It is called trinitite.

The reality of what had happened at Hiroshima was only slowly becoming apparent to the fascist military leaders in Tokyo. It took 2 – 3 days after Hiroshima was incinerated before Japan’s Supreme War Council was able to even partially comprehend what had happened there, to make rational decisions and to discuss again the possibility of surrender.

But it was already too late, because by the time the War Council was meeting that morning in Tokyo, Bock’s Car and the rest of the armada of B-29s was already approaching Japan – under radio silence. The dropping of the second bomb had initially been planned for August 11, but bad weather had been forecast, and the mission was moved up to August 9.

With instructions to drop the bomb only on visual sighting, Bock’s Car arrived at the primary target, but Kokura was clouded over. So after futilely circling over the city three times, there was no break in the clouds, and, running seriously low on fuel in the process, the plane headed for its secondary target, Nagasaki…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-bombing-of-nagasaki-august-9-1945-the-un-censored-version/5345274

Also see by the same author: “The Hiroshima Myth. Unaccountable War Crimes and the Lies of US Military History” – http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-hiroshima-myth-unaccountable-war-crimes-and-the-lies-of-us-military-history/5344436

Oliver Stone joins Jeju residents’ battle against naval base [The Hankyoreh / 한겨레]

Posted in Australia, Cambodia, China, Encirclement of China, Hiroshima, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nagasaki, North wind campaign, Obama, Okinawa, Philippines, Protest action, south Korea, Taiwan, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam, World War II on August 10, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

August 5, 2013

* Acclaimed director is touring Asia in criticism of the US government’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy *

By Huh Ho-joon, Jeju correspondent

“Ever since the Second World War, the US has been building military alliances and setting up military bases overseas. A lot of those bases are in Japan and Korea. Jeju Island is less than 500 kilometers from Shanghai. It could end up on the front lines if a military conflict breaks out between the US and China.”

Internationally renowned filmmaker Oliver Stone said this about the naval base currently under construction on Jeju Island. The 67-year-old director, whose works on the Vietnam War include “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” met with the Hankyoreh on Aug. 3 at the Peace Center in Gangjeong Village in Jeju.

Noting the US’s overseas military strategy, Stone said the issue with the Jeju base was “global, not regional.”

“The Obama administration has adopted a ‘pivot to Asia’ strategy as a way of containing China,” he said. “It’s similar to the way the Soviet Union was contained during the Cold War. And in its push to do this, Washington has built or is building military alliances not just with South Korea and Japan, but with the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Cambodia, and Myanmar. It’s a foolish, paranoid strategy.”

In view of this strategy, the Jeju naval base may be a military extension of the US forces, who could eventually end up using it, Stone said.

The director said he came to Jeju after seeing documentaries by US directors on Gangjeong Village and the April 3 Uprising of 1948 and reading articles on the villagers battle against the construction.

“I wanted to see for myself,” he said. He arrived on the island on Aug. 2 for a three-day stay.

As soon as he arrived, he went to visit film critic Yang Yun-mo, who was arrested while campaigning against the base, as well as people involved in the Grand March for Life and Peace, an event organized to call for a halt to the construction. On Aug. 3, he went to see activists opposing the base in their battle against police at the construction site in Gangjeong – a visit that left him looking very troubled.

“They’re calling the people who oppose the base ‘pro-North Korea,’ but that’s a very simplistic expression and their methods are easy to attack,” Stone said. “But the residents and activists are very sincere about their home, their rights, and this beautiful island of Jeju.”

He also spoke on environmental concerns, noting the base was “destroying beautiful soft coral reefs and contaminating the water.”

“I’ve heard that Jeju water was some of the cleanest and best in the world,” he said. “What happens when it ends up getting polluted?”

“The Gangjeong residents and activists aren’t alone in their battle against the base. This is going beyond South Korea and turning into a worldwide issue,” he continued. “I don’t know how this battle is going to go, but the residents’ fight will not be forgotten.”

Following his trip to Jeju, Stone plans to head to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where atomic bombs were dropped during the Second World War. There, he plans to attend a conference opposing atomic and hydrogen bombs before traveling on to Okinawa, site of a large US military base.

Article link: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/598369.html

“Slavery, Genocide and Nuclear War” – Paul Harvey’s ultra-right rant, courtesy of Disney [FAIR / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Chattel Slavery, Corporate Media Critique, Genocide, Hiroshima, Iraq, Japan, Nagasaki, Nukes, U.K., US "War on Terror", US imperialism, USA, World War II on May 21, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Jim Naureckas

August 1, 2005

Disney/ABC radio personality Paul Harvey, one of the most widely heard commentators in the United States, presented his listeners on June 23 with an endorsement of genocide and racism that would have been right at home on a white supremacist shortwave broadcast.

Harvey’s commentary began by citing a speech by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (12/30/41):

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill said that the American people…he said, the American people, he said, and this is a direct quote, “We didn’t come this far because we are made of sugar candy.”

Actually, it’s not a direct quote; Churchill’s actual words, from a speech he gave to the Canadian parliament, were, ” We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.”

As one might expect, when Churchill said “we” he was not referring to the citizens of the United States, but to “the peoples of the British Empire.” And he followed the “sugar candy” line with a vow that “we shall never descend to the German and Japanese level.” But Harvey, repeating Churchill’s phrase throughout his commentary, turned it into a call for utter ruthlessness.

“And that reminder was taken seriously,” Harvey continued. “And we proceeded to develop and deliver the bomb, even though roughly 150,000 men, women and children perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With a single blow, World War II was over.”

That’s a dubious summary of the war against Japan, which was won by three and a half years of bloody fighting, not by two atomic bombs. At the time the bombs were dropped, U.S. officials knew that Japan was on the verge of surrendering, which is why Dwight Eisenhower in his memoirs called the bombings “completely unnecessary” (Mandate for Change, p. 312; Extra! Update, 4/95).

But Harvey presented the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a very literal guide to how the U.S. should have behaved in its current wars:

Following New York, Sept. 11, Winston Churchill was not here to remind us that we didn’t come this far because we’re made of sugar candy. So, following the New York disaster, we mustered our humanity…and we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq, and we kept our best weapons in our silos.

Given that the U.S. did indeed use its most powerful conventional weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq, this can only be taken as a complaint that the U.S. failed to target these countries with nuclear weapons. This remarkable viewpoint was followed, appropriately enough, by a plea for the U.S. to ignore considerations of morality and civilization:

Even now we’re standing there dying, daring to do nothing decisive, because we’ve declared ourselves to be better than our terrorist enemies – -more moral, more civilized. Our image is at stake, we insist.

But we didn’t come this far because we’re made of sugar candy.

Harvey concluded with a startling depiction of U.S. history as a series of necessary, even praiseworthy atrocities:

Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever. And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves.

So it goes with most great nation-states, which — feeling guilty about their savage pasts — eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy.

Feeling guilty about slavery and genocide, in Harvey’s worldview, will lead to the elimination of American civilization — apparently because the U.S. hasn’t turned quickly enough to nuclear and biological warfare.

The Disney media conglomerate, which cultivates a family-friendly image, syndicates Harvey to more than 1,000 radio stations, where he reaches an estimated 18 million listeners. Disney recently signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the 86-year-old host.

In 2004, Disney blocked its Miramax subsidiary from distributing Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, even though Miramax was the principal investor in the film. A Disney executive told the New York Times (5/5/04) that it was declining to distribute the film because, in the paper’s words, “Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore’s film…could alienate many.”

One wonders whether Disney executives are worried about alienating families who oppose slavery, genocide or nuclear war.

Article link: http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/Slavery,-Genocide-and-Nuclear-War/