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Old 21st December 2012, 11:23 AM   #161
lobosrul
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
I just posted an article that estimates total deaths from Hiroshima to be high as 180,000. I've seen other estimates even higher than 200,000 for Hiroshima alone.
The article points out that there have been estimates that high. The author made no claims of making an estimate. Nor does it even mention its source. Most modern estimates are a total death figure of 180,000 to 200,000. Ie: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peop...a6652262.shtml

Arguing over the death toll is not really the point of this discussion. So I'll stop at that.

Quote:
The 180,000 deaths figure from the Hiroshima bombing was from a single bomb. The long-term poisoning of the environment and resulting deaths from related illnesses over the course of decades are effects specific to nuclear weapons, inapplicable to other forms of ordnance. The worst thing about nuclear weapons is the fact that they continue to kill innocent civilians for generations after the initial event.
The US military did not comprehend the effects of radiation poisoning, as has been pointed out already in this thread. So it did not factor into the decision. Even the article you posted says there is little evidence of deaths from long term (after years) radiation. I've heard that elsewhere.

"Deaths from radiation began about a week after exposure and reached a peak in 3 to 4 weeks. They had practically ceased to occur after 7 to 8 weeks." - http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/...Effects-2.html

Quote:
This is completely irrelevant to the point I was making. I'm not interested in a tit-for-tat "who was worse in WWII, the Americans or the Japanese" kind of argument.
That's not what I was trying to do. Just pointing out that the casualties caused by both atom bombs are minuscule when compared to the war in total, and much smaller than the amount of civilians killed by conventional bombs. I think that's forgotten sometimes.

Last edited by lobosrul; 21st December 2012 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 21st December 2012, 11:41 AM   #162
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post





Yeah, I already acknowledged that. But as I said before, the Japanese had already decided to surrender so the attack on Nagasaki was really unnecessary.

This is a lie. There has been several posts in this thread that the Japanese did not decide to surrender until After Nagasaki, with links to articles and documents.
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Old 21st December 2012, 01:13 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
The USSBS was control by LeMay and decided before they started that strategic bombing would be the winning hand in any future wars.

Which is why the claims of what bombing would achieve tended not to match up to what was actually accomplished. It took (often painful) experience to rid the air power proponents of their adherence to certain air power theories.
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Old 21st December 2012, 01:34 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
The physical destruction was pretty much on the same scale as that from any firebombing campaign.

Actually, firebombing proved to be more effective against Japanese cities due to their layout and large amount of wooden buildings. Indeed, the susceptibility of Japanese cities to fire raising was a key factor in the switch to low-level nighttime raids (the other being conventional strategic bombing of the type the USAAF had done over Germany had proved woefully ineffective over Japan).


Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
Total destruction of entire cities was pretty much the order of the day by the end of the war.

That was due to several factors: larger Allied air forces (meaning more striking power), improvements to operational procedures, technological advances, and arguably the most important the fact that the enemy had lost control over its own airspace - it could no longer offer any sort of organized or effective resistance to incoming raids. In Japan's case, its air defence was weak in both the daytime and nighttime. (Even in the earlier part of the USAAF's efforts against Japan many more B-29s were being lost to operational issues such as weather, accidents, engine failures, and the like, than were being lost to enemy action.)
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Old 21st December 2012, 01:58 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
In other words you started a thread that yielded a lot of very useful information by a lot of people, and you just ignored all of it.
That's how a lot of threads go.

Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
The "Revolt of the Admirals" was fun too.
Indeed. And those Marines and carriers came in handy in Korea.
It was an interestingly murky time in the US Establishment. CTs about Forrestal's death have always intrigued me.

Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
The OP asks that very question: was it necessary?

My answer is "no," it was not.
And as has been pointed out your opinion conflicts with reality.

Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
However, the loss of life in Hiroshima was waay worse than any other bombing of the war.
Rubbish.

Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
Even the repeated bombings of Tokyo, a city of 10 times the population of Hiroshima, caused maybe half the total death rate of the Hiroshima bombing.
Factually untrue. I've cited the casualty figures. You are wrong.

Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
So, could renewed firebombing efforts by the totality of American air forces have decimated the Japanese will to fight as effectively as the Hiroshima bombing did?
Probably not. The psychological effect of s single "citybuster" bomb were greater than conventional HE/IC bombing.

Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
So yeah, I reluctantly agree that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was probably the "least inhumane" way to end the war.
At least you're willing to accept some aspects of reality.

Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
However, the bombing of Nagasaki was totally unnecessary. Japan had already surrendered by the time the Fat Man was on its way.
Absolute crap. Go do some research before you embarass yourself by making such ridiculous claims.

Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Firebombing did take way more lives than the nukes did. They were also much more dangerous for the Americans to perform.
Correct. IIRC the MAR45 firebombing of Tokyo led to the loss of fourteen aircrews.

Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Which is why the claims of what bombing would achieve tended not to match up to what was actually accomplished. It took (often painful) experience to rid the air power proponents of their adherence to certain air power theories.
Indeed. It usually takes a while for theorists to accept reality. In any field.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:34 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
I just posted an article that estimates total deaths from Hiroshima to be high as 180,000. I've seen other estimates even higher than 200,000 for Hiroshima alone.
I've seen people who died in auto accidents added to the roles of Hiroshima victims because they were there when the bomb went off. It's usually called "padding".
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:35 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Which is why the claims of what bombing would achieve tended not to match up to what was actually accomplished. It took (often painful) experience to rid the air power proponents of their adherence to certain air power theories.
Hey, don't break his rice bowl, man.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:37 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by Rich_C View Post
This is a lie. There has been several posts in this thread that the Japanese did not decide to surrender until After Nagasaki, with links to articles and documents.
True. I have about 20 books on the shelf here that agree with that.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:50 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
The original post was worded rather clumsily, and I think these comparisons you're making are in the very least quite disingenuous.
Then please give an example of something that is necessary

Otherwise you clearly aren't saying anything meaningful by saying that dropping the atomic bombs wasn't necessary

I think the issue is that the word "necessary" has to relate to some outcome: necessary for what exactly?
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Old 21st December 2012, 07:29 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
Right. Not the only solution, therefore not "necessary."

"Necessary" implies no possible alternative course of action. What's so confusing about that?
Nothing. But I've said it before and I'll say it again:

There's not a lot of daylight between "best possible solution" and "necessary solution".

If you agree that some solution is necessary, and you agree that this was the best possible solution, how would you justify not doing it? And if you can't justify not doing it, how is it anything other than necessary?

Natural languages are extremely powerful conveyors of meaning. It makes me sad when someone tries to force one into a tiny little box, denying all its semantic glory just to make an unnecessary rhetorical point.
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Old 21st December 2012, 09:25 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
Correct. IIRC the MAR45 firebombing of Tokyo led to the loss of fourteen aircrews.

14 crews lost out of 334 dispatched, a loss rate of 4.1%. Higher than what was often experienced on raid over Japan, but certainly a figure within the 'acceptable' range (i.e. 5% or below). The RAF's raid on Nuremberg on the night of March 30/31, 1944, in comparison, suffered a 12% loss rate (96 out of 795); the first two daylight raids on Schweinfurt by the USAAF suffered 16% (60 out of 376) and 21% (60 out of 291) loss rates.
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Old 21st December 2012, 09:29 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Hey, don't break his rice bowl, man.

LeMay deserves plenty of credit for turning around the B-29 effort against Japan, which prior to his command had achieved little in the way of results. Of course, strategic bombing being the blunt tool that it was, when it was achieving results it unavoidably took a sometimes fearful toll on those on the ground. (Such is the nature of war.)
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Old 22nd December 2012, 04:04 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
I've seen people who died in auto accidents added to the roles of Hiroshima victims because they were there when the bomb went off. It's usually called "padding".
Car accidents ? How did they managed to add them in ?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 04:33 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Car accidents ? How did they managed to add them in ?
They were a "victim of the bombing", cause of death seems irrelevant. So the "death toll" will creep high for a few more years then level off.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 04:57 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
14 crews lost out of 334 dispatched, a loss rate of 4.1%. Higher than what was often experienced on raid over Japan, but certainly a figure within the 'acceptable' range (i.e. 5% or below). The RAF's raid on Nuremberg on the night of March 30/31, 1944, in comparison, suffered a 12% loss rate (96 out of 795); the first two daylight raids on Schweinfurt by the USAAF suffered 16% (60 out of 376) and 21% (60 out of 291) loss rates.
It's still ~150 USAAF dead compared to zero for the atomic bombings. Though Bockscar came close.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 07:23 AM   #176
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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:58 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post
Quote:
The 180,000 deaths figure from the Hiroshima bombing was from a single bomb. The long-term poisoning of the environment and resulting deaths from related illnesses over the course of decades are effects specific to nuclear weapons, inapplicable to other forms of ordnance. The worst thing about nuclear weapons is the fact that they continue to kill innocent civilians for generations after the initial event.

The US military did not comprehend the effects of radiation poisoning, as has been pointed out already in this thread. So it did not factor into the decision. Even the article you posted says there is little evidence of deaths from long term (after years) radiation. I've heard that elsewhere.

"Deaths from radiation began about a week after exposure and reached a peak in 3 to 4 weeks. They had practically ceased to occur after 7 to 8 weeks." - http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/...Effects-2.html

The actual deaths of radiation poisoning from environmental radionuclides may indeed drop off after a short period, but even low-level radiation exposure causes genetic defects among populations that can contaminate the gene pool for generations.

Seriously, I thought this stuff was, like common knowledge by now.


Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
And as has been pointed out your opinion conflicts with reality.

My opinion does not conflict with reality.

Using nuclear weapons against civilian populations was not strictly necessary in order to force a surrender by the Japanese. Many alternative options were open to the US and her allies.

If you're asserting that surrender could not possibly have been achieved by any other means, then the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that "reality." Otherwise, it does not "conflict with reality" to point out that using nuclear weapons against civilian populations was not necessary.

It may have been the most expedient option, the most spectacular option, the least costly in terms of attrition, perhaps even the least costly in overall mortality, but none of those factors render it the only option. Ergo, it was not necessary.


Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
Factually untrue. I've cited the casualty figures. You are wrong.

I see what you did there. By using the phrase "the casualty figures," you're disingenuously implying that your preferred set of stats is the sole, 100% factual estimate and all others are wrong.

Well you can call me "wrong" all you want, but I've cited credible figures that place upward estimates of total deaths in Hiroshima alone (~200,000 including radiation and excess cancer deaths which do not factor into the aftermath of conventional weapons) being as much as twice as high as that from the bombing of Tokyo on March 1945 (80,000-100,000).


Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
I've seen people who died in auto accidents added to the roles of Hiroshima victims because they were there when the bomb went off. It's usually called "padding".

If a terrorist were to detonate a "dirty bomb" in a public place that kills 14 people but 257 more are killed in the ensuing panic, then do we not count those deaths as a result of the attack?

If car accident deaths of fleeing victims are the direct result of a military action, then what reason do you have for not including them in the death toll? How far do you extend this reasoning? Are we to count only people directly vaporized by the bomb blast at ground zero, and consider all other deaths by resulting fires, flying debris and building collapses to be ancillary casualties for some reason?


Maybe somebody can explain to me what's the net benefit of working so hard to drum up these cold, brutal rationalizations to justify inhuman behavior?

Is it really so hard to admit that destroying 2 cities and incinerating hundreds of thousands of private citizens with nuclear weapons was a really ******-up thing to do, but it was done in the context of a really hellish war wherein ******-up actions were the order of the day? Have we really come full-circle in the 60-some-odd years, and now that we're no longer living under the threat of nuclear annihilation from a rival superpower, we have the luxury of coming back around to the idea that incinerating hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians maybe wasn't such a bad thing after all?

Perhaps we could start a thread specifically for dreaming up excuses to rationalize slavery as well. After all, it was economically "necessary" for the growing economy of the American South wasn't it? How else could we possibly have built up this great country without a subhuman caste of cheap labor? Of course most Americans back then were simpleminded Bible believers, and we all know the kindly view the Bible takes on slavery, so who can blame them, right?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 03:03 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
. Many alternative options were open to the US and her allies.
Which option would you have taken if you had been Truman back then? No peeking at hindsight allowed.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 05:50 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
If a terrorist were to detonate a "dirty bomb" in a public place that kills 14 people but 257 more are killed in the ensuing panic, then do we not count those deaths as a result of the attack?
So the car was created by the atomic bomb? Or you just don't get it? Which one you goin' with?
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Old 22nd December 2012, 07:12 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
They were a "victim of the bombing", cause of death seems irrelevant. So the "death toll" will creep high for a few more years then level off.
Sounds like the Chernobyl high estimates...
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Old 22nd December 2012, 10:24 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
Using nuclear weapons against civilian populations was not strictly necessary in order to force a surrender by the Japanese.

Well, sure, in that Japan would have surrendered eventually. Let's say the USSBS had it right and Japan surrenders by Nov. 1, 1945, before any invasion takes place. That means the war continues for another two and a half months, during which time many more Americans die, many more Japanese die. And many more Chinese, Russian, British, Korean, and numerous other nationalities continue to die. With the war ending on Aug. 15, those two and a half extra months of war don't happen, and the lives that would have been lost are not. (And that's assuming the USSBS estimate is right. If it is wrong, then the war lasts even more extra months.)

Another point: technically speaking, there were no civilians left in Japan. That was because the government had passed a law which effectively drafted the entire population into the militia.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 04:13 AM   #182
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Are we arguing over the definition of "necessary" now ? Aren't skeptics forums great ?
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Old 23rd December 2012, 04:30 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Well, sure, in that Japan would have surrendered eventually. Let's say the USSBS had it right and Japan surrenders by Nov. 1, 1945, before any invasion takes place. That means the war continues for another two and a half months, during which time many more Americans die, many more Japanese die. And many more Chinese, Russian, British, Korean, and numerous other nationalities continue to die. With the war ending on Aug. 15, those two and a half extra months of war don't happen, and the lives that would have been lost are not. (And that's assuming the USSBS estimate is right. If it is wrong, then the war lasts even more extra months.)

Another point: technically speaking, there were no civilians left in Japan. That was because the government had passed a law which effectively drafted the entire population into the militia.
And both cities, as noted before, were the regional military headquarters for their prefects. They were legitimate military targets.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 02:44 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
And both cities, as noted before, were the regional military headquarters for their prefects. They were legitimate military targets.

More generally, pretty much any city with a railway yard and/or station in it was a legitimate target. And that's not counting the various industrial factories and plants it may have contained which made direct or indirect contributions to the war effort.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 02:48 PM   #185
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
Which option would you have taken if you had been Truman back then? No peeking at hindsight allowed.
And answer came there none.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 03:17 PM   #186
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
More generally, pretty much any city with a railway yard and/or station in it was a legitimate target. And that's not counting the various industrial factories and plants it may have contained which made direct or indirect contributions to the war effort.
True. The detonation point of Fat Man, for example, was midway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works.

Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
And answer came there none.
Interesting question. I doubt you'll get an answer from JA.
Personally, if the decision was mine I'd have used the atomic bombs pretty much as happened historically. If three or four bombs had been available in early August I'd have considered a demonstration strike (perhaps on Tokyo bay) and a leaflet drop (possibly with a direct appeal/warning to Japanese scientists such as Ryokichi Sagane). However I would have only expended one weapon in this way if two/three more would have been available for use.
I am completely convinced that this would not have induced the Japanese government to surrender so the second bomb would have been used on Hiroshima and the third on (probably) Kokura.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 03:28 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
True. The detonation point of Fat Man, for example, was midway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works.


Interesting question. I doubt you'll get an answer from JA.
Personally, if the decision was mine I'd have used the atomic bombs pretty much as happened historically. If three or four bombs had been available in early August I'd have considered a demonstration strike (perhaps on Tokyo bay) and a leaflet drop (possibly with a direct appeal/warning to Japanese scientists such as Ryokichi Sagane). However I would have only expended one weapon in this way if two/three more would have been available for use.
I am completely convinced that this would not have induced the Japanese government to surrender so the second bomb would have been used on Hiroshima and the third on (probably) Kokura.
Me too. Truman didn't have much choice, not being equipped with glasses that could see into the future.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 03:31 PM   #188
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Demonstration might go like this:

Sansa: We saw a really big explosion.

Ariami: That's nice.

Sansa: No, it was huge, destroyed an entire island.

Ariami: More tea?
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Old 23rd December 2012, 09:10 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
And answer came there none.

I'd expect people to at least wait for the end of the holiday season before flinging accusations that I've "Sir Robined" the conversation. I do have a life outside of my parents' basement, you know, apparently unlike some folks on these forums... I'll do my best to get in a few posts here and there in between festivities.

The "if you were Truman... no hindsight allowed" question is next to impossible to answer correctly, since I'm incapable of knowing the extent of what Truman knew and didn't know about the a-bomb and other relevant factors at the time he acceded the office of PotUS. I hope it's not being implied that the defense of my position requires me to play along in a game of absurd trick questions.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 09:29 PM   #190
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The atomic bombing of Japan was necessary because it happened. It led to this outcome. Sophistry built around hope and magic isn't history.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 11:23 PM   #191
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
The "if you were Truman... no hindsight allowed" question is next to impossible to answer correctly, since I'm incapable of knowing the extent of what Truman knew and didn't know about the a-bomb and other relevant factors at the time he acceded the office of PotUS.

That's not really correct. There's plenty of historical documentation by the people involved on what they knew, when they knew it, and what actions they favoured. It's only a mater of familiarizing oneself with such historical documents.

In any case, Truman approved the weapon for use. After that, the questions of when, where, and how it would be used was entirely in the hands of the military and the commanders in the theater.
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Old 24th December 2012, 12:34 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post

The "if you were Truman... no hindsight allowed" question is next to impossible to answer correctly, since I'm incapable of knowing the extent of what Truman knew and didn't know about the a-bomb and other relevant factors at the time he acceded the office of PotUS. I
There are these things called history books.I didn't accuse you of Sir Robinning, I just pointed out that nobody had answered my question. You still haven't answered it. If you won't answer it then I feel that you have no right to criticize the use of the bombs. As for your dig about parent's basements, I'm sixty years old and a parent and I don't have a basement.

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Old 24th December 2012, 12:58 AM   #193
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"Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare. We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans."
("Public Papers of the Presidents: Harry S Truman, 1945", pg. 212).
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Old 24th December 2012, 02:48 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
The actual deaths of radiation poisoning from environmental radionuclides may indeed drop off after a short period, but even low-level radiation exposure causes genetic defects among populations that can contaminate the gene pool for generations.

Generations? The bombings were only 67 years ago, and already data from studying survivors of the bombings indicates that the adverse health effects don't extend beyond those directly exposed to the bombings; particularly children who were in utero at the time.
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Old 24th December 2012, 04:27 AM   #195
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Old 24th December 2012, 04:31 AM   #196
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Demonstration might go like this:

Sansa: We saw a really big explosion.

Ariami: That's nice.

Sansa: No, it was huge, destroyed an entire island.

Ariami: More tea?
Probably, almost certainly in fact.

Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
The "if you were Truman... no hindsight allowed" question is next to impossible to answer correctly, since I'm incapable of knowing the extent of what Truman knew and didn't know about the a-bomb and other relevant factors at the time he acceded the office of PotUS. I hope it's not being implied that the defense of my position requires me to play along in a game of absurd trick questions.
Perhaps you should read the documents (paper, memoranda, minutes, diaries and letters) from those involved. Links have been provided.

Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
In any case, Truman approved the weapon for use. After that, the questions of when, where, and how it would be used was entirely in the hands of the military and the commanders in the theater.
Actually no, the decision on targeting was made at a higher level. The initial target list was decided within the Manhattan Project and this was referred to Stimson who chaired the Interim Committee [on Atomic Energy] which made the final decisions. Stimson, for example, made the decision to remove Kyoto from the target list.
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Old 24th December 2012, 04:48 AM   #197
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
I'd expect people to at least wait for the end of the holiday season before flinging accusations that I've "Sir Robined" the conversation. I do have a life outside of my parents' basement, you know, apparently unlike some folks on these forums... I'll do my best to get in a few posts here and there in between festivities.

The "if you were Truman... no hindsight allowed" question is next to impossible to answer correctly, since I'm incapable of knowing the extent of what Truman knew and didn't know about the a-bomb and other relevant factors at the time he acceded the office of PotUS. I hope it's not being implied that the defense of my position requires me to play along in a game of absurd trick questions.
Is it absurd to ask that you don't require him to know more than he knew?
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Old 24th December 2012, 04:50 AM   #198
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
That's not really correct. There's plenty of historical documentation by the people involved on what they knew, when they knew it, and what actions they favoured. It's only a mater of familiarizing oneself with such historical documents.

In any case, Truman approved the weapon for use. After that, the questions of when, where, and how it would be used was entirely in the hands of the military and the commanders in the theater.
I posted a link to the Truman Library online that has plenty of documents regarding this issue available. The "no it wasn't necessary" folks seem to have trouble accessing that site. Strange.
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Old 24th December 2012, 06:05 AM   #199
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Is it absurd to ask that you don't require him to know more than he knew?
It's lucky that my father's generation didn't have people like JA in charge.
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Old 24th December 2012, 06:12 AM   #200
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Isn't there a name for when someone declares something they can't cope with "absurd"?
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