Skip to comments.IMDB plot summary description for 2008 movie "Descending from Heaven"
Posted on 03/11/2008 3:41:58 PM PDT by DFG
Claude Eatherly, who flew the re-con flight which authorized the bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, spent the remainder of his life overwhelmed with guilt, made worse by being called a War Hero by everyone around him. Eatherly led a life of petty crime, passing hot checks, using stolen identification, etc. His status as a war hero made it difficult for the system to want to punish him for these "acting out" crimes, until he began to speak out in public against the atomic bomb.
(Excerpt) Read more at imdb.com ...
I have met 3 members of the "Enola Gay" crew including General Paul Tibbets. He and the rest of the flight crews have expressed no remorse. Tibbet's was a hero. It's probably no coincidence that Hollywood waited until Tibbet's death to make this movie.
Truman's decision to use the atomic bombs to end the war was correct. According to MacArthur, an invasion of Japan would have cost the lives of about 1 million allied soldiers and at least 4 million Japanese lives. Also, Russia was ready to occupy the northern part of Japan. The incendiary bomb raid on Tokyo killed as many Japanese as the Hiroshima bomb.
Without the atomic bombs, the conventional bombing missions would have continued and destroyed most of Japan. Japan would also have been split into separate zones of occupation between the US and Russia just like Korea.
Guess that is what the "anti-war" people would prefer.
*sigh*...they just don’t get it and never will.
So this guy dropped zero atom bombs, he ran a recon mission. Returned home and was a total crook. Tried to blame his crimes on his role in the atom bombing. Because, as his crimes demonstrate, he was an extremely dishonest person. Duh.
I just “love” the Gary Sinise portrayal of Truman in which he displays some “guilt” for dropping the atom bombs. When in reality, Truman made it clear he never lost a second of sleep over it.
Better to watch the 1952 biopic ABOVE AND BEYOND in which Robert Taylor played Col. Tibbets.
That, and this---"Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.--- were among the strongest moral statements to be issued in the 20th century by the Catholic Church.
A church congregation member of mine is a school teacher and travels in the summer time, (like most teachers). She and her husband were in Japan in the 1990s and were at a bible study class. The pastor was Lutheran and had traveled to the Us after the War to study with a friend he had made at the end of WWII. His friend was one of the Dolittle Raiders who were shot down and captured in Japan. They were tried and convicted and several were put to death. At the end of the war this Japanese flight officer who, had Lead the Pearl Harbor attack!, was so ashamed of the Japanese behavior when trying the Dolittle Raiders, that he testified at the Japanese War Crimes trials for the Allies and against the Japanese leaders. He then traveled to the US and became a Pastor!
Phooey on reliving the past. When Claire met Pastor Genda she was enthralled by his bible study and the word of Jesus that he proclaimed. He taught the way of Christ not Hollywierd!
“Truman’s decision to use the atomic bombs to end the war was correct.”
That’s about all that needs to be said.
My Dad was out there in that huge armada waiting to invade Japan. In 2002, General Tibbits told me that he was glad those guys made it back.
Nonsense, on the first.
Why guilt for this mission rather than any other?
The fire bombing of Tokyo killed far more people and in an equally horrible fashion.
Just another Hollywood (and I know) miopic view (Hitler was only a frustated artist!) and re-writing of real heroic wartime stories. JUST More Crap.
Don’t owrry about IMDB being informed and true facts now-a-days. IMDB is now has a total lack of credibility to those in The Biz. IMDB now officially lists ‘rumors’ and vanity fan videos up there IMDB with the professional film projects. They have become much the like the laughing stock as Wikipedia.
Both IMDB and Wiki are “Wikipedia’s value as a resource is inversely proportional to the subject’s susceptibility to political spin.”
AND One informative logical article written by a Wiki originator who not states that Wiki system is seriously flawed and biased. It is based on not true defined facts but general public acknowledged consensus of urban rumors or public myths.
You are referring to Jacob Deschazer (not sure about the spelling). He was one of the Doolittle Raiders and returned to Japan later as a missionary.
Thank goodness military leaders do not listen to the Vatican. In 1927, Congress tried to outlaw bombing of cities in wartime (Kellogg-Briand Act). A lot of good that did.
Item one is garbage.
I’m genuinely surprised that you would say that. See #16.
My copy of the commandments just says not to murder. I don't have that definition in my edition. It also doesn't seem to say anything about bombing an enemy city. I do recall a certain army calling on the power of God to destroy the whole city of Jericho, though. So I guess I'm not too clear on what the Lord may or may not think about taking the war into Japan proper. Someday maybe I'll ask Him.
But until then I do know something with reasonable certainty:
Attacking Japan with atomic bombs ended the war and saved many more lives than it took. Not merely American lives but certainly even more Japanese lives. Orders of magnitude more. The atomic bomb didn't so much change who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but really just when and how. Add then every other metropolis in Japan. The fighting would have been bloodier and more appalling than the world had seen ever before, or frankly, since.
You cannot equate bombing of a city in the course of a just war with abortion.
You cannot equate bombing of a city in the course of a just war with abortion.
Yep. (This is to counteract the “nope” in the other comment)
I am against the death penalty also; but I understand you feel differently.
These are all points worthy of discussion. I’d like to consider them all. But first I have to ask: if deliberately killing an innocent person isn’t murder, what is?
In the movie Tora Tora Tora it was his plane that would radio the success code!
I did say the Rosary, BTW.
Not always. No.
What's "innocent"? Is it the civilians that work in a factory making war materiel? Or the people that run the lunch cart out in front of the factory? Or the children in the house near the factory?
Is it the child who unluckily happens to be in the house when we finally track down Bin Laden? Do we not bomb the house if he's not alone?
There are regrettable casualties in war. Nothing about war is clean and antiseptic. It is a dirty, filthy rotten, and sometimes utterly necessary business. It is a great many things, but it certainly isn't murder.
Paul Tibbets and others involved thought this guy was something of a con-man. No surprise that Hollywood is holding him up as a hero.
Kind of strange that you pose those questions since only in the first case are the individuals deliberately being killed, regardless of whether they are innocent. The lunch cart people and children would obviously be unintended casualties (i.e. collateral accidents).
Murder: “The crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought”.
That’s how my dictionary puts it.
War is, curiously enough, neither unlawful nor malicious in intent. Especially since we didn’t start it.
I don’t think it’s strange at all. Just a few examples, but they apply just as well to Hiroshima, Nagasaki... or even Dresden for that matter.
All horrible and regrettable civilian casualties made necessary by a greater strategic purpose. It’s the innocent child playing near the factory that must be bombed.
The choice of targets was, like it or not, a strategy decision. It could have been Tokyo, but it wasn’t.
There’s history and hollywood. Unfortunately, many of the great unwashed get their history from movies and TV.
I’d say the wrongful taking of an innocent life. If you bomb bad guys and others get killed I would call that just. The better our technology, the less of this.
Weren’t there innocent people in Jericho? (Joshua 2)
The Old Testament wars were quite bloody.
I not only do that, but the Catholic Church does, too.
To clarify: war against the Japanese aggressors was certainly a just war. There's no question in my mind, and I've never heard different from any moral teacher of any sort.
A war may be just in its inception (jus ad bellum) --- which was not only justified, but I'd say obligatory --- against the Imperal Japanese military --- but it must also be just in the way it is carried out.
In other words, the fact that a war was morally right to engage in, does not mean that everything done in the war has a blanket justification. Upright warfare on the part of the individual soldier and the military command, (jus in bello), is also a moral requirement.
This is very clear to most U.S. soldiers, since it is spelled out in the UCMJ: you don't do rape and pillage, you don't zero in on non-military targets (as the jihadis typically do) and you don't massacre civilians.
If you do such things, they are war crimes, even in the midst of an otherwise just war.
This is not a pacifist argument. I am not a pacifist and I do not defend pacifism.
I am also NOT saying that no collateral loss of life can be justified. It can be.
In a war like WWII, a whole lot of collateral deaths could be justified, because a lot of the Japanese war industries and military assets were located very close to, or in the midst of, residential districts where you had thousands of people living in highly flammable wooden houses, and any time you went for a miliary target with incendiaries, you could foresee setting large swaths of the city on fire.
I know that; it's collateral civlian deaths; and (within limits) it can be justified.
What I'm arguing is that if you're targeting a city as such -- as the Council said, if the act of war is "directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants" --- that's not collateral damage, it's intentional destruction of noncombatants. And as such it is not a justifiable act.
The intentional choice of indiscriminate slaughter as a means to an end is, in the words of the Council, "a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation."
I didn’t yet. But thanks for the reminder. I will as soon as I sign off.
A "hero" he never was...
When has so pure an example ever happened?
In a war context, that would be non-combatants: people who are not military, and are not directly contributing to the war effort via the weapons industry.
I'm not saying it's always clear who's combatant and who isn't: the jihadis are particularly nasty because they deliberately use civilans as military assets and as shields. Nevertheless, as a general rule the farmer farms, the mother mothers, the combatant is involved in combat. Even in Iraq, a very difficult area, our soldiers have often been protective of the "farmer" and "mother" --- the civilians --- to a heroic degree. Which is why I respect our soldiers, and am proud that my 18-year-old son has signed up for the Marine Corps.
So you see, I am not defending pacifism here. See my note to Petronski at #36.
So to get specific. The weapons factory (or storage facility, or port facility-airport-reshipment center) is a legitimate military target, and the civilians who work they are not strictly non-combatants: they are directly contributing to the military effort. When you hit that target and they are injured or killed, it's not murder.
The people that run the lunch cart, the children in the house near the factory? The child who unluckily happens to be in the house when we finally track down Bin Laden? They are innocent: but you are not intentionally targetting them. Our military, the Israeli military (to mention two militaries who strive to uphold a just warrior ethic) would take steps to try to minimize these deaths if they can; but if they're caught in the crossfire, so to speak, that's collateral and that's not murder.
And as you know, our military would try to medevac them out and save their lives, if they can.
Those unintended injuries and deaths are not the same as murder. These deaths are foreseeable (though not intended) especially when you're fighting an enemy that operates out of residential neighborhoods, blends in with noncombatants and uses civilian shields. Once again, a good military may well end up leaving a trail of collateral damage inthat kind of situation which was NOT intended and which they strained every muscle to minimize.
What's not justified is: (1) deliberately targetting the "innocent," the non-combatants; or (2) deliberately choosing WMDs which cause indiscriminate destruction to "whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants." That is quite different from collateral deaths. That, strictly speaking, constitutes a crime.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki and while we’re at it, Dresden, were all legitimate strategic targets.
All of which were a total military success that achieved their objective.
I like your Pope. I liked the last one too. But he’s wrong on this. It happens.
We did not drop an atomic bomb on Tokyo because it had already been largely destroyed by the incendiary bomb raids.
Truman and Marshall wanted targets that had not been hit yet to send a message to Japanese that they had better surrender or else.
Nagasaki was the secondary target. I believe Nagoya was the primary target but it was spared because of too much cloud cover. Also we only had one more atomic bomb available after Nagasaki. It was back in the US however. Of course, we kept that a secret.
I have read a lot about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I grew up in Vallejo, Ca and both of my parents worked at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. My mom currently is a docent at the museum there and is a history expert on anything related to Mare Island. The atomic bombs went from New Mexico to Port Chicago, Ca by train and then to Mare Island. They were put about the Indianapolis at Mare Island. This is why I have always been interested in this subject.
I don’t think you are defending pacifism. I just think you do not understand the context of what was occurring in WWII, and are viewing it from a comfortable perspective that you are able to enjoy today.
To many Americans today, WWII was a forgone conclusion. We were going to win. No doubt about it.
The reality is that we were in a life and death struggle with evil regimes, who did not bother to hide what life would be like under their heel. It was there for all to see. The Japanese and their treatment of the countries they conquered was atrocious beyond belief, as was their treatment of our POW’s who had an AVERAGE 30% mortality rate. There were many camps it was much higher. This was no hidden thing.
When we were fighting the Japanese early in the war, victory was VERY much in doubt and actually improbable. In places like the Solomon Islands, the Japanese inflicted just as much damage as they were getting. things could have gone the other way. It was a very, very dark and depressing time. As others have pointed out on here, after “victories” such as Saipan, Tarawa, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, attacking the home islands was going to be a slaughter on all sides.
But the question of strategic bombing of populated areas IS related here, due to the nature of the actions of the governments. There are three components to this.
First, both Germany and Japan abrogated the deference to populations of “innocents” by their bombings of the cities during the Spanish Civil War and of places like Rotterdam in the early stages of the war. The Japanese were famous for the Rape of Nanking, and quite proud of it. Various historians try to say it never happened and was an exaggeration by propagandists, but it was quite real. This was long before any allied aircraft even flew over Germany or Japan.
Secondly, both the Japanese and the Germans leveraged ALL citizens of their countries to produce war materials. All ages.
Thirdly, both of those governments deliberately spread out their manufacturing facilities and resources into populated areas to try to preserve them.
War is not a Queensbury Rules engagement. You reap what you sow.
You defined “innocents” as “...non-combatants: people who are not military, and are not directly contributing to the war effort via the weapons industry...”
Define “directly contributing to the war effort”.
Is producing food for troops part of the war effort? Can a military survive without food? How about a factory that produces shoes for the troops? Or clothing? How about a house where eight year old kids are sewing uniforms or polishing brass casings for ammunition as part of the effort? Does their government put them at risk by asking them to do that, which they then willingly do with the approval of their parents?
War is about breaking things and killing as many as possible;
if you do not have the guts to do that, then do not go to war. And if the enemy ever attacks us, you should surrender.
My late Father in Law was scheduled to be deployed for the invasion of Japan. Needless to say, I’m glad he didn’t have to go.
Same for my father.
What the Council Fathers said in GS about counter-city bombing wasn't anything new. It was a reiteration of the fundamental moral law that says that you don't deliberately massacre civilians. Not that you can't bomb ANYTHING in a city --- you can certainly destroy military sites, military factories, supply and transport facilities, etc. And civilians will be (unintentially) included in the collateral damage. That's understood. But you can't target civilians, which is what you're doing if you use a WMD to try to annihilate a whole city.
Is this something you disagree with? In other words, do you think that noncombatants are a legitimate target?
"In 1927, Congress tried to outlaw bombing of cities in wartime (Kellogg-Briand Act). A lot of good that did.
Laws are sometimes ineffective, but that does not constitute an argument against the principle per se. For instance, there's a law against would-be immigrants crossing our borders without permission and without papers. "A lot of good that did." But still, that law is right in principle.
Besides, the UCMJ still makes a distinction between collateral damage on the one hand, and the massacre of civilians on the other. And of course says it's illegal to massacre civilians. Do you think that distinction should be dropped? I'm not dumping on you here. I'm pro-US military. I'm proud my 18-year-old son just signed up for the Marine Corps Reserve. I'm just looking (respectfully) for your point of view.
There was no such thing as a “non-combatant” in WWII Japan or Germany. The times were different. You cannot apply today’s morals to WWII. These “non-combatants” worked in the factories and a lot of manufacturing of smaller parts were scattered around in their houses. By bombing the workers, we slowed down the weapons factories. WWII bombing also was not accurate. There was no such thing as a “smart weapon”.
Our enemies today get their arms from other countries. The arms used against our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan come from Russia, Iran, France, Syria, China, Pakistan, etc. We do not need to bomb “non-combatants” today.
I have a big problem with the ROE (rules of engagement) that our military has to live with today. I just finished reading “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Lattrell. This is about a Navy SEAL team’s mission in Afghanistan. Because this team of 4 SEAL’s were concerned about ROE, they did not shoot what appeared to be a group of “non-combatants”. The SEAL team members knew that these “non-combatants” were a problem but they were afraid of trumped up charges from over-zealous JAG lawyers. These people reported the SEAL’s position to the Taliban terrorists. The SEAL team member’s decision ended up costing the lives of 3 of the SEAL team members. Marcus Lattrell was the only one to survive and he almost died as well.
BTW, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were legitimate military targets. The HQ for 5th division and the 2nd General Army HQ were there. It was also a communications center and assembly area. What sealed the deal for Hiroshima was that it was the only targeted city without any POW camps nearby. Nagasaki was one of the largest seaport in southern Japan.
The purpose of the atomic bombs was to give the Japanese such a shock that they would immediately surrender. Millions of people lived and we kept Russia out of Japan. I’d say it was worth it.
If the need arose to hit Iran with a WMD to prevent the US from getting hit with a WMD, I would have no problem with it. I do not believe in proportionate response. I believe in hitting the enemy with overwhelming force and getting the war over with. In the end, that saves lives on both sides. I am sure that is what most Marines on the front lines would support.
Thank you to your son for his service.
You made the good points that many Japanese were involved in arms-making even even workshops scattered around in their homes and neighborhoods; and besides, with no such thing as a smart weapon, WWII bombing was unavoidably accurate.
This is all true, and I realize it. I think I made two points though, that address this:
The Israelis are facing this all the time when they have to bomb a residential block which houses pregnant women, preschoolers, an IED workshop in the basement and a bunch of rocket launchers on the roof. I am not faulting the US military or the IDF for these kinds of war-related deaths in the conditions described. It's distressing and sad and ugly, but it's not murder.
And whether the present ROE's are unreasonable, or whether JAG prosecutors are over-zealous, I do not know. But that's talking individual cases, not principles: and you and I agree in general that, as you said, "We do not need to bomb civilians today."
So that brings us to the issue that kicked off this discussion: Hiroshima.
Is it true to say that "Hiroshima and Nagasaki were legitimate military targets"? The whole cities, as such? Or isn't it true, rather, to say, "There were legitimate military targets IN Hiroshima and Nagasaki"?
The distinction makes a difference, as I see it, even if the casualties were exactly the same.
I mean this: if the U.S. went in with bombers to obliterate the Army HQ, the communications center and assembly area, etc., and in the course of hitting the admittedly legitimate military targets, sparked the kind of firestorm that killed 100,000 people, it's possible -- possible --- that that could be justfied. Horrible, but justified on the grounds that the civilian deaths were never part of the "calculus" of how effective or successful the bombing missions were. Making a flambeau of children, elderly and refugees did not form part of the intention.
Pause a minute here.
That puts many of the Allied bombing missions in a moral light: the weapons were as accurate as they possibly could be (even though that means, "not very accurate"), the obliteration of the miltiary targets was an absolutely essential objective, and therefore the civilian deaths, though foreseeable, were NOT THE SAME AS MURDER.
"The purpose of the atomic bombs was to give the Japanese such a shock that they would immediately surrender."
That --- eaxtly that --- is where we have a problem. I understand the need to "shock," but if it's moral to target civilians for deliberate incineration because of the effective shock value --- because you hope it'll make the other side give up --- then explain to me why it's not OK for Hamas to do it.
The very definition of terrorism is committing mayhem against the innocent for the sake of the psychological impact: the shock.
Overwhelming force against military targets to end a war as quickly as possible: yes. Absolutely yes. I'm for that. Overwhelming force as in indiscriminate massacre: no. I would not offend my God.