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When the Sun Turned Black
Insight Scoop ^ | December 5, 2009 | Paul Glynn, S.M.

Posted on 12/05/2009 6:00:32 PM PST by NYer

Major "Chuck" Sweeney had an extremely risky takeoff before dawn, loaded as he was with the 4.5-ton A-bomb, "Fat Man". Now they were over their primary target, Kokura. He had made three runs over the hopelessly clouded city when he made a shocking discovery: the auxiliary gasoline pipe was blocked. Unless they dropped the bomb soon, they would never get home. He turned his plane southwest for the secondary target, "Nagasaki, urban area".

His B-29 was over Shimabara just before

11 A.M. A radio announcer saw this and excitedly broadcast a warning, and Nagasaki people who heard him ran for their shelters. Moments later, Sweeney and his crew saw Nagasaki right below them through a cloud break, immediately recognizing the Urakami River and the Matsuyama Sports Ground. That put them almost two miles northwest of the planned drop, but time had run out. Bombardier Kermit released the bomb. It was just 11 A.M. when Fat Man went plummeting down onto the city of two hundred thousand souls, of whom more than seventy thousand would die, many without a trace.

Inside the Urakami Cathedral, Fathers Nishida and Tamaya were hearing confessions again after the all-clear. The cathedral was only a third of a mile from where Fat Man detonated and was reduced to rubble in an instant. No one would be sure how many perished inside.

Less than two miles away from the cathedral, Chimoto-san was working on his rice paddy on Mount Kawabira. He heard a noise, looked up and saw a B-29 emerging from the clouds. It disgorged a huge black bomb, and he threw himself to the ground. He waited a minute. Then came an awful penetrating brightness, followed by eerie stillness. He looked up and gasped at the huge pillar of smoke, swelling grotesquely as it rose. Suddenly he realized that a hurricane was rushing toward him. Houses, buildings, trees were being cut down before his startled eyes as if by some enormous, invisible bulldozer. Then came a deafening roar, and he was hurled like a matchbox into the stone wall sixteen feet behind. Shaken to his very soul, he gaped at the pines, chestnuts and camphor laurels torn from the ground or broken off at the trunks. Even the grass was gone!

Midori's nineteen-year-old cousin Sadako Moriyama had just found her two small brothers chasing dragonflies in the Yamazato school yard. She told them their mother wanted them. At that moment, she heard the plane and ran with them to the school shelter. As they entered, they were picked up and hurled to the far wall, and she blacked out. Coming to, she heard the two children whimpering at her feet and wondered why it was so dark. As a little light began to penetrate the gloom, she was paralyzed with terror. Two hideous monsters had appeared at the shelter's entrance, making croaking noises and trying to crawl in. As the darkness lifted a little, she saw they were human beings who had been outside when the bomb exploded. In less than seconds, they had been skinned alive, half a mile from the epicenter, and their raw bodies had been picked up and smashed into the side of the shelter.

She went outside. The light was weak, as if it were barely dawn. She cried aloud when she saw beside the sandbox four children, without clothes or skin! She stood there transfixed, her eyes involuntarily drinking in the hideous details. The skin of their hands had been torn away at the wrists and hung from their fingernails, looking like gloves turned inside out.

Feeling she was losing her reason, she dashed back into the shelter, accidentally brushing the two victims still squirming and moaning near the entrance. Their bodies felt like potatoes gone rotten. Their horrible animal croaking sound began again. She realized they were saying something. Mizu, mizu. Water, water. That cry was to run like a cracked record in the nightmares of Nagasaki survivors for years.

Michiko Ogino was ten years old and enjoying the summer holidays at home. Just after 11 A.M. she was terrified by a giant lightning flash, followed by a horrendous roar, and within seconds she was one of the thousands pinned under the roofs or walls of their homes. The blast of the bomb caused air to rush from the epicenter at over a mile a second, knocking houses flat. Almost immediately, an equally violent wind rushed back into the vacuum left at the epicenter.

Michiko was hopelessly pinned there, but her screaming brought a stranger who freed her. Outside, she was startled to see evil-looking clouds that twisted and writhed and blackened out the sun. 'What kind of new lightning had done this? Then she became conscious of a tiny voice becoming hysterical. It was her two-year-old sister trapped under a crossbeam. She turned for help and saw dashing toward them a naked woman, her body greasy, and purple like an eggplant, and her hair reddish brown and frizzled. Oh no! It was Mother! The speechless Michiko could only point to her sister under the beam. The mother looked wildly at the fires that had already started, dived into the rubble, put her shoulder under the beam and heaved. The two-year-old was free, and the mother, hugging her to her breast, collapsed onto the ground. There was no skin left on the shoulder that she had put under the beam, just raw bleeding meat. Michiko's father appeared, badly burnt too. He watched in dumb helplessness as his wife groaned and struggled to rise. Then all her strength ebbed away, and she collapsed, dead.



Nagasaki was now burning, and Sakue Kawasaki sat in disbelief inside the Aburagi air-raid shelter. He could see people staggering about outside, naked and swollen like pumpkins. Then came a babel of croaking voices piteously begging for mizu, mizu, but where could he get water? There was a puddle of dirty water outside the entrance to the shelter, and one of the victims crawled over, lowered his lips into it and drank with succulent noises. He tried to crawl to the shelter but collapsed and stopped moving. One by one, the others drank from the puddle and crumpled up motionless. What terrible thirst could drive men to act like demented lemmings?

The plutonium-239 bomb exploded in Nagasaki with the equivalent force of twenty-two thousand tons of conventional explosives but with vast differences. Setting aside for the moment the A-bomb's lethal radiation, there was its intense heat, which reached several million degrees centigrade at the explosion point. The whole mass of the huge bomb was ionized and a fireball created, making the air around it luminous, emitting ultraviolet rays and infrared rays and blistering roof tiles farther than half a mile from the epicenter. Exposed human skin was scorched up to two and a half miles away. Electric light poles, trees and houses within two miles were charred on the surface facing the blast. The velocity of the wind that rushed out from the epicenter was more than one mile per second, sixty times the velocity of a major cyclone. This caused a vacuum at the epicenter, and another cyclone rushed back. in, picking up acres of dust, dirt, debris and smoke that darkened the writhing mushroom cloud.

Young Kata-san was walking his cow on a hillside outside Oyama, five miles south of the epicenter. He was startled by the flash and watched, rooted to the spot, as a huge white cloud rose up like a grotesque organism fattening itself by some weird magic. The cloud was white on the outside but fired by some hideous red energy within. Then came alternating flashes of red, yellow and purple. Gradually the cloud went into a mushroom shape, and a black. stain grew on its stem. When the cloud reached a great height, it burst open and collapsed like an obscene grub that had gorged on more than its stomach could hold. The mountains all around were lit by the sun, but the area below the cloud was shrouded in darkness. Then came Kato's second shock, a roar of wind so strong that Kato mistook it for another bomb exploding nearby.





A Song for Nagasaki: The Story of Takashi Nagai, Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb





TOPICS: Catholic; History; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: japan; nagasaki; wwii
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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by Paul Glynn, S.M.



On August 9, 1945, an American B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing tens of thousands of people in the blink of an eye, while fatally injuring and poisoning thousands more. Among the survivors was Takashi Nagai, a pioneer in radiology research and a convert to the Catholic Faith. Living in the rubble of the ruined city and suffering from leukemia caused by over-exposure to radiation, Nagai lived out the remainder of his remarkable life by bringing physical and spiritual healing to his war-weary people.



A Song for Nagasaki tells the moving story of this extraordinary man, beginning with his boyhood and the heroic tales and stoic virtues of his family's Shinto religion. It reveals the inspiring story of Nagai's remarkable spiritual journey from Shintoism to atheism to Catholicism. Mixed with interesting details about Japanese history and culture, the biography traces Nagai's spiritual quest as he studied medicine at Nagasaki University, served as a medic with the Japanese army during its occupation of Manchuria, and returned to Nagasaki to dedicate himself to the science of radiology. The historic Catholic district of the city, where Nagai became a Catholic and began a family, was ground zero for the atomic bomb.



After the bomb disaster that killed thousands, including Nagai's beloved wife, Nagai, then Dean of Radiology at Nagasaki University, threw himself into service to the countless victims of the bomb explosion, even though it meant deadly exposure to the radiation which eventually would cause his own death. While dying, he also wrote powerful books that became best-sellers in Japan. These included The Bells of Nagasaki, which resonated deeply with the Japanese people in their great suffering as it explores the Christian message of love and forgiveness. Nagai became a highly revered man and is considered a saint by many Japanese people. Illustrated



"Christians and non-Christians alike were deeply moved by Nagai's faith in Christ that made him like Job of the Scriptures: in the midst of the nuclear wilderness he kept his heart in tranquility and peace, neither bearing resentment against any man nor cursing God." -- Shusaku Endo, from the Foreword



Also available in E-Book format.





Fr. Paul Glynn, S.M., a Marist Missionary priest from Australia, is the author of several books including the best-sellers The Healing Fire of Christ: Reflections on Modern Miracles and The Smile of the Ragpicker.

1 posted on 12/05/2009 6:00:33 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...

A good book to add to your shopping list.


2 posted on 12/05/2009 6:01:22 PM PST by NYer ("One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone" - Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer

It was a horrible thing but conventional bombing and an invasion would have resulted in the horrible deaths of millions more.


3 posted on 12/05/2009 6:11:52 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (The Second Amendment. Don't MAKE me use it.)
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To: NYer
Dropping the bomb was a mercy for hundreds of thousands more casualties that would've surely come later in the invasion of Japan. In any event, the Japanese barbarically slaughtered far more people than both bombs in just seven weeks during the Rape of Nanking. Oddly enough, the Japanese are loath to take credit for the horrors they perpetrated all through Asia that made the Nazis look positively compassionate in comparison.

In every way, dropping the bomb was the best and most humane action of the entire war.

4 posted on 12/05/2009 6:15:07 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth
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To: WorkingClassFilth

These accounts never seem to mention how many of these people cheered when Pearl Harbor was attacked.


5 posted on 12/05/2009 6:19:07 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Joe 6-pack
After the bomb disaster

I don't think I would characterize it as a disaster. Seems like it worked the way it was supposed to, and with the intended results. The disaster was allowing the Japanese government to rule the country and take it down the wrong road for most of the first half of the twentieth century.

6 posted on 12/05/2009 6:22:31 PM PST by Vermont Lt (My wife reads my posts. In case the FBI shows up, we will have cookies.)
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To: NYer
War has always been hell for soldiers; in the twentieth century it became hell for everyone.

Food for thought when contemplating an unprovoked attack.

7 posted on 12/05/2009 6:27:01 PM PST by skeeter
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To: NYer
The A-bomb over Hiroshima was not enough to make the Japanese surrender. By virtue of the Nagasaki bomb they finally gave up. My father was spared from fighting in a bloody campaign that could have resulted in his death before I was conceived. I am grateful for both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, which were justifiable instruments of war. They saved hundreds of thousands of American lives that would have been lost in an invasion of Japan.

Lamh Foistenach Abu!
8 posted on 12/05/2009 6:34:00 PM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines, RVN 1969. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!)
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To: NYer
My Dad, now deceased, was a WW II veteran and firmly believed that the dropping of those bombs saved many lives on both sides that would have been lost during an invasion of Japan. That said, we can also feel compassion for our former enemies and sympathize with their suffering.
9 posted on 12/05/2009 6:45:45 PM PST by Ciexyz (The Lord is merciful and ever-ready to hear our prayers.)
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To: NYer
My own father, who was just completing his university coursework, was sucked up into the military personnel processing machinery and put on the fast track to assist in the invasion of the Japanese homeland. There was some doubt that the United States had enough men to successfully invade and to absorb the expected losses. Such an invasion would have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands on both sides.

I have concluded that when a socialist brings us tearful accounts of the victims, he is using truth to advance some other falsehood-based agenda. In this case, we are being tempted to have more compassion on the Japanese people than on those responding to their war-making.

Happily, my father spent his time in the Navy repairing radios and radar equipment of US forces occupying remote islands in the Pacific.

May humanity not suffer from nuclear weapons ever again. However, today’s news brings a report that Iran is talking about building almost two dozen processing sites. They appear hell-bent on initiating nuclear war, and the sooner we deal with it, the lower the cost will be for the world to remove this threat.

see Drudgereport for the story.

10 posted on 12/05/2009 6:47:35 PM PST by theBuckwheat
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To: NYer
Unit 731.
11 posted on 12/05/2009 6:50:38 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (I miss the competent fiscal policy and flag waving patriotism of the Carter Administration)
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To: skeeter
War always was hell for everyone.

Ask the citizens of Troy.

12 posted on 12/05/2009 6:54:15 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (I miss the competent fiscal policy and flag waving patriotism of the Carter Administration)
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To: ConorMacNessa

Some say it was the declaration of war by the USSR which really motivated the Japanese to surrender. They knew we could be dealt with.


13 posted on 12/05/2009 7:00:18 PM PST by skeeter
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To: ConorMacNessa

My Dad had just finished his role as an infantry officer in the defeat of Germany and his unit was being refitted for the expected invasion of the Japan home islands when the news came of the Japanese surrender after Nagasaki.

You’re right, it took not one but two atomic bombings to convince the Japs that further resistance was futile.

Dad was stationed in Japan, 1956-58. I was an eight year old kid who played baseball with Japanese kids and had no idea of the Pacific War until years later. Up till then, I thought World War Two was fought only with the Germans!


14 posted on 12/05/2009 7:02:07 PM PST by elcid1970 ("O Muslim! My bullets are dipped in pig grease!")
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To: NYer

15 posted on 12/05/2009 7:03:24 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: NYer
I have little sympathy for the Japanese of that period. Many of our fathers, mine included (a Army Air Corps pilot), would have told you that the Japanese were savages with POWs and civilians of countries they invaded.

An invasion of Japan would have cost many lives on both sides.

Dropping the bombs helped save Japanese lives as well as American, British, Australian and others.

Total wars will always be fought, and it's always messy. Only the dead have seen the end of war.

16 posted on 12/05/2009 7:04:53 PM PST by alarm rider (The left will always tell you who they fear the most. What are they telling you now?)
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To: NYer

I lean towards the view that dropping the bombs may have done what we wanted them to do, but at the same time, it is only right and fitting that we remember in every conflict, in every war, the casualties have real faces, feel real pain, and are God’s children too.

These weapons are so awful that perhaps remembering people’s stories will help us realize why it is important not to let crazy governments have access to them.


17 posted on 12/05/2009 7:04:56 PM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Without the Constitution, there is no America!)
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To: ConorMacNessa
By virtue of the Nagasaki bomb they finally gave up.

Correction: By virtue of the Nagasaki bomb they eventually gave up six days later but not before the largest air raid of WWII was executed on the night of 14 August 1945. Despite the devastation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tojo and many others wanted to continue to fight.

18 posted on 12/05/2009 7:11:01 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: skeeter

You don’t know what you’re talking about. Why would Japan think we “could be dealt with” after we just evaporated two of their cities?

It was the other way around - USSR waited until Japan was toast before declaring war on them. Such courage.


19 posted on 12/05/2009 7:11:32 PM PST by lowtaxsmallgov (Low Taxes, Small Government - we can do it!)
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To: skeeter

***Some say it was the declaration of war by the USSR which really motivated the Japanese to surrender.***

I heard this back in the 1970s, vladimer Posner on Radio Moscow, short wave broadcast. Consider the source.


20 posted on 12/05/2009 7:23:48 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Are my guns loaded? Break in and find out.)
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To: Joe 6-pack
These accounts never seem to mention how many of these people cheered when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Yeah - some how the fact that they started the war eludes their writers...

21 posted on 12/05/2009 7:30:28 PM PST by GOPJ (Has Tiger EVER had an affair with a black woman?)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

***Correction: By virtue of the Nagasaki bomb they eventually gave up six days later but not before the largest air raid of WWII was executed on the night of 14 August 1945. ****

Back in 1968 Iwas temporarily stationed at Kadina AFB, Okinawa. On the tv was a program about WWII I caught the show about the end of the war. it showed the bombers taking off for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then the screen went blank for about 30 seconds (censorship), then the return of the bombers.
It then told of the massive air raid with conventional bombs that happened a few days later. That was the first I had ever heard of this final raid.

My dad was scheduled to report to the Pacific theater for the invasion of Japan. He had spent his time in Europe in Patton’s Third Army. He didn’t have to go.


22 posted on 12/05/2009 7:32:01 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Are my guns loaded? Break in and find out.)
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To: ConorMacNessa; All

>> My father was spared from fighting in a bloody campaign that could have resulted in his death before I was conceived.

It seems to be a common explanation that it was batter that many of them [Japanese] die rather than us.

So many innocent people were killed, and their individual stories help to put a face to those “others” who died so our own wouldn’t have to.

Keep in mind that unlike the victims in Nagasaki, soldiers can fight back, lead a charge, and have the backing of their units and military. These innocent people - many Catholics included - couldn’t fight back against such a massive instrument of death.

Let me be clear - I’m not saying your dad should have died, nor am I saying it was better that they died. But let’s not use the tired excuse that it was necessary, good, or something to be grateful for.

Also, keep in mind the terms “war crimes” belong to the victors of a war - had we lost the war, I’m more than positive our own leaders would have been on trial for dropping the bombs in Japan, fire bombing dresden, and many other inhumanities committed by our side which are also war crimes.

Before you flame away ... I’m an Army brat and former soldier, lived in Germany during the cold war, love the military, just gave some money to support our soldiers today while checking out at the store, and who’s best friend is on his second tour of Iraq.

But I also know that war is hell, and there are many atrocities commited not just by the “bad guys” or the people on the other side. And I also know that the *deliberate* targeting of civilians is indeed a crime against humanity, one not excusable by the fact that one’s own “side” is spared.


23 posted on 12/05/2009 7:40:03 PM PST by UFC Pride K1
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To: Joe 6-pack

I used to teach engineering design in high school.
In a cross teach day, I ended up teaching WW2 history.
I asked the class, How many new about Hiroshima - 100% did
Then I asked how many new about the rape of Nanking. - 0%
A little in class web research project was their assignment.
The we took a vote - which was worse, the killing of approx 1,000,000 people over six weeks and the rape of all women between 8 and 80, or Hiroshima. Hiroshima got no votes.


24 posted on 12/05/2009 7:41:51 PM PST by Waverunner ( "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too." Voltaire)
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To: NYer
My beloved aunt is a Japanese. When I was a boy, she would sometimes tell us of the final days of the war. She and all her classmates were evacuated to a number of caves in the hill country outside of Fukuoka. With tears in her eyes, she would describe how she and the other children would spend the day beating the tall grass with sticks in order to scare up enough insects for a meager supper. They would roast the bugs on skewers for food. Fukuoka, which is on the island of Kyūshū , was the headquarters of the Sixteenth Army Group, tasked with defending Kyūshū from the upcoming Allied invasion. If the bomb had not been dropped, Kyūshū would have been bombed into sand, and probably nerve-gassed as well, during the run-up to the invasion of Japan.

At the same time, one of my uncles, her brother-in-law, was a sailor onboard USS ESSEX. I once overheard him talking to my grandmother about the afternoon when a Yokosuka D4Y3 "Judy" kamikaze airplane crashed onto the ship's portside flight deck. At the time of impact, the crew was in the middle of refueling its planes. The resulting explosion killed many of his shipmates and wounded many more, including him. He was running ammunition to one of the ship's antiaircraft gun tubs as the Judy bored in; he leaped away as the plane hit, and when he returned, the gun tub he'd been serving was filled with something like stew -- the torn and liquefied remains of its crew. In quiet, matter-of-fact tones he told her of how he and his shipmates worked through the night, desperately bracing bukheads with wooden stanchions and filling in holes with mattresses and body parts in an effort to keep the ship afloat.

These stories were anecdotal, and may be inaccurate; their memories, and my own, are imperfect. But one incontrovertible fact stands out in both stories, and that is that war is hell. It can be fought honorably, and for honorable reasons, but there is nothing good about it unless it serves to end a greater evil. When war can be avoided, it should be. When it cannot be avoided, it is best fought as brutally as possible in order to bring it to an end as quickly as possible.

May God rest the souls of all those who died in World War II -- on all sides.

25 posted on 12/05/2009 7:43:22 PM PST by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: WorkingClassFilth

When is deliberate killing of innocent children moral?


26 posted on 12/05/2009 7:44:13 PM PST by narses ('in an odd way this is cheering news!'.)
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To: Waverunner

When is deliberate killing of innocent children moral?


27 posted on 12/05/2009 7:45:06 PM PST by narses ('in an odd way this is cheering news!'.)
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To: ConorMacNessa

When is deliberate killing of innocent children moral?


28 posted on 12/05/2009 7:45:35 PM PST by narses ('in an odd way this is cheering news!'.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

When is deliberate killing of innocent children moral?


29 posted on 12/05/2009 7:45:57 PM PST by narses ('in an odd way this is cheering news!'.)
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To: NYer; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...

When is deliberate killing of innocent children moral?


30 posted on 12/05/2009 7:46:35 PM PST by narses ('in an odd way this is cheering news!'.)
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To: narses
"When is deliberate killing of innocent children moral?"

Certainly the (A-bombing) planners knew that there would be any number of "innocent" casualties in the effort to destroy Japan's war making capability. They did not deliberately target innocent children.

31 posted on 12/05/2009 7:54:47 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: UFC Pride K1; narses
I stand by my earlier remarks - I remain grateful my father did not have to embark on a campaign in the Japanese homeland. I regret the loss of innocent life - the Japanese sowed the wind with their barbaric and unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor and reaped the whirlwind resulting directly therefrom. Looking for war crimes? Try the rape of Nanking or the manifold atrocities of the Russians during WWII - they make the Nazis look like pikers. Don't blame the Americans - we never deserved what happened to us in WWII - we were on the right side, it was a just war and thank God we prevailed.

Lamh Foistenach Abu!
32 posted on 12/05/2009 8:02:11 PM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines, RVN 1969. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!)
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To: NYer
Wow! Look at all of these "Christians" weighing-in with their suppositions that the A-bombs were a good thing, and saved many lives!

To begin with, it is never correct for a Christian to let the ends justify the means, when the means are themselves morally objectionable. Killing innocent civilians as a directly intended result of an action in wartime is always morally wrong. It is murder. Just as the actions that took place at the WTC on 9-11 were acts of mass-murder of innocents, just as the German bombing of Poland and Russia and the London Blitz were acts of mass-murder, just as our own Allied bombings of virtually every major German and Japanese city were later on. All of these were "terror bombings" of civilian populations. All of the various armed forces engaging in them admitted as much, including Allied commanders. "Bomber" Harris of the RAF made no secret that he thought these were terror bombings, and he was far from alone.

Indeed, we put Germans and Japanese on trial after the war for bombing, shooting, gassing civilian populations everywhere they could outside of their own turf. We hanged such people. And rightly so. I do not deny the fact that Germans and Japanese started these deliberate attacks on civilian population centers. But, from a Christian POV, how does that justify our doing the exact same thing - with regard to bombing and shooting civilians anyway - on a hugely increased scale later on? We lost any and all moral superiority by the end of the war when it comes to the topic of bombing and other destruction of population centers. The only real moral high-ground we might have retained is that, especially in Germany, we did not engage in premeditated genocide like they did.

As for the A-bombs themselves, they are just an order of magnitude worse than what we were doing anyway, long since, with carpet-bombing runs of thousands of B-17s and B-29s at a time. But to drop them as we did, under the background circumstances, was absolutely reprehensible. Many people claim that there would have been 500,000 to a million American casualties. This is nothing more than contemporary propaganda. There are other documents at play showing that the US would be facing something closer to 50,000 casualties, at a maximum. And that is assuming the worst politically: that the Japanese would really have the will to fight on. But they were done!

They had nothing left to fight with in any conventional military sense. They had virtually no navy at all by this point. Leyte Gulf pretty much finished that. They had no Air Force either, outside of the Kamikazis. They could have been blockaded until the population forced the government to surrender. But even that was not necessary.

For months, the Japanese government had been trying to make surrender overtures to the Allied forces, and they were stonewalled. Unconditional surrender had already been declared as a goal, and there would be no conditions entertained. Not that the Japanese had very many. Mostly, they just wanted to keep the emperor on his throne. We said no, that we would guarantee nothing like that, and might put him on trial along with the generals. Ironically, of course, he wound-up staying anyway, due mostly to General McArthur employing some basic understanding of human nature, and seeing the utility of keeping Hirohito alive to smooth the occupation of Japan.

The Japanese were willing to surrender, with minimal terms. We stalled them all through June and July 1945, because, well, by God, we were building the damned bombs, and we were going to use them! We missed an opportunity in Germany, since the war was over there. Besides, it would be a lot easier to drop those bombs on Japan anyway, since there were racial considerations that would be less "objectionable" doing it to them. Once the Trinity test (ironically named!) took place successfully near Alamagordo, NM in late July 1945, nothing the Japanese might do to surrender would be honored. We had to end the war with those bomb drops.

And we sure did! This great Christian Nation, armed with the "rightness of our cause," dropped not one but two bombs, both of them on militarily meaningless targets, with the full understanding that the overwhelming majority of the people to be killed were women, children and men too old to be in the army, or already wounded in previous military action. Nagasaki, ironically, was the city in Japan with by far the highest concentration of Christians, and Hiroshima had a relatively large contingent as well. Not that that should matter, since the real issue is deaths of innocent civilians, period, but it is interesting that that is how things turned out.

Now, if you've read this far, you're probably grinding your teeth at me! Look, I am no pacifist. I believe countries have a right to defend themselves from unjust attack. Our country was certainly attacked first, and without warning. But consider again the fact that Japan was trying to surrender. It was all but over, if we wanted to take negotiations seriously. The firebombings of many Japanese cities, as well as the two atomic bombs, of course, were totally unnecessary - by any standard, not just a Christian one - anytime after June 1945 (a case could be made for April).

And here's the proof: virtually every American commander, either contemporaneously or just a few years later, admitted as much! The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were militarily not justified. Here are some quotes from this ( http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v16/v16n3p-4_Weber.html ) website (there are plenty others like it, for those who want to research the matter, but this one is concise and has some good quotes from our own commanders):

American leaders who were in a position to know the facts did not believe, either at the time or later, that the atomic bombings were needed to end the war.

When he was informed in mid-July 1945 by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson of the decision to use the atomic bomb, General Dwight Eisenhower was deeply troubled. He disclosed his strong reservations about using the new weapon in his 1963 memoir, The White House Years: Mandate for Change, 1953-1956 (pp. 312-313):

During his [Stimson's] recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of "face."

"The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing ... I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon," Eisenhower said in 1963.

Shortly after "V-J Day," the end of the Pacific war, Brig. General Bonnie Fellers summed up in a memo for General MacArthur: "Neither the atomic bombing nor the entry of the Soviet Union into the war forced Japan's unconditional surrender. She was defeated before either these events took place."

Similarly, Admiral Leahy, Chief of Staff to presidents Roosevelt and Truman, later commented:

It is my opinion that the use of the barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan ... The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons ... My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

If the United States had been willing to wait, said Admiral Ernest King, US Chief of Naval Operations, "the effective naval blockade would, in the course of time, have starved the Japanese into submission through lack of oil, rice, medicines, and other essential materials."

Leo Szilard, a Hungarian-born scientist who played a major role in the development of the atomic bomb, argued against its use. "Japan was essentially defeated," he said, and "it would be wrong to attack its cities with atomic bombs as if atomic bombs were simply another military weapon." In a 1960 magazine article, Szilard wrote: "If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them."

End of quoted passage. I don't think there is any doubt that the A-bombs on Japan were military overkill and as much an "object lesson" warning to the Soviet Union as anything else. It is impossible to justify them from a Christian POV under any circumstances, but, as it is, there were no circumstances that could even sort of legitimize these actions. Had the Germans of Japanese done the same thing to us, and we prevailed to win the war anyway, there is no doubt whatsoever that the use of atomic weapons would have been defined as a war crime, and the advocates and implementors of such atrocities would have been executed for those kinds of bombings alone, never mind whatever else they may have done.

World War Two has been over for nearly 65 years. We need to begin to cut through all of the propaganda and misdirection of the public that took place then, and view things with the objective lens of history-from-a- distance. Simply swallowing justifications based on highly inflated casualty figures just won't do anymore. All of us conservatives have no qualms admitting that our own government today is not exactly attuned to telling us the straight dope when it is not in their interest, no? Things were no different then. We dropped the bombs on Japan because we were bound and determined to do so. Ninety percent or more of the casualties were women, children and old men. Christians! How do you really think Jesus would view this sort of civilian massacre, especially when the country on the receiving end was trying to surrender for some time back? What would be your sense of vengeance, and upon what moral justification would your rage be based, if we were on the receiving end of such an attack ourselves? Fight back? Sure. Attempting to destroy the military that attacked you unjustly is legitimate. But deliberately killing millions of the enemy's civilian population simply as an act of retribution? A tit-for-tat sort of thing? I'd rather not explain myself for that with God, thanks!

This country went to war in 1941 against two war-mongering counties, one of which had directly attacked us. We were in our rights to "respond." But, by the end of the war, we were doing just as many - and more! - war crimes as they ever did. We just happened to win, so you never saw any of our guys in the docket at war crimes tribunals. The whole world should have been ashamed by 1945. The doe-eyed innocence we allegedly had as a country into the early sixties was, in reality, long-gone. We fooled ourselves for years. I personally fooled myself about this for years. Maybe it's time to wake up.

33 posted on 12/05/2009 8:04:22 PM PST by magisterium
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To: ConorMacNessa

So the deliberate killing children in Japan was OK?


34 posted on 12/05/2009 8:06:47 PM PST by narses ('in an odd way this is cheering news!'.)
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To: magisterium

Well said, thank you.


35 posted on 12/05/2009 8:07:20 PM PST by narses ('in an odd way this is cheering news!'.)
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To: ConorMacNessa

>>Looking for war crimes? Try the rape of Nanking or the manifold atrocities of the Russians during WWII - they make the Nazis look like pikers.

I didn’t say others didn’t commit war crimes, what I’m saying is that we committed them as well - something that many defenders of the use of atomic bombs gloss over...


36 posted on 12/05/2009 8:11:27 PM PST by UFC Pride K1
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To: magisterium; All

>>But, by the end of the war, we were doing just as many - and more! - war crimes as they ever did. We just happened to win, so you never saw any of our guys in the docket at war crimes tribunals.

Exactly..


37 posted on 12/05/2009 8:12:32 PM PST by UFC Pride K1
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To: narses
It was the more moral course than withholding the bomb and allowing hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans and Japanese to die in the invasion of Japan.

Lamh Foistenach Abu!
38 posted on 12/05/2009 8:12:48 PM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines, RVN 1969. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!)
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To: NYer

Where is the part about the Japanese doctors dissecting alive captured B-29 crewmen? Where is the part on the “medical” experiments done on humans [some alive] by the 731 Unit in Manchuria?

What about the rape of NanKing?

What about Chinese civillians being used for bayonett practice?

And last but not least,who attacked Pearl Harbor?


39 posted on 12/05/2009 8:15:19 PM PST by sport
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To: ConorMacNessa

>> allowing hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans and Japanese to die in the invasion of Japan

American soldiers attacking another country are not innocent - no soldier is “innocent” when attacking. That doesn’t make them evil, but an invading force coming in with weapons is not an “innocent” force.

Unarmed civilians on the other hand, are.

Directly targeting civilians is never moral..


40 posted on 12/05/2009 8:16:33 PM PST by UFC Pride K1
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To: sport; All

I don’t think anybody here is defending the Japanese or other enemies of WWII..

What I think we are saying was that the use of the bomb was immoral and many of us believe it was a war crime, evil, or something similar.


41 posted on 12/05/2009 8:18:32 PM PST by UFC Pride K1
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To: UFC Pride K1
I'm not glossing over it - it was not a war crime - the war would have gone on much longer and would have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands on both sides. The bomb was the humane way to bring the war in Japan to a rapid close.

Lamh Foistenach Abu!
42 posted on 12/05/2009 8:19:30 PM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines, RVN 1969. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!)
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To: ConorMacNessa

Really? How does the killing of an innocent child ever become moral?


43 posted on 12/05/2009 8:21:07 PM PST by narses ('in an odd way this is cheering news!'.)
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To: ConorMacNessa

If targeting an *entire* city for destruction - knowing full well it’s a civilian target - isn’t a war crime than I don’t know what is...

Hastening an end to the war does not justify the massive killing of civilians.

Remember, the charge of “war crimes” belongs to the victor - as stated elsewhere in this thread, you didn’t see any of our guys on trial because we happened to have won.


44 posted on 12/05/2009 8:23:05 PM PST by UFC Pride K1
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To: ConorMacNessa

If targeting an *entire* city for destruction - knowing full well it’s a civilian target - isn’t a war crime than I don’t know what is...

Hastening an end to the war does not justify the massive killing of civilians.

Remember, the charge of “war crimes” belongs to the victor - as stated elsewhere in this thread, you didn’t see any of our guys on trial because we happened to have won.


45 posted on 12/05/2009 8:23:12 PM PST by UFC Pride K1
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To: WorkingClassFilth

Bockscar's temporary tail marking for the
atomic bombing mission on August 9, 1945

.


Fat Man exploding over Nagasaki, Japan during its use.

46 posted on 12/05/2009 8:23:22 PM PST by skeptoid (Skeptical and paranoid Bitter Clinger)
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To: ConorMacNessa

>>The bomb was the humane way to bring the war in Japan to a rapid close.

Humane? The bomb was an example of man’s inhumanity to may - these people crawling around “croaking” wouldn’t agree that this was a humane way to die, nor was it humane that they were not soldiers and could not defend theirselves or shoot back.


47 posted on 12/05/2009 8:24:40 PM PST by UFC Pride K1
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To: UFC Pride K1
"American soldiers attacking another country are not innocent - no soldier is “innocent” when attacking."

Our soldiers, attacking in defense of our country, which was the victim of an un-provoked attack in WWII, were innocent.

Lamh Foistenach Abu!
48 posted on 12/05/2009 8:26:07 PM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines, RVN 1969. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

“Unit 731’’ Harbin, China. Damn right. Nanking, Pearl Harbor, Bataan Death March.....


49 posted on 12/05/2009 8:26:22 PM PST by JoeMac (''Dats all I can stands 'cuz I can't stands no more''. Popeye The Sailorman)
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To: ConorMacNessa

“Our soldiers, attacking in defense of our country, which was the victim of an un-provoked attack in WWII, were innocent.”

Even when they raped or murdered innocent civilians?


50 posted on 12/05/2009 8:28:39 PM PST by narses ('in an odd way this is cheering news!'.)
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