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Five Ways Boomerpdx Clears The Fog Of War For Baby Boomers

Firebombed Tokyo, Not Nuclear Bombed

December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.”

What about the day after?

What do Baby Boomers call December 8, 2012?

Do you call it Saturday, and let it go at that? Is that good enough?

You can do better. Let’s start.

  • The Japanese military didn’t hold much back from Hawaii in 1941.

For days of infamy, Pearl Harbor stands alone, and the further from the scene, the fewer surviving witnesses to the attack, the more important it is to see Pearl Harbor in a greater context.

Who needs context for war? Baby boomer. We’re supposed to know this stuff. For the sake of history, we need to see cause and effect and the resulting consequences.

What happened to Japan after Pearl Harbor? If you say atomic bombs you are correct. Say U.S. occupation and you are correct again.

  • If nuclear weapons screamed like a new demon in war, did conventional weapons speak in a gentler voice?

The image at the top says no. That’s Tokyo after the March 10, 1945 bomb run. Lots of bombs.

The movie The Fog of War includes a chart listing Japanese cities and American cities roughly the same size. Separating the columns is a percentage number of how much of the Japanese cities were destroyed in bombing raids.

Tokyo/New York – 51% destroyed with sixteen square miles on fire; Nagoya/Los Angeles – 40% destroyed.

The Honshu city of Toyama, equal in size to Chattanooga, was 99% destroyed.  Amagasaki, linked to Jacksonville in size, was 18.9%. It ranked lowest in bomb damage.

  • The American goal for Japan was Unconditional Surrender. The question became ‘how long will it take?’

That’s the question for every war, isn’t it: when does it end? The normal answer is the sooner the better, but not everyone got the idea of Unconditional Surrender. Did it mean unconditional death?

For some people it did.

Ask yourself what it would take to surrender unconditionally if you were a national leader. Would ten firebombed cities do it? Twenty? Thirty?

Japan allowed sixty six cities put to the torch before the nuclear bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then one more run over Tokyo before flying the white flag.

The reason the U.S. eased up the B29 bombing campaign over Japan? They ran out of bombs. Just like the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor with everything they could carry, the U.S. returned the favor.

  • What’s the difference between bombing, terror bombing, and firebombing? Not much if you’re on the receiving end. It’s all lights out.

Proportionality isn’t in the cards for a nation servicing their army with Comfort Women, used pitch forks for crowd control, who invented the Kamikaze. Sixty-seven firebomb raids and two nuclear attacks were the order of the day, along with a seat on the USS Missouri surrender table.

Only in retrospect can you make a case for fairness, for evenness, for getting even.

In the context of The War in the Pacific, China wasn’t getting even for the Rape of Nanking.

Malaysia wasn’t getting even for the Rape of Singapore.

The Philippines weren’t getting even for the Rape of Manila.

Did they complain when they learned the Americans firebombed and nuclear bombed Japan? Did they take to the streets in protests?

How many of those on the ground at Pearl Harbor felt remorse for Japan in the late stages of war? If you’re looking for fairness and a kind word, don’t ask the families of war dead.

  • What can we learn from Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 that applies to December 7, 2012? Don’t sneak attack America.

We hate that stuff.

Regardless of ideology or perceived success, you’re not going to like the response. It will be so out of proportion with the initial act that you will wonder why you agreed to the plan to begin with.

Every war since WWII ended badly for America, but they’ve been ruinous to the countries fought in.

Peace is the only answer, and a lasting peace is the only result worthy of the sacrifice.

About David Gillaspie

Comments

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