Monday, January 5, 2015

Standing up and fighting back is not Violence

~When fighting for justice,

a passion for zero-conflict is hopeful. But sometimes human beings are walking contradictions. Social justice depends on commitment and resolve. There will be no peace until we have justice because freedom hangs in the balance. -tmf

Concerning non-violence: it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.”
― Malcolm X


~ Malcom was right; self-defense is not violence. A retreat to an ivory tower of intellectual pacifism can be selfish and leave unnecessary blood in the streets. This preserves
injustice and oppression by rewarding those who initiate conflict.


Martin Luther King Jr. framed the issue well from his cell in the Birmingham jail:



" I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in
Atlanta and not be concerned about what
happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere
is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught
in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a
single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider
anywhere within its bounds."



...In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.


... Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.

..there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.

...We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well-timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that
"justice too long delayed is justice denied."

...Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and
in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.



Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Published in:
King, Martin Luther Jr.
____________________________

http://peaceresources.blogspot.com/2014/12/standing-up-and-fighting-back-is-not.html

Monday, September 16, 2013

Impeachment would be prudent, so where is congress?


This article was published four days after Obama took office. Today the case for impeachment is abundantly clear.  



How many Obama-ordered civilian deaths in foreign lands will you tolerate before speaking out and taking action? Three Pakistani children are three too many for me.
In a blatant and unmistakable act of war against a sovereign nation, Barack Obama, four days into his administration on Friday, January 23, 2009, as commander in chief of US armed forces, ordered the US military to launch Hellfire missile strikes on homes in northwest Pakistan, killing dozens of civilians including at least three children. The military was aiming to bomb al Qaeda and Taliban “suspects,” but there was some unfortunate “collateral damage”. Oops.
Bomber pilots who leisurely drive to work each day, safely ensconced on military bases in the United States, fired the Hellfire missiles on civilians in Pakistan from unmanned, electronically controlled Predator drone aircraft. “Predator” plus “Hellfire” translates into the remote controlled explosion of children’s fragile bodies half a world away. Oh the joys of joystick bombing, the thrill of commuter combat killing, out of sight, out of mind, out of corporate US media.
The illegal air strikes and subsequent murder of civilians prompted mass protests against the US in Pakistan (a nuclear-armed nation!) and, in all likelihood, created hundreds more very angry people who are ready to do anything, anything, to defend their country, their families, and their deep sense of honor.
According to Pierre Sprey, a former Pentagon official and fighter aircraft designer, “…what happens on the ground is for every one of those impacts you get five or ten times as many recruits for the Taliban as you’ve eliminated. The people that we’re trying to convince to become adherents to our cause have turned rigidly hostile to our cause in part because of bombing and in part because of other killing of civilians from ground forces.”
So, in a spirit of bipartisanship and fair play, mindful that in the country I serve no one is above the law, I call for the impeachment of Barack Obama for war crimes, crimes against humanity, violations of the Geneva and Hague Conventions and the Nuremberg Tribunal Charter, and numerous U.N. General Assembly resolutions, just as I had called for the impeachment of Bush/Cheney for committing the very same crimes.
Anyone who doesn’t think Obama should be impeached who supported the impeachment of the previous administration for these same crimes is dealing in double standards and hypocrisy. Everyone who voted for Obama has blood on his hands, especially after he made repeated campaign promises to increase already bank-busting military spending, double the number of US forces in the unwinnable US war and occupation of Afghanistan, continue to develop and deploy Reagan’s Star Wars missile “defense” system, and to “go after suspected terrorists wherever they are.”
Thanks to Democratic and Republican administrations alike, as well as to resource grabs inside developing countries by many Western nations, terrorists are now all over the world striking out against the continuing exploitation and occupation of their lands. Is Obama going to “go after” them all? With hawk-lady Clinton as Secretary of State and so many of Obama’s cabinet choices steeped in generations of promoting US aggression, I don’t doubt it.
Clinton’s appointment of Richard Holbrooke as US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan is viewed by many as a recipe for disaster. Says Scott Ritter, former Marine Corp intelligence officer and U.N. weapons inspector, “The cause-and-effect relationship between what the United States does inside Afghanistan and what occurs inside Pakistan cannot be ignored by American policymakers. He [Holbrooke] tends to seek military solutions to difficult ethnic-based problems, and he is likely to argue for the deployment of even more U.S. troops to that war-ravaged nation. That would be a historic mistake.”
Obama, by surrounding himself with foreign policy hawks, is falling into the same old savage mindset: bomb first, analyze later.
As for the tens of millions of Americans who expect the Obama administration to hold Bu$hCorp responsible for it’s murderous multiple felonies, don’t hold your breath. With Obama engaged in the very same activities that enraged us and the world about Bush’s neocon plans for “total global dominance” (this exact phrase appears throughout Department of Defense literature), do we really expect justice?
It speaks volumes that Obama brazenly nominated defense contractor Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn as Deputy Secretary of Defense, already waiving his own policy of not nominating industry lobbyists with conflicting interests for positions in his cabinet. So much for the “hope” to “change” the D.C. insider revolving door of military/corporate/government collusion and their perpetual war influence peddling.
Raytheon designs and manufactures some of the planet’s most barbarous devices of death and destruction that have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and made Lynn a very rich man. Raytheon makes cluster bombs that explode on playgrounds in children’s faces long after they’ve been dropped, the Patriot anti-missile system, the Tomahawk cruise missile, Paveway laser-guided bombs, and the errant “smart bomb’ that missed its target in Baghdad in 2003 and killed at least 62 Iraqi civilians. Oops.
The Pentagon rewards Raytheon with tens of billions of our tax dollars each year to make these and newer, more lethal WMD. Lynn has been on Raytheon’s payroll since 2002. That this nomination hasn’t sent up blinding red flags and caused progressives to scream out in protest is beyond me. As long as the American Idle allow such conspicuous and flagrant travesties of justice and crimes against the peace, we, the sheeple, will continue to get exactly the government we deserve.
While Obama is making an honest attempt to deal with our many domestic crises, his foreign policy is nothing but a continuation of US imperialistic, genocidal misadventures masquerading as “homeland security” that are in actuality weaponized offenses designed to control as many of the world’s resources as we can get our grubby little hands on.
It is this material aggression and the sense of American exceptionalism for which Obama must now be held accountable. Hey – he wanted the job! Our job is to fire him if he commits crimes in the process of perpetuating the wanton greed of American empire and its supremacist, bigoted, unsustainable way of life. He has already committed the ultimate crime. Just ask the parents of those Pakistani children.
We must reach across the aisle, condemn the continuing US murder of civilians on their own soil, confront our racist attitude that our lives are worth more than theirs, and do what is right. Impeach Obama and stop the mass murder of civilians! And then continue to immediately impeach every commander in chief that commits crimes against humanity. America will be safer for it, and fewer veterans will commit suicide, and more money will be available to help the tens of millions of Americans falling into the craters of capitalism’s collapse (half of your federal tax dollars go directly to the Pentagon), and the world’s people won’t hate us so much, and precious, brown-eyed babies won’t get blown to smithereens in our name, and we might sleep a little better.
###
Tom Santoni ( tom@aug.com ) is a long time human rights and economic justice activist, a professional musician and stained glass artist specializing in peace symbols, and a member of the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace. He has written many articles on the harmful effects of the US military’s use of Depleted Uranium and other indiscriminate WMD, as well as the aggressive and imperialist US foreign policy transcending both Democrat and Republican administrations and the war crimes committed by both.
Note: For an excellent Bill Moyers’ interview with two passionate, informed and articulate US citizens opposed to the US bombings and Obama’s continuation of Bush’s Middle East policies, check this out.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Say No to Endless War!

http://peaceresources.blogspot.com/2013/06/say-no-to-endless-war.html
I just signed the petition "Tell Congress: Repeal the Blank Check for Perpetual War" and wanted to ask if you could add your name too.

Even if you avoid signing petitions, sign this one. The bill should have been called the transition to fascism bill. It is unconstitutional and dangerous. Now Obama thinks he has the right to murder anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any reason or without providing any reason at all. We need to stop payment on this check.

 You can read more and sign the petition here:

http://org.credoaction.com/petitions/tell-congress-repeal-the-blank-check-for-perpetual-war

Thank you!

Tim Flanagan
peace@writingresource.org



P.S. Can you also take a moment to share the petition with others?
It's really easy – all you need to do is share this link
http://peaceresources.blogspot.com/2013/06/say-no-to-endless-war.html
or this one... on Facebook or Twitter:
http://org.credoaction.com/petitions/tell-congress-repeal-the-blank-check-for-perpetual-war

Friday, May 24, 2013

"You can be in my dream if I can be in yours..." Stop Drone Warfare, Close Gitmo, & Secure the Peace


http://peaceresources.blogspot.com
The current, war-based economic platform of President Obama is untenable. We cannot continue to
start new wars and sell munitions
as the primary economic platform
for this nation.

This brutish program wastes precious resources we could be using to rebuild America, kills innocent people, compromises our credibility and creates new enemies.

We must take transnational economic cartels off the table and once more become a law-abiding nation dedicated to peace, justice, and freedom.

Drone warfare, wars of choice and the "Bush-Obama doctrine" must end. 
Please contact the president, vice president, congress and the judiciary to
let them know that illegal warfare must not stand.

http://thepeaceresource.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/stand-up-speak-out-take-action-contact-elected-officials/

We need to shut down the drones, close Gitmo, stop murdering prisoners, end the wiretapping of innocents and stop rendering citizens for torture, rape and/or murder abroad.  Those who fought and died for freedom in World War Two must be rolling over in their graves to see this rise of neo-fascism in America.

If they will not listen, we must take it to the streets!

http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/drones

http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/peace

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Peace depends on A Free Press

Breaking News! Brutal Attacks on Peaceful Occupy Oakland gathering!
http://www.theportlandalliance.org/occupation
CourageConquers Fear
Stand up for the 99%

Breaking News!
OccupyPortland

The Portland Alliance and KBOO are sponsoring 
VOICES IN ACTION: HUMAN RIGHTS ON FILM NWFILM.ORG

  Download Poster!    Download the Schedule!
"The right to rebellion is the right to seek a higher rule..."   GEORGE ELIOT
Sunday, Nov. 13
 Greg Palast at the Bagdad:
702 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
ForTheAlliance&KBOO!

Speaking Truth to Power Since 1981!
Support local media!
Of, by, & for the people!
Here is a new Alliance Interactive Calendar: add your own events! We are a 501C3 Nonprofit for Public Benefit. (NAAME)
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List iconSign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust
Table of Contents!
Live Music & Festivals

 
Our  Community Calendar is where thousands of organizers in the Pacific Northwest discover opportunities for action or submit their own events!
        http://www.theportlandalliance.org/communitycalendar
If you want to learn more about the Alliance, please examine the seven issues we have published in 2011 at this address:
        http://www.theportlandalliance.org/issues.html 

Or visit our Blog and carry on a conversation with our staff.
            http://portlandalliancenews.blogspot.com/
 
We are the news for Occupy Portland, the Occupy Portland Alliance is on site.  Check with Andrea Townsend for the Occupation Alliance http://www.theportlandalliance.org/occupyportland  send stories, articles pictures for online or print issues!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Disaster in Libya


The Libyan War and Libya After Gadaffi

The pretense there was some "victory" of "rebels" in Libya is
fine if you are wearing rose-colored glasses and prefer delusions
to fact.  But facts remain.

The invasion, bombing, and attacks on Libya did not come from
rebels, they came from the British and French Governments in
a six month illegal war, using US funds and equipment.

There is nothing to be proud of in this illegal, immoral, and
fatal invasion.  Regime change by force is illegal under international
law.  As well it should be.  And whitewashing these crimes does not
help the cause of any civilized nation which operates, at least ostensibly,
according to the rule of law.

The NATO attack, bombings, and invasion has been about regime change
and banking concerns.  It had little to do with humanity or human suffering.

This illegal war will come back to haunt us.  Either the British and French,
with support from the United States will setup a puppet regime to deliver
their banking demands... or NATO forces will withdraw and the nation
will be embroiled in an extended bloody war between factions.  This
invasion was precipitous, ill-advised, and will cost untold lives.


"Was there a better way to save lives? Yes, if given the chance.
We know that President Lula da Silva (former president of Brazil)
offered to lead a mediation mission to mediate a ceasefire.
This was supported by Latin American countries, the African Union
and even the weak-kneed Arab League. Gaddafi had agreed to the idea
of a ceasefire, including international forces, to observe it. This was turned
down by NATO and their vassals in Benghazi. The African Union mission
was humiliated in Benghazi and the Western media hosted discussions that
ridiculed the AU initiatives. Peace was given no chance. Why?
Because the agenda is regime change and not the protection of civilians."
~~CHARLES ABUGRE, CounterPunch.org, July 29 – 31, 2011

This war was about regime change and is not any sort of victory.
It is cowardly surrender and a defeat for people in Libya, France,
Great Britain, the USA and the rest of the planet.  The homeless
and will hungry continue to suffer needlessly as this avoidable
conflict continues to run its course.

www.Peaceresource.org
www.InternationalPeaceresources.org
www.ActiveResource.org


in response to the article below....


LIBYA AFTER GADAFFI: STATEMENT BY STOP THE WAR COALITION

The fall of the Gadaffi regime in Libya marks yet another turning point in what
has been a truly remarkable year in the Middle East. The victory of the rebels,
backed by Nato bombing in a six month campaign initiated by the British and
French governments, also heralds the rehabilitation of a discredited doctrine
-- that of 'humanitarian intervention' -- after the debacle of Iraq and
Afghanistan.

The defeat of Gadaffi is now being used to justify military action on the
grounds that it has helped the Arab revolutions. David Cameron declared outside
Downing Street 22 August 2011, 'This has not been our revolution, but we can be
proud that we have played our part.'

The hypocrisy of Cameron is staggering, given the role of British and other
western governments in backing up dictators and despots in the region -- only
halted in some places by the actions of the Arab people themselves.

The Nato intervention has not been for idealistic values. It has been about
regime change, so that a leader more acceptable to western governments and
business could replace Gadaffi.

Right to the end, NATO was bent on a military victory and bringing the
Transitional National Council (TNC) -- the Benghazi administration -- to power
in Libya by force of arms. All proposals for talks to achieve a political
solution – whether from within Libya or outside - have been brushed aside.

While many Libyans may welcome the outcome, and will be glad to see the back of
Gadaffi, it has a number of negative aspects.

From the international point of view, the most significant thing is that the
government of another Arab state has been changed by external force applied by
the big imperial powers. There is no real suggestion that the TNC could have
come to power unaided. The NATO military intervention, stretching beyond
breaking point the mandate given by the United Nations, has been decisive.

This will not be the end of the story. The experience of Iraq teaches that the
overthrow of a regime under such circumstances by no means signifies the end of
the war. Whether those who have supported Gadaffi will meekly accept the
authority of a new government imposed under such circumstances is open to
question.

Whatever happens, the deep divisions within Libyan society remain. Likewise,
given that the TNC is an amalgam of forces, ranging from the democratic to the
Islamist to leaders who are the direct employees of western interests, it may
have neither the capacity to resolve existing differences nor the ability to
prevent the emergence of new ones, within its own ranks.

David Cameron spelt out the close role Britain and the other western powers
will expect to have in running Libya, and in how much detail they have been
planned, including ‘stabilisation experts who have been planning for this
moment…for months.’

Under these circumstances, the main demand must be an end to all forms of NATO
interference in Libya – not just the end of the bombing, but the withdrawal
of special forces and a halt to all forms of political interference. The only
solution to the crisis in Libya will have to be a Libyan solution. Recent
history, from Iraq to Afghanistan, teaches that too.

But beyond that, we must recognise the danger that even a passing 'success' in
Libya may embolden the US, British and French governments to believe that the
idea of 'liberal interventionism', discredited after Iraq, can be revived on a
broader scale. Of course, however it ends the Libyan conflict has not gone as
expected and none of the leaders of the aggression have dared introduce ground
troops into the war. Nevertheless, the danger of extending the intervention to
Syria as part of a programme to control and suppress the 'Arab Spring' is not
inconceivable and must be mobilised against.

The old rulers will not be missed if and when they depart. The decisive issues
– genuinely democratic and popular regimes across the Arab world, the
exclusion of great power interference in the region and justice for the
Palestinian people – remain in the balance and require our solidarity.

LINDSEY GERMAN, National Convenor, Stop the War Coalition
ANDREW MURRAY, National Chair, Stop the War Coalition--

The STOP THE WAR COALITION made the above statement on the
22nd of August 2011.  Email office@stopwar.org.uk
Tel: 020 7801 2768
Web: http://stopwar.org.uk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nuclear War...

Facts still matter.
 
Weapons of Mass Destruction
The Atomic Bombing of Japan
 
 
   

"Now is the time to exterminate the Yellow Peril for all time… Let the rats squeal." 
—Congressman Charles A. Plumley, August 1945
 
Next to Vietnam, no topic in U.S. foreign policy generates as much historical controversy as the continuing debate over the use of atomic bombs to end the Second World War.  Aside from the obvious point that two cities were largely destroyed, instantly killing over a hundred thousand Japanese (95% of them civilians), why does the use of atomic bombs against Japan still provoke controversy?  After all, the fire-bombing of Tokyo in March of 1945 killed nearly 100,000 Japanese in just two days, and B-29s dropped hundreds of tons of firebombs on other major Japanese cities.  One important distinction is that a single bomb (a uranium device nicknamed "Little Boy") was dropped on Hiroshima, followed by a second one (a plutonium bomb nicknamed "Fat Man") dropped three days later on Nagasaki.  Beyond the unprecedented explosive power (12.5 kilotons for the first bomb and 22 kilotons for the second one), the delayed effects of radiation were another important distinction.  Whereas the fire-bombing of Tokyo produced a death rate of about 100,000 fatalities among one million casualties (10%), the two atomic bombs produced a death rate of over 50% with the inclusion of deaths due to radiation.  By 1950 nearly 350,000 Japanese had died from the effects of Little Boy and Fat Man.
An obvious reason for the continuing controversy is that the U.S. is the only country to have used atomic bombs, immediately recognized as "doomsday" weapons with the potential to annihilate mankind.  (While observing the detonation of the first atomic bomb at a test site in New Mexico, Robert Oppenheimer, who directed the bomb’s construction, recalled the following line from Hindu scripture: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.")  Aside from the moral issue of whether the use of such weapons of mass destruction can ever be justified except as a last resort in the face of a similar threat (which was clearly not the case in August of 1945), there is the question of what role the atomic bombs played in ending the war. The effects of the bombs and the rationale for using them have been, at the same time, both oversimplified and obscured in mythology. 
Why were the atomic bombs used, and what effect did they have?  The official rationale of the Truman Administration, which has become an article of faith for many people, is that the bombs were necessary to break the will of the "fanatical" Japanese to continue fighting, thereby averting an invasion of Japan, shortening the war, and saving hundreds of thousands of American lives.  However, a careful examination of historical evidence makes it clear that this popular view is actually a mythological construct.  And this is the second major reason for the continuing controversy surrounding the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan.
The Manhattan Project was started in 1941 after a group of scientists, including Albert Einstein, informed President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Germany was working on atomic research.  Roosevelt concluded that the best defense was for the U.S. to develop atomic weapons first.  When the European war was almost over the U.S. learned that Germany had made little progress toward building an atomic bomb, but the project continued in earnest, with thoughts immediately turning toward the defeat of Japan.  In the end, at a cost of over $2 billion, three atomic bombs were manufactured and detonated as soon as they were ready: a test bomb, and the two dropped on Japan.
There are three basic elements which comprise the popular mythology about the decision to use the atomic bombs: (a) President Harry Truman was faced with the choice of using atomic bombs or invading Japan; (b) the Japanese would fight to the death in defense of their homeland; and (c) Truman gave the go-ahead in order to end the war quickly and avoid a million or more U.S. casualties.
The problem is that this logical construct is a distortion of historical reality, and it fails to take into account additional considerations which weighed heavily in the balance of thinking by American political and military leaders in 1945.  For example, Truman and Secretary of State James Byrnes also hoped that dropping the bombs on Japan would intimidate not only Emperor Hirohito but also Soviet Premier Josef Stalin. The only apparent impact on Soviet-American relations was the beginning of an increasingly costly and dangerous nuclear weapons competition which continued for the next forty years.  Of immediate concern, of course, was ending the war.  Four points need to be considered:
  • First, Truman and his advisors knew that the Japanese were already defeated and on the verge of surrender before the atomic bombs were dropped.
  • Second, there were other options for ending the war besides using atomic bombs or invading Japan.
  • Third, with or without the use of the atomic bombs, Emperor Hirohito probably would have moved to end the war before an American invasion.
  • Fourth, even if the invasion of Japan proved to be necessary (e.g., in the event of a military coup), it was estimated that the invasion of Kyushu would have cost around 25,000 U.S. deaths (much less than the absurd estimate of "half a million" later cited by Truman's advisors in an after-the-fact effort to justify the decision); and the subsequent invasion of the main island of Honshu was regarded as highly unlikely.
As early as July of 1944, Japanese military leaders realized that they could not win the war, and the government began looking for a way to end the war without sacrificing their national sovereignty.  Of special importance was the fate of the emperor, regarded in Japan as a deity whose removal (or worse, his trial as a war criminal) was unthinkable.  The issue of "unconditional surrender" (1943) was hotly debated by Truman’s advisors, but both Truman and Byrnes felt it was politically risky to negotiate with Japan.
On July 26, 1945 the Potsdam declaration ominously warned the Japanese that they must unconditionally surrender or face "prompt and utter destruction."  Several days later, three shocks hit the Japanese government in rapid succession: on August 6 the first bomb was dropped (on Hiroshima); on August 8 the Soviet Union announced that it was entering the war against Japan and invading Manchuria the next day; and on August 9 the second bomb was dropped (on Nagasaki).  On August 10 the Japanese government offered to surrender "with the understanding that the [Potsdam] declaration does not compromise… the prerogatives of [the emperor]."  On August 14 the U.S. sent a vaguely worded acknowledgement, and on August 15 the emperor announced his acceptance of the Potsdam declaration.  
"Despite the best that has been done by everyone . . . the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage . . . . Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives . . . . This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the [Potsdam Declaration]  --Radio Broadcast of the Japanese Emperor, August 15, 1945  
An additional factor, often overlooked, is revealed by Truman’s first public announcement about the bombing of Hiroshima, when he pointed out that the Japanese had been "repaid many fold" for their attack on Pearl Harbor.  Revenge (and racism) may well have played a subtle part in Truman’s willingness to go ahead with the atomic bombing of Japan.  As Truman explained, "When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast."  Throughout the war, many Americans viewed the Japanese as an inferior and barbarous race, deserving of annihilation.  (On the home front, it should be noted, Japanese aliens and Americans of Japanese descent were singled out for confinement in "relocation camps" for the duration of the war.)  Truman was a savvy politician with an innate sense of fairness, but he was not immune from wartime emotions and prejudice.  In the final analysis it seems fair to conclude that Truman recognized the usefulness of the atomic bombs, but he had nocompelling reason either to use them or to not use them.  Like most of his advisors, he simply assumed the atomic bombs would be used as soon they were ready.  While other factors clearly were at work, the bombs did help persuade the Japanese to surrender.

Postscript: Whether the "end justified the means" ultimately is a moral question, not a historical one.  Personally, I cannot ignore the fact that my father was a sailor on the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga, back in action in 1945 after a kamikaze attack had sent the ship to Pearl Harbor for repairs.  How many American soldiers and sailors would have died if the war had continued, even for a short time longer, is debatable.  (Claims of "half a million" American lives saved are preposterous; less than 300,000 Americans died in the entire war, including Europe and the Pacific.  Most experts put the estimate at 120,000 U.S. casualties, including 25,000 deaths.  Was my dad's life worth more than 300,000 Japanese civilians?)  In any case, the war ended quickly and he came home.  Of course, the war ended quickly for the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, too.  As a student of history, I cannot ignore that aspect of the equation either.
 © David C. Hanson, Virginia Western Community College, November 1998

Pages

About Me

My photo

Editor, Tutor, Writer, Artist, Radio Show Host, Steering Committee: Jobs with Justice, Associate Editor of The Wordsmith Collection, Agent of The Northwest Alliance for Alternative Media & Education, Creative Artist, Activist, Organizer, Publisher, Teacher, Journalist,