Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Military could keep Trump from nukes

     A reader forwarded an article, “The messed up truth about the Louisiana Purchase,” recasting doubling the size of the United States, not as a bargain securing our nation’s future growth, but as a disastrous prelude to more slavery and persecution of Native Americans. Which it certainly was.
     Once again I felt like a kid caught between two battling parents.
     On one hand, you’ve got the Make America Great crew, to whom everything America does now or ever did is already pretty great, because we did it. U.S. history is a series of triumphs leading up to today’s apex of glory, the Donald Trump administration.
     On the other is history as a stroll through a slaughterhouse, where the creation of our country is a blot upon nature, like a bag of wet trash split open into a field of flowers. The United States is half crime, half blunder.
     Thursday is Aug. 6, a key stop in the latter view’s stations of the cross, the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. At the time, 85% of Americans felt it was the right thing to do, to win the war quickly.
     By 2015, approval had shrunk to 56%, though that might be deceptive.
     “If people were put in a situation like 1945, public opinion changes,” said Scott D. Sagan, a political science professor at Stanford. “In a survey experiment in 2017, people were asked: If we were at war with Iran, and the president is given the options of attacking the second largest city in Iran with nuclear weapons, to shock the Iranian government, or continue a ground war where 20,000 American troops die, versus 100,000 people die in the air attack, 60% of Americans support the air attack. Increase the number to 2 million dying from the nuclear bomb and that number stays the same, 60%.”

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  1. Thanks Neil. Just as I’m starting to feel a little better because Trump has told me many times over that things are getting better, you come along and give me yet another thing for which to be concerned.
    Now I guess I’m going to have to stop worrying and learn how to love the bomb.

  2. Truman had a choice, he could invade Japan & have a million American GIs dead, along with 10 million Japanese dead or use the bomb & have a couple hundred thousand of the enemy, who staged a sneak attack on Pearl harbor dead.
    If he had chosen invasion, instead of the bombs, he wouldn't have been impeached when all the dead bodies were returned to the US, he would've been lynched!
    Gee, which would you choose?
    Japan had no intention of surrendering on August 5, 1945. They where talking to the Russians about an armistice, where they would retain their sovereignty, no occupation, no war crimes trials & keep all the territory in Manchuria they occupied. We knew that, because we had broken their diplomatic codes.
    Even after the Nagasaki bomb, there was a group of young Japanese Army officers that tried to steal & destroy the recording the emperor made, surrendering, so that they could fight until the last Japanese person was dead.
    That's what those loons wanted, absolutely everyone dead in Japan, along with killing as many Americans, Australians & New Zealanders as possible. That was the same insane philosophy that created the kamikazes.
    The crackpot historical revisionists simply refuse to understand what was going on then.

  3. In August 1945 my father was assigned to an LCI flotilla attached to the 7th Fleet in the Phillipines. They were getting ready to invade Japan.
    Instead, he got to come home in February 1946, and I was born the following November.
    So you can understand why I have mixed emotions about dropping the bomb.

  4. Yo, Semite! Fine "stations of the cross" reference. (I hope that joke is acceptable, given our Maximum Leader's recent pronunciation snafu.)

    Yes, indeed, my "plate of worry is full." And starting on election night 2016, pretty much the main entree was the new "deeply vengeful and haphazard" president's potential for using nuclear weapons. The likelihood of an "article in the current Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists" helping to avert such a catastrophe seems small, however, as you suggest. Little did I know that his stupidity and shortsightedness in dealing with a pandemic would take precedence over my original worry. Stupidity always heavily marbled with his narcissism, of course.

    The details were different, but my father also would have been part of an invasion in 1945, so I'll second the gist of mellowjohn's comment.

  5. As the son of a Marine who fought in the South Pacific, I'll go along with Clark, Mellowjohn and Jakash.

    I don't think much of these hypothetical-scenario questions like "Would you accept half a million enemy dead? How about a million? How about two million," etc. Choices in a real war are never that cut-and-dried.

  6. My father also served in the Philippines. He was part of the forces that took Manila in 1945. That city was the largest urban battlefield of WWII, bigger than Stalingrad or Berlin. He remained there long enough to witness the Independence Day ceremonies the following year, when Douglas MacArthur swore in the first president of the Philippines. So I didn't come along until the summer of '47.

    Without The Bomb, I might not have come along at all, and my mother might have become a war widow. Like her kid sister, whose husband died in Europe. Multiply my experience by tens of millions of my cohorts. No Big Boom, no Baby Boomers.


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