Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The election behind us, Trinity Church in Chicago welcomed Jeremiah Wright back to the pulpit. The church banned reporters from the service, but somehow the Prince of Darkness managed to get a video clip. Here's the best part (from the automatically generated transcript, which hilariously captures Wright's cadence):
"Today. Is December 7. The day that this government killed. Over 80000. Japanese civilians. At Hiroshima in 1941. Two days before giving an additional. 64000. Japanese civilians. At Nagasaki by dropping nuclear bombs on innocent. People."
Huh?!? Conservatives were up in arms over the "God damn America" sermon, but I have a bigger question. Why did Barack Obama spend twenty years listening to a man whose command of history is such that he thinks that December 7 commemorates the day the United States bombed Hiroshima?
The reader who sent me this link points out that the media rather deliberately covered up Wright's embarrassing ignorance. The Chicago Tribune's account makes Wright's error sound like a political decision:
Noting the date, Dec. 7, which marks the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Wright instead chose to focus on the thousands of Japanese civilians who died four years later when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Forget the fact that the Obamas listened to this clown. The exigencies of national politics have rescued them from Wright's silliness. What about all the other people who still do? Was it not the Trib's obligation to point out that they are paying close attention to an idiot? You know, for their own good.
I am reminded of Obama's other buddy, Farrakhan, who spoke about Jamestown and got the facts and date wrong. These guys think they're rappers, just making it up as they go along. Indignant when you call them out. Calling you a racist for doing so. And the clowns they're preaching too believe them, what with the honorary PhDs, and other "credentials".
Your charitable interpretation is quite noble, but:
1. I doubt that Reverend Wright, who served in the USMC and the USN and who was born less than three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor to a mother who would rise to be an esteemed secondary school educator, would accidentally confuse the beginning and the end of WWII. It is more likely that he deliberately obfuscated or outright lied to push his AmeriKKKa-is-evil narrative to make-up for his having sat in a time-out from the pulpit back in August.
2. What has President-elect Obama ever done or said to indicate that he has any grasp of even the most basic facts or concepts that do not neatly fit the rigid Marxist doctrine that he rides like a rocket sled in his egomaniacal pursuit of power?
It is very high-minded of you to think the best of people, but keep the parable of the frog and the scorpion always in mind. Marxists are evil.
The bomb didn't kill many more people than conventional bombing runs did, though the radiation gave some people particularly gruesome deaths.
It sounds wierd saying that "the nukes weren't THAT bad" but it really wasn't, at least relative to the destruction that conventional bombs unleashed.
It's annoying when people take atrocity out of context. Sure, if we were fighting a war like this TODAY and we dropped nukes, a) that would be idiotic, b) it would be immoral because we have different ideas about what war should be today than we did back then.
The Japanese got what they came looking for. Decades earlier Theodore Roosevelt saw the rise of the Japanese navy as a threat and built ours in response. When they attacked Pearl, and in the coming sea battle, we stranded huge numbers of troops in the South Pacific to be brutalized by the Japanese.
Ghost Soldiers is a great and fast read about some of what the Japanese did during the war, and it dovetails nicely into understanding the Bataan Death March. Something like 80 thousand Marines died in it. Beaten with wet cane until they dropped, with the punishment being having your head cut off. Starved to death, and run to exhaustion, few made it all the way to the Land of the Rising Son to be tortured and murdered.
I personally could care less how many Japanese died. We were in a war they brought, and we fought to win it. That philosophy has been lost in America, while we fight with those who don't follow our own "Geneva Conventions".
Hell, we burned Dresden so hot it melted the place, and no one crys for the Reich.
I think the only interesting thing about Wright is how ignorant he is, and how he emphasizes where Obama "comes from". He is not fit for the White House, and reminders of his associations provide continuing amazement.
One of the great lines from one of the funniest movies ever.
Rev. Blutarsky, indeed.
"Forget it, he's rolling."
What a maroon.
As someone who is supposed to be a constructive leader in the community, I think Rev. Wright's words do a fair amount of harm that counterbalances the good works he has done (according to press reports). I continue to believe that he is not typical of the good people in senior positions in predominantly African-American churches in this country.
I'll be happy to have the debate with Rev. Bluatarsky anyway regarding the use of the A-bombs in, er, August 1945. It is reasonably personal to me,as I think I have posted previously -- my 93 year-old father was then a 29 year-old officer on board a U.S. Navy warship and was headed from the Atlantic to the Pacific theater to run picket duty for the anticiapted invasion of the Home Islands. Having completed nearly 5 years active duty (he signed up in the fall of 1940) and having dodged U-boat torpedoes in the Atlantic, who knows whether he makes it through the end of the War in the Pacific? I am happy to exist and to be more than a glimmer in his eye 14 years later.
Wright (along with much of the professariat) questions the use of the weapons on moral grounds; OK, he has a different metric. I happen to believe that the POTUS/CINC had a moral obligation to end the war as quickly as possible with as few casualties as possible. Remember that the Japanese did not surrender until after the second weapon was used (at Nagasaki) and the Soviets had entered the fray against them.
Escort ... between those two bombs, my (and my sister NT who ocassionally posts) great uncle was lost on the very last ship lost to enemy action in WW2 (USS Bullhead).
He was a Lt JG, graduate of Annapolis, and all-American athlete, and by all accounts a great guy. Our GGP's only son.
Subs didn't dive so deep back then, and the enemy could depth charge or otherwise bomb the shadows from above, and the Bullhead is believed to have been hit passing thru the Straight of Java.
He and his shipmates almost made it all the way thru the war, so from my perspective, we only dropped those bombs a few days too late to save him, and who knows how much too late (from the first availability) to save so many others in the Pacific Theatre?
I hope we see weekly videos of Rev Wright over the next four years. In HD video so the spittle will fly from his mouth and in Dolby Audio so the stupidity will be crystal clear.
I hope Bill Ayers get's published and interviewed on every mainstream media outlet. He should grow his hair a bit longer and get shinier ear-rings. He should bring his wife.
I hope the Illinois senatorial replacement scandal remains as slimy and repugnant as it has been to date. Obama's involvement will surface eventually. He will survive it....but....
I hope old audio recordings of Obama continue to make their way into the news...especially the ones about an active judiciary and reparations.
I hope all of this happens because I can't depend on the Republican Party to keep my taxes low, avoid national health care and control spending.
I hope the scandals will do what the Republicans can't or won't do.
Reg. the Dresden bombings, it turns out that it was not as bad as history made it out to be. As of October (I think) of this year, the number of casualties from the attacks there in WWII have been revised down drastically. (to 18k, from initial claims of 500k and 'historical' claims of 125k)
The Nazis inflated numbers for propaganda purposes, and it wasn't until after the reunification of Germany that historians could start tracking down records and counting beans. A German team made their report a few months ago.
It was roundly ignored.
JT - remarkable story; point well made. I think when you personalize the issue in the manner of your great uncle or my father, or the tens of thousands of others like them and the countless others in their extended families, it takes the conversation out of the ivory tower. Putting a racial spin on it or saying it was an excessive use of force on non-combatants may sound like an interesting philosophical argument, but subtracting your own family members kind of hits at a gut level.
DF - I've read this book published in 2004 on the Dresden air raids, and would recommend it. I seem to recall from the book that the Soviets continued the Nazi inflation of casualty figures to suit their own political ends once the Cold War was on (although Soviet criticism of U.S. or British infliction of mass casualties seems a bit laughable in retrospect).
Nice catch, TH. The mistake is surprising given his military service and level of education. Still, I'm not sure how much difference it makes to his basic point whether US forces killed 150,000 people in December or August.
While I generally agree with Truman's decision under the circumstances, I don't agree with the self-righteous confidence of those Americans so sure of their moral compass in judging the decision to kill innocent people.
I don't agree with the self-righteous confidence of those Americans so sure of their moral compass in judging the decision to kill innocent people.
So you would not have dropped the bomb and sacrificed an (est) 500,000 US military casualties for a conventional mainland invasion instead and allowed the war to drag on a couple of more years?
I would suggest that the "self-righteous confidence" is those who don't have the fortitude to make the difficult decisions, and think such things come easily to those who do make them.
Because American decision makers totally sat around and thought, 'hmm, how many innocent people can we kill with this?' and not, in fact, 'how can we end this war before Operation Olympic kicks off?'
Little-known fact: There was an attempted pro-war/anti-surrender coup attempt *even after BOTH* atomic bombs were dropped. It was thwarted by sheer dumb luck and the extreme loyalty of one particular manservant to the Emperor in face of death threats from the coup ringleaders. The History Channel did a special on it called The Last Mission, based on a book.
Up until the surrender, Japanese morale was high. News of the surrender came as an utter shock. They were training civilians to fight against the invading Americans with *bamboo pikes.*
Those atomic bombs were completely necessary to end the war without wholesale slaughter.
Sure, Squealer, I'll cop to "self-righteous confidence...so sure of [my] moral compass in judging the decision to kill innocent people" -- that's my point -- it's an existential form of self-righteousness, as in, there's a distinct possibililty I might not have come to exist had the weapons not been used. I think it would be hypocritical of me in some fashion to argue against the the use of the A-bombs. Since you apparently "agree with Truman's decision under the circumstances," you have wrestled with the morality of the decision and come to the same conclusions I have. I'll admit it is hard for me to depersonalize how I look at the decision because of my father's situation, but having read a fair amount about how Truman and his advisors arrived at the decision (even super-progressive Henry Wallace was in favor of it; as one of the smartest planners and analysts in FDR's administration, he had been involved in the Manhattan Project from early on), the questioning or rhetorical condemnation of that decision by some beclowned retired preacher who has already been thrown under the bus by his church's most famous former member does seem a tad full of hubris.
Purple writes: I would suggest that the "self-righteous confidence" is those who don't have the fortitude to make the difficult decisions.
And I would say such confidence comes from a great deal of historical and personal separation from the acts that occurred, rather than any intestinal "fortitude".
It is a strange human being who does not question the morality of not only Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but all large-scale bombings of civilians. Perhaps you would disagree with MacArthur who described the firebombing of Tokyo as "one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history." If such bombings are morally justifiable, why do we not undertake them in Iran, Pakistan, or North Korea? It is not an exaggeration to say those countries threaten the lives of American civilians more today than Japan of 1945 did.
We must ask yourselves, how did we get to this point, where we are untroubled by our murder of children and other innocent civilians? Armchair historians act as if WW2 started with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when in actuality it goes back much further. The West's imperialism in the region had been a real and longstanding threat, as it has been in many other regions of the world where we often eventually find ourselves caught up in hostilities. Did the war in Afghanistan start on 9/11? Or, Iraq in 1990? No, they did not, and of course the irony is we helped to create the conditions for war in those places to begin with.
Escort, the difference in your family's story and mine, is that your father was able to choose and be prepared for the fate that awaited him, whereas the little children (who would become my in-laws) huddling in the river to escape the fires as the bombs came down had made no such choice, nor had any understanding of why they were being attacked so viciously.
Correction, the quote was not MacArthur's, but his aide's (damn wikipedia). I would replace it with one by FDR -
The ruthless bombing from the air of civilians in unfortified centers of population during the course of the hostilities which have raged in various quarters of the earth during the past few years, which has resulted in the maiming and in the death of thousands of defenseless men, women, and children, has sickened the hearts of every civilized man and woman, and has profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity.
If resort is had to this form of inhuman barbarism during the period of the tragic conflagration with which the world is now confronted, hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings who have no responsibility for, and who are not even remotely participating in, the hostilities which have now broken out, will lose their lives. I am therefore addressing this urgent appeal to every government which may be engaged in hostilities publicly to affirm its determination that its armed forces shall in no event, and under no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations or of unfortified cities, upon the understanding that these same rules of warfare will be scrupulously observed by all of their opponents. I request an immediate reply.
"If such bombings are morally justifiable, why do we not undertake them in Iran, Pakistan, or North Korea? It is not an exaggeration to say those countries threaten the lives of American civilians more today than Japan of 1945 did."
To win the war. That's why. That's why a mass invasion was scheduled. That's why the atomic bombs were used. That's why the merchant marine was interdicted. That's why 50k Marines bled for an ocean speck called Okinawa.
It was a whole other scale. Japan was an empire. A militaristic, expansionist empire which had already conquered several nations and massacred hundreds of thousands.
Iran and Pakistan only dream of being so great. Our conventional forces so far outstrip theirs that we have the *luxury* of caring about whether we kill their civilians or not.
Squealer, it is reasonable to bring up the moral calculus of bombing civilians. But you lose all credibility when you talk about "the West's imperialism" as some kind of justification for Pearl Harbor. What an historical idiot you are! Do you know what Japan was doing to China in the '30s? Have you heard of the Rape of Nanking?
In order to truly win a war you have to convince the general populace that they are well and thoroughly defeated. This was the purpose of Sherman's march to the sea and the dropping of the A-bombs on Japan.
We haven't done this in the GWT. We pissed around with them for decades to the point that they are emboldened. We showed fecklessness in Vietnam. In Iraq we got lucky in that the insurgents were also mainly foreigners and ticked off the locals who then ratted them out to us. Even the goddamn Russians are running around saying, "Where's my empire. I want it back." The cold war ended with a whimper not with a bang.
Innocent children are what the Japanese put on the table as acceptable war casualties, we didn't. If you are going to suggest that all Americans are responsible for "Western Imperialism", then so too are all Japanese responsible for THEIR behavior.
If they are still confused as to why they were "attacked so viciously", I'd suggest they ask themselves why their emperor/government allowed TWO bombs to be dropped. Ask why they would STILL not surrender after the first, thus proving the grim necessity of using them by their government's (in)actions. A government willing to sacrifice them to an invasion force.
I could ask my great-uncle Robert Murray, but he died in Bataan, tortured and starved, after saving a fellow captive with smuggled quinine.
The man he saved, Preston Hubbard became a university professor and wrote a book about Bataan, "Apocalypse Undone" which is dedicated to my great-uncle.
I'm glad your in-laws survived. I'm not sorry that they were not forced to defend their land to the death with sharpened sticks.
The Japanese set the terms of the fight, we just beat them, then gave them their country back and helped it become an economic powerhouse 'cause we're so imperialistic and whatnot.
"We must ask yourselves, how did we get to this point, where we are untroubled by our murder of children and other innocent civilians?"
Escort, innocent (or civilian) has little to do with it. As has been noted... it was drop the bomb, or look at however many additional US casualties.
I don't see anyone here arguing that prosecuting a war against Imperial Japan was wrong - given that, if you don't ascribe more weight to our own casualties, then you're completely unqualified to be making life or death decisions on any scale. At that time it was simply not possible to wage war without large numbers of civilian casualties.
Ask Squealer to estimate how many more Japanese would have died if the A-bombs had not been dropped and the invasion had gone forward.
Of course, then they would have taken up arms against us and no longer have been "innocents".
No problem then, right?
On a much deeper level than simply disagreeing about facts and theories, Escort81 demonstrates as well as anyone can the difference between utopian relativists and the rest of us.
In his world, life on Earth can be perfect, and if it's not, it must be somebody's fault.
Everybody else knows that human beings are inherently flawed and are incapable of perfection. Can ANYONE seriously posit that the "modern world" is any less or more brutal than history suggests? Are Americans more or less brutal than Timurlane? Or Genghis Khan? Or Napoleon? Or the pharoahs? Or the Aztecs? Please.
Had the atomic bomb been in the hands of the Japanese in 1941 does anyone think they would have bothered with Pearl? Uhm, no. They'd have flattened Pearl, along with Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, simultaneously with Beijing and anywhere else they damn well felt like.
Escort may be as intelligent as anyone, but wisdom is his Kryptonite.
You ask why Obama listened to the reverend for 20 years. Maybe the reverend also said some nice things like help your neighbor, turn the other cheek, forgive tresspassers and so on. It couldn't have been all hate as you imply.
Why did Barack Obama spend twenty years listening to a man whose command of history is such that he thinks that December 7 commemorates the day the United States bombed Hiroshima?
Maybe because Obama's command of history is such that he didn't realize the good Reverend was wrong?
The Day After the Election, I put a post on my blog titled "Was It Over When the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor." It was linked on HuffPo. I got no fewer than 11 hatemails from HuffPosters, completely ignorant of the reference, who called me stupid for asserting that Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.
Yet Obama's spiritual adviser and trusted friend spews crap like that, and the left swoons. Criminy.
socialism_is_error - Thanks for that format alert -- so it's clear I am arguing that the use of the A-bombs was justified, and understood that Anon 9:51 and 10:28 comments were directed at the other side of the discussion.
I respect Squealer's point of view, and in a way, his personalization of the repurcussions of that moment in history mirrors my own -- his future in-laws (then childern) survive what sounds like fire-bombing raids in the run up to Hiroshima by trying to stay wet. Yes, my father signed up and had capacity to make his own decisions and was a combatant, unlike Squealer's future in-laws. The leadership of the society that their parents were a part of made a gamble in late 1941 and lost, and lost big (although one could argue that in the long run, the removal of the militaristic streak in Japanese culture and, indeed, the pacifism that seems to still be present are benefits of the war and are direct results of the nature of the ending of the war).
The U.S. was fortunate that because of its geography it suffered only a tiny number of non-military casualties. But everyone understood that this was a declared war, a societal conflict of the greatest degree, and everyone had skin in the game. Citizens on both coastlines lived in real fear of attack early in the war. More than a handful of bodies of merchant seamen washed up on the beaches of NJ, victims of the Wolf Pack.
Gary Rosen does make a good point to rebut Squealer's imperialism claim. Obviously, the British had many interests in the Far East (Squealer uses the term "West" instead of U.S.), and the U.S. had interests in the Phillipines, but the oil embargo was a result of Japanese actions in China, as GR points out. Furthermore, the Japanese were never the most popular kids in their neighborhood over the previous few centuries or so, and simply because we classify them as being part of the same race as others from that part of the world doesn't mean that the Japanese were any less imperialistic than any Western power.
It seems to me that an interesting argument against the use of the weapons was that they had to be developed in the first place (out of fear the other side would do so first) -- the "genie out of the bottle" argument, and that once the technology is out there, it is hard to confine. If a U.S. city is the target of a successful terrorist nuke, 75 years after and likely smaller than the Hiroshima weapon, I imagine that there will be those (unable to distinguish a declared war among nation states from a relatively small number of religious extremists interested in inflicting mass casualties to further what they perceive to be in the interests of their god) who will say that it is the ultimate form of blowback. Perhaps the good Rev. Blutarsky will preach that from a pulpit.
Note that the clip shows Wright reading the text of his sermon. This makes the error more egregious. Wright style is to write out and read his sermons so some premeditation and forethought is shown. Also it show that his editing and consultation with others is ..... limited. Don't confuse me with facts.
Squealer: "the little children (who would become my in-laws) huddling in the river to escape the fires as the bombs came down had made no such choice, nor had any understanding of why they were being attacked so viciously."
Let them ask their parents. Let them ask their leaders. And if the parents & leaders were honest, they'd reply, "Sorry, children, we did something terribly stupid, and you are paying the price for it. Please forgive us."
And if they were both honest and clairvoyant, they'd continue, "And because it's Americans who are pounding us -- and not 99% of the other conquerors throughout human history, including us -- for all our current suffering, you will actually grow up in a better world."
(Too bad the little children of Nanjing couldn't hope to hear some such heartening words from their parents and leaders. Have you had that conversation with your in-laws, too?)
“Pundits questioned his patriotism based on sound bites, including one where he shouted, "God damn America!"...”
No, they called him a racist lunatic. “Questioned his patriotism” is a term used by LIBERALS to alert readers that there is nothing to see here, just simple-minded partisan sniping.
Our intrepid reporter does what MSM has done since the start of Obama’s campaign: distort, literally, what Obama’s mentor says and believes.
That’s why she dares not mention Wright’s previous “The government invented AIDS to kill black people” charge, that was met by loud applause. As TigerHawk asks, what about all the people who listen to this guy and believe him? The number is growing.
On top of the other insults by Rev. Wright's attempt to rewrite Dec. 7th history, he insults the memory of Dorie Miller, the black Navy cook from the USS West Virginia, who shot down 2 Zeroes and dragged the captain to safety, winning the Navy Cross personally given by Adm. Nimitz. In the 2001 movie "Pearl Harbor," Cuba Gooding portrayed Miller.
Goodness gracious, what a vile little thread of jingoism. Thanks a lot, NRO hyperlink.
Are we at war with Al-Qaeda? Is Al-Qaeda at war with us?
If so, is Al-Qaeda justified in using a nuke in a US city? Several nukes in several cities? With the purpose being to try to break the will of its warring opponent with minimal casualties to iself?
Would we have made excuses for North Vietnam dropping a nuke on L.A.?
And, given the devastation and confusion caused by a totally new, heretofore unseen weapon, what is the justification for dropping a second one on Nagasaki 3 days later, without explanation of the new weapon or warning that its use would be continued?
Goodness gracious, fender. Just what thread are you reading? Since I do not put Al-Quaeda or North Vietnam on the same moral plane as the West the answer would, for any rational, sane person, be NO. Of course not. What a stupid question. Hope that helps. Oh and the justification for dropping the second one on Nagasaki? To get the Japanese to give up, dumb ass. To my uncles deathbed he gave credit for those two bombs as the reason he survived the war as his unit was preparing to invade Japan. For what ever reason, the US put a higher value on the US soldier than the enemy. Go figure.
Jeff, the bombings are 2 separate actions, not one. We hit Nagasaki before they even understood what had happened at Hiroshima.
Just so I get your argument through my irrational, insane head, are you saying that, since we operate on a higher moral plane, we can target civilians?
Sparkling logic, Mr. Orwell. Can we fly airplanes into office buildings while we're at it?
"Jeff, the bombings are 2 separate actions, not one. We hit Nagasaki before they even understood what had happened at Hiroshima."
Bullshit. We first demanded their surrender, promising 'prompt and utter destruction' if they did not. It's a famous quotation, you ought to have heard of it. They refused. We dropped the first nuke. Then we demanded their surrender again. They refused again. So we dropped the second nuke. We demanded their surrender *again.* The Emperor agreed, and was almost deposed by a military coup who wanted to keep fighting.
Don't let a pathological need to 'prove' Americans as the bad guys corrupt your view of history.
"Sparkling logic, Mr. Orwell. Can we fly airplanes into office buildings while we're at it?"
You're being deliberately obtuse to try and ridicule the opposing position.
He didn't just get the day wrong, he was out by 4 years. He said the US used A-bombs in 1941.
But what the heck. Never let mere facts get in the way of good propaganda.
Personally, I think few would disagree that if the US had had A-bombs in 1941, it would have been a very, very good thing, and saved tens of millions of lives.
To skip all of the bomb and war talk on this thread (interesting but irrelevant), I honestly believe Obama when he says that he attended that church for 20 years and never heard a word of the sermons. Why? I suspect that every black elite in Chicago attends that church. I'll bet every single black bank VP (there are tons of VP's at banks) goes to that church. If you are black and elite, that is just what you *do*. He was just punching his ticket. If you must criticize, criticize him on *that*.
Well, I didn't mean to pour gasoline on this thread.
DF, you are correct to call BS on Fender with respect to the August 1945 history of asking for surrender, then Hiroshima, then another request for surrender, and then Nagasaki. I know there are some critics of the use of of the A-bomb that say that the U.S. should have invited a Japanese observer to the Trinity test, just so they knew exactly what we meant. I think I even read a novel along those lines some years ago.
To Fender's point, I imagine that al-Qaeda would feel perfectly justified using a nuke against a U.S. city. I am not sure that it would "break the will" of the U.S. citizenry. We would reasonably ask how many more of the weapons they could have, since they lack the national infrastructure (or any nation) to build them in great quantity. That's one fundamental difference between a war among nation-states and a conflict involving a non-state actor. I think there would be a great number of pissed off Americans, and I would not want to be owning any real estate along the FATA border area.
Jeff - "the US put a higher value on the US soldier than the enemy. Go figure." Can't add much to that. My father is pretty happy that the U.S. leadership in 1945 thought that way. He was heading to transit the Panama Canal to the Pacific on board his DE when V-J Day came; his ship turned around, put into Miami, and a little while later he boarded a train home to Philly. Two years later, he met my mother.
Someone really needs to explain this to me: I am supposed to criticize the use of a weapon that most likely allowed my father to complete his active duty military service reltively unscathed??
I know a number of folks in their 80s and 90s who have been lifetime political liberals -- indeed, they are literally FDR Democrats, having voted for him in 1940 and/or 1944 -- and all of them thought then and still think now that the use of the A-bomb was justified. They lived through the period of time, and all had loved ones at risk.
Fender: read 'Truman and the Hiroshima Cult' by Robert Newman, or 'Downfall' by Richard Frank, for modern historical defences of the double A bomb attack.
To the points made by others, I'll add two more. One of those books refers to an estimate, IIRC, of between 100-250,000 Asian civilians (mostly Chinese)dying each month in 1945 as a consequence of the disruption caused by the war. I don't know if they figured in Truman's moral calculus, but they should figure in ours, and by anyone's standards they count as innocent civilians.
Second, in anticipation of the home islands invasion, the US military ordered 500,000 Purple Hearts; I think those medals are still being issued to the US military.
Well, getting back to the point I (never) actually made in the first place, I don't think it is unreasonable or unpatriotic for a man such as Wright to question the morality of our government killing 150,000 innocent civilians.
The concern over saving American lives surely figured into Truman's thinking, but if the potential losses to our forces had been projected to cost "only" 25-50,000 lives, or even a mere 4200, I doubt that would change the opinion of anyone on this board criticizing Mr. Wright's views. Be honest, you would say the bombing was justified because the Japanese deserved it, regardless of the numbers. It was punishment, wasn't it? Doled out to young children and old ladies alike.
As Clint Eastwood's character in "Unforgiven" said, "deserve's got nothing to do with it." As you allude to in the story about your future in-laws, punishment had already been inflicted in the run up to Hiroshima. It was the resistance to that bombardment on the part of the Japanese leadership (and their willingness to ignore the reality of what had happened to their Axis partners some months before) that led to the high casuality expectations among Allied leaders. But your hypothetical is an interesting one -- if estimates were down to a few thousand, that probably would change my calculus. I generally believe in a proportional, or slightly disproportional response.
I hope I am incorrect in reading into your statement a hint of a racist charge. I think that would be the wrong argument to make. Without in anyway denying the racist nature of U.S. wartime propaganda against the Japanese (matched by the culturally prejudicial propagada against the "Huns"), and the internment of Japanese-Americans, the racism of the Allies toward the Japanese was dwarfed by the racism of the Japanese toward the Allies, especially toward POWs, who were considered dishonored and would routinely be executed.
Wright/Blutarsky has the same First Amendment right to say what he pleases as do the rest of us. I actually thought that when the infamous video loop first surfaced in the spring that the Hiroshima rant was the least controversial of his points, since, as I mention above, much of academia would agree with his position (if TH is still monitoring this thread, perhaps he could comment on that aspect, since he has posted that he is the son of a history professor, and lives in a college town). The part about AIDS being a tool of genocide was pretty far out there, and when he repeated that at the Press Club event (which, if memory serves, frequent poster Christopher Chambers attended and reacted badly to), that secured Wright's place under the bus, where he still resides.
I guess I will never be a good preacher, because rather than driving my own point of view home in a theatrical voice, I would encourage my audience to think for themselves and make their own judgments (given their individual relationships with God) about what the least worst option was in a particular historical setting.
Kramden: Did you use my toothbrush?
Norton: I don't know, Ralph. I just went "eeny, meeny, miney."
Kramden: "Yeah? Is this Mo?"
December 7, August 6, 1941, 1945, 1066, 1776, Julius Caesar, Caesar salad. Who cares? We NEED to know: "Is. This. Mo?"