Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Hiroshima

Through Thick and Thin

with 6 comments

Well, my gun control posts got a lot of comments. Not surprising, it’s a topic that people tend to have strong opinions on. However it looks like long time commenter Steve finally got pushed over the edge and will be finding new blogs to comment on. I’m not sure why he hung around so long, he usually vehemently disagreed with just about everything I wrote. In his final comment he claimed I had a serious mental defect. I resent that. My mental defects are comical and preposterous, there’s nothing serious about them at all.  I’d say he’ll be missed, but I doubt it. I will however be writing more about gun control, in my researches I discovered that “fact lite” describes a tremendous amount of what is written on the topic by all parties in the debate. Even the serious (there’s that word again) research is often badly tainted by ideology. Lastly, the research by its very nature is statistical and thus easy to manipulate to get the desired results, consciously or unconsciously.

I guess the thing that gets me about the gun control “debate,” is that it’s like health care. Despite the fact that by every measure the USA has the most expensive and least effective health care system in the developed world, millions of Americans are convinced we have the best health care system in the world. And by the same token, despite a level of gun violence that dwarfs that of the rest of the developed world, millions of Americans are convinced there is no problem. When I was young wilful ignorance wasn’t considered a patriotic value, now it’s a point of pride. Jesus wept.

Speaking of consciously manipulated: Missouri Votes Kids Shouldn’t Have To Study Evolution, Climate Change, Or Anything Gay. This is wrong on so many levels. Education is for broadening the mind and exposing children to different perspectives so they can use the brains God gave them for what they were intended. Channelling a child’s education into “ideologically safe” areas is the ultimate admission that a philosophy can’t stand on its own merits. If Fundamentalists really believed that Evolution was false, shouldn’t they welcome it in the schools so that their children can discuss it, see its flaws, and point them out to others? Why are they afraid to expose their children to ideas they disagree with?

Atomic bombings. This week was the anniversary of them. I’ve written a  number of posts about them. I wasn’t up to it this year. They tend to be controversial. That’s being diplomatic. Another topic where many or most Americans have learned propaganda substituted for history and fact. The fact is that under the laws of the era, they were terrible war crimes. They played little or no role in the Japanese surrender. They served no military purpose. They were opposed by the US military, Eisenhower and MacArthur were against them. There was no need to invade Japan, they were already beaten. Potential American casualties of a million in the planned invasion of Japan were made up by the Truman administration to justify the bombings after the fact (ignoring the point that it’s a war crime to kill any civilians in order to protect your soldiers. They are noncombatants, that means soldiers aren’t allowed to shoot at them.) And Japan had already been trying to surrender, they would agree to anything as long as we agreed not to prosecute their emperor. A condition we granted them anyhow. This is one of the best examples of how patriotic hypocrisy works in a nation, where people justify terrible crimes committed by their government, while casting terrible aspersions on the crimes of other nations. Probably a good thing Steve left, he’d be having a heart attack and a stroke now.

Yeah, I use religious language and imagery frequently. I’m a free thinker. Isn’t that a contradiction? From some perspectives I suppose. It would be more accurate I suppose  if I used “hypothetical-Jesus wept” or “hypothetical-God bless.” I think God and Jesus are myths, but I still live my life in such a way that if I die and find myself at the gates of Heaven, I’ll be able to look them in the eye. Why would anyone do anything less? So I don’t have a problem with using them as a literary device, and as a way to speak to people who do believe in God. That would be a lot of people, including the majority of my friends and family. I imagine a Jesus (or Moses or Buddha or whoever) who would be appalled at some of the stuff done in their name. Any religious person who can’t find common ground in there somewhere is a fool or a liar.

There are a lot of fools and liars in the world. Science has in fact shown that people can lie to themselves. Try to think about that.

(The above image has been shamelessly copied from Facebook, whoever holds the copyright is waycool. I like it because of the sentiment, and I like it because it is an interesting photograph. I’m gonna be posting more  photographs soon, brace yourselves.)

Written by unitedcats

August 10, 2012 at 7:25 am

The Bombs of August

with 2 comments

Today is the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War Two. And for the first time, the USA sent a representative to the ceremony at the  site. Note however that the USA is not offering an apology for the nuclear attacks on Japan. Predictably there are those on the right outraged by even this minor gesture of sympathy and understanding. Me, I don’t think it means much one way or the other. It’s not like the USA is going to give up its nuclear arsenal, and Obama’s comments about a nuclear free world are as believable as any of Obama’s liberal remarks. IE, if there’s any liberals who still believe them, then some liberals are as stupid as arch conservatives love to go on about. In my case, I’ve noticed that stupidity is completely without ideological trimmings, and can be found anywhere among any group of people.

In any event, the nuclear attacks on Japan are a wonderful example of poor logic, propaganda, and outright lies. For one thing, they didn’t “end the war.” The war was already over, it was just a matter of how and when Japan would surrender. The bombings didn’t save any lives, American or otherwise, they killed huge numbers of people, the vast majority of who were innocent civilians. The bombings served little to no military purpose, neither town was a major military target. In fact the bombings were completely opposed by the leaders of the US military at the time, since they were indeed war crimes under the law at the time. The decision to drop the bombs was a purely political one made by Truman and his cabinet. Yes, it takes a politician to justify blowing up a city with a nuclear weapon.

August was also the month that World War One started. A war that everyone involved in confidently thought would be over by Christmas. A war that ended up being one of the bloodiest wars in history. A war that destroyed three great empires, redrew the map of the world, and set in motion events that are still killing people to this very day. To put it mildly, World War One had so many wide ranging, completely unexpected, and disastrous results … that it’s hard to imagine why anyone would ever risk such a thing again. And to humanity’s credit, World War One did usher in an era where politicians at least had to pay lip service to the idea that major wars should be avoided if possible. Hence the League of Nations, the UN, and a host of international treaties designed to minimize the chances of  “World War Three” breaking out.

Sadly however the lessons of the twentieth century seem to be fading rapidly into history, and the politicians of today are more and more practising the kinds of brinkmanship and foreign adventures that could lead to wider war. People’s memories are short, it only takes a few decades for the memories of war to fade. For example, after the US Civil War, the USA actually stayed out of wars for decades. Yes, it was the only prolonged period of peace in USA history. By the 1890s though it was all over, and the USA plunged into a century of war and intervention that is still going strong today. Hell, we are in a state of permanent war it seems these days, so much for the peace movement of the sixties and seventies. Where have all the hippies gone?

And this August, there is a chance of a larger war breaking out … an interesting link left by a previously unknown commenter bears some consideration. Basically it points out that with a US election coming up in November, and a new US intelligence report due on Iran’s nuclear capabilities in September … in August Israel might attack Iran. The thinking being that so close to the election American politicians would feel they have no choice but to back Israel 100%, and with the intelligence report almost certain to say “Well, Iran seems to have stopped trying to make nuclear weapons in 2003,” Israel might as well strike while the iron is hot.

Sigh. You know, an Israeli attack on Iran would be really annoying. The price of gas would double overnight. And that’s the absolute minimum bad news an Israeli attack on Iran would engender.There are a number of other extremely unpleasant possibilities that could result from an Israeli attack on Iran. One of which is the destruction of Israel for example. Hell, the collapse and break up of the American Empire is a possibility. I’m sure some will say both of these outcomes are “impossible.” Yeah, and if in 1914 someone claimed that the war would result in the destruction of the Austrian, Russian, and Ottoman Empire, they would have been ridiculed as well.

So, August, a good month to prepare for the worst. I was thinking of making up an on line calculator people could use to predict when and where war is going to break out, but it’s a project that I don’t have the time for. Maybe I’ll make up a post, outline my proposal, and solicit donations; then I could find time for it. In any event, if I had such a  calculator, the “Israel attacks Iran” percentage would be way up there now.

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, is central to illustrating the post, and is arguably an historically important image. And I searched diligently for the copyright owner to no avail. It’s a picture of the Nagasaki Medical College Hospital, about 2,300 feet (700 meters) southwest of the Nagasaki bomb’s  ground zero. The wrecked machines are from the Mitsubishi Shipyard. I chose it because in was one of the few colour images I could find of the aftermath of Nagasaki, the “forgotten bomb.” I just wanted to emphasize how real nuclear weapons are and the damage they can do, and point out that starting a war is how nuclear weapons will likely end up getting used again. I rest my case.)

Written by unitedcats

August 6, 2010 at 9:50 am

Posted in History, Iran, Peace, Propaganda, War, WMDs

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