Thursday, August 6, 2015

The destroyer of worlds

Seventy years ago today, a nuclear weapon was used for the first time in warfare.  It was an act of genocide, immediately and indiscriminately killing between 60,000 and 80,000 Japanese men, women and children. Within four months, the death toll had risen to anything between 90,000 and 165,000.  Tens of thousands more died as a result of long-term health effects over the following decades.  All because of a single bomb, and a single explosion.

Britain's nuclear weapons system is based just thirty miles or so from where I am sitting right now.  It consists of almost 200 warheads, each of which has EIGHT TIMES more destructive power than the bomb dropped on August 6th, 1945.

Both the Conservatives and Labour want to renew those weapons, at a cost of £100 billion.  That money will either -

a) be wasted on weapons that are never used.

b) cause the deaths of tens of millions of people, perhaps contributing to the destruction of human civilisation within a single day.

There is no third option.

That is all.

64 comments:

  1. I grew up in a town where there was no night - the sky was lit up like a fairy town from the base at the Holy Loch. Those submarines sure didn't make me feel safe. Every single day, I thought "will it be this morning? Or will the blinding flash take me while I sleep? Will I feel a thing, like the adults always tell me as some perverse attempt at reassurance, or will it be like what happened to all those thousands at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?"

    Then I think of all the places that hold nuclear weapons. Are there people only a few dozen miles from a Russian or French or Pakistani installation thinking the same thing - that this doesn't make them feel any safer?

    It is madness, and I do not use that term lightly here.

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  2. Such a high price for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. Still, the Empah must be preserved at all costs, even if it could mean the fall of human civilisation.

    Coolheads Prevail

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  3. Documents released by the U.S. State Department revealed that there was no military reason for using these weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, despite the propaganda lies of the time. The real reason was to frighten the Russians into staying behind their Iron Curtain and not continuing their westward advance across Germany and into Austria. The Cold War Arms Race only began in earnest when the Western Powers sold?gave the nuclear technology to the Soviets and the so called MAD Theory was used to justify stock-piling and proliferation.

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    1. Ps if you get a chance read the poem "I am" by Mattie Stepanek who died in 2004 at the age of 14

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  4. James,

    I am no great supporter of nuclear weapons but to describe Hiroshima as 'an act of genocide' is the luxury of later generations. The Japanese had proved determined enemies throughout the course of the war. They proved themselves cruel - consider their treatment of PoWs; they were brutal - consider the Rape of Nanking; and imbued with a culture of ‘no-surrender’ – consider Battle of Okinawa.

    Although any speculation is ultimately counterfactual, it is difficult to think of any reason to believe that the battle for mainland Japan would have been anything but a brutal bloodbath littered with atrocities. It is all too easy (because it is certainly correct, if a little self-serving) to argue that dropping the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs saved the lives of many allied soldiers.

    What is less often appreciated is that the American use of nuclear weapons most likely saved exponentially more Japanese lives. Again it is a counterfactual, but given that the Battle of Okinawa cost the lives of upwards of 110,000 Japanese soldiers (not to mention the circa 140,000 plus civilians killed during the battle) who can argue that the battle for mainland Japan would not likely have consumed millions of lives.

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    1. Alasdair:

      Here's a dumb question:

      Why would there have to be a battle for mainland Japan?

      Did the Americans want to conquer territory and hold it?

      I can't think of any reasons that don't involve turning Japan into an American colony. Can you?

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    2. http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v16/v16n3p-4_Weber.html

      An analysis of that idea, generally taking the view Japan would have surrendered before a land invasion.

      But also a counterpoint to James' one above. 60-80k people in Hiroshima was horrible, but the Allies killed 100k people on March 9th with a carpet-bombing raid over Tokyo.
      Nukes are nasty, but we were (and are) more than capable of matching that level of destruction with conventional weapons.

      So in all probability we didn't need to nuke Japan. But we'd have had to extract a similar or higher death toll to force a surrender.

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    3. Illy, what would you have suggested other than invading the mainland?

      The options would be

      1) Continue bombing Japan until it surrendered (most logical one if no invasion)? Which still would have resulted in civilian deaths.

      2) Claim victory and go home? Only works with enemies who are so militarily weak they can't pose any further threat. Japan still had the majority of its population, if it didn't consider the war over it would rebuilt and continue the war and the allies would have to remobilise (assuming USSR didn't take it first).

      3) Blockade Japan? Besieging castles is expensive enough, but can you imagine besieging an the coastline of an entire island chain? And for how long? A decade? Two decades? The costs and resources to the allies made it impractical, as did the fact Japan would still be building its air force to attack your ships... which would lead the allies to option 1 of bombing Japan's infrastructure.

      Anyway, the USSR was on the move by then having just taken out Germany and Stalin would have not thought twice about letting his soldiers die in the millions to conquer Japan. The allies already had enough problems with the USSR consuming eastern Europe without letting them take Japan too.

      The atomic bombs were the more efficient and less costly (both in human lives, long term strategic influence in the region and in resources) option.

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    4. "Nukes are nasty"

      Well, yes, that's one way of putting it. Whatever else might be said about the bombs used on Tokyo, there's no way they could wipe out 80% of the world's population within thirty minutes at the push of a button.

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    5. @anon#2:

      How about talking to them like reasonable and respectful human beings?

      Why do we need to "win" a war? Why can't we just call it off as a bad idea and go home?

      We know that revenge accomplishes nothing, except for encouraging them to take revenge on you for your revenge, so what was Japan doing that required it to be squashed into oblivion?

      Would it have been something like what Iraq and Afghanistan were doing ten years ago?

      Or were they annoying the bankers by printing money and handing "quantitative easing" money to the people, rather than the banks?

      It was before my time, so I honestly don't know the answer here, but propagnda is propaganda.

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  5. The Imperial Japanese regime was brutal and atrocious and gave licence to and made lawful the worst impulses of the human character. To characterise that regime as evil is, frankly. to be too kind to those involved. It was necessary to bring a total end to that regime precisely because it was an evil that visited unspeakable atrocities on any and all that it considered 'inferior'.

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    1. The Japanese were ready to surrender.
      Truman was a weak President, rising through the Republican ranks because he did as he was told.
      A small man constantly bullied by his father in the family business.

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    2. "The Japanese were ready to surrender."

      Himmler tried to make a deal with the Allies. He would take over from Hitler and surrender, on condition that he would continue to run the Nazi regime. The Allies refused. The entire Nazi state had to be crushed and permanently dismantled. The same applied to the Empire of Japan. It couldn't be allowed to exist as a political entity.

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    3. Yes, Truman was a Democrat, albeit in an era when both parties were ideologically mixed (ie. there were many conservative Democrats and many liberal Republicans).

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    4. It's also worth remembering that Democrats used to be seen as the party of racial segregation, with Republicans like Eisenhower being the staunch integrationists. It wasn't such a simple left wing/right wing thing back then.

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  6. The dropping of the bombs was the beginning of the nuclear arms race. The Russians believed they were the real targets, that it was a show of 'strength' by the Us against them, they could be next.
    On the siting of the Polaris submarines; the UK Government 'wanted' to have it much further north.
    The Americans, Eisenhower, told them to think again, and within a week gave in.

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  7. With all respect, James, it’s outrageous to call the bombing of Japan a genocide and an insult to actual victims of real genocides. A genocide is the systematic elimination of a group of people, such as the holocaust or British ethnic cleansing of natives in the colonies. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not.

    First, the context, this was a war that been dragging on for years and in which half-a-million Americans had already died, and the American government got its hands on a “super weapon” which could destroy Japan’s infrastructure without risk to its own people. Are you honestly telling me if you were an allied war leader at the time you’d not have used it?

    Two, the claim of genocide, nobody knew the full power of an atomic bomb (least of all the long term effects of radiation), all that was known was it was a bomb more powerful than any weapon at their disposal. As devastating a one atomic bomb is, more Japanese civilians died from traditional air raids, the bombs were not the main killer of civilians in WW2.

    Also look at the targets. Traditional air raids were aimed at larger cities such as Tyoko (pre-war pop 6m), Osaka (pop 3.2m), and Nagoya (1.3m). If the Americans wanted nothing more than to kill a lot of Japanese people as suggested by the term genocide, then they would have targeted those with the atomic weapons. Instead they choose the smaller cities - Hiroshima (pop 0.3m), Nagasaki (pop 0.3m). The Americans were actually trying to limit civilian casualties! The message from the US was clearly, “Please don’t make us do this”. So there was no attempt by the Americans to systematically wipe out the Japanese, had they wished to do so they would have bombed larger targets and not been looking for a surrender.

    Third, and most important fact whether you like it or not, the bombs saved Japanese lives. These Japanese army was ready to fight to the last man. The Japanese civilians were brainwashed to believe the allied would rape and murder them (the Japanese were not kind conquers, they fully expected the allies to treat them as the Japanese army had the Chinese and Koreans), to such extent that Japanese civilians were throwing themselves off cliffs when the allies took Okinawa. Okinawa had 300,000 civilians at the start of the war. During the battle to secure the island 90% of infrastructure was destroyed and 142,000 civilians died as a result of conventional warfare and mass suicide – 30% of the civilian population. 30%!

    Can you imagine what would have happened if the allies had invaded the Japanese mainland? One Japanese officer after the war admitted, "We would have kept on fighting until all Japanese were killed, but we would not have been defeated." And that isn’t some lone radical, that’s the mentality their propaganda had indoctrinated the population with. At the start of the war Japan had 71m people, it lost around 4% of the population (around 2.5m soldiers, 600,000 civilians) by the end. The atomic weapons killed 129,000 of those people. Had the US not used the bombs to force Japan’s surrender, and had continued to use traditional warfare employed at Okinawa, then if that campaign was anything to go by, 23 MILLION Japanese would have died, and millions more allied soldiers.

    Now I’m not saying 129,000 casualties was a good thing, but as cold as it may be to say it’s a much better figure than 23 million, which is what the Americas would have chosen if it really was a genocide!

    Now we in 2015 have the luxury to sit back and debate the ifs, buts and maybes of the use of atomic bombs in the 1940s – particularly given our greater understanding of their blast radius and long term radiation impact – we don’t have to stand over a briefing table in 1945 and make calls that will cost lives. We have the luxury of debating the lives lost from atomic warfare vs traditional warfare, and we don’t have to agree on that - but let’s not be so outrageous as to compare the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the horrors of actual historical genocides.

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    1. Ok, on re-reading that my line "and most important fact whether you like it or not" sounds more aggressive than is meant (sorry) - but my point is that I hear a lot of people say year after year how bad the bombs are, but completely ignore the human cost of continuing the war for longer by not using them.

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    2. What is all this attempt at justifying the bombing of innocent civilians? Are you all off your head!

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  8. In the case of the British state WMD means Weapons of Massive Delusion.
    £100b just to maintain the delusion of still being a great power in the world and retaining a seat at the "top" table.

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  9. Alternatively, it could be argued that Japan surrendered because of the imminent invasion by 1.7 million Russian troops, who had just swept through Japanese-occupied Manchuria.

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  10. The Russian invasion began the same day as the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, resulting in surrender negotiations starting the following day. The US air force had been destroying Japanese cities with firebombing since 1943, killing hundreds of thousands. The atom bombs were just a different method of achieving the same result (and an opportunity for the US to test their new weapon - why else did they drop two different types of A-bomb?). It was a cold, calculated 'real-life' test of their new technology, and should have been treated as a war-crime (if that term is ever to be treated seriously, rather than just be used politically).

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  11. James - let me be clear, I am completely opposed to nuclear weapons and I am angry that the UK has based them about ten miles from where I live. But your point that the weapons are either wasted or used is in my opinion incorrect. If I have a lock on my door but nobody ever tries to enter without my permission, is the lock "wasted"? No, because the fact it is there means people will not even try to enter. Are the guns carried by police at airports "wasted" unless they shoot somebody? No, because the fact of their presence deters people from acts of terrorism.

    The argument for the UK having nuclear weapons is that they deter. No government would state that they intend to use them. (Nor will they state that they would not use them in certain unspecified circumstances.) The rationale, such as it is, is one of deterrence and it is a seductive argument. But the logic breaks down because by having these weapons, we become a target for those who do not trust us and who feel threatened by us because we have them. The stand-off does not give stability and security - instead it creates a dangerous and volatile situation where one wee mistake or over-reaction could lead to world destruction.

    In arguing for the elimination of nuclear weapons, we need to understand the arguments of our opponents and not over-simplify their position into a "use them or waste them" stance. They do not argue for the use of nuclear weapons, they argue for deterrence. We need to show why this doesn't work.

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    1. We don't need to explain why they don't work, we can point to blatent examples of them not working.

      9/11 + Iraq war #583/17th Crusade being the big and obvious one (According to their own propaganda, anyways - I'm still not convinced it wasn't in inside job, but that's not the point). The USA has the most nukes on the planet, and how much did it help them not get attacked?

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  12. I have to say I find the direction of the discussion on this thread not only morally repugnant, but utterly terrifying. It was perhaps understandable that a public that was naive about the true nature of atomic weapons could find ways of justifying the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in the immediate aftermath. But the fact that people still try to do it seventy years on, knowing what we know now, is astonishing. Make no mistake - every one of you casting around for ways of excusing this atrocity are effectively arguing that there could still be circumstances in which the first-strike use of nuclear weapons is morally justifiable. That is not only an argument for genocide, but also for the destruction of our civilisation and possibly our species.

    "If I have a lock on my door but nobody ever tries to enter without my permission, is the lock "wasted"?"

    No, that's a bogus analogy. The purpose of a lock is to lock the door. It's wasted if you never lock it. The purpose of nuclear weapons is to mass murder innocent people on an unimaginable scale - either in an unprovoked strike, or as pointless genocidal retaliation when your own country is within minutes of being destroyed (or, thanks to "continuous at sea deterrence", has already been destroyed).

    "With all respect, James, it’s outrageous to call the bombing of Japan a genocide and an insult to actual victims of real genocides."

    You have just insulted the victims of a real genocide, and I won't take a cue from you by pretending to have "respect" for your argument - it deserves nothing but contempt.

    "Third, and most important fact whether you like it or not, the bombs saved Japanese lives."

    Oh, don't be so bloody ridiculous. Will you listen to yourself, man? This is like the argument that cigarettes save lives because tobacco companies are so philanthropic. There is ALWAYS an option not to commit a war crime. The evidence is very strong that the Japanese were close to surrender without the atomic bombings, but that isn't even the point. A civilised nation does not mass murder tens of thousands of civilians. You just don't do it, any more than you would have kidnapped twenty small children from the Japanese Imperial Family, and then tortured and executed them one by one until unconditional surrender had been achieved. (Although doubtless there are people on this thread who would justify that as a "life-saving act of mercy".)

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  13. The luddites supporting nuclear weapons on the grounds of "deterrence" and worrying about what would happen if Scotland /the UK removed them, should really look around this planet of ours where out of approx 200 countries, only 9 have those weapons.

    That is a mere 5%.

    If safety can only be achieved by having nuclear weapons as a deterrent, why is there not a constant flood of that 95% of States, demanding that they must have them. Why are the citizens of that 95% not constantly pressurising their governments on this issue?

    The reason is very simple - they do NOT need these weapons to feel "safe".

    They feel perfectly safe without them and really demonstrate the pitiful contrast with those who appear to need this ridiculous and terrifying comfort blanket.


    There is something uniquely paranoid about the mindset of people who only feel secure if they have these immoral, catastrophic and repugnant weapons of unbelievably massive human destruction.

    Those who honestly believe that this small and pretty insignificant island-group of ours would be somehow at extra risk of blackmail, attack or invasion if we ditched these redundant, useless status-symbols, are definitely in need of psychiatric help.

    The real reason for most of these idiots wishing to retain these weapons is mostly to do with the notion of Britain as a World Power and the status of having Top Seats in Nato and elsewhere.

    That cretinous approach to this whole area of debate, is almost impossible for rational people to comprehend - but is obviously crucial to the cretins behind it.


    Cretinous is also a very apt description for those who will not condemn the dropping of the two bombs on Japan - where hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children were sacrificed, so that one would-be superpower could send a "message" to another.

    I would love to see the demographics on this site and to (hopefully) verify that the younger age-groups can see the insanity in the retention of these weapons and will press for their removal in the near future.

    I would like to think that the future is "safe" in their hands.

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  14. You can argue that in the case of Russia and the USA they have got themselves into the position that their nuclear arsenals are of some deterrent value until such time as there's a mutual destruction of these arsenals. That, however, is the argument for their decommissioning rather than keeping them as a deterrent.

    In the case of the UK there is no deterrent argument. Who are we deterring from attacking/ invading us ? What aggression have we deterred?

    We have two options as James has said, only one is sensible.

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  15. James - I'm sorry you don't like my door lock analogy and I note your assertion that it is a bogus analogy. I don't agree, but that doesn't matter. My main point is that it is important that we argue against nuclear weapons in general and Trident in Scotland in particular on the right basis. Those who disagree with us argue that the purpose is to deter aggression with nuclear weapons. If you argue that unless used the weapons are wasted, our opponents will argue that by their existence they have secured peace so they are not wasted. I don't accept this as justification, but many do.

    A more powerful argument in my opinion is to point out that having them at all makes us a target and that if we can reduce the number of countries possessing these weapons, we can reduce the risk of them being used again. We need to start with ourselves.

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    1. The door lock analogy is completely flawed.

      The function of a door lock - what it does when it's used - is to stop a door opening for anyone who doesn't have a key to the lock.

      The function of a nuclear ICBM or similar system - again, what it does when you use it - is to murder thousands-plus people, and render the land unsafe for habitation or use for a good hundred or more years.

      Why you feel the need to have either of those - their purpose - is completely open for debate, but that's what they *do*. And if everyone *knows* that you'll never use them, then what's the point in having them? America's vast stockpiles didn't help them back in September 2001, now did they?

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  16. Also look at the targets. Traditional air raids were aimed at larger cities such as Tyoko (pre-war pop 6m), Osaka (pop 3.2m), and Nagoya (1.3m). If the Americans wanted nothing more than to kill a lot of Japanese people as suggested by the term genocide, then they would have targeted those with the atomic weapons. Instead they choose the smaller cities - Hiroshima (pop 0.3m), Nagasaki (pop 0.3m). The Americans were actually trying to limit civilian casualties! The message from the US was clearly, “Please don’t make us do this”.

    If this was all done with such reluctance, why did they decide to nuke Nagasaki too? Had the point not been made sufficiently at Hiroshima?

    The main argument for the bombings appears to be that the US was facing a horrible, genocidal regime with a history of aggression against its neighbours, but which couldn't be removed without a prolonged war and massive loss of military and civilian life. Couldn't all of these arguments be used in favour of, say, nuking Iraq in 1991? Does anyone think that would've been justifiable?

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  17. " If I have a lock on my door but nobody ever tries to enter without my permission, is the lock "wasted"? No, because the fact it is there means people will not even try to enter. "
    Speaking as someone whose (locked) home has been broken into 3 times in the last 25 years I can't agree with that statement. I'm not sure where that leaves your analogy.

    Perhaps I might also say that I now live in a place where I don't need to lock my doors ... and it is wonderful. :-)

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    1. I could enter into a debate with you about the usefulness of the analogy, but I don't think that would be constructive or of interest to readers of this site. The important point to make is that deterrence IS a valid policy in some circumstances and it works up to a point. If a weapon or a security measure deters and is consequently not used (in anger) then there is a valid argument for saying that the weapon or security measure is not wasted. But this argument is NOT, in my opinion, a justification for nuclear weapons. If those of us opposed to nuclear weapons use this argument, we will lose because too many people accept the rationale of deterrence. Better to argue on a point that our opponents cannot dismiss so easily e.g. we make ourselves a target by having them and we are exposed to the risk of events running out of control.

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    2. Your analogy would be more apt if it referred to keeping a loaded gun in your home - just in case of an intruder.

      One look at the domestic, accidental, gun-related deaths and woundings in the US, would certainly point to the flaw in that particular deterrence value.

      That analogy would also shine an unfavourable light on the inherent dangers of even storing nuclear weapons on your soil, close to hundreds of thousands of your own people.

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    3. I'm not really sure what this dispute is about - if you're saying that we should tackle the bogus deterrence argument head-on, I'm pretty sure I've done that myself on this blog over the years. This was a very short blogpost making a very short point.

      The other point about deterrence that you haven't made is that, even if the theory were sound, it only works if we truly believe (and, terrifyingly, we do truly believe) that Britain would respond to a nuclear attack by launching a massive retaliatory strike to wipe out the civilian population of another country, even though by that stage it couldn't possibly achieve anything other than "revenge". What kind of monsters does that make us?

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    4. You understate the case. The UK has a policy of first use of nuclear weapons, and not even just against nuclear states. The Blair government said during the Iraq war that they would deploy nukes if Iraq used chemical or biological weapons against the invading troops.

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    5. That's a bad argument. The Blair Government *knew* that Iraq didn't have any chem or bio weapons to use, so saying that they'd use the nukes if the Iraqis used a type of weapon that they didn't possess is just bullies posturing.

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  18. Fred Dibnah The YoungerAugust 6, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    The Germans had a nuclear programme that was advanced however the Yanks got there first. The German used the V1 & V2 to bomb civilians indescriminatey so it is more than likely if they did obtain the Bomb first then they would have used it and got their surrender. So if Adolf had won then would there be a Scotland or anyone called Cohen left on the planet.
    The Yanks did obtain the Bomb first and used it then the war ended and we have a Scotland James. And what do you say to the decendents of those about to die in the Jap Camps James. Would you say it was better for your a cesgors to die and the other millions than the Bomb being dropped. Maybe James you would be happy marching on the cobbles of Nuremburg screaming Heil Hitler in celebration of the great man!

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    1. An interloper, taking a break from posting racism on Cif, decides to accuse JK of being a NAZI. How cute!

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  19. To answer James' point - the "dispute" (I prefer discussion) is about the rationale for saying we should not have nuclear weapons. You said in your post that the weapons would either be wasted (not used) or used resulting in millions killed. My point is that there are many instances of weapons, security devices, insurance policies, safety nets, seatbelts, airbags (I could go on) not being used, but that does not constitute waste. Those who support nuclear weapons put them in that category. The "waste" argument is not therefore very productive for those of us who do not support nuclear weapons. Better to attack them on the points mentioned above i.e. making ourselves a target, risk of accidental incident and indeed the point you make that to use them would be morally repugnant - whatever the circumstances.

    I can't make this any more clear - hope that nails it.

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    1. Not really, because all of those things are actually used at some point. If Trident was used even once, according to the deterrence argument it would be a failure.

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    2. OK - you must be right. Keep pushing the waste argument and see how many supporters of nuclear weapons you convince.

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    3. Alex Salmund Great LeaderAugust 6, 2015 at 11:47 PM

      You are the type of idiot that will never possibly be allowed to defend a country. The British/Scottish people can sleep safely in their beds knowing this.. When you learn do try to read history.

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    4. "OK - you must be right. Keep pushing the waste argument and see how many supporters of nuclear weapons you convince."

      Oh, take your sarcasm elsewhere. I'll carry on saying what I believe. Clearly that bugs you - I don't care.

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    5. "- I don't care." You seem to be a bit more bugged than me. I had hoped it would be possible to engage in rational and reasonable debate on this site. I was wrong about that as well.

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    6. Then kindly go away. I am sick to the back teeth of these utterly stupid, pointless exchanges with disruptive anonymous commenters. I was perfectly respectful towards you - the problem seems to be that I failed to agree with you.

      Try Better Nation or somewhere, although I doubt if your comments will stay up for very long.

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    7. Au contraire. I think the problem is that I challenged you. You don't seem to like that. As for being anonymous, I do not subscribe to any of the services you list for signing in purposes. So the only option I can use is Anonymous. Was I really disruptive? I made a point in which I disagreed with you and that seemed to upset you. Could it be that you actually got the point but could not admit it? Was it really respectful to pick holes in an analogy that had been used to illustrate a point? No analogy is perfect after all.

      I think you are smarting because your point was weak and I pointed that out. Wish I hadn't bothered.

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    8. Look, my patience is not inexhaustible. I've indulged your passive-aggressive tantrum, but enough is enough. Please only post constructively from now on, or your future comments may be deleted.

      And no sign-in is required to post under your own name, so that excuse doesn't wash.

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  20. Fred Dibnah The YoungerAugust 6, 2015 at 10:27 PM

    You must have just failed your Scottish exams and clearly for being unable to read.
    What a total fool you are. Just let James answer. Go to bed and study.



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  21. Japan had already surrendered, it was general groves who wanted to test his new weapon and show Russia that the US was more powerful. In my mind this was nothing more than murder. Also the US considered using a nuclear bomb on Syria just a few years ago, so nothing much has changed and why, even more, I want trident gone.

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  22. Fred Dibnah The YoungerAugust 7, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    You cannot win an argument by deploying blatent lies. The Japs had not surrendered and were still carrying out atrorocities. Get a life.

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  23. James, I am sorry to see you let Anonymous get under your skin.

    Dropping the bombs in August 1945 was dreadful, and should be remembered accordingly. I agree with you about that - who doesn't?
    But more than one thing can be true at the same time. The detailed historical context is relevant and interesting. To discuss the practical options at the time of those who decided to drop the bombs is important to an understanding of history. Such discussion is not necessarily an attempt at justifying the decision [to drop the bombs].

    Your original short piece appealed to emotional/feeling - the early posts by Anonymous were more detached and historical; these approaches were different but equally valid. Is there not room for both?

    I

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    1. Peter : This is just ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. You're doing exactly what Anon did - implying that by simply disagreeing with him, I was somehow preventing him from taking part in a rational discussion. Can you explain WHY you believe it was necessary for Anon's view to go totally unchallenged? If you don't believe that, I have no idea what your problem is. Anon started to behave disruptively as soon as he realised I was sticking to my guns and not accepting his analogy as well-founded. He then started whinging about me, rather than debating the issue. I am sick to death of having my time wasted by disruptive nonsense like that, and I make no apology for telling him to get lost.

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  24. I don't "believe it was necessary for Anon's view to go totally unchallenged" or that you were "preventing him from taking part in a rational discussion".
    There was an interesting exchange of views but it became tetchy and personal at which point best to leave it. This is not unusual in below the line discussion, just a pity as there is a genuine debate to be had on several points eg. proper use of the term "genocide"; is it permissible to put the "on balance it saved lives" case, if not why not and if it is, what is the evidence for and against ; is an unused deterrent "wasted"? etc.



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    1. On the whole I try to keep this blog a completely open forum, but at the end of the day I'm the moderator, and I do reserve the right to tell people when they're overstepping the mark. There's no realistic option to "just leave it" - I can either delete the comments or ask people to stop.

      Having been banned from a couple of forums myself over the years, one thing I've noticed is that the most draconian moderation policies tend to generate the most sycophantic reactions to the moderators, because people become so intimidated. I should probably regard the total lack of respect for my own role as moderator on this blog as a badge of honour - because it shows that people feel able to say anything they like. There's a huge downside to that, though, because it means that I have my time wasted (and I do mean hour upon hour upon hour) by disruptive posters like the one we've seen on this thread.

      Delete
    2. OK, enough is enough. Another long, disruptive, passive-aggressive comment has appeared from Anon, who has now identified himself as Richard. He was given fair warning, so the comment has been deleted.

      Please note, Richard, that any further disruptive posts from you will also be deleted as soon as I see them. When I said that I was sick to the back teeth of that kind of behaviour, I meant it. It seems extraordinarily hard to get that message through to some people.

      Delete
    3. Right of reply? Freedom of speech? "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"?

      Delete
    4. I have already said to you that constructive posts are fine. I have not prevented you from discussing the issue - but you no longer seem interested in doing so. All you've been doing is whining about me.

      Delete
    5. Another disruptive comment from Richard deleted. If you ever feel the urge to actually discuss the issue raised in this blogpost, feel free to do so.

      But get it into your head - you were given fair warning about posting disruptively, and that's an end to it. Do us both a favour and pack it in.

      Delete
  25. Fred Dibnah The Wise OneAugust 7, 2015 at 11:52 PM

    James Morris. It was Soviet Agents that acquired the secrets to make the bomb. The USA if they really wanted to get world power could have bombed Russia, China or anyone else.
    They did not do so. Who has been getting into your head James? Not big Tam the former Trot! Surely.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The rape of Nanking.

    POWs enslaved, tortured, mutilated and murdered.

    Various other attrocities and crimes against humanity perpetrated across the "Imperial Japanese Co Prosperity Sphere" (our wartime Japanese enemies at least had a sense of humour - albeit somewhat dark).

    Unprovoked attacks on peaceful nations.

    The Japanese had it coming - plain and simple. In fact, they're considerably lucky they only got hit with two. Personally speaking I'd have kept going until the nuke supply had ran out.

    And if you think that's harsh - consider the British POWs who had their genitals cut off and tongues cut out. Such evil acts cry out for retribution - which was delivered.

    That is all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Despicable, Aldo. Utterly despicable. Mass-murdering civilians, simply as "retribution"?

      The Scottish Tory party must be so proud to have someone like you as a member.

      Delete
    2. On behalf of the Hauskey family wiped out by the LuftwaffeAugust 8, 2015 at 10:03 PM

      James stop playing the Nat Anti Tory card you are no better than them by following their policies. The Yanks dropped the Bomb and ended the war. 45 million people died in that war. I assume you have not heard about the bombing of Clydebank, Glasgow , Paisley, London, Belfast etc etc -even ra Barras wis bombed. Get a life James you cannot go around waving your Saltire every day of the week! Only hoping.

      Delete