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Mao, Tojo and Lincoln

Which city is this?

Anybody care to guess the city?

Nanking, 1938?
Dresden, 1945?
Sarajevo, 1993?

Try Columbia, South Carolina, 1865.

A couple of days ago, in a response to a comment by reader Yen Jun concerning Chinese criticism of the historical amnesia of certain segments of Japanese society, I wrote:

China is hardly in a position to level criticism of any nation’s textbooks, and what?????s more, I find it ironic that a nation that makes it distinct point to tell others to stick out of its internal affairs finds it appropriate to issue commentary on Japanese educational policy. And I happened to agree that visiting the Yasukuni Shrine is crappy as long as there are war criminals enshrined there. I propose that Beijing do the morally upstanding thing and propose a trade – the Japanese kick the war criminals out of Yasukuni and the CCP removes Mao’s Mausoleum from Tiananmen Square. Or is it OK for some countries to honor their murderous thugs and not OK for others? And just to be fair, you can throw in the Lincoln Memorial on the list of grandiose public displays of honor for guys who probably would have ended up at the Hague had they been around later.

The last part of that response prompted one reader — who also doubles as my little brother — to dash off this rather angry email:

what the fuck you talking about? you’re equating lincoln with mao? are you crazy?

Well, little brother, I won’t vouch for my own mental competency, nor would I dare equate Mao with the esteemed 16th president of these United States. With Mao, at least there is some debate over the Great Helmsman’s level of involvement in and knowledge of the general cruelty that characterized his reign. Not so with Lincoln — his crimes against humanity were both deliberate and committed with the full knowledge of the White House. Personally, I think Tojo Hideki would make for a better comparison, although even then, it’s a stretch — Tojo (or any other Japanese leader before and during the Pacific War) never enjoyed the kind of centralization of power or control over the military that Lincoln enjoyed during the Civil War. Could Tojo have changed commanders of the Kwantung Army as readily as Lincoln did with the Army of the Potomac? I think not.

Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Surely, you jest, Mr. Marmot.” Well, only partially so. Obviously, it’s somewhat ludicrous to equate Tojo and Mao, who were responsible for unspeakable crimes against humanity committed for what were, at best, questionable causes, with Lincoln, who was responsible for unspeakable crimes against humanity committed in the pursuit of a noble cause. But then again, is it? Does The Hague give you points for meaning well? A war criminal is a war criminal, regardless of his cause, and Lincoln, no matter how you cut it, was a war criminal. In fact, Lincoln’s prosecution of the war in the South would set in motion about 90 years of generally unmitigated cruelty that would eventually lead to much of the international legislation intended to regulate how we fight wars following the conclusion of WW II. Accordingly, that big white monument dedicated to him in Washington pays tribute to a war criminal.

Honest Abe? The Great Emancipator? Roh Moo-hyun’s idol? War Criminal? Yes. In fact, I can’t see what there is to argue about. Yes, Lincoln (kinda) freed the slaves. Yes, he held the nation together at its darkest hour, and the victory of Federal forces in that conflict — a victory that would allow the U.S. to become the wealthy, powerful and free nation that it is today — was largely due to Lincoln’s undeniable perseverance and determination. And yes, all things considered, he may have been the greatest president the U.S. ever had. He was also Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s commander-in-chief, however, and that makes him a war criminal. Just ask Slobodan Milosevic.

For those that are interested, Thomas G. Robisch discusses Sherman’s Georgia Campaign and its noncompliance with modern war standards. Needless to say, there were some issues. Sherman’s prosecution of that campaign doesn’t even merit the conventional “well, now it’s bad, but at that time, it was accepted” excuse. Sherman’s actualization of total war was revolutionary, brilliant, and horrifying. If contemporary U.S. and international law lacked regulations against Sherman’s “war as cruelty” tactics, it was mostly due to the fact that no one had previously imagined large, Industrial Age armies intentionally inflicting the kind of destruction against civilian infrastructure on the kind of scale Sherman’s did. See that picture above? The burning of Columbia in 1865 was not even the result of combat operations; it took place while the city was under Union occupation after its mayor had surrendered it to Sherman. Grant knew about it, as did Lincoln. Neither of them moved to reprimand the general responsible. But at that point, why should they have? Sherman had already cut a path of destruction through Georgia and lower South Carolina (with the approval of both Grant and Lincoln), so what was one more city, particular the city where the insurrection began? Of course, Japanese generals would hang for similar behavior following Tokyo’s defeat in the Pacific War, as would Prime Minister Tojo. My point was, if we’re going to hold the Japanese responsible for the Yasukuni Shrine, then you should also have problems with the Mao Mausoleum and Lincoln Memorial.

And yes, had Lincoln’s army employed similar tactics today, there would be Anglo-French peacekeepers guarding UN safezones in Atlanta and Savannah while Honest Abe sat in the The Hague swapping war stories with Slobodan Milosevic.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://groups.msn.com/KoreanMediaWatch Gerry Bevers

    Paul Webb: “The rape of women was policy in the Imperial Army.”

    Where did you get that one from, Paul? One of the reasons the comfort-women system was established was to help prevent rape in war, which often led to disease that debilitated troops. After Nanjing, the system was put on the fast track.

  • James C.

    Paul Webb makes what appears, on cursory examination, interesting points; however, Paul is either missing the issue or confusing issues.

    1. Paul states ?€œWhy did you favor the slavery of blacks? Are you fond of this ?€?peculiar institution??€™?€?

    No, I do not favor slavery of blacks or of any race. My post did not mention or refer to slavery at all, but since Paul raised it, I have the following thoughts:

    My point was and still is that Lincoln did not allow the South to withdraw its consent to be governed as it should have been allowed to do so under the Declaration of Independence.

    If Civil War was fought to remove slavery from the South (rather than to prevent the secession of the Southern states) then Lincoln should have recognized the South?€™s right to secede and form its own nation, then wage war against the newly formed nation to free the slaves ?€“ then the war would have been a war of emancipation. But this was clearly not the case. In fact, it was just the opposite. The slavery issue was a pretext to invade the South in which the real intent was to quash the attempt of the South to exercise its rights under the Declaration by seceding from the union.

    Further, if Civil War was fought to remove slavery from the South (rather than to prevent the secession of the Southern states) then this raises other troubling issues. For example, if a first group of people (e.g. the South) engages in immoral/unethical practices (e.g. slavery) in view of a second group of people (e.g. the North), then does the first group of people lose the right to consent to its own government under the Declaration? I would submit that this is not the case. Furthermore, why did we not and still do not wage war against other nations what practice slavery?

    Again, the point is that Lincoln abolished the Declaration of Independence.

    2. Paul analogizes the Southern States (of Civil War) with Nazis, Soviets, Germany, Japan, and Korea (all of whom, he alleges, needed America?€™s rule to be ?€œconverted?€? to ?€œhumanists?€?). Then, he appears to conclude that it was a good thing that the North invaded the South (and prevailed in Civil War).

    His analogues and presuppositions make little sense for reasons too many to list here; and his lack of analysis as to why and how the analogies and presuppositions are applicable is telling.

    I disagree with Paul?€™s assertions, but since this is Marmot?€™s forum, not ours, let?€™s just agree to disagree agreeably.

  • http://- yen jun

    WJK:

    May I ask your source material, about Japanese people fleeing from China and Korea,not being spared?

    Was there a deliberate policy, by KMT or the Communists, to kill them all in retribution – or maybe the butchering, rapes,etc (if true)was the natural reaction of people downtrodden by them for too long?

    As for butcher Mao, yes,more people died under him than the Japanese – but he is guilty of crimes against humanity, because of his towering ego and ideological struggles, but he is not a war criminal, unlike the Japanese ones.

    Yet why did so many Japanese escape punishment after WWII – for their matchless cruelty?

    Biological warfare experiments were also carried out on American POWs in Japan.

    They escaped punishment – and have even been interred with honours at Yasukuni! – because UNCLE SAM’s policy was to re-constitute Japan as its Eastern bulwark against the Red threat.
    It is under the American nuclear umbrella that,until today, Japan arrogantly refuses to admit what it did in the War.

  • http://californiansojourn.blogs.com/ CTDeLude

    My only response to this is for you to read Victor Davis Hanson’s thought’s on the manner. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I read it (whether on his site or in one of his books) but he points to this campagin as one of the campaigns that SAVED countless lives as opposed to declaring it a crime against humanity. I can’t remember all his arguments but unfortunately, as much as I love you Marmot, I’ll more lean towards his observations on the manner than yours.

    I’ll see if I can find it though…

  • http://californiansojourn.blogs.com/ CTDeLude

    Best link I can find, since it is indeed in a book…

    http://print.google.com/print/doc?isbn=0684845024

    While Googling I did see many arguments opposed but again, VDH is VDH and he presents his case better than most.

  • http://www.kangmi.org ?°???¸

    You are a brave fellow, Mr. Marmot.

    Most people forget (or don’t know) that more Americans died in the American Civil War than in all of its other wars combined.

    That’s a pretty big number.

  • Fabius

    Did the Union soldiers cut off heads for fun, rape all the nurses in hospitals and then cut their throats for fun, and work POWs to death for fun? How did they treat the South once the war was over and it was pacified?

    You want to argue that Sherman’s March was barbaric – ok. To equate it to the decades of AWFUL rule under the Japanese that Korea and China suffered is a stretch.

    This is one of those arguements intended to prove moral equivalence. We are supposed to stop and think “gee every culture on Earth is equally barbaric because we all admire men who did terrible things… I guess we’re all equally awful!” Problem is, some are clearly worse than others and Japan surpassed America in cruelty by any measure. 50 years of brutality vs a few months in 1864 is a pretty poor moral equivalence arguement.

  • Fabius

    Your post makes the same arguement as someone who claims “Augusto Pinochet is just as bad as Stalin!” or “South Korea oppressed people so its just as bad as North Korea!”

    No – One man killed 3000 or less and the other killed tens of millions. One country killed hundreds, the other kills hundreds of thousands.

    You totally overlook the scale and scope.

  • Alvin Pettit

    I am so angry at what was wrote I will just state this.. I think you mean “The burning of Columbia in 1865″ and not 1965.

  • http://blog.marmot.cc The Marmot

    Well, yes, I guess we’d like to believe that we were better than the Japanese, and certainly, our objectives in the Civil War were certainly better than those of Imperial Japan during the Pacific War. And yes, there’s the question of scale, but then again, there’s also the question of technological development — the 20th century was the world’s bloodiest in part because of technological advances that made it possible to kill that many people. I shudder to imagine how many young men — both Union and Confederate — Grant would have butchered had he employed the strategies and tactics he did with either WWI or WWII weaponry. The problem is, I think many of us Americans from the North fail to comprehend how cruelly the Civil War was fought. Southerners, for the most part, understand — the war was fought primarily on their turf, and they lost. Did Union troops “cut off heads for fun, rape all the nurses in hospitals and then cut their throats for fun, and work POWs to death for fun?” Not generally, no. Does that make the bombardment of Macon and Atlanta, the forced evacuation of that later city, and the burning of Columbia out of spite any less war crimes? No. And as for POWs, I suggest you take a look at this picture:

    That’s a Union POW, taken after the liberation of the Andersonville Prison Camp in Georgia. The Southern officer in charge of that camp would eventually become the only American ever executed for war crimes. The irony of this all is that at least he had an excuse — given the devastation of the Southern economy by Union forces, rebel troops weren’t much better off. No such excuse existed for the Federal guards at the Elmira Prison Camp in NY, where 25 percent of the POWs kept there — including 1,233 from North Carolina — died from disease, malnutrition and outright starvation.

    No, Civil War brutality wasn’t simply a couple of months in 1864. It was a four year-long, systemic process, the like of which had never been seen, but oft emulated in the century to follow. Scorched earth, the “meat-grinder,” trench warfare — for those, the world had the War Between the States to thank.

  • http://blog.marmot.cc The Marmot

    Kangmi — there were 23,000 casualties — North and South — at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862.

    That was just on one day alone.

  • WJK

    Resentment against Union total war is one reason why the South voted Democrat for a long time.

    The Japanese were crueler, though. Human medical experiments. Women tagging along the Japanese army to be raped, testing to see how many humans in a line will die with a single rifle shot, etc. Just like the Nazis, they were full of crap in their heads and treated everyone not of their race like animals that could talk. I think Japan is the only World War 2 loser nation that still romanticizes their military past with shrines for their leaders, through anime about war (check out the bad guys in Gundam, granted the bad guys always lose), and thru plastic replica models of World War 2 tanks and planes. These models are very detailed, by the way. I think they study them. Sick.

  • WJK

    Just wondering. Former Nazis who became US citizens covertly are deported when their true identities are even alleged to have been found. What about former Japanese military men who somehow smuggled into get US citizenships? Dig’em out.

  • Ray

    In terms of physical destruction, the effect of Nanjing and Sherman’s march are probably comparable. But I think what we remember most about Nanking, or the Nazis in Warsaw, is the mass rape and murder of civilians. These are crimes that shock us far more than the mere destruction of property can ever do — and no credible accusation of orchestrating mass murder of noncombatants has been leveled at Sherman or Lincoln.

  • Fabius

    You can dig up all the Civil War horror stories you can find, but they are all exceptions rather than the rule – unlike with Japan.

    And Japan’s Bataan Death March and the Burmese railroad weren’t made possible by technology but by their beliefs – beliefs in their own racial superiority, the worthlessness of others, that POWs were totally ok murder, and so forth. Technology doesn’t make people commit war crimes, although it can help make them possible. Japanese beliefs were absolutely the basis for their brutality. And its an undeniable fact that American beliefs did not trend in the direction of treating others as utterly inhuman and murder-able in the Civil War, like the Japanese clearly believed.

    If you want to believe that if Grant had, say, heavy caliber machine guns he would be more likely to murder women and children, well thats interesting. But the fact remains that the Japanese actually DID things like that while the North didn’t.

    And large numbers of soldiers killing eachother at Antietam, as terrible as that is, is not a war crime, it is in fact simply war. Neither are American innovations in warfare, like ironclads or gatling guns, war crimes.

    But this whole debate is just a shabby attempt to prove some form of “we’re all evil” moral equivalence. Its just not true! All countries behave badly at times, but some are worse (or better) than others. And Imperial Japan was clearly worse than the Union.

  • John Thacker

    I wouldn’t guarantee that anyone from the Union would be in the Hague, either. Certainly Assad never ended up there after levelling Hama when they tried to rebel.

  • WJK

    Truman used 2 atomic bombs on Japan. War Criminal?

    No. And Lincoln is not a war criminal. I would say his reasons for total war were the same as Truman’s.
    Kind of anachronistic, so it should be Truman’s reasons were a follow up on Lincoln’s. The war did end quicker, didn’t it?

  • Kimbob

    What Japan did in WWII is no better or worse than what other big powers of Britain, France, Russia, and America did. Japan was a colonial power just as Britain, France, Russia, and America was at that time. Why did these European and American powers oppose Japan and viewed them as a threat? Because they were Asiatic, and they directly threatened the colonial interests of the big European powers, not because any one of them felt sorry for the Japanese colonial subjects of Asia. If they really did feel sorry for the Asians under Japan, then that would have been hypocritical since the Europeans themselves were masters of millions of Asians. The Japanese weren’t that cruel to anyone – it’s mostly exaggerations by victorious Western powers and a Communist China with a long historical grudge against Japan. Certainly Japan wasn’t anymore crueler then the French in Africa or Indochina. Japan built railroads and ended slavery in Korea. China would have been far better off if Japan had won. Japan did a lot of good for Asia which are not recognized. The course of history is always written by the victors, and it happens that Japan lost. The Pearl Harbour happened because the US forced Japan by completely embargoing oil destined for Japan. Japan depends 100% on imported oil. They had no choice but to strike a pre-emptive strike on the US, or face destruction.
    If a foreign power did the same thing to the US as the US did to Japan, the US would have done the same thing.

  • James C.

    Marmot,

    Lincoln’s greatest and tragic legacy is his rejection of the Declaration of Independence. Specifically, Lincoln rejected the foundational idea of our republic that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.?€? When the South no longer consented to be governed by White House; Lincoln invaded the South with guns ablazing in order to subjugate them to North?€™s rule. Since then, governments of the U.S. derive their “power” from their guns; no one is allowed to withdraw their “consent” to be governed by them; thus their powers are no longer “just” as defined by and as required under the Declaration.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    Marmot, I’m disappointed in you. You don’t understand the evolution of warfare, humanism, and international law. In the 19th century, combat against civilians was not illegal and was considered a valid military target. In fact, Lincoln’s endorsement of Sherman’s “March to the Sea” probably saved tens of thousands of lives on the battlefield since the South quickly lost the will to fight after Georgia went up in flames. Just like the dropping of atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

    Anyway, the problem with your argument is that you’re looking at the 19th century through a 21st century lens. America’s and the world’s humanism have evolved over the past 150 years. Let’s look at the Four Geneva Conventions for example:

    First Geneva Convention (1864) recognized ambulances and military hospitals as nuetral. This, by the way, was observed during the Civil War.

    Second Geneva Convention (1906) applied the principles of the first convention to war at sea.

    Third Geneva Convention (1929) protected the rights of POWs during war – laws the Japanese flagrantly violated.

    Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) protected the rights of civilians during war.

    You’re comparison of Lincoln to Milosevic is absurd. It wouldn’t be 90 years after the Civil War that the international community recognized the protection of civilians during war. Milosevic killed civilians 50 years after the fact. Milosevic was a war criminal. Lincoln was not.

    Some people want to tear down the Washington and Jefferson monuments because they owned slaves. The problem with that argument is those two didn’t do anything illegal. Slavery was legal in the 18th century. We then discovered that slavery was wrong and the laws were changed to reflect our evolution in humanism. If we discover that FDR owned slaves, then his monument should be knocked down, because he was a criminal after the laws changed.

    Who knows, maybe in 22nd century our humanism will evolve to a point when the international community at a future Geneva Convention will ban the dropping the ordnance from a plane because collateral damage kills civilians. Does this mean the people of the 22nd century should label 21st century U.S. presidents as war criminals because they dropped bombs on military targets that killed civilians as collateral damage? Of course not.

    Lincoln is still a hero in my book. Keep the monument up!

  • Jing

    Well Kimbob just managed to single handedly fulfill the daily dosage of apologist drivel in one post. A proper fisking isn’t even worth my time.

  • Kimbob

    I’m sorry Jing, what do you mean by “apolgist drivel”?

  • kimchipig

    ?€? When the South no longer consented to be governed by White House; Lincoln invaded the South.>>

    Change “South” to “Iraq” and “Lincoln” to “Bush.”

    History does repeat itself but remember, winners are never “war criminals.” Only losers are.

  • Dex

    Equating Milosovic and Lincoln, beyond the postmodern arrogant insanity of judging a 19th century military leader by 21st century standards of conduct, actually does bring up an interesting contrast:
    Lincoln’s succcess vs. Slobodan’s incompetence — Slobo couldn’t even hold together the postage-stamp sized Balkan countries as they splintered ever further from the fall of Yugoslavia to the –how many republics it now? Meanwhile Lincoln had to hold together the SEC, the Big Ten, the ACC, the Big East, and the Big 12, all without a BCS system ;-).

    History has come to condemn Sherman’s march, but with each passing year of worldwise MUSLIM terrorism, it looks more and more like maybe we picked the wrong side in that war anyway…

  • Paul Webb, USA

    Marmot, “I shudder to imagine how many young men ?€“ both Union and Confederate ?€“ Grant would have butchered had he employed the strategies and tactics he did with either WWI or WWII weaponry.”

    It’s pointless to speculate on this because tactics evolved right along with weaponry. As weapons became more deadly, militaries discovered better defenses against them like “skirmish formations” and “trench digging.”

    Ray, “But I think what we remember most about Nanking, or the Nazis in Warsaw, is the mass rape and murder of civilians.”

    Poles I meet tell me the Russians were worse than the Nazis when they swept across Poland.

    Kimbob, “What Japan did in WWII is no better or worse than what other big powers of Britain, France, Russia, and America did.”

    The Russians were bastards, I’ll give you that. I’m not aware of any “comfort women” in the U.S. or British armies though.

    Kimbob, “Why did these European and American powers oppose Japan and viewed them as a threat?”

    Germany wanted to enslave Europe. Japan wanted to enslave Asia. The U.S. didn’t want to wait around to find out which one these two would get to America first.

    Kimbob, “The Japanese weren?€™t that cruel to anyone”

    The rape of women was policy in the Imperial Army.

    Kimbob, “China would have been far better off if Japan had won.”

    You’re probably right here. Mao killed 40,000,000 Chinese – just less than the total death toll of WW2. I can’t imagine the Japanese doing worse. But that still didn’t give Japan the right to enslave 500,000,000 people.

    Kimbob, “Japan did a lot of good for Asia which are not recognized.”

    Like the Rape of Nanking?

    Kimbob, “The course of history is always written by the victors, and it happens that Japan lost.”

    And thank God the good guys won. Or you would have a Japanese name, be required to pray to the Emporer, and your daughter may be a comfort woman.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    James C. “Lincoln invaded the South with guns ablazing in order to subjugate them to North?€™s rule.”

    Why did you favor the slavery of blacks? Are you fond of this “peculiar institution?”

    James C. “Since then, governments of the U.S. derive their ‘power’ from their guns”

    To borrow a phrase from Zell Miller, did you want America to defend itself from Nazis and Soviets with spitballs?

    James C. “no one is allowed to withdraw their ‘consent’ to be governed by them”

    It was a good thing America ruled Germany for five years and Japan for seven years and converted these people to humanists. The world is safer for it. America also prevented a communist takeover in South Korea when it ruled there after WW2. This was good too.

  • WJK

    Paul Webb is absolutely right on.

  • WJK

    Kimbob, so why were Japanese people fleeing from China, Manchuria, and Korea towards Japan beaten, raped, and butchered? From stuff I read, not even the Japanese children were spared.

  • Jing

    Of course the most obvious scenario escapes mr. Webb and Kimbob, that China would have been better off had Japan not invaded in the first place. Mao would not have won the civil war, Jiang would have consolidated more territory than the PRC holds today. And a KMT run China, would have been on the forefront of the Cold War with substantial western and American aid to develope it as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.

  • Me

    It?€™s an awakening experience to see how many critics have no intention of being objective observers. Obviously, the majority audience here is western, and I?€™ll stretch the assumption to US/Canadian. To defend the actions of Lincoln based on the argument that his actions, at that time, were not considered illegal, or to say that he ?€?probably?€™ saved lives by destroying non-combatants shows the slanted view from which many commenter are approaching this subject.
    Ask the leaders of Japanese occupation, Chinese reform, or Yugoslav president Milosovic and they would be just as nationalistic as Lincoln. They, too, assumed that they would save lives in the long run by brutally suppressing opposition.
    The question was raised as to whether US(North) troops raped, plundered, and defaced for fun. Unfortunately, yes.
    It was not a policy from up high, but then neither was it in the other theaters discussed here. That does not excuse the CIC.
    I respect many aspects of Lincoln?€™s presidency, and I think that the country benefited from his actions. I also think Bush has made the right choice a few times, but that doesn?€™t mean I support the method these men chose to unilaterally express themselves. Lack of diplomacy, especially in time of war, can be much more debilitating than many assume, and should not be made up for with use of force.
    I, too, was passively guilty, as I had not considered Lincoln a war criminal until I saw mention of it here. It hurts to criticize someone I had assumed was a hero, but facts are facts, and if one fails to criticize at home they lose the justification for slagging others.

  • Fabius

    To ‘Me,’ who posted #29:

    I defended Lincoln and the North in above posts. I didn’t claim they were perfect or never did anything wrong. But Lincoln IS a hero even if he did some bad things… because he did a hell of a lot more GOOD.

    You need to read Plutarch.

  • hweld

    “Some people want to tear down the Washington and Jefferson monuments because they owned slaves. The problem with that argument is those two didn?€™t do anything illegal. Slavery was legal in the 18th century. We then discovered that slavery was wrong and the laws were changed to reflect our evolution in humanism. If we discover that FDR owned slaves, then his monument should be knocked down, because he was a criminal after the laws changed.”

    Although tearing down Jefferson’s monument is absurd, the reasoning behind the stated quote can’t really fulfill our rationales for the facts of history. We see right away why being legalistic and legal by itself will not necessarily protect human lives nor be in the right;politically expedient, yes—expedient enough to move on to the next topic. But one couldn’t be serious to claim satisfaction at the judgement of what is legal and what is not. “Because the Geneva Convention says so, it must be absolute……..” “Whatever the fineprint of the parchment may profess, the law shall have.”

    NIGGA PLEASE.

    Someone mentioned Plutarch; how about Euthyphro?

  • Sugar Shin

    Wow, Gerry-san Beversakamoto, again kissing Imperial Japanese butts…yummy!: “Oh, I’m telling the undistorted truth that no Korean wants to admitt…yada yada yada…”

    So much said about Marmot’s Lincoln post here. I must say, that I don’t agree with Mr. Marmot’s view. But I’m not as informed about Civil War history like many posters here.

    I’ve watched “Ride with the devils” by Ang Lee and this movie pretty much shows the nature of fraternal warfare and the irrelevance of ideological beliefs, when the war itsself sets free the barbarity of human beings.

    To the point of technology supporting the higher death toll in modern warfare: as an example the European 30-years confessional war between Catholics and Protestants from 1618-1648 on predominantly German soil had cost half the existing population of Central Europe. Civilians were butchered, raped and whole regions burned to ashes and depopulated. It’s human furor that kills masses than modern military technology alone.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    Jiang, “Mao would not have won the civil war, Jiang would have consolidated more territory than the PRC holds today.”

    We’ll never know for sure. We can’t go back in time and test that theory. All I know is that Mao beat Jiang because he had more people and more weapons.

    Jiang, “And a KMT run China, would have been on the forefront of the Cold War with substantial western and American aid to develope it as a bulwark against the Soviet Union.”

    Yes, a KMT China would have been wonderful. Imagine having a gigantic Taiwan on the American side in Asia. How did Truman screw that up? The U.S. should have given leftover WW2 tanks to the KMT. That should have been enough to defeat Mao. I thought that abandoning the SVA was America’s greatest crime of the Cold War, but maybe it was ignoring the KMT. I need to rethink this.

    G. Bevers, “One of the reasons the comfort-women system was established was to help prevent rape in war”

    Yes. The policy was to rape Korean women to prevent the raping of Chinese women, which happened anyway.

  • http://simonworld.mu.nu/archives/044612.php Simon World

    Great Helmsman meet Great Emancipator
    Abe Lincoln – war criminal?…

  • WJK

    Yen Jun:

    Here’s one…
    Aug. 8, 1945 – Joseph Stalin declared war on Japan. Three Red Army groups, over one and half million men, 5,500 tanks and self-propelled guns, invaded Manchuria and reached the Korean border in less than two weeks. The once mighty Kwang-tung Army disintegrated. Soviet marines occupied Port Arthur (Manchuria). The Chinese 8th Route Army under Lin Piao tokk over villages and small towns, while Chiang’s KMT (Kuo Ming Tang) troops took over large cities in Manchuria from the Soviets in accordance with a secret agreement made between Stalin and Chiang Kai Sek behind Mao’s back. Chiang’s troops aided by US soldiers provided safe havens to Japanese civilians. Stalin’s troops carted off Japanese POW’s to Siberia. Japanese civilians caught outside the safe havens were dealt harshly by the Chinese peasants.

    Tens of thousands Japanese refugees crossed the Yalu River at Hyesan and passed through our town, Kapsan. They were desperately trying to reach Chungjin and Hungnam. From there, they could charter fishing boats to Japan. The refugees spread rumors of unbelievable horrors going on in Manchuria. Chinese mobs killing Japanese civilians by the thousands. Some said that the mobs were eating Japanese babies alive! Stalin’s troops were killing Japanese POW’s and gang-raping women and children. And so on.

    http://www.kimsoft.com/korea/eyewit08.htm

    I kind of believe him, because it’s seems like a personal dairy. Up to you to believe or not.

  • http://groups.msn.com/KoreanMediaWatch Gerry Bevers

    Paul,

    As has already been mentioned in another discussion, a Seoul University professor has recently claimed that there is no [documentary] evidence that Korean women were officially forced to work as comfort women. Maybe you could do something to help resolve the issue by making public your evidence that it was Japanese policy to rape women?

  • Dan

    I typically don’t read blog comment threads, due mainly to the fact that most contain very little worthy debate and factual information. This one is no exception.

    First, Lincoln did not “abolish” the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is not, nor has it ever been, a governing document. It was simply a statement of principles and intent that was sent to King George III. It has no force of law. The basis of U.S. law is the Constitution, which does not give a state the right to secede.

    Second, the Confederacy started the war through its twin actions of confiscating U.S. Government property within its borders and initiating open warfare with the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Even if you can somehow find a legal right to secession in the Constitution, there was no legal basis for Confederate states to confiscate Federal assets.

    Third, the Confederacy’s main objective in fighting the war was not independence, but to preserve the slaveholding system. This was reflected in their military strategy, which was based on perimeter defense and incursions into Union territory rather than one of defense-in-depth and refusal to battle which probably would have enabled the South to win. Perimeter defense was necessary to keep Union armies away from the slave-holding heartland of the South, but it played into the Union’s strength of numbers and resources.

    Lastly, as for feuding nationalists in Asia, a pox on all their houses. I think we can all agree that Communist China is a pretty bad place, KMT-run Taiwan was a pretty bad place, and the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a bad place and would have gotten worse had it persisted.

  • http://- yen jun

    WJK:
    Thanks. “Jap civlians caught outside safe havens were harshly dealt with by Chinese peasants.” So they still had comfort zones.

    “Eating babies alive”. What else can I say?

    They were desperate to flee China, via Korea where – despite a 35 year-history of colonial brutality – they managed to take a nice breather, and sailed into the sunset in Japan. Like that. No-one in Korea beat them up.

    Dan: it is not nice to cuss people this way. It’s not about being nationalistic – just arguing for what you believe in.

    Yes, China (KMT or Red)is crappy. But, hey, if you were an American Indian, you’d be just as agitated for what happened at Wounded Knee, yet has become buried as a footnote in mighty american white history.

    Plse don’t sound so above it all.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    G. Bevers, “Maybe you could do something to help resolve the issue by making public your evidence that it was Japanese policy to rape women?”

    In case you’re unclear, or you came from a different planet, here’s the definition of rape:

    http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Rape

    And here’s some evidence:

    http://www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/ChinaHistory/rape1.html
    http://wakingbear.com/japan3.htm
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_japa.htm
    http://www.ccds.charlotte.nc.us/History/Japan/05/cox/
    http://www.cmht.com/casewatch/cases/cwcomfort4.htm
    http://www.historywiz.com/nanjing-mm.htm

    Now you see why this holocaust had to be stopped?

  • WJK

    I wouldn’t say the Japanese were untouched in Korea, though. Read the part on his web site, 1945, Soviet occupation. There were internment camps and such in Ham Hung for the Japanese…I wouldn’t be shocked.

  • WJK

    although I think he’s saying the Soviets made those camps.

  • WJK

    America was a good victor in World War 2. The Nazis and the Japanese preferred to surrender to the Americans. Can’t find too many of those in history.

  • Jing

    Probably the lesser of two evils. During the battle for Shanghai, the 88th division of the KMT army participated in a three month battle for the city. While most of the division withdrew during the course, a small element remained to continue the battle but eventually ended up surrendering to British and other foreign troops in the foreign concessions of the city rather than rely on the “tender mercies” of the Japanese.

    Later when the Communist forces launched the marginally successful hundred regiments offensive in part to relieve Chong Qing, the IJA reacted with the “Three-all” campaign; Kill all, burn all, loot all in an attempt to squash communist support by the population at large in Northern China. Needless to say, Japanese soldiers by the end of the war preferred surrendering to allied American/KMT forces rather than face reprisals by the Communists or Soviets.

    Ironically enough, I believe the communists did end up with several thousand Japanese prisoners by wars end, the majority of whom were returned to Japan by the early 50′s unharmed.

  • http://- yen jun

    WJK:

    Right. So the retreating Japanese got a taste of their own medicine from the locals, when the tables were turned. Par for the course, right?

    As I was saying…there was no directive to butcher, rape and snuff them out, unless the Japanese military who adopted a deliberate policy of `scorched earth’ and killing to terrorise the enemy into submission.

    Nazis and Japanese preferred to surrender…sheesh, what’s your pedigree, half-witted Appalachian hillbilly or inbred Arkansas redneck?

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    Yen Jun wrote:

    “Nazis and Japanese preferred to surrender ?€? sheesh, what’s your pedigree, half-witted Appalachian hillbilly or inbred Arkansas redneck?”

    Yen Jun, I realize that you weren’t speaking to me, but as someone from the Arkansas Ozark Mountains, I find your insults profoundly offensive.

    I don’t see why so many people feel the need to stoop to such vicious language in these comments unless it’s simply that they cannot maintain a cool head and provide rational arguments backed up with evidence.

    But I suppose that some people just enjoy wallowing in the mud.

    Jeffery Hodges

  • http://- yen jun

    Dear Jeffrey Hodges:

    My abject apologies. Yes, that was truly rude, wasn’t it. But I was truly confounded by WJK’s claims… he’s either truly dense or deliberately obtuse.

    Apologiess…

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    Apology accepted.

    Jeffery Hodges

  • Mankyongdae

    US Secretary of Defense during part of the Vietnam war, Robert McNamara, participated in the making of a very special documentary in which he spoke about many things. One of them was the massive firebombings that he and Gen. Curtis LeMay planned during WWII; the raids over Tokyo killed 100,000 civilians in a single night. McNamara puts it this way:

    “LeMay said, “If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.” And I think he’s right. He?€”and, I’d say, I?€”were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?”

    Now, if the two chief architects of some of the worst bombings in World War Two were able to recognise that under different circumstances they might have been viewed differently, isn’t that food for thought?

    Don’t get me wrong – I do think that there are different levels of killing, war etc. And I am also no fan of blanket moral equivalence.

  • slim

    I’ll never spend a penny or a $5 bill again without thinking about the blood on Abe’s hands.

  • non korean

    Historical relativism. Basically looking at history with the same morals and way of thinking of today. Today it is not legal and considered barbaric to own slaves yet many great and admired men did so. One must remember the times Lincoln lived in. I am a rabid meat eater. Will people in the future who consider eating meat barbaric consider me a terrible person?

    Sherman did some terrible infrastructure damage to the south but did not kill 1000′s and 1000′s of civilians- I believe it is a big difference.

    In WWII allied bombing did some terrible infrastructure damage to Japan and Germeny. Should FDR be on trial as well?

    Yes Lincoln was not an angel war is a dirty business but to equate Lincoln with some well deserved and more recent war criminals is comparing apples to oranges.

  • Yaki Nori Yak Yak

    “As has already been mentioned in another discussion, a Seoul University professor has recently claimed that there is no [documentary] evidence that Korean women were officially forced to work as comfort women.” – quote by Gerry Bevers.

    And of course, also all those Chinese, Fillipino, and even Dutch comfort women are all lies cooked up by a Korean too. Japanese soldiers were good people, they possibly couldn’t have been cruel and they shouldn’t be faulted for all these whores bothering them to give them comfort services when they were just trying to carry out battles in the front. What were these whores doing there anyway? That’s what one Seoul professor said. And then it was backed up by one Japanese professor as well, so it all must be true.

    The Japanese East Asian Co-prosperity Empire was a great empire! Heil to the great Emperor Sun God! Banzai!

  • http://groups.msn.com/KoreanMediaWatch Gerry Bevers

    Yaki Nori Yak Yak,

    There was nothing in my post about Chinese, Filipino, or Dutch women. I referred to “Korean women” and to a claim that they were forced to become “comfort women” as part of official Japanese policy. Please try reading my post, again.

    Yak-Yak, can you name me one war where women have not been raped or one army that has not done it? Every army has its scumbag soldiers, and pimps and human trafficers exist even today in Korea, China, the Philippines, and probably even in the Netherlands.

    Yak-Yak, your post provides dull, childish sarcasm, but no evidence that it was “Japanese policy to rape women,” which was the subject of my post.

  • http://orientalredneck.blogspot.com Tony

    Marmot, interesting post (though I may not agree with you on these points). I do think, however, that Sherman’s Georgia and South Carolina campaigns should be considered separately. My understanding is that the South Carolina campaign was much harsher, given the perception of that state as the cradle of the rebellion.

  • http://- yen jun

    Dear Yaki Nori Yak Yak:

    I like you. You remind me of Gollum, that lovable freak from Lord of the Rings. You know, bad teeth, no hair, bulge-eyed, mis-shapen body. Conniving, cunning, arrogant, spiteful, vengeful.

    A typical Japanese extremist. Luckily, I have some nice Japanese friends who don’t look and hopefully think like you.

    Yaki, does your vehement denial perhaps suggest a deep-rooted fear that somehow, all those nasty things said about Japanese war brutality could be TRUE?

    Sadly, being brought up in your small, Gollum-0f-the-shire world, you can only think in small terms of great, glorious Japan, whose civilisation has been borrowed mainly from others.

    That’s why you and your kind perpetuate self-denial – afraid that any admission would shame your country – when really, it’s a shame upon ALL humanity, that war reduces people to such barbarism.

    When Japan can finally admit its past, only then Hiroshima and Nagasaki be embraced as a true tragedy of world, along with Dachau, Nanjing, comfort women, Lab 731.

    Otherwise, all those Aug 15 demos for peace will always be viewed as Japanese hypocrisy.

  • makhno

    I love these ‘but all the destruction and killing actually saved lives’ arguments. I don’t know enough about the American civil war to comment, but for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the argument doesn’t hold and never has.
    Japan was already defeated when the bombs were dropped. It had no navy, no air force, and it’s oil had been cut off. Even as early as May 5, 1945 (before the war in Europe ended) the US intercepted (having long ago broken the Japanese code) messages like this, one sent to Berlin by the German Ambassador:
    “Since the situation is clearly recognized to be hopeless, large sections of the Japanese armed forces would not regard with disfavor an American request for capitulation even if the terms were hard.”

    In July, before Potsdam, the Japanese government sent several radio messages to its ambassador, Naotake Sato, in Moscow, asking him to request Soviet help in mediating a peace settlement. “His Majesty is
    extremely anxious to terminate the war as soon as possible”, said one communication. “Should, however, the United States and Great Britain insist on unconditional surrender, Japan would be forced
    to fight to the bitter end.”

    Of course, this suited Secretary of War Stimson fine. On June 6, he told President Truman he was worried that the Air Force bombing would leave Japan so bombed out that the new weapon “would not have a fair background to show its strength”. In his later memoirs, Stimson admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb”

    It should be mentioned that MacArthur thought ‘Unconditional Surrender’ to be totally unnecessary and retention of the Emperor critical to controlling postwar Japan. Adm. William Leahy believed that the decision to use the bomb “was clearly a political one”, reached perhaps “because of the vast sums that had been spent on the project”. Eisenhower recalled a conversation with Stimson in which he told the secretary of war that “Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary. … I thought our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of “face”. The secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude, almost angrily refuting the reasons I gave for my quick conclusions.

    I don’t think it’s possible to say Hiroshima was necessary. There were many chances to end the war before dropping the bomb there. But even if you can (somehow) argue that Hiroshima was necessary, Nagasaki certainly wasn’t. There was no need to atomize another city. Unless of course, after testing a uranium bomb on a city, they wanted to see what a plutonium bomb did. Or if they wanted to intimidate Stalin by using a doomsday weapon when there was no military need to do so.

    Regarding this:
    It was a good thing America ruled Germany for five years and Japan for seven years and converted these people to humanists. The world is safer for it. America also prevented a communist takeover in South Korea when it ruled there after WW2. This was good too.

    Nothing like preventing a communist takeover by prolonging a civil war until 3 million people are dead. The American act of dividing Korea (on the night the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki)* to be occupied by leaders of two competing systems like the US and USSR, ensured the Korean war would occur. The vast majority of Koreans (peasants), who had been fucked over by the Yangban and Japanese, wanted land reform and to see collaborators punished. “Land reform! That’s communist!” said America, and in the shadow of Soviets to the north, anything remotely leftist was not allowed. The old Japanese system was reconstituted (the bureaucracy and national police, as well as brutally imposed rice collection) and run by those who had done so under the Japanese, leaving the vast majority of the popularion deeply embittered. By 1950, after putting down peasant uprisings and guerrilla insurgencies (such as one on Jeju, which claimed 30,000 lives), executing thousands of suspected leftists, and provoking the north with dozens of incursions across the 38th parallel in 1949 (because the US would not support the South in attacking the North; it would only support them if attacked), the North invaded the South.

    General Hodge, the head of the US military government, suggested in December 1945 (after 3 months of being in the country) that both the US and USSR should withdraw and “leave Korea to its own devices and an inevitable internal upheaval for its self purification”. He recognised then that the tensions in Korea would lead to conflict. The (American) division of the country inevitably made the conflict unfold as a war between two states. Had the US not intervened (in a conflict which it’s division of the country made inevitable (but what was, for all intents and purposes, a civil war)), the war would have likely ended in 3 months, saving millions of lives (Not ‘saving lives’ by killing people scores of people, but saving lives by…uhh…not killing people).

    “But evil North Korea would have…” That a country unified by North Korea would have been unpleasant(to say the least) to live in is likely (that South Korea was unpleasant to live in under the military dictatorships is certain). But it would not have been a country that had gone through 3 years of war, with every city in ruins (especially in the north – Curtis LeMay didn’t have as much napalm in his arsenal when he leveled Japan), which had lost a number of its population proportionate to the USSR’s or Poland’s in WWII. It also wouldn’t have been a country forced to mobolize itself to defend itself from the South and the US for 50 years and counting (no country has been under threat of nuclear attack by the US as long as North Korea). And vice versa. Looking at a North Korea now and saying a unified Korea would have looked like it doesn’t make sense. It likely would have opened up like China, and the Southeast Asian countries, have. The US intervention in Korea (and the principal of Rollback) caused the Chinese intervention, and in the end, it accomplished nothing. It just left millions dead, and two wounded and enraged authoritarian regimes staring at each other across practically the same line as when the war began.

    Comparing North and South Korean human rights violations since the war makes the North the ‘winner’. But if you include the 2 years before the war, the gap is narrowed significantly)

    * I’ve gotten into arguments over who divided Korea before, so here’s a link to a quote by Dean Rusk at a decidely NOT left wing website. He says it was August 14th; at least 2 other sources say it was the night of August 9th-10th:
    http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/korea/large/world.htm

  • Paul Webb, USA

    yen jun, “When Japan can finally admit its past, only then Hiroshima and Nagasaki be embraced as a true tragedy of world, along with Dachau, Nanjing, comfort women, Lab 731.”

    yen jun, why does Japan have to apologize? Japan is a nice normal humanist nation now, just like South Korea. They don’t commit those atrocities anymore. The Japanese of today should not be held accountable for their ancestors’ murders and rapes. If your grandfather murdered someone, should you have to apologize? Of course not. People are born without sin!

    Instead of living in the past, look to the future. Many Arabs are still living in the past. They want revenge for all the killing the Christians did during the crusades, and Christians today don’t even know what a crusade is.

    Instead of demanding an apology from the Japanese government, you should demand that the Korean and Japanese governments lift all trade tariffs between the two countries. This would give the Korean economy a tremendous boon and raise your standard of living.

  • YeOldeToaste

    Wow. This came out of nowhere. I have to say Marmot you are completely out of your league on this one. This basically amounts to shoddy unprofessional shock journalism.

    I think Paul Webb in #17 mirrors my major complaints with your presentation. Instead of taking the high, but thorny road of talking about trickier ideas like that of Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus and the immediate effects it had as well as the precedent it set (FDR was to renew it for the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in WWII) you settled for the cheap shot.

    Not cool.

    -Adam

  • http://silentrunning.tv Captain Scarlet

    marmot,
    too many people today think that the rules of war today apply to wars over 100 years ago. they don’t. many of our modern rules were develope AFTER WWII. previously, it was a gentlemens agreement that you don’t attack civilians or that you treat prisoners well but you were bound by international law to do so. you are way off base here.

  • the marmot”s brother

    i still think you’re fucking crazy.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    Dan, “I typically don?€™t read blog comment threads, due mainly to the fact that most contain very little worthy debate and factual information. This one is no exception.”

    Many intellegent people post comments on this blog. I don’t see any Jerry Springer fans here.

    Dan, “rather than one of defense-in-depth and refusal to battle which probably would have enabled the South to win.”

    The South was doomed from the start. The North had superior manpower and resources. As long as the Union was willing to fight, it was only a matter of time before the South fell. Economics wins wars, not tactics.

    Dan, “I think we can all agree that Communist China is a pretty bad place, KMT-run Taiwan was a pretty bad place”

    Despite all its warts, KMT Taiwan was better than Mao’s China in every way – executions, starving people, economics, human rights, etc. Look at Taiwan and China today – Jiang’s Taiwan was a complete success, Mao’s China was a complete disaster. I wish every post-war country had developed and prospered like Taiwan.

    Mankyongdae, “One of them was the massive firebombings that he and Gen. Curtis LeMay planned during WWII; the raids over Tokyo killed 100,000 civilians in a single night.”

    LeMay initially tried to destroy industrial and military targets in Japanese cities using conventional bombs, but they always missed their target, and hit houses anyway. GPS-guided smart bombs weren’t invented yet. He had to resort to firebombing because it was the only method to destroy these targets. It was the best technology available. And the strategy worked – Japan’s industrial infrastructure was destroyed.

  • http://blog.marmot.cc The Marmot

    i still think you?€™re fucking crazy.
    Somehow, I gathered you would.

    I’m sorry, but I’m just not buying this “there were no laws back then, so it doesn’t constitute a war crime.” In the case of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials, ex post facto laws were introduced to deal out justice to the accused. Tojo Hideki, the man mentioned above, was found guilty of six counts of waging agressive war, a law that previously had not applied to individuals. Didn’t stop the Allies from hanging him. And if “waging agressive war” was a hanging offense, why the hell wasn’t Stalin, who invaded Poland, Finland and the Baltics, sitting in the defendent’s chair? In fact, a Soviet judge was sitting in judgment of Tojo. Why was the Rape of Nanking punishable, but night-time fire bombings of Japanese cities not? Why was Henry Wirz, superintendent of Andersonville Prison, executed following the Civil War, while those who ran Elmira Prison weren’t? Before the conclusion of WWII, who were bound by those gentlemens’ agreements and who weren’t? Tojo was apparently bound by laws (both real and ex post facto) that Gen. Curtis LeMay wasn’t. You could rest assured that had Bobby Lee marched his ass up to Philadelphia and sacked the place, those gentlemens’ agreements would have been quite binding — capitally so — had the South still managed to lose. Feelings of justice — either victor’s or real — would have found themselves implemented, much as they were following WWII. In fact, we might have all benefited from the experience in the end — international criminal law might have been advanced a century. As it stood, the city burner in question was on the winning side, so things worked out a bit differently.

    Look, just to make this clear, I don’t “equate” Lincoln with Tojo or Mao. Obviously, the scale of Lincoln’s “crimes” were nowhere near what Mao’s or Tojo’s were. That being said, I think the question of whether Abe is a war criminal is still a valid one. From what I see being argued by his defenders, he fails to qualify as a war criminal because a) laws/standards that forbid the kind of behavior exhibited by Sherman’s army was non-existent at the time (which I don’t buy for the reasons stated above), or b) Sherman’s tactics were designed to “save lives” in the end, to which I would argue that they might very well have saved lives in the end, but it seems like a valid excuse only if you actually win. Moreover, it leaves open the possibility of rather ugly actions being taken to win wars without falling under the designation of war crimes. Had, let’s say, Chinese morale been broken following the Rape of Nanking and China quit fighting, that surely would have saved millions of lives. Would the Rape, then, be any less of a war crime? Had the evacuation of Atlanta resulted in a strengthening rather than weakening of Southern resolve (and/or prompted foreign intervention), would it have then qualified as a war crime rather than a brilliant move to end the war as quickly as possible?

    I don’t know. I’m just throwing ideas out here. Feel free to enlighten me.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    makhno, “I love these ?€?but all the destruction and killing actually saved lives?€™ arguments…for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the argument doesn?€™t hold and never has.”

    We’ll never know for certainty if the atomic bombs saved or killed more lives. We can’t go back in histroy and replay a different scenario.

    mahkno, “Japan was already defeated when the bombs were dropped.”

    This is not true. Japan was dug-in and well-armed for its home island defense. And based on casualty rates in other WW2 marine invasions (Italy, France), casualties on both sides in a Japanese invasion would have exceeded the death toll in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But then again, we’ll never know for sure. Truman had to act on the information available to him in 1945, not 2004.

    Mahnko, “In July, before Potsdam, the Japanese government sent several radio messages to its ambassador, Naotake Sato, in Moscow, asking him to request Soviet help in mediating a peace settlement.”

    The U.S. did not want a peace settlement. They wanted total surrender, something Japan was unwilling to do until the atomic bombs were dropped.

    manhko, “The vast majority of Koreans (peasants), who had been fucked over by the Yangban and Japanese, wanted land reform and to see collaborators punished. ?€œLand reform! That?€™s communist!?€?

    What are you talking about? The U.S. supported land reform and it was completed by the end of the Korean War.

    mahkno, “because the US would not support the South in attacking the North”

    The North’s military was superior. The South would have lost if they invaded the North.

    mahnko, “By 1950, after putting down peasant uprisings and guerrilla insurgencies (such as one on Jeju, which claimed 30,000 lives), executing thousands of suspected leftists”

    If these insurgents weren’t defeated, the ROK would have gone communist and South Koreans would be eating tree-bark chigae today.

    mahko, “Had the US not intervened…the war would have likely ended in 3 months, saving millions of lives”

    Had the U.S. not intervened, South Koreans would be living in a holocaust. Look at the North and South today for god’s sake.

    mahnko, “Comparing North and South Korean human rights violations since the war makes the North the ?€?winner’.”

    Kim Jong-il has starved two million people in the last decade. When was the last time someone starved to death in South Korea – thirty, forty years ago? In North Korea, families go to the gas chamber. North Korea is the worst human rights situation in the world.

    manhko, “I?€™ve gotten into arguments over who divided Korea before”

    The U.S. and USSR divided Korea.

  • http://silentrunning.tv Captain Scarlet

    that is the problem with agreements. if you choose not to honor them, you’d better win. because the victors hand out punishment and the victors pardon themselves. to the best of my knowledge, no one was brought to trail for the rape of nanking. no one important at any rate.

    the laws of war didn’t directly address civilians on the battlefield. the laws were intentionally vague in those regards to try and discourage governments from starting wars because their civilian populations would suffer. in other words, start a war and risk civilian death. because of the horrors of WWII, the new laws were established. i’ve been to several classes on the laws of war. at one time i had the army manuals up on my old site before i got in trouble with the man. you may be able to find them on the internet if you search for them.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    Marmot, “I don?€™t know. I?€™m just throwing ideas out here. Feel free to enlighten me.”

    The bottom line is this: The Confederacy had to be defeated, and they were. The Nazis had to be defeated, and they were. The Japanese had to be defeated, and they were. The Soviets had to be defeated and they were. Today, Islamoterrorists must be defeated and they will be – through humane methods, or more inhumane methods, remains to be seen.

  • http://timurileng.blogspot.com Zhang Fei

    Lincoln destroyed property, to starve the enemy of resources. That’s completely different from deliberately killing civilians. This is the kind of thing that happened:

    When he entered Atlanta, Sherman issued an order requiring all the people to leave within five days. Hood protested against this order, and the mayor and council of Atlanta appealed to Sherman to withdraw it, pointing out that most of the inhabitants were women and children, who would suffer greatly if compelled to leave their homes. To this Sherman replied, “I have read it [the petition] carefully, and give full credit to your statements of the distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of the case.” When all preparations for the southward march had been made and the people had been forced to depart, Sherman burned Atlanta to the ground.

  • http://- yen jun

    Paul Webb:

    I don’t think people are asking for apologies, just CLOSURE.

    This is very simple: it means that Japan just admit that World War 2 happened, instead of pretending that they are the victims of the atom bombs instead.

    But Japan won’t. All those things NEVER happened. Instead,yes, now it sells the idea that the sins of the father shouldn’t be visited unto the children.

    But if the children have not been taught about the sins of the past, the likelihood is that they can be repeated.

    Nice,normal, humanist nation? Yes, Japan has sold itself very well to Americans, with its gentle side – ikebana, tea ceremony, geisha, bonsai.

    But, Paul Webb, posts like Yaki whatever, indicate that the dark side is very much alive.

  • The Big Dragon

    The Marmot, you might be interested to know that a writer in Asia Times has contended that Lincoln was worse than Mao corroborating your view. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/FC31Ad02.html

    Paul Webb, you might be interested to know that the neo-liberal capitalism that you so advocate has resulted in more starvation than any one dictator in history. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/FD01Ad04.html The Irish potato famine is one example of how extreme capitalism resulted in the death of over 10% of the Irish population. Although potato crop failed back then because of a disease, English capitalistic landowners were still exporting all kinds of food out of Ireland because making money mattered more than the lives of the Irish. http://www.american.edu/ted/POTATO.HTM

  • madne0

    Big Dragon: I ripped this off wikipedia:
    “Economic historians have argued that not to continue the export could have plunged the entire Irish economy into economic meltdown; if estates went bankrupt, so would all the local towns that depended on them, throwing hundreds of thousands more into destitution. Without rates from estates, the Poor Law Unions wouldn’t have money to feed the destitute, while speculators were already buying up bankrupt estates and evicting all the tenants! (No tenants meant no rates to pay!) There were also not enough mills immediately available in Ireland had all the corn been kept to be used at home. Peel’s solution was simple: keep exporting to avoid economic collapse, while importing Indian maize to feed the starving. Unfortunately Russell failed to do the latter.”
    Besides, please give me an example of large scale famine in a capitalist democracy.
    Can’t find one can you? Not even during the world wars!
    Meanwhile in PEACETIME Russia and China…

  • http://timurileng.blogspot.com Zhang Fei

    yen jing: When Japan can finally admit its past, only then Hiroshima and Nagasaki be embraced as a true tragedy of world, along with Dachau, Nanjing, comfort women, Lab 731.

    But of course – the Chinese are always looking for another stick with which to beat America. Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t tragedies or even especially significant significant in the civilian casualty sweepstakes. Germany lost 2m civilians compared to Japan’s 600,000. Only 100,000 of Japan’s civilian dead came from the atom bombings. Now if the Chinese had gotten off their butts, and delivered a severe thrashing to the Japanese, they would never have thought of attacking Pearl Harbor and simultaneously pushing south. This pack of bums left the path to Southeast Asia open. They sure knew to kill defenseless “collaborators” after the war. But as to actually fighting armed Japanese, they spent a lot of time “preserving their strength”, while carrying out desultory raids that brought Japanese retaliation against the civilians they never bothered to protect.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    Big Dragon, “The Irish potato famine is one example of how extreme capitalism resulted in the death of over 10% of the Irish population.”

    The Irish should take personal responsibility for not knowing not to grow a single-crop. Fortunately, capitalism and freedom of speech enabled that technical problem to be fixed. The same thing happened in America when we let Rockefeller own all the oil. We fixed that through freedom of speech/democracy, followed by laws.

    madne0, “Besides, please give me an example of large scale famine in a capitalist democracy.”

    We know that capitalist democracy is the best system through the scientific process (test, observation, collecting and analyzing data), not because America says it’s so. The evidence is OVERWHELMING. Lenin should have tested Marx’s theories on a hippie commune before applying them to an entire country. This would have saved 100,000,000 lives.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    yen jun, “now it sells the idea that the sins of the father shouldn?€™t be visited unto the children.”

    The Japanese are exactly right, children shouldn’t be held accountable for their fathers’ sins. If my grandfather was a murderer/rapist, I shouldn’t have to personally pay any penalty or apologize for it. I was born without sin. However, if I’m a murderer/rapist, then I should be held accountable.

    yen jun, “But if the children have not been taught about the sins of the past, the likelihood is that they can be repeated.”

    Japan will never be a threat to South Korea again. They’ve converted to a secular capitalist liberal democracy, just like South Korea, and the evidence so far shows that two countries with this system have never gone to war with each other. In other words, a country with a McDonalds has never gone to war with another country with a McDonalds. The Pope says Jesus holds the key to the Kingdom, but I think it’s Mayor McCheese.

  • Tae Yi

    Look, everyone is forgetting that the civil war escalated just like WWI and that everything was going to over by Christmas, but it did not, and moreover you are forgetting the compassion and humility that Lincoln displayed afterwards during the Reconstruction. Also the atrocities occured near the end, at its darkest hour, not as a predetermined conferenced and practiced war strategy.

  • fishburn

    Paul Webb: “The Japanese are exactly right, children shouldn?€™t be held accountable for their fathers?€™ sins. If my grandfather was a murderer/rapist, I shouldn?€™t have to personally pay any penalty or apologize for it. I was born without sin. However, if I?€™m a murderer/rapist, then I should be held accountable.”

    So, by this logic, you shouldn’t be proud of all of America’s great accomplishments. After all, they were our forfathers’ accomplishments and not our own. We did none of those things ourselves. We shouldn’t feel any innate pride or shame at our past.

  • Paul Webb, USA

    fishburn, “So, by this logic, you shouldn?€™t be proud of all of America?€™s great accomplishments.”

    Actually, I was referring to penalty/accountability, not pride/shame. Those aren’t the same things. Do I feel proud about the Allied victory in Europe? Yeah, I guess. Do I feel shame about the Trail of Tears? Yes, I suppose. But I don’t think I should be personally praised or pentalized for those actions. Although I do think Jackson’s portrait should be removed from the $20 bill.

  • http://- yen jun

    Zhang Fei:
    “Desultory raids”: Air raids on Shanghai civiilian targets(1938?)? Nanjing?

    “Preserving their strength instead of fighting armed Japanese”: guerilla warfare by the despised Commies perhaps?

    Or maybe the knowledge that the enemy will simply exhaust itself, in a country so much larger than itself? Look at the Germans and the 900-day Siege of Leningrad. Who cracked in the end?

    Left the path to SEA open: LOL. Stuck in China. Roused the American Eagle at Pearl Harbour.
    How long coudl Japan have kept going without South East Asia’s natural resources?
    And, of course, with Japan’s much-admired code of samurai honour – kick your enemy in the teeth when he’s down – they hit at Malaya, Vietnam and Indonesia, while the imperialists were busy at home.

    Looking for a stick to beat America??: I thot it was the other way around, China-bashing is the activity du jour?

    Tho, of course, the commissars have gotten much better American press since 9/11, when they came out for the American side.

  • http://angrychineseblogger.blog-city.com ACB

    Somebody should get thier head out of the ground, Japan doesn’t uligie historic violence, Japan has a culture of ancestoral reverance, as you would know if any of you were Japanese, or had ever been to Japan. Not remembering war time leaders would be an act of cultural denial, it would be as bad as condoning what they did during the Pacific conflict.

    Japan has what is known as culture and tradition, unlike America, the past was brutal and the war was a crime against civilisation, but remembering past leaders is not the same as condining them, and celebrating them is not the same as celebrating what they did. Get this into your heads.

    US cavelry officers who are celebrated today rapped and murdered Indians, Mexicans and Spanish settlers and civil war officers murdered the families of British soldiers, America isn’t perfect either.

    The US fondly remembers presidents and military officers who committed genocide against the Indian nations, every time you celebrate presidents day or the birthdays of some of the other presidents you are doing exactly the same thing as millions of Japanese people do when remembering wartime leaders.

    You are remembering slave owners, Indian opressors and war criminals. You have no right to critisize Japan until you stop doing exactly the same thing in America.

    The only difference is that you have been honoring these people for a hundred years and Japan has been doing it for fifty.

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