Saturday, August 20, 2005

If you could find it in your hearts to pray for my parents today (the eternal repose of the soul of my father and for the mental and spiritual health of my mother) it would be greatly appreciated. Today would have been their thirty-ninth wedding anniversary.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

More Feedback on the "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontificatons" Thread:

This is the second installment{1} of feedback from the August 17th Hiroshima thread posted by your blog host. Considering the depth of my friend's knowledge of WWII and its intricacies, this was a very pleasing email to receive. Like the feedback from Dr. Art Sippo earlier, will point out some information that I did not deal with in my original post.{2} Tim's words will be in slate coloured font:

That's a fantastic article. Thank you for pointing out that Hiroshima was a major military logistics and munitions center. The rekindling of this debate points out the real dangerous poison coming from the Zinn-like authors and their Cool Aid drinking followers[.] Going down this path of selective examination of our national history usually roots in Marxist philosophies veiled in objective research. The debates always have in common a very narrow focus that omits the major information. Our whole media industry is based on the strategy. Technically, your article is terrific.

The one thing that's difficult in playing with numbers is their non-transferability in real situations, the real outcome of a homeland invasion may have even been far worse.

Imagine this homeland invasion scenario...our casualties are higher than expected or the campaign is dragging out a couple of years. The Soviets sensing a weakness in our massive transfer of forces to the Pacific (which was in the works), saw an opportunity to quickly gobble up Europe including England. Don't put it past them! Don't forget that Stalin declared war on Japan upon hearing of the first nuke falling. Do you think Stalin wouldn't have done it because he believed in a man's word and a handshake - ha! This would have been his one shot at Western Europe.

As an aside, for Tim's views on the lack of actual tolerance and true diversity of views in institutions of so-called "higher education" (a subject that has some relevance to what he outlines in the above note), I remind you of the the most recent Rerum Novarum guest editorial where he holds court on that subject.

Notes:

{1} The first such response was posted yesterday. Tim dashed off some quick notes to me on that posting which I may include on this weblog in the coming days.

{2} Readers of this humble weblog (particularly longtime ones) know that brevity is the key weakness to my writing style; ergo in striving for economy of prose, some stuff will inexorably have to be left out at times.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Briefly on Cindy Sheehan:

I have up to now not commented on the Cindy Sheehan story for many reasons. The first is that it was evident to me that she was being used by the brainless solipsistic nitwits of the "bush-is-hitler" contingent. This is disgraceful since whatever differences one has with her views, she is obviously grieving over her son's death and is thus deserving of some space and understanding for that reason.

However, Christopher Hitchens has noted some things on this subject which are downright disturbing. It is not her patently ridiculous and illogical assertions per se which are the problem.{1} However, it is interesting that there is an obvious media double standard at work in her case for whatever reason. Hitchens summarizes the Sheehan subject in the following fashion:

Casey Sheehan joined up as a responsible adult volunteer. Are we so sure that he would have wanted to see his mother acquiring "a knack for P.R." and announcing that he was killed in a war for a Jewish cabal? (a claim that has brought David Duke flying to Ms. Sheehan's side.) This is just as objectionable, on logical as well as moral grounds, as the old pro-war argument that the dead "must not have died in vain." I distrust anyone who claims to speak for the fallen, and I distrust even more the hysterical noncombatants who exploit the grief of those who have to bury them.

I do not often agree with Mr. Hitchens but his assessment in the final paragraph summarizes well my outlook on this whole issue. The double standard I refer to is Ms. Sheehan raising the old "wars being fought for a Jewish cabal" rubric which is straight from the conspiracy theorist's handbook. Maybe I should have co-titled this posting "'Protocols of the UnLearned Elder Sheehan' Dept." Either way though, if a person identified as a conservative made these kinds of assertions, the media would have them for lunch...were they grieving for dead relatives or not. And that is the bottom line really my friends. (And a bottom line that is not even debatable I might add.)


Note:

{1} Grieving people can say some downright odd things. I am always hesitant to go into an analysis of their statements for this reason. Nonetheless, the statement I will note in this posting is merely to (i) again outline an obvious double standard and of course to (ii) note how shamelessly The Evil Party will use anyone they can to advance their agendas...even a grieving mother such as Ms. Sheehan. Those people obviously have no shame and are lower than animal dung in my book.

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Some Feedback on the "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontificatons" Thread:

This is one of the pieces of email feedback I received on the previous Hiroshima thread from a good friend of mine (Dr. Art Sippo) who reviewed the threads in detail and has the following things to say about it and the subject covered. For those who are curious as to the mentioning of names (something so rarely done here at Rerum Novarum) I want to make it clear from the outset that Art's name was published specifically at his request to do so. (And this in keeping with this writer's interpretation of the Welborn Protocol.){1} Art's words will be in slate coloured font.

It is well done, Shawn. I think though that the argument needs to be extended a little to other issues. The Japanese had been the aggressors in the Pacific war. Their attack on Pearl Harbor while their ambassador was making overtures of peace was seen as perfidy. Their further conduct during the war was seen in a similarly negative way: Kamikaze suicide attacks, the Rape of Nanking, the campaign in Korea, the Bataan Death March and other atrocities in the Philippines, the fierceness of Island warfare, the mobilization of Okinawa civilians -- including women and children -- to offered physical resistance to US troops, and the inhumane treatment of enemy soldiers and civilians in occupied lands. They even tried and executed American POWs in violation of the Geneva Convention for alleged war crimes. There was also the perception -- correct in every detail -- that if the tables were turned; the Japanese would not have hesitated to use the atomic bomb on us.

It was not known for certain at that time but suspected by American intelligence that the Japanese had used American and British POWs along with Chinese civilians for weapons experiments at secret facilities in China. BIOLOGICAL weapons experiments. This was confirmed after the war. Many POWs were placed near bombs that were exploded and where the shrapnel contained disease organisms. They were then allowed to die untreated of the diseases that resulted.

It was known to American intelligence (though kept secret from the American Public) that the Japanese had released long-range balloons into the Jet Stream carrying explosive payloads to be dropped on the American West Coast. Several of these balloons made it to the US and some did explode causing loss of civilian life and limb.

I know that these arguments may not appeal to the "Ivory Tower" moralist. But they make a cumulative case for considering the Japanese to be a ruthless and dangerous enemy who were not to be trusted and who had used up whatever goodwill America had ever had towards the Japanese people. Placing American troops at risk in attacking the homeland of such an enemy itself represented an unacceptable moral risk. If weapons of mass destruction could be used to destroy the Japanese infrastructure, the war machine would crumble and no more American lives would have needed to be risked in the attempt to subdue an unjust and morally unrestricted aggressor.

Art
Omnes semper - ad Jesum, per Mariam, cum Petro!

For the record, I see nothing inaccurate about the various facts that Dr. Sippo outlines in the above email. I will however remand that subject to my good friend Tim Tull{2} who also sent me a communique on that thread.{3} In the meantime, I have received more than one email from people questioning my appeal to double effect moral/ethical argumentation so I may have to clarify that point in the coming days as well.

Notes:

{1} Though that interpretation was recently reiterated for the benefit of the readers, it will be referenced again at this time:

Any correspondence will be presumed eligible for blogging unless the sender otherwise specifies. This is referred to as the Welborn Protocol and is a policy that will be followed at Rerum Novarum. (Though name and email information will as a rule not be posted without explicit request to do so by the sender.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 2, 2005)]

{2} Tim was author of the most recent Rerum Novarum Guest Editorial and his knowledge of WWII is as extensive (if not more so) than the war archives themselves. For that reason, I will accept any corrections of fact that he has either for my posting or Art's should he send any.

{3} Tim's email may be posted in the coming days.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

On Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontifications:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

[Prefatory Note: This thread was written in response to a private discussion where the work of a prominent Catholic commentator was brought to my attention. The fundamental issue here is one of the commentator in question making very facile arguments and presumptions on a subject with no small amount of complexities to it. And as they are a very influential person in Catholic circles, they have a responsibility for accuracy as well as not presenting their opinions as matters of doctrine or in a fashion that rules out opposing viewpoints.

Due to a desire to keep this focused on issues and not personalities, I will not directly quote the party in question. However, I will accurately represent their statements in a paraphrase format. As they have written similar stuff subsequent to the material I will interact with here, it bears noting that this was written only with their original commentary in mind -though it became apparent to me after it was written that I anticipated some of their subsequent comments and dealt with them in this thread as well. Nonetheless, the words of other contributors in the discussion will be in light blue and shale coloured fonts respectively. -ISM]

In any event, making a moral evaluation of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki viz. Catholic teaching is extremely murky. It's certainly not the slam dunk "unjustifiable from a Catholic perspective" that [certain prominent Catholic commentators] wants to portray it as.

Make a more involved argument, then. With all due respect, I don't think what you provided in that last letter even come[s] close to justifying it or overcoming the weight of the Catholic just war criteria. I think it is a slam dunk.

With all due respect XXXXX, I see this as about as much of a "slam dunk" in this situation as with George Tenet's view of WMD's being in Iraq.

One can never deliberately do evil in order to prevent further evil.

This is true. The question is, was the dropping of the bombs an evil act or simply a neutral act in and of itself during a time of war. During wartime, there are a lot of contingent factors that go into play that do not factor into the equation when there is a time of peace. The rest of this note will involve itself in sketching some of those factors out for consideration by the group. I may blog this later on with some minor adjustments (and refining if needed) but the assertions of this very prominent Catholic commentator (henceforth referred to as "The Commentator") need to be dealt with.

To start with, The Commentator's usage of "46,000 casualties" and the idea that this was a "worst-case scenario" are both blatantly erroneous. I will show you where the figure came from and why (when all contingent factors are taken into consideration) that figures approaching that level are not at all incongruent with probable situations whereas the numbers of The Commentator are. But first XXXXX's main principle needs to be touched on briefly so that is what will be done.

One must always use just means.

It is controvertible if once a war has been decided upon using just war criteria if every subsequent action requires the exact same kind of scrutiny. This after all goes into the subject of application of just war theory which everyone on this thread agrees can have varying applications and from which people of good will can disagree on. Having noted that briefly, let us consider the alternatives to the bombs being dropped to better consider some basic points of fact about the chosen targets themselves.

---Hiroshima was one of four proposed targets along with Nagasaki and two others (Kokura{1} and Niigata).

---Hiroshima was a military complex nerve center of sorts where carriers for the Japanese navy were built along with other munitions.

---Nagasaki was also a military center where they built aircraft and torpedoes.

---The estimates floated about American casualties for a land invasion of Japan were between 200,000 and a million. That does not concern the probable Japanese casualties which were with all probability have been about twice that if not more. If we figure that roughly one third of casualties are deaths, that would mean 65,000-330,000 American deaths and (roughly) an additional 195,000-650,000 American casualties.

If we consider twice that number representing other casualties, that would mean 135,000 to 1 million casualties for the Americans and close to 2 million casualties for the Japanese. The Commentator's "46,000" number amongst the American troops is so pathetically misused that it cannot go without comment because of their status and influence in the Catholic community in general is of no small magnitude. Let us therefore consider what The Commentator did not in their posting that "46,000" figure and how badly misrepresented it was of what would happen in a real life situation.

To start with, I remind you all that there were over 7,000 American battle deaths in Iwo Jima (21,000 Japanese deaths) and 12,000 American battle deaths at Okinawa (Japanese killed or captured was around 100,000: that excludes suicides by Japanese soldiers to avoid capture). The decision to use the bomb (and forego an invasion) was made after Okinawa because of the concern that invading Japan may well involve a whole slew of Okinawas. Prior to that point, several scenarios were run by the Joint War Plans Committee with battle deaths ranging from 21,000-46,000 with casualties of 105,000-170,000. This is where The Commentator probably got their 46,000 figure but they misapplied it as casualties instead of deaths. That is not the only misrepresentation on their part in their recent communique.

I remind you all that those figures were presented in June of 1945 and were based on running various scenarios as well as estimations of Japanese troop levels being at six combat divisions, two depot divisions, 350,000 men total (numbers first proposed in 1944), and other elements. Furthermore, they were offered as an "educated guess": hardly the definitive statement that The Commentator leads their readers to believe that they were.

Also of no small importance, The Commentator does not tell their readers that the figure they posited were death figures not mere casualty figures and were based on various scenarios as well as the aforementioned estimates of troop strengths. I will not explain why failure to do this on their part paints a very deceptive picture both of the actual military situation at the time as well as misrepresenting from a moral and ethical standpoint the use of the two bombs in August of 1945.

It bears noting first of all that the casualty numbers mentioned above were later deleted in subsequent drafts of the scenarios for many reasons. The main reason seems to be that in presenting the numbers to President Truman, it was decided that a better estimate would be to tally the deaths on both sides from the campaigns of Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, as well as account for the deaths from MacArthur's island-hopping campaign thus far. (The casualties for the campaigns will be noted further down on this thread.) Considered along with those figures would be the casualty rates of the only invasion similar in scope to what was being proposed with Japan and what happened there.

In other words, it would be important to take into consideration the Normandy invasion of Europe which was the only invasion in history to in any way approximate what we would be doing in landing on Japan. The Normandy invasion saw 42,000 casualties in the first thirty days from among the US forces. These additional considerations were viewed as more of a reasonable estimate of troop strength and probable deaths and casualties of Americans from an invasion of mainland Japan. And though they too would be woefully undervalued, before I get to pointing that out, there were additional factors taken into account too.{2}

To assist in the calculations, it was also asked of General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz to give estimates for casualties for the first thirty days and then for the first ninety days of the proposed campaign. MacArthur estimated nearly 51,000 casualties the first thirty days and Nimitz estimated 49,000 with the three month totals from both of them being close to what the Joint War Plans Committee estimated for ninety days out. These were estimates for an invasion at Kyushu and then moving onto Tokyo. However, these estimates were based on some faulty presumptions and that cannot be underscored enough.

For the estimates of MacArthur and Nimitz were estimates which (like the numbers The Commentator misquoted) were based on an assessment of six divisions and two depot divisions with a total military personnel of 350,000. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that those who first made these assessments did say as early as 1944 that an additional four divisions could be brought in. However, that was viewed as the limit due to geographical considerations. How wrong those who put together these figures were (figures from which The Commentator got their misquoted statistics) will now be disclosed by what happened after they set out that report to President Truman.

Within two weeks of the paper being presented, it was discovered that there were four additional divisions which the planners did not anticipate. Not only that but the planners did not know how those four divisions actually got to Kyushu or if they were already there and intelligence somehow missed them. Essentially, they had underestimated Japanese troop strength by at least 65,000 right off the bat!!! But it gets worse still.

For there was also an eleventh division being moved in from Honshu. So if we add to the mix 16,000 more troops, the level of manpower was underestimated by those who put out the report in June by at least 81,000 -and that does not count two more divisions which were discovered to be en route to Kyushu. Add them to the mix and we have thirteen divisions and 113,000 more Japanese troops than were accounted for in the June projections The Commentator cited as the so-called "worst case scenario"!!! If you think this is starting to look comparable to DS's repeatedly disingenuous misuse of Iraq civilian casualties statistics{3} you would be right except (unlike with DS) I have no reason to believe that The Commentator did this deliberately.

Now then, all this was happening and we were still two weeks or more before August 2nd. The latter date is significant because Truman did not want anything happening announcement-wise until after August 2nd.{4} It was also discovered in the intelligence a number of smaller mixed divisions which were not accounted for either. So rather than the 350,000 troop level which they estimated in the report that The Commentator cited, there were actually 534,000 troops excluding the twelfth and thirteenth divisions being moved in as well as the mixed divisions which they discovered. So add at least 40,000 to the number given above and troop strength at Kyushu would be at 574,000 or 224,000 higher than the original estimates.

If we count roughly 11,000 more army and air ground troops which were stationed at Ryukyus (the outskirts of Kyushu), that brings the total to 585,000 or roughly 40% more troop strength than the original figures estimated.{5} And with the original invasion date being set in early 1945 at November 1st, you can imagine I am sure that if the Japanese could practically double their troop strength at Kyushu in two months' time, what they would do with two additional months on top of that.

Furthermore, when you consider the additional special forces involved in the equation as well as the seven additional divisions, a doubling of the 46,000 deaths and 170,000 casualties figures (what The Commentator had in mind) would not cut the mustard since special forces have significantly better training than regular military personnel in all parameters. But even if we did assume parity with regular military personnel and assumed only a doubling of numbers, the totals would still be 92,000 dead and 340,000 casualties on the American side. And though that is still a serious underestimation for various reasons, let us use those underestimates as a base number. Furthermore, to round down, let us consider the Japanese ratio of deaths and casualties at roughly one third of casualties being deaths and using actual battlefield ratios from previous battles to get a conservative accurate assessment of what we could expect under different scenarios (all numbers rounded down):

---At Leyte, the casualty was 4.6:1 in favour of the Americans (17,000 vs. 78,000)

---At Luzon, the ratio was 5:1 in favour of the Americans (31,000 vs. 156,000)

---At Iwo Jima, it was 1.25:1 in favour of the Americans. (20,000 vs. 25,000)

---At Okinawa, it was 2.5:1 in favour of the Americans (46,000 vs. 119,000)

If we use the bare minimum ratio of 92,000 deaths and 340,000 casualties I mentioned earlier for the Americans, (which is a shade under 28% death rate among casualties: I am thus underestimating things here by an additional 5%), the death and overall casualty results from an invasion (amongst the Japanese) would have been akin to as follows:

---Leyte scenario applied to the proposed mainland invasion: over 414,000 deaths and 1,153,000 casualties

---Luzon scenario applied to the proposed mainland invasion: 460,000 deaths and 1,700,000 casualties

---Iwo Jima scenario applied to the proposed mainland invasion: 110,500 deaths and 408,000 casualties

---Okinawa scenario applied to the proposed mainland invasion: 184,000 deaths and 680,000 casualties.

Those ratios reflect only military deaths and casualties mind you not a combination of military and civilian.{6} We can throw out the Iwo Jima scenario right off the bat because basically that was an eight square mile island where the enemy was well entrenched and we had to go in and get them out in a fashion that made us sitting ducks. There is no way that the Japanese invasion would have the enemy that well concealed; ergo the close ratio would not happen.

I would say that a best case scenario would be approximately a 2:1 ratio favouring the Americans. Certainly President Truman was concerned that what happened at Okinawa --a 2.5:1 American advantage in casualties-- may well be replicated in a land invasion. So with that in mind, let us consider things from a 2:1 ratio for the sake of being more conservative with our numbers. If we do that, we would see at least 184,000 Japanese deaths and 680,000 total Japanese casualties. However, for reasons I will now go into, the figure would not possibly be this low since what I just noted is military personnel only and does not consider civilian deaths and other casualties so keep that in mind please.

If you consider that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined killed about 110,000 people (70,000 Hiroshima, 40,000 Nagasaki) and if we double those figures to represent people who died within five years of the bombings from radiation and other maladies, that would be roughly 220,000 people. However, for various reasons, there is no way that an invasion would have less deaths than what happened with the two bombs being dropped.{7}

If we compare the death and casualty figures from the atomic bombings to the projected deaths and casualties from an invasion in light of what I noted in this thread, you should see that the bombings saved approximately 430,000 Japanese lives (and about a million and a half additional Japanese casualties) along with 65,000 to 350,000 American lives (and roughly an additional 650,000 American casualties).

Frankly, I do not see this as the "slam dunk" some of you seem to think it is XXXXX. If anything, statistically, we did the right thing not only for our own safety and troop preservation but in the preservation of Japanese lives overall as well. Having noted those things, I want to touch briefly on additional parts of The Commentator's statement here.

The Commentator actually compares the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the fire bombings of Dresden and other German cities before claiming that they "cannot be squared with Catholic moral principles." This is quite a sweeping and dogmatic statement to say the least!!! And The Commentator claims this because (they assert) "the bombings deliberately targeted non-combatants." Expletives excape me to express with the appropriate colour this kind of "reasoning" so I will stick to the facts instead.

To start with, President Truman decided to use the bomb on specifically military targets and did not intend to target civilians. He even noted this in his diary on July 25, 1945. And while certainly there is no denial that there were civilian deaths and casualties in the bomb being dropped; nonetheless they were a derivative result of destroying the military target not the primary purpose of bombing the military targets themselves. This is the reason Truman did not drop the bombs on Tokyo or Kyoto (the new and old capitals of Japan) which were not military targets but instead were heavily civilian-populated cities.

To have dropped the atomic bombs on Tokyo and Kyoto at that point of the conflict would have been something indefensible in my view as those were not military targets.However, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets as a result of the voluminous output of military equipment and munitions that was done in those cities.{8} To neutralize or destroy a military target during wartime{9} with the intention of sparing the lives of your own military personnel can be considered if not a morally good act than at the very least a morally indifferent one in and of itself. (I would argue for it as a morally indifferent one.) From there I think my position in light of everything else noted in this thread is evident. And this raises another important subject to consider.

I have been critical of The Commentator's organization for a long time because of a pattern they have in approaching some of the more complex subjects in an overly simplistic fashion.{10} This is one of those issues and is not one that merely deals with how to approach certain subjects from an evangelical and apologetical standpoint. Instead, this is an issue that involves complex moral and ethical principles such as that of double-effect.{11} And if The Commentator cannot recognize the principle of double effect in moral and ethical subjects being so evidently in play here when you consider all of the prevalent factors, then that does not speak well of a person with their intelligence and abilities. They are not only a very intelligent person but they are in a position of prominence amongst Catholics influence-wise and have been for many years. Therefore, they have a greater responsibility for accuracy on these matters than any of us do --though we should all strive for as great an accuracy ourselves as possible of course.

Now lest what I noted above be misunderstood, I am certainly not saying that The Commentator does not have a right to view the atomic bombs being dropped as a wrong policy to follow. They certainly have that right even if (as I have demonstrated by showing the wider context of the numbers they cite as justification for their position) this kind of argumentation fails to sustain itself in the manner which they framed it. However, that does not mean that one could not posit the argument in a better fashion than they did. Either way though, there was no "slam dunk" on this issue however the mustard is cut. Hopefully what I noted here will be of assistance in helping this be realized by those reading this thread.

The Commentator has also claimed that essentially we are not exonerated from the moral law because of the evil done by our enemies. Of course I did not claim that it did. Nor was the use of the bombs in and of themselves involve a violation of the moral law for reasons I have already discussed. Again, The Commentator is being way too simplistic in their portrayals.

From there, The Commentator argues that the evils of our enemies did not give us justification for evils of our own -noting at that point that "being a Christian" is difficult in peacetime and even more difficult (and necessary) during wartime. I find this kind of assertion problematical because of the presumptions that The Commentator makes in asserting it.

Essentially (according to The Commentator) it would appear that to disagree with them on this matter is to not approach the matter in question as a Christian. That would seem to be their inference. Hopefully they can clarify this point later on to remove any controversion on this matter in light of what I am noting in this very thread.

I am left wondering if in The Commentator's eyes it would have been less evil to deliberately choose the path of greater carnage (as would have been the case with an invasion of mainland Japan) or that of lessor carnage??? As I have explained in this thread, the path chosen was the path of least overall death and destruction. In wartime, there will always be death and destruction. The question is, did the Truman Administration choose the path of least overall death or not??? I would argue (and have) that they did.

I can understand "unintended consequences" and so forth, but when you are deliberately dropping a bomb like these were, you know what is gonna happen, and many thousands of women and children who had nothing directly to do with the Japanese war effort were slaughtered. This is immoral and unjustifiable. Period. I think it is even in natural law, before you even get to Catholic moral theology, developed over 20 centuries.

Again, there is the principle of double effect here XXXXX. It may appear difficult under the context of the subjects in question to do so but the moral-ethical principle of double effect is a foundational one in Catholic moral and ethical considerations.{12} For that reason, we would do well to take it into the matrix of factors we use when evaluating this or any other morally and ethically complex issue. For when we get to the bottom line, simplistic caricatures do not do anyone proper justice -of that I am sure we can all agree. Hopefully what has been provided in this thread can give you and others some valuable food for thought on these issues.

[Update: One of the emails in response to this thread was posted HERE. -ISM 8/18/05 12:00pm]

Notes:

{1} Kokura was the first choice but the Secretary of War vetoed the idea. President Truman chose Hiroshima instead.

{2} As far as the "island-hopping" campaign of General MacArthur, from March 1944-May 1945, almost 14,000 US troops had been killed vs. over 310,000 Japanese troops: a ratio of 22:1!!! However, it would be the heighth of delusional fantasy to imagine that a similar scenario would take place with an invasion of the Japanese mainland: for reasons outlined in the rest of this thread.

{3} A subject that is interesting in its own right but would be best dealt with (if at all) at another time.

{4} President Truman was returning from the Potsdam Conference by ship on that date: a few days earlier, he set that as the earliest date for possibly using the bomb. The intelligence reports from August 2, 1945 were also significant in the decision to use the bombs along with additional factors too numerous to go over in this thread.

{5} Post war figures pointed to 14 divisions. Essentially, at the time that the US intelligence had estimated Japanese troop strength at 600,000 it was actually at 900,000: a 50% underestimation this time. And people complain about the Bush Administration's intelligence blunders as if such blunders are somehow a new thing...

{6} There were 10,000 military aircraft targeted for Kamikaze missions against the US military along with roughly a quarter million or more soldiers in Hiroshima alone. Also, Hiroshima was not on Kyushu but instead was on Chukoyu one island up. So after an invasion at Kyushu, there would be fighting there and also with a quarter million more troops in Hiroshima which could either have remained there or moved east to Shikoku. Either way, there would have been no avoiding them since (unlike Europe) a blitzkreig tank attack strategy would not work and without such a lightening fast approach, the Japanese troops at Hiroshima would have been able to engage the enemy and also have knowledge of the terrain to their advantage too. But that is not all.

Since moving to Shikoku would have involved two island jumps instead of one as in going to Hiroshima (see this map for a visual guide), it is most probable that they would have gone through Hiroshima where the quarter million additional military troops were already stationed. Furthermore, there was approximately three million civilians who were instructed in taking a "last stand" against the possible invaders. This was not accounted for in the original numbers cited by The Commentator: the idea that the civilians would place themselves in the position of being considered military personnel by trying to kill invading American troops. Stop to consider that for a moment.

Imagine if you will a child with sharp objects (or civilian men and women) trying to use said objects as weapons on invading soldiers. And from there, I am sure you can imagine that such a tactic would not go on too long before the soldiers had to start shooting civilians simply to insure their own safety. After all, you cannot have people stabbing you in the back with sharp objects when you are at battle and at that point, civilians blur the lines between civilian and military personnel. And at that point, the "self-defense" approach would kick in and I guarantee you the deaths and casualties would probably double over any projections from a purely military standpoint.

Remember, with a quarter million troops in Hiroshima being engaged after the massive troop levels at Kyushu -and presuming we actually pushed north from there of course- and three million civilians instructed as noted above- the American forces would be outnumbered significantly. Hence, when I say 650,000 deaths (and one and a half million additional casualties if not more) amongst the Japanese populace, consider everything I noted in this note and you will recognize I am sure that these are not inaccurate estimates.

{7} See footnote six.

{8} I already noted that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military centers of wartime Japan where carriers, aircrafts, torpedoes, and other munitions were built; ergo they can be properly considered military targets.

{9} See footnote eight.

{10} [A few of the readers] probably remember me doing this as far back as 1999 and 2000 in other media forums.

{11} On the Double Effect Principle in Ethical Argumentation (circa December 30, 2004)

{12} See footnote eleven.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

On the Subject of Beer Revisited:

The esteemed Christopher Blosser has apparently been digging in the archives of this humble weblog as of late. I say this because in a recent here and there posting from August 3, 2005{1}, he quotes a passage from a November 3, 2002 entry to Rerum Novarum.{2} I am back in weight loss mode right now so any beer consumption on my part is about as scarce as a sound and balanced argument from...well...I hesitate to mention names or those of a certain kind of weltanschauung here. Nonetheless, that thread struck a chord with someone thirty-four months after it was written: the value of having an archives and not deleting stuff from it again manifests itself in essence.

With that in mind, and with it approaching (i) what would have been my parents wedding anniversary in less than a week and (ii) the third anniversary of this weblog's founding, let us revisit some of the aforementioned posting. I should mention that the Michael Jackson in the thread below is the beer reviewer, not the one who likes the company of children.

Also worth revisiting in light of this subject is a more recent (May of 2005) tidbit on the new Pope and beer. I really need to discuss this stuff more frequently at Rerum Novarum my friends...hopefully others like Christopher Blosser and Pete Vere will assist me in making discussions such as this more frequent. But I digress.

Notes:

{1} From which I got a couple of the threads posted in the recent Miscellaneous Threads installment.

{2} [M]y knowledge of Michael Jackson goes back many years - back to the days when I had a pair of parachute pants. (Okay, not *that* far back but at least a good ten years.) Back when I started formulating my hard and fast rule that no beer made in America or Japan was worth drinking[...] I became familiar with the man whose job I am not the only one to wish I had. Who would not want to travel the world, sample beers, write reviews of them, and get paid all at once??? But I digress...

I remember years ago buying various beers from one of his books and sampling them to compare to his reviews. Michael Jackson (note: this is *not* the "unaglove" fella) tends to give higher ratings to a beer the stouter it is. That is his general protocol as far as I can tell and while I do not agree with some of his ratings for this reason, I still link to his reviews because if nothing else he promotes one of those pleasures in life that does not often get talked about on Catholic weblogs or websites. (I am not "pro-stout" or "anti-stout" and my preference for a beer does not depend on that criteria.)

I mean, is there a theological argument for beer??? There is for wine of course (see the Lord's use of wine throughout the Gospels and Paul's exhortation in i Tim v,23-25). Wine has the support of Holy Writ whereas beer applies as a logical extension if you will...

[...] I have since modified my stance and some American microbrew beers make it into my "domestic exemptions" list...

My preferences are still overwhelmingly for imports though. Another good standard is the bad water standard which simply states that "the worse the water the better the beer" (translation: "if the country has awful water then they are virtually certain to have excellent beer"). And this principle applies to Mexico and India among every dirt poor nation on earth who has beer I have sampled. But of course that rule is not as rigid as the "no beer from America" rule which - like all hard and fast rules - has its exceptions. (Beer brewing is one area that America could learn from Canada on IMHO.) [Excerpts from Rerum Novarum (circa November 3, 2002)]

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Miscellaneous Threads for Reviewing:
(On Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II)

With World Youth Day 2005 now underway--and Pope Benedict XVI due to arrive in two days to the event-- it seems fitting to Us at the present time to post some threads on the current pope and his predecessor. With that in mind, let Us get to it...

World Youth Day: Benedict XVI on the Road; WYD’s Importance; Ecumenical and Interfaith Opportunities: Protestant; Jewish; Muslim (John L. Allen, Jr.)

Readers of this humble weblog are aware that your host has both a dislike for National Catholic Reporter and an appreciation for NCR's Rome correspondent John Allen.{1} And while We are usually content to let others point out the columns of John Allen; at the same time, WYD is a rather extraordinary situation. For that reason, We do so in the above column and also invite readers who are interested in the subjects of ecumenism and interfaith as well as the Catholic-Lutheran relations to read the parts subsequent to the WYD sections of the column.

Your host has predicted in private conversations since publicly predicting Cardinal Ratzinger's election as pope{2} that there will be breakthroughs in Catholic-Lutheran relations as well as a breakthrough in Catholic Jewish relations in his pontificate.{3} Anyway, those predictions have been enunciated and inculcated in private for quite a while now and it seems appropriate to make them matters of public record at the present time. Moving on, we come to an article on the liturgy courtesy of AD2000:

Benedict XVI and Liturgical Reform (Dom Alcuin Reid OSB)

The Benedictine monks of Farnborough in the UK have been instrumental in the modern liturgical renewal movement since its nineteenth century inception. Readers of Our essays are aware that We have made numerous references to the writings of Dom Fernand Cabrol -a Benedictine liturgical scholar of the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries who was also from Farnborough. Dom Alcuin Reid's article carries on in that tradition and is worth a read for those who are interested in liturgical matters -particularly since Pope Benedict XVI has given every indication that the right renewal of the liturgy will be a primary focus in his pontificate.

He Was My Pope, Too: A Lutheran's Appreciation of John Paul II (Uwe Siemon-Netto)

The above is an interesting eulogy of sorts for the late Pope John Paul II from a Lutheran theologian. It is Our hope that he finds Pope Benedict XVI to at least be a pope for him in like manner as his predecessor.

Notes:

{1} We at Rerum Novarum (for the record, if readers have not figured this out by now) are no fans of the National Catholic Reporter. We do though have a certain affinity for John Allen and feel that he is a knowledgable and reliable Vatican correspondent. (Even though there are some obvious differences of opinion between him and Us.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 28, 2005)]

{2} We had privately made the prediction as far back as April 3, 2005. Indeed the text posted on April 14, 2005 was little more than a slight reworking of an email We circulated to some friends in private on the matter on April 4, 2005. The Ruini addendum material in that post was added on April 5, 2005 as a kind of "hedge" to the original prediction -mainly because Ruini was Italian. (Any predictor of popes should always have a "defacto Italian pick" if they are going with a non-Italian.)

{3} Paralleling the aforesaid predictions, We have also predicted that Catholic-Anglican relations will worsen in this pontificate along with (possibly) Catholic-Islamic relations.

We believe that making Cardinal Camillo Ruini Secretary of State would annul the latter prediction btw. For those unfamiliar with him, We repost at this time the following threads from Sandro Magister's archives (originally posted to this humble weblog back in mid April of 2005):

Exclusive Interview with Cardinal Camillo Ruini: "My Battle for Man"

The Religious Geopolitics of Cardinal Ruini

The Pope and His Two Consuls

The first two are of particular interest in this situation -the second on Cardinal Ruini's approach to religious geopolitics in light of the worldwide situation with Islam is particularly of interest in Our opinion.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio discusses the Assumption (or Dormition) of the Blessed Virgin Mary HERE. I say "or Dormition" because I happen to hold to the view of my eastern maternal ancestors on this one and believe that Mary died before she was assumed into heaven. Dr. D'Ambrosio does not touch on that matter in the above thread but I note it here briefly nonetheless since it is an area of theological freedom for Catholics to speculate on.

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