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Old 07-16-05, 06:28 AM   #1
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Trinity -- 60 Years Ago Today

60 years ago, the test of a "Fat Man" bomb at the Trinity test site in New Mexico at 5:29:45 Mountain War Time launched the nuclear age. Less than one month later, World War II was over following the use of two weapons on Japan.

That probably saved my dad and his artillery unit from being transferred from the German front to the Pacific, so I'm fine with it.

Numerous pics at link
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4641861.stm
Quote:
The day the world lit up
By Kathryn Westcott
BBC News


The atomic bomb detonated in the New Mexico desert at 05:29:45 local time on 16 July, 1945, "lit up the entire world". That is how Private Daniel Yearout, one of the few remaining eyewitnesses some 60 years on, recalls the morning the powers of the atom were first unleashed.

One eyewitness said it was as if someone had turned the sun on with a switch. Picture: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Asked for his first thought after the test, top scientist J Robert Oppenheimer quoted from his favourite Hindu poem, The Bhagavad-Gita: "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

Oppenheimer and other world-leading scientists who had taken part in the top-secret test knew that from that moment on, the world had changed forever.

For others who were involved, such as Private Yearout, it would be some time before they fully realised what had taken place.

The world would not know the full secret until 6 August, when the Japanese town of Hiroshima was bombed.

Daniel Yearout, a 25-year-old army private with the US Corps of Engineers, was deployed close to what became known as "Ground Zero" on that morning in July.


The 19 kiloton plutonium bomb code-named "The Gadget" was detonated on top of a 100-foot steel tower, which vaporised during the explosion. Picture: Los Alamos National Laboratory



In 1945, Private Yearout was based at Los Alamos, the secret town that the US government had built during the war in the remote hills of New Mexico. It was here that a laboratory was established to design a nuclear weapon that the army hoped would win World War II.

Some 8,000 people lived and worked in the town - scientists and their families, engineers, technicians, secretaries and army personnel. They had more or less disappeared from the world and set up their own communities. While each played their part, few fully understood the magnitude of the work that went on there.

"The Los Alamos project was the best secret there's ever been," says Mr Yearout, who now lives in Waverly, Tennessee.



On Saturday 14 July, 1945, Private Yearout and other members of the US Corps of Engineers left their base to take part in a "top-secret mission".

"No one knew where we were going or what was going to happen," Mr Yearout told the BBC News Website.


The officers were given telephone numbers to call along the way to find out where to go to next.

The convoy travelled some 200 miles into the desert to a place called Alamorgordo, about 18 miles from "Ground Zero".


Daniel Yearout was based at the secret town of Los Alamos during the war. Click below to read his letter of thanks from the War Department written a day after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima



They had been stationed in case the small communities in the probable fallout path needed to be evacuated.

"We were called out the night before. One of the officers told us we were going to take part in some testing," says Mr Yearout. "He said that if everything went well, the war would be over in a few days. But, then he said that if it all went wrong, 'it was each damn man for himself'."

Early on Monday morning Private Yearout and a few of his colleagues climbed a hill. They had been told it would be the safest place to be.

The day of the actual test began with an early morning thunderstorm. "There was someone running a camera up on the hill. We lay there and talked to him for a bit. The test was supposed to take place at around 0400 but was delayed because of the weather."

Shortly before 0530, half an hour before sunrise, the scientists went to bunkers six miles from the test site and put on sunglasses and sunscreen. The test began and the sky was lit up by an unnatural ball of fire.

"I don't remember whether I was standing up or lying against the fence," says Mr Yearout.


The cloud travelled to a great height first in the form of a ball, then mushroomed, then changed into a long trailing chimney-shaped column. Picture: Los Alamos National Laboratory



"Suddenly, without any sound, the whole world lit up. When I came to my senses, I was lying on the ground with my back to where the light was coming from. I put my hands over my eyes to protect them and I could see the bones in my fingers. It was as if I was looking at an X-ray.

"I whisked around and looked towards the light. I could hear a rumble and the Earth shook. I saw a big fireball rising in the sky - it looked like it was pouring gasoline out there, all the way around. The fireball was getting bigger and bigger and we just stood and watched.

"This was followed by a long rumbling - I'd say it went on for 10 minutes. In and out and round the mountains. The fire began going down and then I saw a swirl of black smoke rising in the sky.

"I was scared at the time. I didn't know what was going on. I remember the man running the camera beside us hollering that it was the most beautiful picture he had ever taken in his life - he said it maybe 25 times. All he was interested in was the picture and all I was wondering was if we were going to get out of there or not."

Eventually the men went back down the hill to their tents and started a game of poker. Radiation readings stayed at what was then considered safe levels and no one needed to be evacuated.

"No one was allowed to talk about what we saw," says Mr Yearout. "Anyone who did was shipped out pretty quickly."


The test was code-named Trinity, supposedly after a poem by John Donne which begins: "Batter my heart, three-person'd God"
The flash released four times the heat of the interior of the sun and was seen 250 miles away. But, so secret was the mission - codenamed Trinity - that local media were told that an ammunition dump had blown up on an army base in the area.

In Potsdam outside Berlin, President Harry Truman waited for the coded message that the bomb had been successful.

Mr Yearout says Trinity paved the way for bringing an end to the war and saving many American and Japanese lives. "If we had gone into Japan, we would have encountered the worst fighting we ever had ever seen. We would have been there for four to six years."

But 60 years on, debate still rages over whether the bomb was really necessary to force the Japanese to surrender.

A number of the scientists involved in the project ended up feeling extremely ambivalent about the bomb's use, and some went on to campaign against nuclear arms.


For Mr Yearout, Trinity remains one of the 20th Century's most significant achievements.

"I was glad I'd seen it," he says. "But I hope I don't see another one."

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Old 07-16-05, 08:11 AM   #2
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That was a long read, but a fascinating one. I think in a way the bomb does save many more life than the casualties of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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Old 07-16-05, 08:32 AM   #3
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We visited the Trinity site last time they were open to the public, and it was an interesting experience. I was surprised by how many people were there, and also by the carnival atmosphere.

I thought of it as a rather solemn occasion, but evidently, not a lot of other people did.

I took some pictures: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/hanna_...rK7TDBdlv997sM

The soil at ground zero is still radioactive, and they tell you not to spend more than 20 minutes inside the fence, also, do not eat or drink while you are in there.

As you can see, not everyone took the warnings seriously.
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Old 07-16-05, 12:54 PM   #4
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This is an interesting one Mrs. Danger:

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Old 07-16-05, 12:56 PM   #5
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And thus the Toxic Avenger was born.
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Old 07-16-05, 01:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger
The soil at ground zero is still radioactive, and they tell you not to spend more than 20 minutes inside the fence, also, do not eat or drink while you are in there.

As you can see, not everyone took the warnings seriously.
You certainly don't want to take the soil home, but some other data makes the radiation exposure of a visit sound pretty minimal (less than an airplane flight).

http://www.rozylowicz.com/retirement...y-gallery.html
Quote:
Radiation at Trinity Site

In deciding whether to visit ground zero at Trinity Site, the following information may prove helpful.
Radiation levels in the fenced, ground zero area are low. On an average the levels are only 10 times greater than the region's natural background radiation. A one-hour visit to the inner fenced area will result in a whole body exposure of one-half to one milliroentgen (mrem).

To put this in perspective, a U.S. adult receives an average of 90 milliroentgens every year from natural and medical sources. For instance, the Department of Energy says we receive between 35 and 50 milliroentgens every year from the sun and from 20 to 35 milliroentgens every year from our food. Living in a brick house adds 50 milliroentgens of exposure every year compared to living in a frame house. Finally, [/b]flying coast to coast in a jet airliner gives an exposure of between three and five milliroentgens on each trip.[/b]

Although radiation levels are low, some feel any extra exposure should be avoided. The decision is yours. It should be noted that small children and pregnant women are potentially more at risk than the rest of the population and are generally considered groups who should only receive exposure in conjunction with medical diagnosis and treatment. Again, the choice is yours.

At ground zero, Trinitite, the green glassy substance found in the area, is still radioactive and must not be picked up.

Typical Radiation exposures
Per The National Council on Radiation Protection

One hour at ground zero, about 1/2 mrem
Cosmic rays from space, 40 mrem/yr at sea level
Radioactive minerals in rocks and soil, 55 mrems/yr
Radioactivity from air, water and food, range from 20 to 400 mrem/yr
About 22 mrem per chest X-ray
900 mrem for whole-mouth dental X-rays
Smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for one year, 40 mrem
Miscellaneous such as watch dials and smoke detectors, 2 mrem/yr

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Old 07-16-05, 01:29 PM   #7
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1945
12.5 kilotons drop on Hiroshima

today
one warhead on a Trident sub
W88 - 475 kilotons

That's 38 times the amount compare to 1945! Another reason the Chinese do not want a nuclear war with the US.

Last edited by Myster X; 07-16-05 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 07-16-05, 01:36 PM   #8
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I don't know what they have for ICBMs, but their "Run Noisy, Run Shallow" diesel subs are not going to successfully snorkel their way across the Pacific, to use cruise missiles. They would have a delivery problem
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Old 07-16-05, 01:43 PM   #9
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I also tend to think that the bombs saved lives, especially American lives. Without it, there would have been a ground invasion, and that would have killed a lot of soldiers.
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Old 07-16-05, 01:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDude
I don't know what they have for ICBMs, but their "Run Noisy, Run Shallow" diesel subs are not going to successfully snorkel their way across the Pacific, to use cruise missiles. They would have a delivery problem
I beleive their latest sub-based ICBMs have about a 6,000 mile range. So they don't have to be very close.
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Old 07-16-05, 01:55 PM   #11
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I always feel solemn at sites like this - same at war cemeteries like Pearl Harbor, or Holocaust sites, or 'beginnings and endings' like Trinity.

I'm amazed how others though, seem to think all of these sites are an excuse for a party. Pearl Harbor was the worst - the Pearl Harbor folks had to remind people 2-3 times that this was a CEMETERY site!!!
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Old 07-16-05, 01:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X
I beleive their latest sub-based ICBMs have about a 6,000 mile range. So they don't have to be very close.
They have land based ICBMs with that kind of range. They only have intermediate range sub-based. They are working on a new sub class and missile to go with it. Neither works yet. Much info here:
http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/china/
http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/nu...3nukenote.html

I'd rather have our arsenal by a long shot.
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Old 07-16-05, 02:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker
I always feel solemn at sites like this - same at war cemeteries like Pearl Harbor, or Holocaust sites, or 'beginnings and endings' like Trinity.

I'm amazed how others though, seem to think all of these sites are an excuse for a party. Pearl Harbor was the worst - the Pearl Harbor folks had to remind people 2-3 times that this was a CEMETERY site!!!

Absolutely agree. I was amazed (an incredibly irritated) at the number of Japanese tourists that were there alughing and having a grand time. Probably had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor, but it seems if I was at some memorial at Hiroshima or Nagasaki, I'd keep a pretty low profile, or at least be very respectful.
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Old 07-16-05, 02:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kvrdave
I also tend to think that the bombs saved lives, especially American lives. Without it, there would have been a ground invasion, and that would have killed a lot of soldiers.
and killed civilians too, as they likely would have tried fighting off our troops
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Old 07-16-05, 03:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kvrdave
I also tend to think that the bombs saved lives, especially American lives. Without it, there would have been a ground invasion, and that would have killed a lot of soldiers.
I don't agree, and no offense but I believe that the "dropping those bombs saved lives" argument comes from failure to come to terms with the horrendous consequences and is used as an excuse to make people feel good.

Winston Churchill:

"It would be a mistake to conclude that Japan's fate was sealed by the atomic bomb. It's defeat was evident well before the bombs were launched."

US Strategic Bombing Survey (1946):

"Japan would have capitulated, even if the bombs hadn't been launched, even if the Soviets didn't declare war on Japan, and even if no invasion had been planned or considered."

Admiral William D. Leahy (Chief of Staff):

Who declared after the fact: "It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons. In being the first to use it (the atomic bomb), we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages."

Some argued that, had the US agreed to that single demand the Japanese had for surrendering (keeping the Emperor in power, which ironically the US agreed to after the bombs were dropped...), the war could have ended as early as June 1945 and that both Japanese and Americans died for nothing. But Truman was convinced that he had to show the world (especially the Soviets) the power of the bomb. This wasn't a military decision, it was a political one.
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Old 07-16-05, 03:28 PM   #16
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Of course, until someone builds a comparative time track analysis machine, there is no way to know, one way or the other. People will each believe what fits with their world view.

(My world view is that, whoever first built the bomb would feel obliged to use it. We built it first. That's all.)
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Old 07-16-05, 03:30 PM   #17
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Hogwash. And there are plenty of military people who think so. I tend to believe that in a war we didn't start, if it only saved 1 American life, it was worth it.

But look at the Japanese soldiers who did not know the war ended, and how they fought. Look at the numbers of people that died in other military campaigns of the era, and it seems likely to me that I am correct.

I have come to full terms with the incredible destruction of dropping the bombs. It shows well the horror of war. It also shows that it would have been a good idea to surrender without condition. And for leaving the emperor in power afterwards, it was a much muted position. He was still subject to the military. It wasn't a fight we started, so coming to terms with it is easy.

And again, in war, even if the bombing only saved 1 American life (and I can't imagine anyone arguing differently), it was completely worth it.

And the idea that they were ready to surrender anyway seems thin when one considers that they didn't surrender after the first bomb was dropped....doesn't it.
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Old 07-16-05, 04:41 PM   #18
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I just found this. The second atomic bomb didn't make them surrender either. There was a 1000 plane raid Aug 13 dropping 6000 tons of bombs, and pamphlet bombing on the 14th warning of another nuclear attack. They really weren't seeing it was over.
(and it is worth reading down to the comments about Japan working on an A-bomb too. Wonder if they would have used theirs?
http://vikingphoenix.com/public/Japa...5/abombchr.htm
Quote:
August 9, 1945 -
* 0347, Bock's Car takes off from Tinian, the target of choice is Kokura Arsenal. Charles Sweeney is pilot. Soon after takeoff he discovers that the fuel system will not pump from the 600 gallon reserve tank.
* 1044, Bock's Car arrives at Kokura but finds it covered by haze, the aimpoint cannot be seen. Flak and fighters appear, forcing the plane to stop searching for it. Sweeney turns toward Nagasaki, the only secondary target in range.
* Upon arriving at Nagasaki, Bock's Car has enough fuel for only one pass over the city even with an emergency landing at Okinawa. Nagasaki is covered with clouds, but one gap allows a drop several miles from the intended aimpoint.
* 11:02 (Nagasaki time) Fat Man explodes at 1950 feet near the perimeter of the city, scoring a direct hit on the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works. Yield is 19-23 kt (best estimate 21 kt).
* Oppenheimer cable[s] Groves with the following shipping schedule: 11 Aug. first quality HE unit; 12 Aug. next plutonium core; 14 Aug. another first quality HE unit.

August 10, 1945 - Japanese civilian and military leaders are still unable to agree on accepting the Potsdam Decree's surrender terms. Emperor Hirohito instead breaks the tradition of imperial non-intervention in government and orders that surrender be accepted, provided that the Emperor be allowed to retain his position. [Note: Not every authority agrees with the widespread belief that Hirohito had no hand in Japan's conduct of the war. Far from it. One example is David Bergamini who found that Hirohito was behind all the major decisions in the war, but that his role was covered up, and that General MacArthur knew, but went along with the whitewash for pragmatic reasons.] For the first time, Hirohito spoke to Japan's people on this day, by radio.

* Nomura Sae, wife of Nomura Yoshitaro, head of the vast Nomura Zaibatsu, heard the Emperor's radio address and later spoke of her feelings then; "I was relieved. I was really afraid we were going to have to fight with bamboo spears." [Alletzhauser, page 110]

August 11, 1945 -
* Truman and Sec. of State Byrnes reply with an amended form of the Potsdam Decree that acknowledges the Emperor, but still refuses to guarantee his position.
* Groves reports that the second plutonium core would be ready for shipment on August 12 or 13, with a bombing possible on August 17 or 18.
* Truman orders a halt to further atomic bombing until further orders are issued.
* Groves decides to delay shipping the second Pu core and contacts Bacher just after he had signed receipt for shipping the core to Tinian. The core is retrieved from car before it leaves Los Alamos.
* Strategic Air Forces Carl Spaatz halts area fire bombing.

August 13, 1945 -
* Stimson recommends shipping the second plutonium core to Tinian.
* Truman orders area fire bombing resumed. Gen. Henry Arnold, U.S. Army Air Force, launches the largest raid on Japan of the war with over 1000 B-29s and other aircraft, carrying 6000 tons of bombs.

August 14, 1945 -
* Following leaflet bombing of Tokyo with surrender terms, Hirohito orders that an Imperial Edict accepting surrender be issued.


* 2:49 p.m. (1:49 a.m. Washington time), Japanese news agency announces surrender.
NOTE
Other than mentioning the 1941 speech by Tokutaro Hagiwara at the University of Kyoto [Hagiwara], Sublette's chronology does not show Japan's activity in nuclear weapons development. For that, it is necessary to turn to other sources. These sources include the sequence of dates for Japan's A-Bomb test in Korea mentioned by Robert Wilcox in his book [Wilcox], and the sequence laid out by Philip Henshall [Henshall] for the loading, voyage, and capture of U-234 with its cargo of two Japanese officers and canisters of uranium oxide, bound for Japan [also see Fort Worth Star-Telegram.] In June 1997, the San Diego Union-Tribune published an Associated Press Story by Richard Benke titled New evidence tracks Japan's efforts to create atomic bomb. This story adds details to the chronology and includes names of several Japanese scientists and specialists involved in Japan's atomic bomb program. A March 4, 2003 Associated Press story by Kenji Hall shows that ó Japan was enriching uranium for A-bombs in 1945 Rare documents show Japan's WWII A-bomb project.
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Old 07-16-05, 04:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kvrdave
And again, in war, even if the bombing only saved 1 American life (and I can't imagine anyone arguing differently), it was completely worth it.
Killing hundreds of thousands of civilians to save 1 American life sounds rational to you? That type of thinking is exactly why the world is in such a mess today. As long as people continue to believe that 1 American life (or insert any other so-called civilized nation here) is "worth" 100 Arab lives or 1,000 African lives, there is not much hope for humanity.

Quote:
And the idea that they were ready to surrender anyway seems thin when one considers that they didn't surrender after the first bomb was dropped....doesn't it.
Re-read the above quotes which certainly weren't from unknown or insignificant figures. The Japanese were looking for a way to surrender while retaining some dignity. They would have agreed to surrender IF the Emperor of Japan could remain in power. The US wanted unconditional surrender but agreed to let the Emperor remain in power AFTER dropping the bombs because they felt that the occupation would be more orderly that way. That doesn't sound fishy to you? Moreover, there is plenty of evidence to show that Truman at the time was obsessed with 2 things: demonstrating the power of the bomb to the Soviets, and showing the American public that the 2.6 billion dollars spent for developing the bomb had not been spent for nothing. Again, this was political decision, not a military one.
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Old 07-16-05, 04:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXcentris
Killing hundreds of thousands of civilians to save 1 American life sounds rational to you?
In a war we didn't start, yup! And that's the price of starting a war with us.

But there is evidence that contradicts yours too. In balance, who knows. We ended the war.
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Old 07-16-05, 04:58 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by OldDude
In a war we didn't start, yup! And that's the price of starting a war with us.
Sorry but I don't take immature schoolyard "But mommy, little Timmy started it!" arguments seriously Now go to your room.
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Old 07-16-05, 05:04 PM   #22
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Yeah, Japan will surrender when they slaughter 100000 more people in Nanking.
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Old 07-16-05, 05:08 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXcentris
Killing hundreds of thousands of civilians to save 1 American life sounds rational to you? That type of thinking is exactly why the world is in such a mess today. As long as people continue to believe that 1 American life (or insert any other so-called civilized nation here) is "worth" 100 Arab lives or 1,000 African lives, there is not much hope for humanity.
If you don't like the possible outcomes in a war, don't start one. We did not start this one.


Quote:
Re-read the above quotes which certainly weren't from unknown or insignificant figures. The Japanese were looking for a way to surrender while retaining some dignity. They would have agreed to surrender IF the Emperor of Japan could remain in power.
Fuck what they wanted. They lost. They had no reason to think we should give in to anything they wanted. They started the war, we won it. Winner are not dictated the conditions by the loser.

Quote:
The US wanted unconditional surrender but agreed to let the Emperor remain in power AFTER dropping the bombs because they felt that the occupation would be more orderly that way. That doesn't sound fishy to you?
Not when you consider that they wanted the Emperor to stay in the same power he held before the war. What we gave them was a figure head who answered to us.

Quote:
Moreover, there is plenty of evidence to show that Truman at the time was obsessed with 2 things: demonstrating the power of the bomb to the Soviets, and showing the American public that the 2.6 billion dollars spent for developing the bomb had not been spent for nothing. Again, this was political decision, not a military one.
Then why didn't they surrender unconditionally after the first bomb? Then why didn't they surrender undonditionally after the second bomb? Then why did they wait until after another bombing that also indicated that a third nuclear bomb was about to be dropped?

The Japanese were in no worse position that Al-Queda is today. Do you believe they are on the verge of surrender? Personally, I would nuke them first and find out second. It's a war.

And there is nothing wrong with a reason that is both military and political. To believe that this was soley poltical and had nothing to do with military reasoning is just silly.

One the war was declared by them on us, I have no problem using whatever is necessary to make sure that it is them that surrender unconditionally and not us. Had we not wanted Japan to befriend us afterwards rather than the Russians, you can be certain the emperor would have been the target of a nuke, and well he should have been.
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Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baronís cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. - C.S. Lewis
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Old 07-16-05, 05:10 PM   #24
kvrdave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXcentris
Sorry but I don't take immature schoolyard "But mommy, little Timmy started it!" arguments seriously Now go to your room.
Obviously. If you did, your reasoning would not hold up at all. To think that you can start a war, lose, then dictate the conditions of surrender when you are soundly beaten is just stupid.


But again, please tell me your reasoning that Japan did not surrender after 2 nukes dropped, and a huge campaign, but were on the verge of surrender.
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Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baronís cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. - C.S. Lewis
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Old 07-16-05, 05:35 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eXcentris
Killing hundreds of thousands of civilians to save 1 American life sounds rational to you? That type of thinking is exactly why the world is in such a mess today. As long as people continue to believe that 1 American life (or insert any other so-called civilized nation here) is "worth" 100 Arab lives or 1,000 African lives, there is not much hope for humanity.
Perhaps you could tell us the right number?
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