WATCH: The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange A new documentary by Juan Passarelli can be seen here on Consortium News, followed by a panel discussion with Passarelli, director Ken Loach and filmmaker Suzie Gilbert. Source: Consortium News Journalists are under attack globally for doing their jobs. Julian Assange is facing a 175 year […]Saturday Matinee: The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange — Desultory Heroics
Five part documentary on the state within a state in the United States – what those who comprise it think of the citizens of that nation and how they behave towards them and what they think of and how they behave towards others around the world. A study of megalomania, lies and mass deception, greed and absolute brutality – for that reason, highly recommended.
For me, the worst instances of the behaviour of this state within a state discussed in this series (particularly because of their implications) are the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (at the beginning of Part 4, which is appropriately named ‘Necrophilous’. The part begins with an excellent quotation.).
The exposure of the justification given for those bombings is consistent with what I already knew and have posted about (‘War Crime or War Winner? The Truth about the Bomb’ – an article written by Murray Sayle).
Oppenheimer’s megalomaniacal false modesty (quietly spoken, sage-like, eyes downcast – knowing not to look at the camera, to prevent his eyes being read) as he links the destructive power of the bomb to Indian religion is truly repulsive.
The coup in Australia on 11.11.75 is discussed from thirty minutes into Part 1.
From Murray Sayle, ‘War crime or war winner? The Truth about the Bomb,’ The Sydney Morning Herald, 15.07.95
…the head of the Manhattan Project, Major-General Leslie Groves, a determined military man feeling responsible for spending $2 billion on the bomb and worried that the war might end first, at that point was pushing strenuously for its immediate use. When Leo Szilard, who had drafted Albert Einstein’s letter to President Roosevelt warning of a German bomb six years earlier, drew up a scientists’ petition opposing the use of the atom bomb against Japanese cities, Groves had the petition classified top secret, thus restricting its impact to a tiny circle…Szilard’s petition got as far as Groves’s office, where it stayed. …
What did the first atom bombs achieve? Well, it will be instantly answered, they ended the war, didn’t they, and so saved many lives – the estimates vary from 50,000 to several million – both American and Japanese, and considering that there was still fighting going on in Borneo and elsewhere, and ill-treated prisoners of war were still dying, probably many Australian lives as well. Anyone around at the time will remember the striking evidence for this conclusion. With the Japanese still full of fight, the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, another on Nagasaki on August 9, and the very next day the Japanese Government announced that it would accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration – that is, unconditional surrender, subject to some guarantee for the future of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito.
At the time (as I remember well myself) this looked like obvious, iron-clad evidence that the bombs had ended the war, thus greatly simplifying the moral question about their use. Unfortunately, 50 years on this is still the only evidence that the bombs did in fact end the war and thus save all those valuable lives. And there is much better evidence, long obscured by the Cold War, that points to quite a different conclusion.
Well, if the atom bombs did not end the war, what did? It has long been known that by mid-1945 Japan was in much worse shape, both economically and militarily, than was generally realised at the time. American submarines had sunk almost the whole Japanese merchant fleet, cutting off food, raw materials, oil and reinforcements for the home islands; American B-29 fire raids had destroyed 40 per cent of Japanese housing, most of its industry, and had burnt out 68 major cities even before Hiroshima and Nagasaki were atom-bombed. As early as June 1946, the economists of the US Strategic Bombing Survey, after visiting the ruined Japanese cities and interviewing most of the surviving Japanese leaders, gave their opinion that:
“Certainly prior to December 31, 1945, and in all probability prior to November 1, 1945 (the planned date of the American invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost home island), Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”
However, Russia had indeed entered the war – at dawn on August 8, 1945, with 1.6 million men, fighter-bombers, parachute troops and a huge tank army – and although this was little-reported at the time compared with the enormous official publicity lavished on the atom bombs, modern scholarship increasingly sees the Soviet invasion of Manchuria as the real, immediate cause of Japan’s surrender. My own research, conducted over the 20 years I have been in Japan, fully endorses this conclusion.
It came about like this. While publicly declaring that Japan would fight to the end and “killing with silence” (an Oriental way of saying “no comment”) the Allies’ demand for unconditional surrender issued at Potsdam on July 26, 1945, Japan was secretly trying to arrange a negotiated peace, with the Soviet Union, still officially neutral, to act as mediator. This may seem an absurd idea until we recall that the US had mediated the end of the war between Russia and Japan in 1905. These half-hearted “secret” approaches (all the Soviets were asked to do was to receive Prince Fumimaro Konoe, a former prime minister and distant relative of Hirohito) were, however, no secret from the American leaders, who were reading the Japanese diplomatic messages passing between Tokyo and Moscow – the so-called MAGIC intercepts. Only declassified in full as recently as last year, the MAGIC summaries gave tantalising hints that there was a a pro-peace party in Tokyo, centred on the Foreign Ministry, to which Emperor Hirohito apparently belonged, but no indication of whether the peace party was strong enough to overcome the Army leaders who wanted to fight a “decisive battle for the Homeland” (after the expected American invasion) and then, having won it, to negotiate a peace that would guarantee, as a minimum, the continuation of the monarchy with Hirohito as monarch – something less than unconditional surrender.
Matters came to a head in Tokyo on the night of August 8, two days after the atom-bombing of Hiroshima. With all communications with the ruined city knocked out, very little information reached Tokyo, 1,000 km away, about what had happened. What there was came via the Japanese Army which downplayed the damage and insisted (correctly) that no military installations affecting Japan’s ability to continue the war had been damaged. Nevertheless, Hirohito, via his confidential adviser Lord Privy Seal Marquis Kido, summoned a meeting of the Supreme War Council, known as the “Big Six”, for 10am the following morning, August 9, to meet in the air-raid shelter under his burnt-out palace.
We will never know what they might have decided about Hiroshima because overnight news came through that the Soviets had invaded Japanese-occupied Manchuria, scattering the poorly equipped Japanese armies there. This meant that virtually the entire world was now fighting Japan but, more immediately, the plan to ask the Soviets to mediate peace negotiations with the Allies was now in ruins and there was now a real threat that Japan itself might be partitioned and partly communised, as had just happened to Germany.
News of the atom-bombing of Nagasaki came through while the meeting was in progress but had no effect on the deliberations. The “Big Six” were still unable to agree and the same thing happened when the full Cabinet met that afternoon. Finally, late that night, the still-divided Cabinet agreed to ask Hirohito, who had not said a word, what he thought. Asked for his opinion (against all Japanese constitutional practice), Hirohito said the time had come to “endure the unendurable” and accept the Potsdam terms. After a last appeal to continue the fight from the War Minister, General Korechika Anami (“We can still achieve something and get better terms than these,” he claimed), the Emperor helped draft the surrender declaration. It was Anami who, in Hirohito’s name, issued the orders to Japanese units in the field to lay down their arms. His duty to his Emperor done, as he saw it, Anami killed himself.
What part did the atom bomb play in all this? According to the Strategic Bombing Survey, “the atom bombs did not change a single vote on the Supreme War Council, although they did add to the general gloom”. The problem here is that Japan’s surrender was, as historians say, “over-determined”; there was quite enough gloom in Japan already, without the need to add more. The view that the Japanese military was intimidated by either the atom bombs or Truman’s threat of more and more powerful ones (a piece of bluff) into seeking peace is simply an exercise in ill-informed guesswork.
If World War II taught us one lesson, it is that military leaders safe in bunkers can accept enormous civilian casualties without flinching, and no-one asks the bombed civilians whether they are in favour of peace or not (but, even in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the survivors were ready to fight on). What really ended the war was a threat to something the Japanese leaders saw as more important than the deaths of mere civilians (more than half a million had already died in the fire raids) – the political destruction of the Japanese nation itself. A quick surrender before the Soviets arrived seemed the best way out, and history, and the Cold War, have proved that they guessed correctly.
What can be said for atom bombs on their one use in real war? Against an already beaten opponent, who was universally detested, facing starvation, without any allies or means of reprisal – and whose flimsy cities were made of inflammable wood, paper and straw – they might have added something to the imminent and inevitable outcome, but at the cost of resentment and guilt feelings which still fester today half a century on. These preconditions occur very seldom in the real world, not surprisingly, so no-one has found another situation in which the use of nuclear weapons seemed to outweigh their enormous downside of universal revulsion, plus the risk of uncontrolled escalation.
Against a non-nuclear opponent, their use discredits any cause they are supposed to be upholding, particularly if the cause is the democratic one of personal justice and individual, rather than group, racial or national responsibility. Against a nuclear opponent, they promise universal, mutually assured destruction, known by the appropriate acronym MAD. Atom bombs are not, in short, practicable weapons of war, except for the purposes of terror, or terrorists, their likeliest next users. Robert Oppenheimer once said that unless nuclear weapons were controlled, or better still eliminated, men would one day curse the name of Los Alamos. All too probably, he may yet be proved right.
For a thorough and excellent discussion of this subject, see Desultory Heroics:
Every American should watch Abby Martin’s New Afghanistan War Documentary “Afghanistan War Exposed: An Imperial Conspiracy.” It is a tour de force, a must watch for every American seeking a holistic understanding of American’s longest-running war. By MintPress News Desk. The perpetual occupation of Afghanistan has become so normalized that it mostly […]
‘Philosophy in general has God as its object and indeed as its only proper object. Philosophy is no worldly wisdom, as it used to be called; it was called that in contrast with faith. It is not in fact a wisdom of the world but instead a cognitive knowledge of the non-worldly; it is not cognition of external existence, of empirical determinate being and life, or of the formal universe, but rather cognition of all that is eternal – of what God is and of what God’s nature is as it manifests and develops itself.’
‘Besides, in philosophy of religion we have as our object God himself, absolute reason. Since we know God who is absolute reason, and investigate this reason, we cognise it, we behave cognitively.’
G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion Vol. I, Ed., Peter C. Hodgson, Trans., R.F.Brown, P.C.Hodgson, J.M.Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, 116-7, 170
‘(The Oriental spirit) remains impoverished, arid, and just a matter for the understanding. For this reason we find, on the part of Orientals, only reflections, only arid understanding, a completely external enumeration of elements, something utterly deplorable, empty, pedantic, and devoid of spirit, an elaboration of logic similar to the old Wolffian logic. It is the same with Oriental ceremonies.
This is the general character of Oriental religious representations and philosophy. There is, as in their cultus, on the one hand an immersion in devotion, in substance, and so the pedantic detail of the cultus – a vast array of the most tasteless ceremonies and religious activities – and on the other hand, the sublimity and boundlessness in which everything perishes.
There are two Oriental peoples whom I wish to mention, the Chinese and the Indians.’
G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6 Volume I: Introduction and Oriental Philosophy, Together With the Introductions from the Other Series of These Lectures, Trans. Robert F. Brown and J.M. Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2009, 106
‘Now, because it has only phenomenal knowledge for its object, this exposition seems not to be Science, free and self-moving in its own peculiar shape; yet from this standpoint it can be regarded as the path of the natural consciousness which presses forward to true knowledge; or as the way of the Soul which journeys through the series of its own configurations as though they were the stations appointed for it by its own nature, so that it may purify itself for the life of the Spirit, and achieve finally, through a completed experience of itself, the awareness of what it really is in itself.’
G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Trans., A.V.Miller, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977, 49
The masses are the victims of the deception of a priesthood which, in its envious conceit, holds itself to be the sole possessor of insight and pursues its other selfish ends as well. At the same time it conspires with despotism which…stands above the bad insight of the multitude and the bad intentions of the priests, and yet unites both within itself. From the stupidity and confusion of the people brought about by the trickery of priestcraft, despotism, which despises both, draws for itself the advantage of undisturbed domination and the fulfilment of its desires and caprices, but is itself at the same time this same dullness of insight, the same superstition and error.
G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Trans., A.V.Miller, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977, 330
‘the Old World exhibits the perfect diremption into three parts, one of which, Africa, the compact metal, the lunar principle, is rigid through heat, a land where man’s inner life is dull and torpid – the inarticulate spirit which has not awakened into consciousness; the second part is Asia, characterised by Bacchanalian extravagance and cometary eccentricity, the centre of unrestrained spontaneous production, formlessly generative and unable to become master of its centre. But the third part, Europe, forms the consciousness, the rational part, of the earth, the balance of rivers and valleys and mountains – whose centre is Germany. The division of the world into continents is therefore not contingent, not a convenience; on the contrary, the differences are essential.’
G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, Part Two of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830), Trans., A.V.Miller, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2004, 285
‘The principle of the European mind is, therefore, self-conscious Reason which is confident that for it there can be no insuperable barrier and which therefore takes an interest in everything in order to become present to itself therein. …In Europe, therefore, there prevails this infinite thirst for knowledge which is alien to other races. …the European mind…subdues the outer world to its ends with an energy which has ensured for it the mastery of the world.’
G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind, Part Three of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830), Trans., William Wallace, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1971, 45
What comprises the reason that this European master of ‘Reason’ and ‘the rational’ asserts? He rightly looks past the propositional but adheres to the linguistic and conceptual. Is it not philosophic to question beyond these as well? Does not his own life and work provide ample justification?
By Edward Curtin Source: Behind the Curtain This is an updated and revised version of the full cover-story that appeared in the important publication, garrison: The Journal of History and Deep Politics, Issue 003. Issue 004 is due out this week and I urge readers to purchase it. You will read articles there that you […]