Tokyo Massacre by U.S. Air Raid is a Serious War Crime!

Amid sorrow for New Zealand earthquake bereaved, I have observed many rescuers working hard around the clock, demonstrating their determination and faith in rescuing lives from the wrecked and still burning buildings. Please accept my deep sympathy to the families and friends of those who have lost lives.-Ted Yokohama

Regarding the importance of human life, I have discovered Dr. Shmuel Vaknin as stating in Global Politician (see http://bit.ly/gRpGFm ) ; The preservation of human life is the ultimate value, a pillar of ethics and the foundation of all morality. This held true in most cultures and societies throughout history. On first impression, the last sentence sounds patently wrong. We all know about human collectives that regarded human lives as dispensable, that murdered and tortured, that cleansed and annihilated whole populations in recurrent genocides. Surely, these defy the aforementioned statement? Liberal philosophies claim that human life was treated as a prime value throughout the ages. Authoritarian regimes do not contest the over-riding importance of this value. Life is sacred, valuable, to be cherished and preserved. But, in totalitarian societies, it can be deferred, subsumed, subjected to higher goals, quantized, and, therefore, applied with differential rigor----------.

Regardless of nationalities, we all remember "9/11" and "Pearl Harbor Attack" but many other than Japanese nationals tend to forget "Tokyo Massacre" on March 10, 1945, an unprecedented massacre in the history of mankind which the United States of America has long ignored or has pretended to be ignoring while highlighting fabricated stories of atrocities such as Nanking (now called Nanjing ) Massacre, etc. the Imperial Japanese Forces never committed. 1

Some Japaneses strongly suggest that one interpretation of this fabrication effort is in line with the American intelligence work either to cancel out or to obscure what U.S. has done against Japan before, during, and after the Great East Asia War. Therefore, some suspect that U.S. still practices its usual propaganda now often in collaboration with other major powers.

While preparing for this presentation, I have come across the stories, often fabricated, ego-boosting, and aggrandized, in which a comparison of Pearl Harbor Attack with 9/11 has been repeatedly made for almost one decade. I still remember a story of Japan's Pearl Harbor Attack deliberately compared with 9/11 with a photo of The Emperor of Japan Hirohito next to the photo of Saddam Hussein on a major weekly news magazine perhaps in 2002 or in 2003 which a majority of the Japanese people most probably would have found odd and unconvinced if they all were exposed to it. 

Although it no longer exists in cyberspace, I found a piece of evidence in "An Interesting Day: President Bush's Movements and Actions on 9/11" http://bit.ly/1Z1hcw indicating that my memory is correct. It is an excerpt from The Washington Post, 1/27/02 as reporting that before going sleep around 11:30., Bush wrote in his diary, "The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today....., we think it's Osama bin Laden. There is one more story titled "Iraq is no Japan" http://bit.ly/9mD083 (see Related Stories below) still accessible that should be defined as a mere manifestation of the American egoism.

Since I would like to shed light on Tokyo Massacre, however, it is often called as "The Great Tokyo Air Raid" by U.S.,-many often wonder what's great about the air raid that massacred more than 100, 000 innocent civilians in less than three hours.-I would like to stop describing an issue like the comparison of Japan's Pearl Harbor Attack with 9/11 which I consider less relevant. However, I may discuss it in the future.

I believe that a true story of Tokyo Massacre should begin with how modern and beautiful Tokyo was, as seen in the video footage (4 min. 49 sec.) of silent films in color taken in 1935, 10 years before Tokyo Massacre was executed by the United States of America.

This is the city the U.S.A. ruthlessly and relentlessly destroyed by using incendiary bombs and napalms, knowing that millions of innocent people lived in there, and knowing that they lived in the houses mostly built with woods, and knowing that U.S. would violate the Hague Land War Convention by massacring the innocent civilians as many scholars, pundits, activists, etc. have persistently and justifiably pointed out. 3

Tokyo in 1935 (4 min. 49 sec.)

Now, I would like to remind my viewers of the following statement made by Dr. Shoichi Watanabe, Professor Emeritus, Sophia University in "Confute Fabrication of Comfort Women! published on February 25, 2011; I consider it as a grave violation of a very basic understanding behind "Peace Treaty" that U.S. has brought up an issue of "comfort women" once again. U.S. Congress should be blamed for the act of bringing up "comfort women". I understand their feelings in a sense that what U.S. did to Japan could be worse than what Adolf Hitler did to the Jews. Say, for example, a great number of people was murdered at Auschwitz. However, we should remember that by Tokyo air raid, more than 100,000 innocent civilians were burned to death just in one night. How many months do you think it took the Nazi Germany to burn more than 100,000 Jews at Auschwitz? I would say it took about a year. But U.S. burned that many people just in one night. Not only Tokyo but also more than 60 cities, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki where nuclear bombs were dropped.

March 10, 1945-a date of Tokyo Massacre that should be remembered by every man with some degree of decency as a historic moment when more than 100,000 innocent civilians, including unborn babies, babies, children, women, aged people were baked to death by dropping not only 1,700 tons of incendiary bombs but also some napalm bombs to maximize the effect of air raid.

No matter how precisely I describe the atrocity of exterminating more than 100,000 innocent noncombatants less than three hours based on testimonies made by some survivors, a majority of Americans will probably laugh it off. 

Tokyo was like a gas chamber and at the same time an incinerator-the largest ever created-too large to compare with one devised to exterminate the Jews at Auschwitz. Extermination of race which we must strongly condemn is the highest degree of prejudice among five degrees of prejudice; dislike, apathy, discrimination, physical attack, and extermination. 

Furthermore, some people still say that the United States of America committed a pre-meditated war crime against humanity here in Tokyo 66 years ago regardless of what some Americans have so far written on Bombing of Tokyo at Wikipedia site ( http://bit.ly/5k2cwy ) and at any other sites on Internet. Regardless of their efforts to glorify and to justify their past deeds, those who committed a war crime must be brought to justice as war crime suspects. If they are still alive or not, their crimes must be identified for the necessary judgements.

Tokyo Massacre Part 1 (1 min. 55 sec.)
Children are screaming for help!
Tokyo Massacre Part 2 (4 min. 23 sec.)

The innocent people were being burnt to death while they were still alive. Smell of burning human flesh was drifting in air. A man who reproduced images of Tokyo Massacre on canvas recalls that he was so devastated to see a child lying on the ground and a mother just motionlessly standing like a ghost. Another man recalls that thousands of people who rushed to Kototoi Bridge (23 meters in width and 239 meters in length) from both sides of Sumida River had been instantly engulfed in fire. They were all screaming while being suffocated and being incinerated on the bridge.

Strong wind was blowing at 00:08 AM on March 10, 1945 when the first incendiary bombs were dropped. In a matter of ten or twenty minutes, fire had spread to engulf the wide area. An elementary school (reinforced concrete building) designated as an evacuation site was packed with hundreds of people. They were soon baked to death as they were trapped inside the building. They couldn't get the steel doors opened because those doors were deformed due to the intense heat. The building itself was transformed into a gas chamber and at the same time into an incinerator.

Tokyo Massacre Part 3 (4 min. 12 sec.)

Only one B-29 flying high above Tokyo at the altitude of 10,000 meters because it was ordered by Major General Curtis Emerson LeMay to sketch how well Tokyo was burning while all other B-29s were flying at low altitudes (1,524 meters or 1,828.8 meters) to maximize the effect of bombing.

Tokyo Massacre Part 4 (2 min. 9 sec.)

Mr. Koyo Ishikawa was ordered directly by Superintendent General of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department to photograph Tokyo Massacre immediately after it was executed by B-29s as ordered by LeMay. He produced 33 photographs depicting how inhumane Tokyo Massacre was. He later stated that it was most painful to hold his camera with focus on the still burning bodies because he strongly felt being scolded at by those perished brutally in air raid. He almost died in fire while he was photographing Tokyo Massacre.

After the war ended, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) soon found out that Mr. Koyo Ishikawa photographed Tokyo Massacre. It strongly demanded that negative films of those 33 photographs be submitted to General Headquarters headed by General Douglas MacArthur. However, he stubbornly resisted its demand forcing him to submit those negative films but he finally decided to produce 33 photographs to General Headquarters. The negative films were kept buried in the backyard of his residence.

Tokyo Massacre Part 5 (1 min. 10 sec.)

Tokyo Massacre Part 6 (1 min. 44 sec.)

Hundreds of thousands of lives were suddenly and deliberately ended by evil, despicable acts of atrocity. B-29 bombers flying at very low altitude above Tokyo, dropping incendiary bombs and napalms on the innocent civilians. Exploding -- not only burning a huge -- a huge number of houses but also suffocating and incinerating a huge -- a huge number of humans have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and unyielding anger. It was just a huge -- a huge gas chamber and a huge incinerator --the largest ever created in the history of mankind. It was just intended to demonstrate their superiority over the Asian races. But they failed. Many Asian nations gained independence from the white ruled nations after the war.-Ted Yokohama.

"Who executed Tokyo Massacre?" in this video footage

Mr. Koyo Ishikawa, as ordered directly by Superintendent General of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department to photograph Tokyo Massacre, rushed to Yuraku cho where Mr. Ishikawa confirmed that U.S. no doubt carried out indiscriminate bombing of innocent civilians which U.S. had long condemned to be wrong. " 4

LeMay was transferred from China to relieve Brig. Gen. Haywood S. Hansell as commander of the XXI Bomber Command in the Marianas. He soon changed his tactics and techniques from high-altitude precision bombing to low-altitude night-time incendiary bombing.

Tactical Mission Report kept at U.S. National Archive shows two major characteristics of Tokyo Air Raid; one is altitude of attack and the other its target. To maximize its effect of bombing, B-29s flew at the one fifth of the normal altitude without having any specific targets in the target area.

65th Memorial Service of Tokyo Massacre (0 min. 45 sec.)

Newscaster reports 65th Memorial Service of Tokyo Massacre as saying that 65 years ago today more than 100,000 civilians lost their lives for whom 65th Memorial Service was held and participated by their bereaved families and Governor of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Mr. Shintatro Ishihara.

Tokyo Massacre and Atomic Bombing (4 min. 38 sec)

I have decide to produce only a summary of the above video footage in English as follows;

-the Beginning of Tokyo Massacre and Atomic Bombing (4 min. 38 sec.)-

Mr. Kazuo Ijiri, a columnist focuses on massacre of innocent civilians, Tokyo Air Raid, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and violation of Hague land war convention.

 I experienced air raids while I was evacuated to Kofu city in Yamanashi Prefecture from Yokohama city. When the war ended, I was first grader at National School.

Although Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been much discussed, I would like the people to heed their attention  to Tokyo Air Raid by which 100,000 innocent civilians were murdered. "Innocent civilians" should be defined as those who have nothing to do with fighting. Tokyo Air Raid is a massacre executed in the largest scale in the history of mankind.

There are still many Americans believing in a story that one million American military personnel would have lost their lives if A-bombs were not dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This figure shown by the U.S. seems so unreliable and baseless, considering the remaining military capability in Japan as of August 1945.

Regardless of whether Japan had the military capability to carry out any tactical missions to kill one million American soldiers or not, nuclear attacks carried out by the United States of America must be interpreted as a clear violation of Hague land war convention.

Almost every Prefectural capital was indiscriminately bombed. No media in the U.S.A. have ever discussed those massacres as a clear violation of Hague land war convention at all. Here I express my anger over it.

-the End of Tokyo Massacre and Atomic Bombing (4 min. 38 sec.)-

Mr. Toshio Tamogami states in "The genesis No.2 (Part Two)-A Question over the Japanese Leftists' Concept of Peace" dated February 16, 2011: The Pacific War ended on August 15, 1945. U.S. occupation troops that advanced into Japan in September, soon forcibly executed in a very subtle manner its occupation program named "War Guilt Information Program" solely designed to weaken Japan and its people. Therefore, the people would be eventually brainwashed to believe that Japan has been given democracy by U.S. and that the pre-war Japan was an evil state where the people lived in darkness. It is a huge lie made by U.S., designed to make the people believe that the Japanese nationals should feel satisfied over the defeat of their own Imperial Japan.

Therefore, another way to look at Tokyo Massacre and Massacres executed in other cities including Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that U.S. wanted to completely destroy Japan including every trace of democracy Japan had nurtured in its own way, so as to make the Japanese believe that Japan has been given democracy by U.S. and that the pre-war Japan was an evil state where the people lived in darkness.

Related Stories


Iraq Is Not Japan

By Chalmers Johnson

Mr. Johnson is author of Revolutionary Change (Stanford University Press) and Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (Holt "Owl" Books).
According to press reports, the White House is developing a plan, modeled on the postwar occupation of Japan, to install an American-led military government in Iraq. Administration officials said Iraq would be governed by a senior American military officer, who would assume the role that Gen. Douglas MacArthur played in Japan after its surrender. The plan calls for war-crimes trials of Iraqi leaders and a transition to an elected civilian government after a few years of American occupation.
After the story broke in October, the White House tried to back away from it. However, some unnamed senior officials stood by it.
Our politics become more surreal every day. This plan won't work for the simple reason that Iraq is not Japan. The Bush White House and the Rumsfeld Pentagon seem to know next to nothing about Japan.
The Potsdam Declaration ending World War II ordered MacArthur to "democratize" Japan. MacArthur himself thought that this order held great dangers. If not done carefully, his efforts would have only the legitimacy of the conqueror behind them and might well provide a target for later Japanese nationalists seeking to overturn foreign reforms.
MacArthur made some strategic decisions. He retained Hirohito on the throne and had all occupation reform directives come from the emperor. The general conducted an indirect occupation. He did not replace the wartime Japanese government but kept it intact, only now taking orders from him.
The new Japanese constitution, land reform, trade unions and the attempt to open up the economy all came in the form of laws enacted by the Japanese government. If the U.S. intends to follow the Japanese model in Iraq, it will have to keep Saddam Hussein in place and work through him.
The idea of conducting war-crimes trials is crackpot. In Japan, they were intended to educate the public about the war, but they backfired. Gen. Hideki Tojo, who was prime minister at the time of Pearl Harbor, embarrassed everyone by asking from the dock, "Why isn't the emperor here?" No one dared answer that MacArthur had rewritten history to keep the emperor in power. By the time the U.S. got around to hanging a few wartime leaders, most Japanese saw the war-crimes trials as miscarriages of justice.
Most Americans do not understand that the Japanese people do not credit MacArthur with bringing democracy to Japan, although they do honor his memory as a postwar shogun. Democracy already existed in Japan, based on the parliamentary politics of the 1920s, before the militarists took over.
Another reason the Japanese don't credit the U.S. is that halfway through the occupation the Americans changed their minds and began turning Japan into a docile American satellite for fighting the Cold War.
The so-called "reverse course" of 1947 meant welcoming back to power many of the prewar and wartime leaders whom the Americans had purged. Seeing this, the Japanese worked to take advantage of the new conditions created by the Cold War. In return for letting the U.S. keep its military bases on Japanese soil, the Japanese demanded unrestricted access to the U.S. market and American tolerance of their protectionism. The results of this policy can be seen today in any U.S. parking lot. It also produced the largest trade imbalances (in favor of Japan) in economic history.
During the early days of the Allied occupation, the Americans did not have any economic interests in Japan. But the oil lobby led by Vice President Dick Cheney is drooling to get its hands on Iraq's oil. As late as 1999, Cheney's former company, Halliburton, supplied Hussein with $23.8 million worth of oil field equipment.
Perhaps most obviously, MacArthur did not have a serious religion problem in Japan. He forced the emperor to renounce his status as a Shinto god, but religious impulses have always lain lightly on the Japanese psyche. Iraq, by contrast, is ruled by a minority government of Sunni Muslims that has fought bloody wars with the country's Shiite and Kurdish majorities.
I am doubtful that a group of heavily armed American infidels can bring "democracy" to Iraq, but I know for certain that what happened 50 years ago in Japan is no model.

Firebombs Over Tokyo

By Jonathan Rauch

The Atlantic Monthly | July/August 2002

In 1990, when I was traveling in Japan, my friend Masayuki introduced me to his mother, Mrs. Tadokoro. One night, as the three of us sat together after dinner in her apartment in Osaka, she told me of the firebombing of Tokyo. She was nineteen when the American bombers came, just after midnight on March 10, 1945. Hearing the air-raid sirens, she ran to Kinshi Park. As she ran, she saw an electrical pole glow hot in the flames and then crash down. In the park many people, most with suitcases, waited through the night as sixteen square miles of the city burned. Nothing remained of her house the next morning but some stones. Still, she was lucky. The dead from that one night's bombing numbered 80,000 to 100,000—more than later died in Nagasaki (70,000 to 80,000), and more than half the number who died in Hiroshima (120,000 to 150,000).
August brings the fifty-seventh anniversary of the two famous atomic bombings, justification for which is still a matter of debate. The conventional wisdom that the Hiroshima bomb saved 500,000 or a million American lives is wrong; according to the historian Gar Alperovitz, modern scholarship and also government estimates at the time put likely U.S. casualties from an invasion of Japan, had one been necessary, in the range of 20,000 to 50,000—which is, of course, still a lot. Nor is it the case that Hiroshima was targeted for its military installations; it had some modest military value but was targeted mainly for psychological effect. Yet the bombing clearly did hasten Japan's surrender, and thus saved many American lives (and possibly, on balance, Japanese lives). The much harder question is why the United States rushed—and it did rush—to bomb Nagasaki only three days later. Neither President Harry Truman nor anyone since has provided a compelling answer. In his 1988 history of the nuclear age, McGeorge Bundy, who served as National Security Advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, wrote, "Hiroshima alone was enough to bring the Russians in; these two events together brought the crucial imperial decision for surrender, just before the second bomb was dropped."
Alongside the two atomic bombings, the firebombing of Tokyo remains obscure. Few Americans have even heard of it, and few Japanese like to dwell on it. When I listened to Mrs. Tadokoro's account, I was struck by her matter-of-fact, detached manner. What happened happened, and war is always bad, and 1945 is ancient history: that was her practical, forward-looking attitude, and I admired her for it. Yet the Tokyo attack deserves the most introspection of all, even as it receives the least.
In the 1930s, as today, Americans set great store by the principle that civilian populations should not be targeted for bombing. "Inhuman barbarism," President Roosevelt called civilian bombing in 1939. Indeed, that was one reason to fight the Japanese: they targeted civilians, we didn't. By 1945, however, the precision bombing of Japan had proved frustrating. "This outfit has been getting a lot of publicity without having really accomplished a hell of a lot in bombing results," Major General Curtis LeMay groused on March 6. So he loaded more than 300 B-29 Superfortress bombers with napalm incendiaries and, on the evening of March 9, ordered them emptied over central Tokyo. LeMay made no attempt to focus on military targets, nor could he have done so with napalm, whose effect that windy night was to burn wooden Japanese dwellings with spectacular efficiency. The victims were "scorched and boiled and baked to death," LeMay later said. Over the next few months the United States dealt with more than sixty smaller Japanese cities in like fashion.
The rationale was that Japan's industrial capability needed to be destroyed and the country's will broken. In fact, however, the Japanese maintained the ability to fight, although they probably lost the capacity to mount any large offensive. In any case, even supposing that the Tokyo firebombing was a success on its own terms, did that justify the targeting of tens of thousands of civilians, with weapons designed to melt them in their homes? If so, what sort of action would not have been justified on grounds of helping to end the war (that is, winning)? In June of 1945, as the historian John W. Dower notes, a military aide to General Douglas MacArthur described the American firebombing campaign as "one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history." It is hard to disagree.
I believe the firebombing of Tokyo should be considered a war crime, a terror bombing, if those terms are to have any meaning at all. It is true that the United States in 1945, in marked and important contrast with, say, al Qaeda in 2001, viewed the targeting of civilians as a last rather than a first resort; and it is true that throughout history even the virtuous have wound up fighting dirty if fighting clean failed; and it is true that sometimes the good must do terrible things to destroy a great evil. But it is also true that if the good find themselves driven to barbarism, they own up afterward and search their souls.
America is better at reforming than at repenting, which is probably just as well. Perhaps America's quiet way of paying its debt to the dead of Tokyo has been to take unprecedented pains, far beyond anything done by any other great power, to design and deploy weapons and tactics that spare civilian lives. A lot of innocent people in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan are alive today as a result. Still, the erasure of the Tokyo firebombing from Americans' collective memory is not a noble thing.
In March, on the fifty-seventh otherwise unmarked anniversary of the attack on Tokyo, a handful of survivors opened a small museum there to memorialize the firebombing. They used private contributions totaling $800,000, which is less than one percent of what Mount Vernon plans to spend on its new museum and visitors' center. Well, it was a start. The next step should be an official museum or memorial—not in Tokyo but in Washington.

Monday, Sept. 30, 2002


Great Tokyo Air Raid was a war crime

By Hirosaki Sato 
On Dec. 7, 1964, the Japanese government conferred the First Order of Merit with the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun upon Gen. Curtis LeMay -- yes, the same general who, less than 20 years earlier, had incinerated "well over half a million Japanese civilians, perhaps nearly a million."

In May 1964, the general, now the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, had declaimed: "Tell the Vietnamese they've got to draw in their horns or we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age."
I was reminded of the Japanese government's bizarre act when I read the responses of several readers of The Atlantic Monthly to the news that a museum had finally been created in Tokyo to memorialize the Great Tokyo Air Raid. In the wee hours of March 10, 1945, 300 B-29s dropped 2,000 tons of incendiaries on one section of Tokyo -- a space seven-tenths the size of Manhattan -- and in 2 1/2 hours "scorched and boiled and baked to death" 100,000 people. The quoted words are LeMay's.
No, "news" is not the right word. For his July-August column in the monthly, Jonathan Rauch mentioned the opening of a "small museum" and spoke of what lay behind it: an "obscure" air raid. "Few Americans have even heard of it," he wrote, "and few Japanese like to dwell on it."
Rauch met a survivor of the firebombing, a Japanese friend's mother, back in 1990. He admired her for her "matter-of-fact, detached manner." Her attitude was: "What happened happened, and war is always bad, and 1945 is ancient history." Still, "the Tokyo attack deserves the most introspection of all," Rauch decided, "even as it receives the least."
In sheer magnitude, the calamity brought by the firebombing surpassed both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, at least according to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey conducted shortly after the war. But the devastation of Tokyo, along with that of Hamburg and Dresden, was laid aside the moment an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, then on Nagasaki. With the advent of a weapon capable of snuffing out a large city in a flash, the sense suddenly took root that "the continuity of life was, for the first time, put into question," as Mary McCarthy put it.
In fact, one Japanese writer reported, in 1968, that "in the 22 years since the war the Asahi Shimbun has written only four times about March 10," while taking up Hiroshima 100 times more often. At about that time, Katsumoto Saotome, who survived the firestorm as a 12-year-old boy, resolved to do something about it. It took him over three decades to create his modest archival center.
Was the raid justified? Rauch asked in his column. As with the dropping of the second atomic bomb, the question is legitimate.
First, before and during World War II there were people who thought indiscriminate slaughter of civilians had to be avoided. Tacticians in the U.S. Army Air Forces themselves were split between those who believed in "precision-bombing" and those who were "area bombers."
Brigadier Gen. Haywood Hansell, who was assigned to execute the first serious bombings against Japan, was of the former group. But he was duly relieved of his duty as ineffectual and replaced by LeMay. And LeMay, switching from high explosives to incendiaries, went on to carry out what Gen. Douglas MacArthur's aide, Brigadier Gen. Bonner Fellers, called "one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of noncombatants in all history."
Equally important, the victors of World War II did not just expand the definition of "war crimes," but introduced the new concepts of "crimes against peace" and "crimes against humanity." And these ideas have gained support in recent years. Probably with the latter development in mind, Rauch wrote: "I believe the firebombing of Tokyo should be considered a war crime."
Some readers did not like this. And the five responses The Atlantic has chosen to print in its October issue are yet another reminder: When it comes to Japan and World War II, some Americans are incapable of accommodating different viewpoints.
Blaine Browne, in Lighthouse Point, Fla., begins by taking Rauch to task for following "a convoluted path toward his goal of elevating the March 1945 U.S. firebomb raid on Tokyo to the historical prominence he feels it deserves," so you can guess the tenor of his letter. But in his determination to dismiss the importance of "an event that, as Rauch complains, has gone largely unremarked since its occurrence," Browne makes one point he may not have intended.
"By early 1945 the American public's willingness to support operations that might produce any significant casualties was increasingly strained," he tells us, and concludes: "The Truman administration's decision to use the atomic bomb must be considered in this context."
I know Stanford historian Barton Bernstein has taken a somewhat different tack and argued President Harry Truman used atomic bombs because American taxpayers would have revolted if they learned their government had expended $ 2 billion on the Manhattan Project but had not used what it produced. The amount was sizable at the time; the creation and maintenance of the large fleet of B-29s cost $ 3 billion.
But I don't know if Bernstein would go as far as to suggest what Browne does. By Browne's logic, Japan's invasion of China, for example, must be considered all right -- in the context of the public's support.
Michael Franzblau, in San Rafael, Calif., writes: "Concern that Curtis LeMay's Army Air Corps committed war crimes in the firebombing of Tokyo has to be balanced by awareness of the despicable activities of the Imperial Japanese Army in China."
In other words, you murdered relatives of someone I know, so I murdered some of yours. This argument may have worked in the age of gunfighters in the American west. But it evidently wouldn't have worked in the military tribunals convened after the war. In any event, the countries that sat to judge Germany and Japan were careful to exclude their own deeds from consideration.
The shortest letter cited in The Atlantic comes from Devin Croft, in Littleton, Col. It reads in its entirety: "If the United States owed any debt to the dead of Tokyo, it was long since repaid through the reconstruction of Japan in the postwar years."
That is one conclusion some Japanese may accept, however ambivalently. But Croft, too, evades Rauch's point. Any deliberate mass slaughter of civilians is a war crime. And what happened in the early hours of March 10, 1945, was the greatest slaughter a single air raid produced in world history.
Hiroaki Sato is a translator and essayist who lives in New York. The Japan Times


1.Access  http://bit.ly/i0GUj6  for information on fabrication of "Nanking Massacre".

2. I hope that anyone who has the particular issue of a weekly magazine (either Time or Newsweek) carrying an article dealing with a comparison of 9/11 with Japan's Pearl Harbor attack with a photo of The Emperor of Japan next to a photo of Saddam Hussein will either send a digitalized copy of the magazine to me or upload it on Internet and inform me of its location in cyberspace.

3. Laws of War :
Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907

The Convention Annex to the Convention Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land Section I on Belligerents

Section II Hostilities Chapter I Means of Injuring the Enemy, Seieges, and bombardments

Art. 22.

The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited.

Art. 23.

In addition to the prohibitions provided by special Conventions, it is especially forbidden -
To employ poison or poisoned weapons;
To kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army;
To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion;
To declare that no quarter will be given;
To employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering;
To make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy, as well as the distinctive badges of the Geneva Convention;
To destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war;
To declare abolished, suspended, or inadmissible in a court of law the rights and actions of the nationals of the hostile party. A belligerent is likewise forbidden to compel the nationals of the hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country, even if they were in the belligerent's service before the commencement of the war.

Art. 25.

The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.

4. "Indiscriminate bombing" or "Indiscriminate attack" has been clearly defined as a war crime at "Crimes of War Project" established in 1999 whose address is Crimes of War Project, 1325 G Street NW, Suite 730, Washington, DC 20005 ( office@crimesofwar.org ). However, this project is only focused on the war crimes committed after the end of WWII. Access http://www.crimesofwar.org/index.html


  1. From the documentary

    Lesson #5: Proportionality should be a guideline in war.

    EM: The choice of incendiary bombs, where did that come from?

    McNamara: I think the issue is not so much incendiary bombs. I think the issue is: in order to win a war should you kill 100,000 people in one night, by firebombing or any other way? LeMay's answer would be clearly "Yes."

    "McNamara, do you mean to say that instead of killing 100,000, burning to death 100,000 Japanese civilians in that one night, we should have burned to death a lesser number or none? And then had our soldiers cross the beaches in Tokyo and been slaughtered in the tens of thousands? Is that what you're proposing? Is that moral? Is that wise?"

    Why was it necessary to drop the nuclear bomb if LeMay was burning up Japan? And he went on from Tokyo to firebomb other cities. 58% of Yokohama. Yokohama is roughly the size of Cleveland. 58% of Cleveland destroyed. Tokyo is roughly the size of New York. 51% percent of New York destroyed. 99% of the equivalent of Chattanooga, which was Toyama. 40% of the equivalent of Los Angeles, which was Nagoya. This was all done before the dropping of the nuclear bomb, which by the way was dropped by LeMay's command.

    Proportionality should be a guideline in war. Killing 50% to 90% of the people of 67 Japanese cities and then bombing them with two nuclear bombs is not proportional, in the minds of some people, to the objectives we were trying to achieve.

    I don't fault Truman for dropping the nuclear bomb. The U.S.—Japanese War was one of the most brutal wars in all of human history ? kamikaze pilots, suicide, unbelievable. What one can criticize is that the human race prior to that time ? and today ? has not really grappled with what are, I'll call it, "the rules of war." Was there a rule then that said you shouldn't bomb, shouldn't kill, shouldn't burn to death 100,000 civilians in one night?

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



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