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The Danger of Symmetry

July 2nd, 2014 - 8:28 pm

News that Quinnipiac poll finds president Obama is the “worst president since World War II” was greeted with amusement. New York Magazine counseled its readers not to take the poll too seriously, saying it’s all explained by the ‘availability heuristic’. That’s a complicated term for asserting that people are too silly to know what’s bad for them, so sophisticates can still continue to think Obama is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

That sounds fancy, but it simply means that we are biased by how easy it is to summon an example of something in our heads. So when a right-leaning person is asked to think of a bad president, the shadow of Obama looms large over them. To a certain extent, many people who picked Obama weren’t carefully weighing how they viewed him versus other presidents — do you remember how crazy Bill Clinton drove conservatives? — but were swayed by how quickly and loudly Barry O seized their brains once the question was asked.

One of the former prerogatives of the liberal press was its ability to frame the narrative. In the past they could — and did — tell the public what to take seriously and who to laugh at.  We were routinely told not to take the warning from Hamas that it will “open the gates of hell” seriously. Such threats — like the vow of ISIS to expand the Caliphate to include parts of Europe, or vows to behead infidels — were dismissed out of hand as either the posturing of simpletons or the justifiable wrath of the Poor and Downtrodden.

What was taken seriously in every case, however, was any sign of lawlessness by the White Man, including the Jews. Now reports suggest that someone may have broken the law; engaged in a revenge killing for the Hamas-ordered execution of three teenagers on the West Bank is front-page news. The New York Times reports, “Secretary of State John Kerry, in a statement, strongly condemned what he called “the despicable and senseless abduction and murder” of Muhammad [an Arab teenager]. He added, ‘Those who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation.’”

The Times of London writes:

Israeli leaders and rabbis were told yesterday that inflammatory rhetoric risked inciting revenge killings and public disorder after a Palestinian boy was lynched following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

And it’s not just the Israelis.  The arrival of thousands of aliens at the US southern border has heretofore been depicted, not as an act of invasion, but somehow America’s fault. But to the Californians blocking the movement of these people into their state these arrivals are simply trespassers. Surely if Californians were descending on Mexico they would be so regarded by the Mexicans. Their crime is to think and act as the Mexicans would think. A CNN story shows what the narrative was meant to be.

“It is deplorable that people espousing anti-immigrant hate language created unnecessary tension and fear for immigrant mothers and their children,” Pedro Rios, a community representative of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, said in a statement. “Even more concerning is that elected officials in the City of Murrieta instigated this tension. Mothers and their children on these buses have suffered through enough trauma.”

The trouble is the American public may have had enough of these media narratives. Claudia Rossett noted that when the three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped everyone called for Israeli restraint. Now the situation is reversed the same voices are demanding no stone be left underturned to find the malefactors. For a long time things have gone in one direction only.

Mention repealing Obamacare and you are told it is impossible; even John Boehner said, it’s the ‘law of the land’. Brown vs Board is the law of the land, Roe vs Wade is the law of the land, but Hobby Lobby or Citizens United is an abomination to be repealed or ignored soonest.  It’s like a ratchet. It moves only in the way of the approved narrative.

The problem, as indicated by Obama’s falling polls and the increasing pushback against the Voice of Command, is that fewer people are buying into the script.  Some of these setbacks have been quite devastating. On nearly the same day as Hobby Lobby the US Supreme Court decided Harris et al vs Quinn, Governor of Illinois. “In a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the court said the home healthcare assistants, some of whom care for their own loved ones, had a constitutional right not to support a union they opposed.”

Back in 2003 the unions planned to take over home health care reasoning that to take the Medicaid dollar meant you worked for the government, and all government workers were destined to become a dues-paying members of SEIU. It had the ring of inevitability.

Beginning in 2003, Illinois officials agreed to designate home-care workers as “public employees” because they care for the disabled and are paid with government Medicaid funds. That cleared the way for the Service Employees International Union to organize them. …

The [Harris et al vs Quinn, Governor of Illinois] decision will make it more difficult in some states for unions to continue organizing home healthcare assistants, a rapidly growing segment of the workforce that is expected to double in the next decade thanks to the aging U.S. population. It could also apply to child care workers.

But something went wrong with the Illinois union scam; the Supreme Court said home care workers don’t have to join SEIU.  The LA Times, like New York Magazine, counsels its readers not to get too alarmed at the setback because the unions can live with this restriction, because they’ll be back later, when no one is looking, and move the game forward to another “progressive achievement”.

About 1 million of the 3 million home healthcare workers nationwide are represented by the SEIU or the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to union lawyers. They are mostly in the Northeast, on the West Coast and in some states in the Midwest that, like Illinois, have “fair share” laws requiring people who do not want to join a union to pay limited dues to compensate for the union’s bargaining, which benefits members and nonmembers alike. But because each state’s law varies, it was not clear Monday whether all of the 10 states with fair share arrangements would be covered by the court’s decision in Harris et al vs. Quinn. Anti-union lawyers said all such laws would probably be ruled unconstitutional.

The Daily Caller pointed out that the hidden agenda within Obamacare was to replicate the Illinois scheme on a giant scale and create 21 million SEIU-organized health care workers.

In ”Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind,” Mallory Factor describes a December 9, 2008 memo from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare president Dennis Rivera to the Obama-Biden transition team.

That memo outlined a legislative proposal calling for “increasing the capacity of the health care workforce” as part of a larger health care reform initiative.

The SEIU and the Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Factor writes, later coordinated with other public-sector unions to spend “literally hundreds of millions of dollars promoting Obamacare.”

So maybe that’s another setback too. But the real news is this: it’s not working any more.  Even Obamacare might actually be repealed. Liberal foreign policy might really go down in flames. Already the authorities are warning of bombs on inbound airline flights. And Obama might actually be the worst president since World War 2. Things used to be under control; what happened?

What happened wasn’t the Republican Party.  Obama himself treats the GOP with contempt. “Obama ridicules Boehner’s lawsuit over executive powers: ‘So sue me’”. No, what happened was Murphy; reality pushing back.

Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in the possibility that some Israeli settler might have killed a Palestinian teenager in revenge.  Somebody snapped. It’s not that they didn’t know it was wrong, but possibly something worse: they didn’t care. This is suggestive of a breakdown of asymmetry. The game theoretic of the liberal establishment presumes asymmetric behavior; that for ever iteration the West will act in a civilized manner while their opponents will behave customarily. That’s the only way the game works for them. What they are not prepared for is the possibility of symmetry; that everyone will play by the same rules.

Shakespeare long ago warned that if you cut deep enough, every man looked the same. The problem with the left is that they assumed the contrary: that the White Man would always be different. Political correctness is based on this split level value system; it is ironically founded on the bedrock of racism. But what if Shakespeare is right? What if every man has his limits.

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, do we not revenge?
If we are like you in the rest,
we will resemble you in that.

Then all the bets are off. Political correctness works only while everyone accepts its rules. What the Western elites should really worry about is what happens if people make the context shift from focusing on the stage to realizing they’re in the theater.  This can happen in one of two ways: either the ceiling falls in or someone shouts fire.

The people will accept the King’s fictions only while the King governs well. For more than ten years the West has worried what might happen in Muslim scientists privately decided to built a WMD to attack the Jews. What they really should get worked up about is what happens if Jewish scientists decide to do the same thing.  Civilization depends on the King to provide justice in lieu of mob action.  When the King goofs off or neglects to secure the realm, then at some point it’s every man for himself.  And then there’ll be nothing to laugh at any more.

It may be that we will never know who killed the Palestinian teenager. Perhaps it was an Israeli criminal; perhaps it was a put-up job by Hamas. But in the end it may not matter. History suggests that over time all conflict becomes symmetrical.  Eventually both sides become equally brutal.

At the dawn of submarine warfare, the sinking merchant ships without warning was considered a war crime by America. Gentlemen did not do it. In fact, the destruction of the Lusitania is cited as one of the reasons for the US entry into World War 1.  Yet by World War 2 America was the undisputed master of unrestricted submarine warfare; sinking more than 5 million tons of Japanese shipping, lead by aggressive officers who machine-gunned enemy sailors in the water.  So much for gentlemen. The US Navy is in fact the only naval service to successful prosecute a submarine war against its foes, a feat which eluded even Germany.

The story in the air was identical. Germany’s attacks on Warsaw and London at the start of the war were widely condemned as war crimes by the Allies. Yet by 1945 the Royal Air Force itself would be obliterating Dresden, while the USAAF, which began its campaign with high-minded precision daylight raids on defined enemy targets would by the end incinerate nearly major Japanese city, not to mention A-bombing Hiroshima and Nagsaki.

And that was The Good War.

The Western elites may think they can “control” conflict on the basis of political correctness, but they should not be so sure. If there is any lesson taught by history it is that man when driven far enough is the most dangerous and merciless life form on the planet.


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Top Rated Comments   
>>>The people will accept the King’s fictions only while the King governs well.<<<

And if the King not only governs poorly, but arrogantly and hostilely? We have no rule of law. Congress is a waste of time and money. The Courts are largely worthless and compromised. And in any case, the Courts are ignored by the King if they gainsay him.

I have been saying for some time that I do not expect elections in 2016, because the regime has no intention of living under the new American dispensation that they have constructed. And that I have doubts about 2014. If the Institutional Republicans do not deliberately throw the elections [which they seem to be doing on multiple fronts], there is always the ever-present fraud by the Left, and the possibility of a "national emergency".

Does anyone else feel the sense that the earth is shifting under our feet? That something is about to happen that will upend what was the normal order? When nothing can be depended upon except attacks on the people by the government and a concurrent lack of recourse by the people short of violence, violence seems imminent.

We were being quietly invaded before. Now we are being openly invaded, and with the connivance of what is supposed to be the government of the United States. It has to be planned, because otherwise how could tens of thousands of Central Americans turn up on our border?

Mexico has a policy towards illegal entrants from the south, that they claim we have towards them. Illegals are shot. If they are not shot, they are beaten, raped, and thrown back across the border. So how did those tens of thousands of Central Americans arrive on our border unharmed?

The invaders are bringing diseases, with drug resistant TB now springing up in California schools. The regime admits that its agents caring for the invaders a lot more than they care for Americans are being infected by diseases.

Groups hired by the government, literally calling themselves "Brownshirts", are keeping out observers. An Oklahoma Congressman, who is on the House Armed Services Committee, was barred from Fort Sill where the invaders are being processed. Because, like the people, Congress has no input in the running of the country.

If the government will not defend us from invasion, it falls to the people if we are to remain a country. And we know that if the people defend their homes, the government will make war upon them.

On March 23, 1775 Patrick Henry gave a speech before the 3rd Virginia Convention. It inspired patriots across the colonies in the struggle that followed. It is perhaps telling that with one word changed, from "North" to "South", the last paragraph could soon fit current events.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the SOUTH will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!
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11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does the name Bernard Goetz ring a bell? It was the first of a series of actions that utterly humiliated a generation of social scientists, criminologists and the politicians who listened to them. They were wrong, they didn't dare show their faces.

Hugh Hewitt interviews a journalist the other day and asked him about a bunch of events, asked him if he recognized a few names. He didn't know, but he sure had strong opinions. Hugh gently encouraged him to do some reading.

I'm not that old, but I remember Goetz. I remember the 82 Lebanon bombing. I remember the terrorism carried out by the PLO. I remember the turning around of US cities, as well as the embargo of 1973 and the lineups for gas.

I smell a nasty totalitarian impulse everywhere.

I remember the statistics put out during the tough years in the early 80's. They didn't represent the disconnection from the system that characterized by necessity the lives of many people. I suspect that there are millions of people in the US are utterly ignoring rules and regulations, conducting their affairs in an underground economy.

The center is losing it again. These blithering idiots figured that it all just was there and would always be there.

In my business I've seen how a property manager can stop spending money on maintenance on a well maintained building for about 5 years. Things work, they don't look bad. In fact many a promotion has been based upon that strategy. In the 6th year anything you saved over the last 5 is spent on emergency repairs.

Obama doesn't have the faintest idea what is going to happen because he is fundamentally a stupid man. He is hitting his 6th year collapse.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Palestinian youngster's death certainly could be a revenge killing; OTOH, the modis operandi of the PLO and Hamas is also consistent with killing one of their own children if they thought it would be to their advantage in the PR jihad that they wage so effectively with the complicity of the Western media. I would prefer to wait and see the evidence one way or the other. Of course, this is just wishful thinking on my part but once upon a time Truth meant something. Nowadays it's all just about the narrative and the 'higher truth' propagated by our betters through rhetorical manipulation.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
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To inject my own little bit of historical accuracy - the original "atrocity" bombing of London by Germany was no such thing. It was a targeting error - they were an attack on the rail yards and Thames boat slips that were there.

Which triggered the "retaliation" bombing of Berlin - which enraged Hitler and caused him to change the targeting to "crush the will of the English people."

Actually, except for the London bombings that Hitler pursued so assiduously, and the retaliation bombings of Berlin, there really were no "terror bombings" in the European theater. Luftwaffe, RAF and USAAF generals concentrated their limited forces on real military, industrial, and transportation targets. Unfortunately, nearly all of those targets were in or near major cities. Even the most advanced bombsight (the Norden) still required what we call "carpet bombing" today to have the slightest chance of taking out a tank factory, a rail yard, or a submarine pen.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
My maternal uncle was a B-17 mechanic in England and his squadron was one of the first there. He told me the turnover in the first year there was over 100%; there were only a few pilots remaining from the original bunch and they were barely able to function.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Norden bombsight -- today we would call it an optical sight with a mechanical analog computer built in to correct for aircraft motion and wind -- wasn't the main problem. The main problem was identifying actual targets and getting to them through what was often heavy flak and fighter cover.

The bomber raids were horrifically costly -- average life of a bomber crew was about 25 missions. And screwups of various sorts meant that some very costly raids accomplished little.

The statistic is out there -- something in the 90's of percent of bombs missed the intended target by more than a mile. Carpet bombing was mostly not a plan, but it was what happened.

Things got somewhat better late in the war with radar and radio navigation aids (and tactics to use them) but by then the Germans were using radar to direct their excellent 88 mm AAA guns.

It did work: Close to the end Armaments Minister Speer informed Hitler that in another 4-6 weeks production would collapse, due to both loss of territory as the allies advanced, and the cumulative effects of the bombing.

An underrated consequence of the raids was the tying up of some 100,000 soldiers, ammunition stockpiles and production, and thousands of 88s which were also extremely good anti-tank weapons.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
You forgot clouds, and deliberate camouflage / dummy installations.

My parents used to own a ranch south of Roswell, New Mexico - one of my favorite sites to visit there was an enormous mound of dirt that the USAAF piled up in one of our pastures during the war - in the shape of a Nazi swastika, it was more than a half mile across from one arm to the opposite (in either direction).

We could find practice bombs up to a mile away from that target - which they "attacked" in weather that was almost always perfect, and of course was not filled with shells from 88s, or homicidal Luftwaffe pilots. I only recall that we ever found more than two or three bombs actually in the dirt heaps (those were the ones in best condition - I kept one of them for many years thereafter).

Of course, carpet bombing was not a "plan" - it was the only way to accomplish anything. Even when you were over the target, an unguided bomb from altitude was just about as likely to blow a hole in a farmer's field next to the rail junction, factory, whatever. You work with what you have, not what you wish. (Incidentally, anyone who complains about the high cost of PGMs has not done a real-dollar cost analysis of how much it took to take out an equivalent target with "conventional" weapons. Not to mention the horrible cost of life in bomber and fighter crews.)

One thing I should mention is that none of my comments should be taken as saying that ONLY boots on the ground won the war on any of the fronts, no more than they win by themselves on any modern battlefield. Whether it is strategic or tactical - bombardment from aerial bombing, or naval and land artillery, make it possible to get those boots planted. The age of winning any battle or war without bombardment ended many, many centuries ago - you could argue that they pretty much ended with the invention of the bow and arrow or the throwing spear in prehistory, for that matter. Our airmen and gunnery people won the war just as much as their comrades in arms that were wading ashore on the beaches, hacking their way through jungles, or dodging from house to house.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"One thing I should mention is that none of my comments should be taken as saying that ONLY boots on the ground won the war on any of the fronts, no more than they win by themselves on any modern battlefield."
True.
However, no war has ever been won without boots on the ground.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes and no. My great uncle served in Patton's 3rd Army during the drive across Germany. He once described in vivid detail how intense the euphoria was in his company, after the A-bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered. He explained that during the weeks preceding, every man in his unit knew they were going to be used in an eventual invasion of Japan and every one assumed he was a dead man walking.

FWIW I've been to Okinawa, Guam, Wake and Iwo Jima (albeit very briefly). The idea of slogging across those beaches, or up some of those hills with an M1 and full combat load, compared to the discomfort and difficulty of doing so while well-fed, relatively well-rested and free of disease and enemy fire, in only jungle boots and woodland BDUs, well, even standing there it was hard to imagine. I can appreciate why grunts will never accept that squids in ships, and aviators had it as rough as they did, or contributed as much.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eloquently expressed (not by me, by Tom Kratman - "A Desert Called Peace").

The general turned back to his captives. "I loved my family, even as - one supposes - you love your own. I swore, when they were murdered, to avenge myself on all who had contributed, even passively, to my loss. Thus you shall die. I am though, as Mullah Abdullah told you, very solicitous of your souls. So before you die, you will be thoroughly christianized."

Then Carrera smiled, nastily, and turned to his Subadar.

"Crucify them."
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment

Spudnik,
ISIS when talking of attacking Mecca and the House of Saud are probably thinking of this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Mosque_Seizure
In Islam what goes around comes around and what happened in Mecca, and in Tehran to for that matter, in 1979 is as important to them as other significant dates, such as 629 (Khaybar), 636 (Yarmouk), 711 (Andalus), 1071 (Manzikert), and 1453 (Constantinople). They really do think that way and look for events and anniversaries to commemorate in blood.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The game theoretic of the liberal establishment presumes asymmetric behavior; that for ever iteration the West will act in a civilized manner while their opponents will behave customarily. That’s the only way the game works for them. What they are not prepared for is the possibility of symmetry; that everyone will play by the same rules.

Or to quote again that lady whose insights daily become more prophetic, even if she couldn't quite get the hang of graceful narrative:

"How do you expect me to produce after I go bankrupt?"
"You won't go bankrupt. You'll always produce," said Dr. Ferris indifferently, neither in praise nor in blame, merely in the tone of stating a fact of nature, as he would have said to another man: You'll always be a bum. "You can't help it. It's in your blood. Or, to be more scientific: you're conditioned that way."

They think that's their ace in the hole: that we can't help behaving in a civilized way. They can do anything they want, and will always get away with it because we - we will ALWAYS respond in the predictable, way. The patsy way. It's in our blood, as Dr. Ferris said.

I don't think they even have a backup plan for what to do if PC fails. They don't think it ever can fail. In the last year I've heard of people playing mind games with progressives. When accused of being a racist, instead of the automatic cringe and flustered attempt to disprove the charge, they blandly say, "Yes, it's the only thing that really makes sense, you know? I'm much happier now that I've decided to come out about my racism. I'm comfortable with who I am now." A progressive is typically so aghast he can't even think of a comeback.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah, that liberal establishment.

I'm a fan of a book entitled "The Fourth Turning" by the same two authors who gave us the term "generation X," and I think their ideas are pretty much valid. So I fit events into their thesis rather easily.

I recall reading long ago that there were more books translated into Dutch than into Arabic. True or not, I get the sense that the swarming multitudes infecting the islamic inhabited portions of the planet don't really get the destructive powers of modern weaponry. Sure, the leadership has read of it, but most muslims haven't.

Westerners have learned, because of World Wars I and II, plus Korea and Vietnam, and elsewhere. Muslims, not so much.

Meh. Anyway, about that civilized way, etc. One of the things I recall about "The Fourth Turning" is the descriptions of generations. People of "generation X"- such as myself- are supposedly cold-blooded pragmatists. I heartily endorse this ideal, as it seems accurate.

Hence, I can cheerfully state that I'd be quite happy to see modern weapons used to teach the inhabitants of the umma just how destructive modern weaponry can be, when utilized by people who aren't worried about PC platitudes.

Yep, I'm conditioned that way.




11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hence, I can cheerfully state that I'd be quite happy to see modern weapons used to teach the inhabitants of the umma just how destructive modern weaponry can be, when utilized by people who aren't worried about PC platitudes.

Good luck finding any leaders who share those views.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's a matter of time, alas.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. "The sanction of the victim." That's the essence of it. As Dagny and the others eventually discovered. As all of us must eventually discover or die. The true essence of these leeches, these looters, these parasites. They do not have a plan B. It all rests on our willing acceptance of their basic premise: they have an unconditional claim on the life of any productive person, and that claim is their need. Their greatest fear, not consciously acknowledged, is that we might reject that claim and see it and them for for what they are.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
After 9/11 there was a rumor that purported to explain why there were no follow-up attacks. Supposedly the White House sent word to Bin Laden through back channels that in the event of another attack on US soil the US would nuke Mecca. Maybe bluff, but who knows?

Last week Dick Cheney was on Charlie Rose saying he feared an attack in the near future that would dwarf 9/11. Maybe that's just talk.

This week the ISIS wackos claimed that they would attack Mecca. Sounds implausible, but maybe they were signalling that Mecca means nothing to them. If so, why do that now?

Today overseas flights to the US face ramped-up security due to concerns about explosives that can make it through security. Hopefully that's just more caution.

Happy Fourth, everyone. May it be peaceful.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"... so sophisticates can still continue to think Obama is the greatest thing since sliced bread."

Sophisticated, adj., one totally out of touch with reality; a person that can't discern facts from fantasy.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"“Secretary of State John Kerry, in a statement, strongly condemned what he called “the despicable and senseless abduction and murder” of Muhammad [an Arab teenager]. He added, ‘Those who undertake acts of vengeance only destabilize an already explosive and emotional situation.’”"
---
VDH commented on how irresponsible that premature excrement was, but also noted that since Kerry's been doing it for 45 years, it is no big surprise.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wretchard said:

"... the USAAF, which began its campaign with high-minded precision daylight raids on defined enemy targets would by the end incinerate nearly major Japanese city, not to mention A-bombing Hiroshima and Nagsaki."

When one studies the conflict against the Japanese during World War II, the inescapable conclusion is that victory was achieved through the wholesale destruction of the Japan's cities by means of firebombing, the mining against Japan's access to the ocean through naval mines delivered by B-29s and the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The reoccurring aspect in all of this was the B-29 bomber. To a large extent, the technology enabling Japan's defeat was the B-29 bomber.

There has been mountains of bogus material written about the ethics of the atomic bombing of Japan. Those arguments are mostly nonsense (moonbat whining). Japan would not surrender until most of her cities were destroyed and a significant fraction of her male population killed. In the end, the brutally pragmatic William T. Sherman / Curtis LeMay mindset towards war was the correct strategy, i.e. victory is achieved only after a specific number of people have been killed. One does not win wars by "giving peace a chance" or "drawing red lines".

If there was a real scandal concerning our victory against Japan, it was that an actual Normandy style invasion of the home islands was even contemplated. I understand that we had to present that possibility to Japan as a bluff to encourage their surrender. However given what we experienced after Iwo Jima and Okinawa, to have actually invaded the Japanese home islands would have an egregious act of military incompetence and resulted in thousands of young American men dying unnecessarily. In the end, the only practical way to bring Japan to surrender was either to frighten Japan's leaders to surrender through use of nuclear weapons or burn the whole country down to the ground through B-29 air power.

As an aside, I strongly recommend the following book concerning the Battle of Iwo Jima:

"Iwo: Assault on Hell" by James F. Christ

This book can be purchased from AbeBooks as a paper back for $16.41. It can also be bought from Amazon as a Kindle for $3.99 . However I prefer paper so the AbeBook version was a better bet.

Christ's book was a "worm's eye view" of history where he collected first hand experiences of USMC infantrymen fighting against the Japanese. They went through an incredibly horrible experience to achieve well deserved victory on Iwo Jima. Very few of them were not wounded in both body and spirit. After you read that book, you will realize that invading the Japanese home islands Normandy style was not an option.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thousands?

Your words are logical; I take exception only to that number.

Responsible estimates of the cost of invasion of the Japanese home islands is more on the order of a MILLION U.S./Allied service personnel KILLED and wounded. And several million dead Japanese, by CONVENTIONAL weapons - bullets, grenades, artillery, conventional bombs, disease and exposure after the destruction of shelter and food.

And yet idiots who condemn the use of a couple of fission bombs that killed an estimated COMBINED total of 100,000 Japanese, seem to be generated by the action of sunlight on stagnant water.

By comparison, the battle for Okinawa – just months before the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings – killed 77 THOUSAND Japanese military personnel AND 100 THOUSAND civilians. Not conjecture; Fact.

Only an insane person could argue that a conventional invasion would have been objectively better.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
" However ... to have actually invaded the Japanese home islands would have an egregious act of military incompetence and resulted in thousands of young American men dying unnecessarily. In the end, the only practical way to bring Japan to surrender was either to frighten Japan's leaders to surrender through use of nuclear weapons or burn the whole country down to the ground through B-29 air power."

I think this puts things in a somewhat wrong light. Unless you can put boots on the ground you can't change the form of government, and 'wrong kind of government' was the main reason for the war in the Pacific. While it would have been possible to reduce the whole of Japan to smoking rubble from the air -- LeMay estimated that by fall 1945 his air force would be out of targets -- experience in the island campaign suggested that that alone would NOT lead to surrender.

There were almost no Japanese survivors of our early island victories and even at the end they were a small to modest fraction, the rest choosing suicide. Wives and girlfriends of garrison Japanese often threw themselves from cliffs. There's no reason to think that the home islands would have been much different and toward the end of the war Japanese civilians were being trained to fight with bamboo spears. They still had quantities of small arms, they were building a fleet of plywood suicide bomb boats.

The Shinto religion glorified death in battle. (Our soldiers were held in contempt because we DID surrender when effective resistance was no longer possible.) There was no real chance of a general pragmatism leading to surrender.

There were two main parties to Japanese war decision making: The emperor Hirohito, considered a god, but largely out of operational decisions and the War Cabinet, dominated by militarists who ran the show right to the very end.

Japan won exactly one battle in the whole war -- Pearl Harbor. The Japanese public, however, heard nothing but stories of victories. Even near the end when they were told to expect invasion they were told that their duty was to die for the emperor; there was no rebellion against this.

Unless we had been prepared to burn every structure and allow the survivors to starve -- basically sterilize the home islands with a wartime population >70 million -- our choice was between convincing the Japanese government to surrender and an invasion in which we could expect huge numbers of casualties. I think the estimates were 250,000 allied casualties during the landings and about that number of deaths by the time the islands were taken. When the atomic bombs were dropped (August 6 & 9?) planning was already underway for an invasion in December.

The militarists were not deterred by the atomic bombs. The younger officers in particular talked of fighting to the last man.

However following the second bomb, the emperor told the War Cabinet that they must surrender and recorded an edict to the Japanese people. The recording was smuggled out of the palace for broadcast the following day. The young officers made an attempt to find and destroy it but were unsuccessful.

The Japanese people were told "The war has developed not necessarily to our advantage ..." Coming from their divine emperor the command to cease resistance was obeyed without serious question.

Perhaps had the emperor not done so -- had he been overpowered by some of the militarists or died somehow -- the War Cabinet would have reversed itself as the destruction continued. But we don't know that and without the voice of their god to say 'surrender' there would certainly have been significant resistance.

Truman's decision to drop the bombs was right, doubtless saving MILLIONS of lives. But only when it happened did we know that it made invasion unnecessary. I don't think we could have stomached burning and starving nearly all of 70 million people to avoid a couple million casualties of our own. An invasion costing us two million casualties could hardly have cost poorly armed but fanatical Japanese less that ten times that but even 20 million would have been better than killing essentially all of them.

Throughout the 20th century there were claims that air power alone could win wars. It never happened. Japan could have been the exception and militarily perhaps that would have been preferable. War, however, is politics by another means and I don't think a 'kill them all' strategy would have gained any desirable political end.

The Emperor Hirohito, a renowned marine biologist, was like any good scientist, pragmatic. The western nations owe him much for that critical decision. I wonder if we have the equal anywhere in the U.S. government today.

What would Obama do?



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11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nutherguy said:

"Japan won exactly one battle in the whole war -- Pearl Harbor."

Let's be serious. What about the Philippines, Malaysia/Singapore, most of eastern China including Shanghai? Japan's conquest of Malaysia and Singapore was a tactical masterpiece.

Japan actually had the Pacific region mostly in the bag but then she over reached and attacked American territory.

Japan's basic strategy to victory was quite simple: Conquer European Pacific colonies and failed states like Manchuria and the Republic of China. Then finish up by conquering New Zealand and Australia. Dividing the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany was optional and possibly unwise. Where the Japanese leadership needed to show discipline was to ignore Roosevelt's economic provocations, not attack American assets and allow American moonbat isolationists to dictate foreign policy. We (the United States) would have been in the incredibly shameful situation of sitting on the sidelines while the population of Australia and New Zealand were being enslaved and slaughtered. Fortunately the Japanese got caught up in their own nationalist propaganda (odd how that always seems to happen) and opted to be suicidally stupid.

This thread has expired so this will be my last comment.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
THANK YOU, for correcting my error about the early Japanese victories. Since I can't excuse it, I won't try.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
What would Obama do?

That's easy: he'd surrender. I don't even need to know much about the circumstances of the scenario to predict that. He's so opposed to everything America used to be about that he would gladly surrender to any foe that came our way. He'd hang his head down in shame for all the horrors that America had allegedly inflicted on the attacker - you know, the really evil stuff like Coca Cola - and shake his finger at us for having inflicted so much capitalism/imperialism against the noble non-American cultures. He'd borrow Jeremiah Wright's words about the chickens coming home to roost and gloat at how we were finally getting our just desserts for our evil, racist ways.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eggplant,

100% correct.

The first bombs' location - Hiroshima - was chosen because it was a 3 hour drive from Tokyo.
The IJS could easily have motored there and seen the destruction.

They did not. They simply didn't seem to believe the reports that the Americans possessed a weapon that a single bomber could use that would completely destroy a military target. Hiroshima produced weaponry and supplies for the Japanese.

They had THREE DAYS to go there. They CHOOSE not to go there.

So, unfortunately, we Americans had to bomb a second military target.

That was enough to get the attention of the Japanese God-Emperor who
realized the military clique would destroy his entire country if he did nothing.

The entire onus is on the Japanese. They decided to attack us during the
middle of PEACE talks. Somehow the moonbats never seem to mention
that. To them it was the 'peaceful Japanese' who were doing nothing wrong
at all and we evil Americans decided to murder hundreds of thousands of
civilians on a couple of nice summer days.

Well, they choose in the 60's and 70's to 'study war no more'. Their ignorance
is showing and they are too intellectually dishonest to admit it.

11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The entire onus is on the Japanese. They decided to attack us during the
middle of PEACE talks. Somehow the moonbats never seem to mention
that. To them it was the 'peaceful Japanese' who were doing nothing wrong
at all and we evil Americans decided to murder hundreds of thousands of
civilians on a couple of nice summer days.


Actually, it may be worse than that. A few years back, we had a kid show up on our WW II forum saying that his teacher had told him that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor because they were angry over the racist internment of Japanese Americans. He wanted to know more about that. We were all shocked that anyone could have it so backwards. I still don't understand how any teacher could be that ignorant - or that dishonest - and still have a job teaching.

I shudder to think how widespread such mis-education may be.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with what you say, but there were alternatives to an invasion and they were in work.

In the book Superfortress, by Bill Yenne, Curtis Lemay pointed out that at the time of the A-bombings he was in the process of bringing the USAAF’s European heavy bomber force over to assault Japan as well. The RAF was planning to come as well, and were modifying their Lancaster bombers for longer range flights. They would have been based on Okinawa and eventually on Kyushu, the first target of the invasion forces in the home islands. Nukes or not, Lemay planned to leave scarcely a structure standing in Japan.

And in one of the What If books a short piece describes how a blockade combined with increased air attacks would have occurred. The RR network in Japan, headed to the southern areas, was limited to a couple of lines running through some rough terrain. It would have been absurdly easy for USAAF and USN airpower to eradicate those rail lines. Combined with mining of the harbors and submarine and air attacks on the Japanese intercoastal transports and fishing fleet, food distribution would have been almost impossible. The nation of Japan would have starved to death, with too few people surviving to repopulate. I can imagine American Nisei coming over to recolonize Japan.

The alternative to the atomic attacks, full fledged invasion or not, was far more horrible than what actually occurred.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sigh. The button warriors.

Just how much of the German homeland was OCCUPIED by Allied troops before their final surrender? Their cities were rubble, their transportation network was rubble, the tiny bit of war output they had from their underground factories was being "deployed" with horse-drawn carts - yet they did not surrender until troops were standing on the majority of their territory.

Strategic bombing, naval blockade - essential components for victory, yes. But NOT what will compel surrender. (Unless you are contemplating complete nuclear genocide. Hard to get a surrender from a dead person, though.)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's hard to compel surrender from a lunatic. Until the last day or so of his life, Hitler continued to believe that various military formations would come to his rescue, even though most of those formations existed only on paper at that point, having been demolished by the Red Army. Only when he finally realized all was lost and that he faced imminent capture did he commit suicide. Even then, he announced a successor, Admiral Donitz, and expected him to continue the war.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Again, I urge people to read: "Iwo: Assault on Hell" by James F. Christ.

The general officer commanding Japanese forces on Iwo Jima was Tadamichi Kuribayashi. He was a military genius and understood American military doctrine (he actually lived briefly in the United States). He had his forces situated deep underground in tunnels that were immune from naval and aerial bombardment. Prior to invasion, the United States Navy plastered the whole island with 16 inch cannon bombardment but doing so had almost no effect.

General Kuribayashi cleverly had all of his mortars and artillery pre-registered. Hidden spotters were linked by telephone lines to mortar and artillery crews to call in the coordinates of USMC concentrations to be precisely targeted. Kuribayashi had machine guns set up in spider holes with overlapping fields of fire. The spider holes were accessible underground by tunnels. Kuribayashi had forbidden standard Japanese suicide tactics like bansai charges. The Marines on Iwo Jima were constantly wondering when the Japanese would do their usual suicide charge so the Marines could mow them down once and for all. However it almost never happened. Kuribayashi did not buy into the standard bushido stupidity. He specially ordered his men to kill 10 American soldiers before they were killed themselves. If all of Japan's generals had been as smart as Kuribayashi, we might have had double or triple casualties before achieving victory.

Key point: The Japanese military command realized after Iwo JIma that Kuribayashi's tactics were correct. Japanese military command would have adopted Kuribayashi's tactics to defend the home islands with the result that the United States would have had unacceptable casualties. After the Kuribayashi learning experience, forcing Japan's surrender through boots-on-the-ground was longer an option.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The following link about Tadamichi Kuribayash is interesting:

http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=21

Many comments at the linked site are insightful and worth reading (particularly the last one).
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bombardment was supposed to bring them to surrender then? Did not work on Iwo, as you just noted.

Military units (from an individual soldier to an army corps) can be forced into surrender when in a hopeless situation; more often than not, they will surrender.

Political units, on the other hand, will hold on even in the most hopeless of situations - so long as their leaders are alive and free, and cannot see a guarantee of death or prison if they do not give in.

The atomic bombs did not cause Japan to surrender by destroying their ability to resist, or the will of those currently in power to resist - their shock value, though, gave other political elements (particularly the Emperor) the wedge they needed to remove them from power. Absent that, boots would have needed to hit the ground. (Or a long period of starvation, as noted, would have been needed - something that would probably have been equally disastrous as the million+ casualties, from the viewpoint of our political leaders. Which, as I noted, would still not have forced the political leaders to surrender - just made them irrelevant, without any people TO lead.)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
By the way, in the excellent novel of the invasion of Japan, The Burning Mountain, by WWII USAAF pilot Alfred Coppel, there is a scene that is especially memorable.

The Japanese leadership tell their men that the Americans are soft and will not be able to stomach the carnage that will come. A Japanese pilot takes off to make a quick recon, sees what the invasion force consists of, and is shocked. Then he thinks, “They fill the sea with ships and the skies with aircraft. Will such people be repulsed by carnage or angered by it?”

We have not yet let the Islamics see that side of us.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great book. I second the recommendation.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
We have not yet let the Islamics see that side of us.

That's what I keep saying. The merest demonstration I suspect would be enough. And if not, shrug.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
They simply haven't hit us hard enough to make us mad enough to really hit back.

11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
They are confident in our leadership...
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nothing good happens while Obama occupies the White House. American moonbats aligned with Islamic fascism are a diabolical symbiosis (Yin and Yang).
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not to quibble too much but I think the USN's submarine campaign was also instrumental in reducing Japan's ability to fight. Granted, you were talking about breaking the Japanese which submarines could only contribute towards very indirectly.
11 weeks ago
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11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The airfield in Torrance CA is named after him. I got my pilot's license there.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I flew in and out of there a few times. The approach over LA Harbor and the Vincent Thomas bridge is spectacular.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Back in the early 80's we would call in over LA Harbor and the tower would tell us to report when we were over the Thomas Bridge. Then when we reported at the bridge they would tell us to report when we were over the Union 76 sign, an enormous circular lighted sign on the hill past the bridge.

Then they tore down the sign. The tower would tell us to "Report where the Union 76 sign used to be." Eventually, they realized that was rather absurd and changed that to "Report the Harbor Freeway."
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
From a Tar Paper Shack (on acreage!) in Torrance...
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703514904575602540345409292?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_LeadStoryNA&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052748703514904575602540345409292.html%3Fmod%3DWSJ_LifeStyle_LeadStoryNA

The Wall Street Journal gives over almost its entire Friday Journal section front today to Laura Hillenbrand's upcoming biography of Louis Zamperini, the 93-year-old war hero and star Olympic athlete of the 1930s who grew up in the South Bay and lives in Los Angeles. Random House is looking for a repeat of Hillenbrand's 2001 bestseller, "Seabiscuit," printing 250,000 copies to begin. "We're positioning it as the big book for the holidays," a Barnes and Noble buyer says in Steve Oney's article in the Journal. It's quite a piece, about Zamperini's life story, his emotions on reading the book, and his bond with Hillenbrand, the author who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome so debilitating that she never came to California to meet her subject. "I skipped my shower today in order to have the strength to do this interview," she told Oney. Except from the WSJ:

With a fringe of white hair poking out from under a University of Southern California baseball cap and blue eyes sharp behind bifocals, 93-year-old Louis Zamperini refuses to concede much to old age. He still works a couple of hours each day in the yard of his Hollywood Hills home, bagging leaves, climbing stairs and, on occasion, trimming trees with a chainsaw. His outlook is upbeat, even rambunctious.

"I have a cheerful countenance at all times," he says. "When you have a good attitude your immune system is fortified."


But as he plunged into "Unbroken," Laura Hillenbrand's 496-page story of his life, the happy trappings of his current existence fell away....

Unbroken" details a life that was tumultuous from the beginning. As a blue-collar kid in Southern California, Mr. Zamperini fell in and out of scrapes with the law. By age 19, he'd redirected his energies into sports, becoming a record-breaking distance runner. He competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin where he made headlines, not just on the track (Hitler sought him out for a congratulatory handshake), but by stealing a Nazi flag from the well-guarded Reich Chancellery. The heart of the story, however, is about Mr. Zamperini's experiences while serving in the Pacific during World War II.


For 25 months in such infamous Japanese POW camps as Ofuna, Omori and Naoetsu, Mr. Zamperini was physically tortured and subjected to constant psychological abuse. He was beaten. He was starved....Mr. Zamperini was singled out by a sadistic guard named Mutsuhiro Watanabe, known to prisoners as "the Bird," a handle picked because it had no negative connotations that might bring down his irrational wrath. The Bird intended to make an example of the famous Olympian. He regularly whipped him across the face with a belt buckle and forced him to perform demeaning acts, among them push-ups atop pits of human excrement. The Bird's goal was to force Mr. Zamperini to broadcast anti-American propaganda over the radio. Mr. Zamperini refused....


This all came rushing back when Mr. Zamperini first sat down with a copy of "Unbroken" last month. "As I was reading," he says, gesturing with an arm to a peaceful vista of palm trees outside his house, "I had to look out that picture window from time to time to make sure that I wasn't still in Japan. When I got to the end I called Laura and told her she'd put me back in prison, and she said, 'I'm sorry.' "


http://billygraham.org/story/louis-zamperinis-story-of-survival-and-redemption/
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hear they are making a movie of it.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am Facebook illiterate:

Ronnie Lott gave tribute to Louis:

https://www.facebook.com/RonnieLott

But how does one link to that specific post so it will remain relevant over time?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
deano41: "I'm sorry SB. As much as I respect your opinions and writing, I cannot follow your advice. I think part of the reason obama got elected was because of the "Send them a message" crowd staying home and not voting"

At some point, the thought has crossed the minds of millions -- literally millions -- of US citizens that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for -- EVIL!

The presence of the Contingent Voter has been obvious since Reagan won big by drawing in many new voters, and was reinforced when tens of millions who voted for Ross Perot declined to vote for a left-wing RINO in subsequent elections.

The problem is the Institutional Republicans. They have been given very clear lessons that they could win any election simply by running candidates who are in tune with the people and will genuinely work to reduce the currently excessive scope of government. And the Institutionals have consistently refused to learn that lesson. They would rather serve in Big Government Hell than reign in Limited Government Heaven.

Continuing to vote for unreformed Institutionals is like plying an alcoholic with beers.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"And the Institutionals have consistently refused to learn that lesson"

It's not that - not at all. It's that the ones you call "institutionals" fear US more than they fear the Left.

Of course, it's obvious that Nixon 1972, Reagan 1980/84, and yes, Perot 1992 tapped into voting blocs big enough to turn any election. But the Left, and the "institutionals", don't want those people voting, and if they do vote, want them split by phony issues into opposing camps.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bumper sticker seen today:
"So if we keep voting for the lesser of two evils,
when do we get less evi?"
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Mayor of Murietta (who has an Hispanic name) said they are going to keep complete records of all the costs and hours this invasion will cost his city, and send them to DC.

...with no expectation whatsoever of getting any compensation for, or even acknowledgement of the disaster being visited upon them.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pete Wilson tried billing the feds 3 billion costs in medical bills accrued to the state for just 1 year. The predictable result was the closure of hundreds of hospitals state wide. At least he kept some records of expenses. Until states have the guts to withhold payments nothing will come of it.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
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