Saturday, January 05, 2008
The particular one I am going to quote from is Freeman Dyson on whether the Atom Bomb made Japan surrender:
"Facts causing me to change my mind were brought to my attention by Ward Wilson. Wilson summarized the facts in an article, "The Winning Weapon? Rethinking Nuclear Weapons in the Light of Hiroshima", in the Spring 2007 issue of the magazine, "International Security". He gives references to primary source documents and to analyses published by other historians, in particular by Robert Pape and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa. The facts are as follows:
1. Members of the Supreme Council, which customarily met with the Emperor to take important decisions, learned of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, 1945. Although Foreign Minister Togo asked for a meeting, no meeting was held for three days.
2. A surviving diary records a conversation of Navy Minister Yonai, who was a member of the Supreme Council, with his deputy on August 8. The Hiroshima bombing is mentioned only incidentally. More attention is given to the fact that the rice ration in Tokyo is to be reduced by ten percent.
3. On the morning of August 9, Soviet troops invaded Manchuria. Six hours after hearing this news, the Supreme Council was in session. News of the Nagasaki bombing, which happened the same morning, only reached the Council after the session started.
4. The August 9 session of the Supreme Council resulted in the decision to surrender.
5. The Emperor, in his rescript to the military forces ordering their surrender, does not mention the nuclear bombs but emphasizes the historical analogy between the situation in 1945 and the situation at the end of the Sino-Japanese war in 1895. In 1895 Japan had defeated China, but accepted a humiliating peace when European powers led by Russia moved into Manchuria and the Russians occupied Port Arthur. By making peace, the emperor Meiji had kept the Russians out of Japan. Emperor Hirohito had this analogy in his mind when he ordered the surrender.
6. The Japanese leaders had two good reasons for lying when they spoke to Robert Butow. The first reason was explained afterwards by Lord Privy Seal Kido, another member of the Supreme Council: "If military leaders could convince themselves that they were defeated by the power of science but not by lack of spiritual power or strategic errors, they could save face to some extent". The second reason was that they were telling the Americans what the Americans wanted to hear, and the Americans did not want to hear that the Soviet invasion of Manchuria brought the war to an end."
I had generally held to the theory that the Bomb did not shorten the war. Indeed that Truman deliberately used it not for that purpose but to frighten Stalin. At the Potsdam conference Stalin had told Truman that The Japanese wanted to make peace pretty much on unconditional terms except that they wanted to keep their Emperor. Stalin wasn't keen - after all, having promised to attack Japan 3 months after the end of the European war he expected to be able to conquer Manchuria & Korea. Truman's reluctance is more difficult to explain, particularly since he later did allow Hirohito to stay. However if we take it that he was intending to cow the the Russians it is clearer. It should also be remembered that, having spent several billions (1940s billions so multiply by 100s) Congress & public would have crucified them had it never been used,
The Soviet invasion of Manchuria is not well known in the west (I doubt if 1 person in 100 could tell you it happened). Though it only lasted a week it was a massive undertaking involving 40 didvions yet I found it quite difficult to find a serious online history of it. The Soviets, with an army forged in the war with Hitler & tanks designed for that war, engaged in a 1 week land campaign against a Japanese army which, while large, was equipped to take on Chinese guerrillas & whose best tanks were equal to what we had in 1940 ie harmless. In that week they advanced, in places, up to 600km. Just as Soviets did most of the fighting in WW2 & the Anglo/Americans got all the valuable territory (ie western Europe) the Soviets could, for similar geographical reasons, have expected to take the valuable stuff in the east (China, all of Korea & at least half of Japan.
If Stalin also appreciated the role of the Soviet army in causing the surrender it probably explains the Soviet failure to drop to their knees when America used the Bomb.
It is possible to imagine how the world would have gone had the US not used the Bomb & Japan surrendered anyway. Certainly Americans & Brits would have had a beter understanding of the capabilities & problems of the USSR. One thing I have not changed my mind on over the years is that, however bad Stalin's rule may have been, the Cold War was caused by us not him.
I think it is largely the other way round. That the form fillers need "clients" to help & protect if they are to keep their jobs. Ask most families how keen they are to see a social worker on their doorstep.
We live in a society that is enormously richer than any in history. However government, like any parasite, grows as much as its environment will allow & unlike even the worst historical tyrannies, our society can afford smoking police & regulations which increase cost enormously. The new Forth crossing is promised to cost 10 to 100 times what the rest of the world can do it for & houses, which cost the same as a car a century ago, now cost 50 times as much.
This is why the "caring professions" have had to redefine income inequality rather than being poor as "poverty", why so many benefits are closely comparable to the income taxes the "beneficiaries" pay & why, even so, an ever increasing share of government spending is not transfer payments but on regulation or subsidies for useless nostrums like windmills which nobody would pay for with their own money.. I think we can afford a decent safety net for the poor far more easily than we can afford overgovernment.
Friday, January 04, 2008
I was only on for 30 seconds, which is not unreasonable because it was at the end of the programme, but I think I got the point across.
I also put this comment on the Herald
The "environmentalist" movement & in practice most politicians is opposed to any method of producing electricity that actually works.
Coincidentally EON are about to put up electricity prices 10%. This will be denounced by "environmentalists" & most politicians., (but not by a single honest one).
The French produce as much electricity as they want plus as much as they can profitably sell abroad at 1.3p a unit. We could do the same & the responsibility for high electricity prices & 24,000 consequent hypothermia death lies entirely with the eco-fascists & the politicians.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Link to it on http://neilsindex.blogspot.com/
Monday, December 31, 2007
I understand your newspaper is so concerned about accuracy that you are committed to maintaining a section committed to correcting any errors, no matter how small or indeed large.
In that light may I draw your attention to an article run by you on 22nd Feb 2004, which predicted, among other catastrophes:
By 2007 violent storms smash coastal barriers rendering large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable. Cities like The Hague are abandoned. In California the delta island levees in the Sacramento river area are breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to south.I accept that these predictions were published by you to deliberately represent the highest standard of accuracy to be expected from your esteemed paper & indeed the eco-fascist movement as a whole. On the other hand, assuming nothing untoward in the next few hours, it is clearly untrue. May I have your assurance that you will be publishing a correction as prominently as the original lie.
Also may I remind you of the Guardian article of 24th Dec 2006 in which the chief of the Government's environmental research Council, Alan Thorpe, which impartially hands out £300 million a year in research grants, impartially threw down a challenge to any sceptic to debate the claims that we are currently undergoing catastrophic warming.
Alan Thorpe, chief executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, said yesterday he planned to defeat so-called 'deniers', first on-line and later at a public debate.While accepting that his promise to engage in debate represents the very pinnacle of honesty of the warming alarmist movement it is a matter of record that having had his challenge accepted by several people Mr Thorpe has spent the last year incommunicado. I trust you will also be putting an equally prominent article acknowledging his failure to live up to this promise.
'We need, very urgently, to discuss what to do now to mitigate the effects of climate change,' he said. 'Yet a handful of scientists, politicians and writers are still claiming humans are not responsible at all. We have got to kill off this notion so we can get on with the real work: protecting ourselves from future climate change. That is why I am challenging these deniers.
I look forward to seeing both corrections in tomorrow's paper. This will allow the Guardian to at least claim to wish to maintain a standard of accuracy approaching that of my blog rather than being an instrument of eco & other fascist propaganda.
PS Happy New Year
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Prediction Putting my head on the block I predict the Chinese will do something spectacular in space a month either way of the Olympics. Most likely either a permanent space station or soft landing a probe on the Moon. I have no idea what colour the rocket will be painted
Pakistan & law http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2007/12/igniting-pakistani-tinderbox.html