In actuality, intercepting ballistic missiles, in spite their fantastic speed, is an exceedingly easy targeting solution. Indeed, the US obtained skin on skin hits with the ancient Nike Zeus system, using a mechanically scanned radar, as far back as 1962. The reason why the targeting solution is that a ballistic missile, once launched, follows an entirely predictable, parabolic arc, so that radar and computer systems working in concert can predict where that missile or warhead will be at any given moment with fantastic accuracy. This does not deal with the matter of penetration aids, obviously, but as a basic technology, missile defense has never been terribly difficult, in spite of the speeds involved.
In many respects, these rickety short range missiles fired into Israel represent a more difficult targeting solution than do long range ICBMs, even if these short range missiles are much shorter ranged. But it is that shorter range that makes them difficult to intercept, short range means short flight time and less time for defenses to react. Many of these short range missiles have a flight time of only 2 or 3 minutes. In addition, because they are so flimsy, the often start falling apart in flight, providing a sort of penetration aid to target in the form of debris that can fool the radars into mistaking false targets for the real ones. Flimsiness can also result in deviations from the ballistic flight path, which means accuracy is non-existent, but makes defense all the more difficult (Hamas doesn’t care how inaccurate their missiles are, so long as they land in Israel and kill Jews).
So it is not a mean feat when Iron Dome engaged and defeated fifteen Qassam rockets simultaneously – and from the same battery. Boo yah!
Regarding some of that old missile defense technology, which they used to call ABM (anti-ballistic missile):
Something more recent – MRBMs have a range of about 1000 miles. BTW, the Soviets, errr…..Russians, are now in violation of the 1987 INF treaty by testing the SS-26 ‘Stone’ medium range theater ballistic missile.
If I were President, I would wallpaper the country with these things. Defense is inherently moral, offense much more problematic.
Which it’s our birthday, precious……. August 25, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Bible, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, Holy suffering, persecution, silliness.
……..and we are this many……..
1 Unto the end, for the sons of Core, to give understanding.
2 We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us,
The work thou hast wrought in their days, and in the days of old.
3 Thy hand destroyed the Gentiles, and thou plantedst them: thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.
4 For they got not the possession of the land by their own sword: neither did their own arm save them.
But thy right hand and thy arm, and the light of thy countenance: because thou wast pleased with them.
5 Thou art thyself my king and my God: who commandest the saving of Jacob.
6 Through thee we will push down our enemies with the horn: and through thy name we will despise them that rise up against us.
7 For I will not trust in my bow: neither shall my sword save me.
8 But thou hast saved us from them that afflict us: and hast put them to shame that hate us.
9 In God shall we glory all the day long: and in thy name we will give praise for ever.
10 But now thou hast cast us off, and put us to shame: and thou, O God, wilt not go out with our armies.
11 Thou hast made us turn our back to our enemies: and they that hated us, plundered for themselves.
12 Thou hast given us up like sheep to be eaten: thou hast scattered us among the nations.
13 Thou hast sold thy people for no price: and there was no reckoning in the exchange of them.
14 Thou hast made us a reproach to our neighbours, a scoff and derision to them that are round about us.
15 Thou hast made us a bye-word among the Gentiles: a shaking of the head among the people.
16 All the day long my shame is before me: and the confusion of my face hath covered me.
17 At the voice of him that reproacheth and detracteth me: at the face of the enemy and persecutor.
18 All these things have come upon us; yet we have not forgotten thee: and we have not done wickedly in they covenant.
19 And our heart hath not turned back: neither hast thou turned aside our steps from thy way.
20 For thou hast humbled us in the place of affliction: and the shadow of death hath covered us.
21 If we have forgotten the name of our God, and if we have spread forth our hands to a strange god:
22 Shall not God search out these things: for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
*Because for thy sake we are killed all the day long: we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
23 Arise, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, and cast us not off to the end.
24 Why turnest thou thy face away? and forgettest our want and our trouble?
25 For our soul is humbled down to the dust: our belly cleaveth to the earth.
26 Arise, O Lord, help us and redeem us for thy name’s sake.
Interesting that this Psalm – this year! – would be the one in number corresponding to the years of my life. For the Church and so many faithful souls seem to face the same horrible persecutions, the same terrible sufferings as King David describes above.
More and more, we seem to be a bye-word among the Gentiles, a name spoken with reproach. And as is said above, so many Catholics “have forgotten the name of our God, and if we have spread forth our hands to a strange god.”
Oh Lord, have mercy on Your Church! Give us the strength to remain faithful to You in our sufferings, as this Psalm You have given us so beautifully describes. Arise and redeem Your Church! Convert and save all the many troubled souls therein.
For the less discerning:
Imagine, if you can, an aircraft larger than an MD-11, and weighing as much, that could travel over three times the speed of sound, and not just for a brief spurt, as experimental and a few fighter aircraft could do, but for hours at a time. Imagine an aircraft that could conduct its full strike mission from CONUS to the USSR, and back, in 6 hours or less. If you can imagine that, you can understand what an incredible aircraft the North American XB-70 Valkyrie was.
Conceived in the late 1950s as a replacement for the mighty B-52 Stratofortress just then entering squadron service, it was the XB-70 that embodied all of General Curtis E. LeMay’s desired characteristics in an intercontinental bomber. LeMay knew the B-52 would soon be rendered highly vulnerable to rapidly improving Soviet air defenses. LeMay also knew that a highly supersonic bomber could make almost any defense extremely difficult and incredibly expensive, even for a country like the FSU that spent almost half its gross domestic product on “defense.” It was predicted that the B-70, possessing extremely capable electronic countermeasures and even hypersonic defensive missiles shaped like little flying saucers, would be able to penetrate any defense the Soviets could conceive.
However, the B-70 program ran into two enemies it could not overcome: the intercontinental ballistic missile, which supposedly rendered the manned bomber obsolete, and the intransigent hatred of Robert Strange McNamara for both manned bombers in particular and the Strategic Air Command in general. McNamara was convinced that ICBMs were far, far cheaper than manned bombers, even if ICBMs had numerous limitations and were very vulnerable themselves (the whole bomber-ICBM debate, which ties in deeply with the ICBM-missile defense debate, would take several very looong posts to unpack. Suffice it to say, what most people “know” regarding the supposed invulnerability of ICBMs, the high vulnerability of high-altitude high speed bombers, and the claimed inefficacy of missile defense is all completely, totally wrong). It turned out, as usual, that McNamara was massively wrong: while individual missiles were cheaper than individual bombers, by the time one added in the cost of super-hardened missile silos, the incredibly elaborate and redundant command and control systems needed to manage an ICBM fleet, maintaining complicated missiles in cramped holes in the ground, etc for a very long time, bombers are actually quite a bit cheaper. But McNamara and his Kennedy/Johnson allies had the whip hand, and the B-70 program was reduced to a technology demonstrator.
But what a demonstrator it was! The first XB-70 was pretty limited – it could fly at Mach 3, but had some structural problems that limited it, eventually, to less than M2.5. But the second XB-70, incorporating many improvements, could cruise at well above Mach 3 and nearly 80,000 ft as long as the fuel lasted (which was quite a while). A number of 5 hour missions were flown with most of that time being spent above Mach 3.
Well, as always on Friday, I have run out of time. The videos below are only pretty good, they give some great footage but do repeat the prevailing, and erroneous, orthodoxy regarding the supposed vulnerability of the B-70 to surface-to-air missiles. That vulnerability was always greatly overstated for political purposes. Maybe more on this next week. The B-70 was a pivotal program at a pivotal time, and tied in so many issues related to strategic offense and defense that one post cannot even begin to do it justice.
Know that improved, production versions of the B-70 were to fly as fast as M3.5 and at altitudes nearing 100,000 ft. If you know anything about surface-to-air missiles, you know there are almost none that would have a capability to engage a target that high and fast, and that any such missile that could be developed to do so would require such awesome capabilities as to be nearly as expensive as the bomber itself. And, the bomber can shoot back.
Pretty good overview from Discovery Wings:
Testing was not without problems. The landing gear locked up on one early flight, resulting in a dangerous fire and a quite grave situation:
The B-70 testing program was brought to an end because of a really preventable tragedy on a publicity flight. GE wanted to get video footage of a bunch of GE-powered planes (which the XB-70 was), but Joe Walker flew his F-104 into the wake turbulence of the XB-70, his aircraft flipped over the back of the Valkyrie removing both vertical fins, with the result of two men dying and two aircraft lost, including one irreplaceable one. God rest his soul, Chuck Yeager said Walker was always a lousy formation pilot (for all his great aviation achievements and records set), and never should have been on that flight:
Below, the Standard Aircraft Characteristics of the initial B-70 production version. Note test aircraft routinely exceeded Mach 3 and approached 80,000 feet.
Wow, that lede almost started out like a really bad personal ad.
So, I while back I broached the idea of getting a group of men together to give some witness outside some of the many “gentlemen’s clubs” (what a ludicrous euphemism) in this Diocese of Dallas. The hope was to find 8 or 10 men willing to do so, to have a large enough group to hopefully insure at least 3 or 4 men would be able to participate on any given night. I think 3 or 4 is the minimum number for safety. I hoped to maybe make this a monthly or bi-weekly effort, and if it grew, possibly more frequently.
However, my initial request only netted two responses from locals. I do thank you gentlemen profusely for your willingness to take a stand and remind men of their marriage vows, the perversity of such places, and the denigration of women that occurs therein. Unfortunately, I don’t think 3 is going to be enough to make a start of this.
So I am asking local men, you don’t have to be Mater Dei parishioners, to strongly consider taking some really concrete action to oppose the growing immorality of our times. There are so many reasons to take this one small action. First and foremost, there are souls at stake. Secondly, these places are gateway drugs for much more advanced immorality – not just drunkenness transitioning to hard drug use and addiction (most “dancers” are addicts), but also from parading one’s naked body to out and out prostitution. Thirdly, these places were some of the first public occurrences of really lewd and lascivious behavior that became legal under ludicrous interpretations of ideas such as “freedom of expression.” I can’t think of a better place to start rolling back the culture of death. Fourth, we all like to think we are very good and holy and just doing all we can for ourselves, our families, and our communities, but is that really the case?
These places are a cancer on the whole culture. You may not think these kinds of places have any bearing on you and your family, but you are mistaken. They discolor and disorder the entire culture. The very existence of these places is an offense against God, His Church, and good morals.
I don’t want to belabor the point, but I would find it kind of depressing if I can’t find even 8 or 10 other men to join me in trying to give some peaceful, prayerful witness outside these establishments. I know we will experience 99% rejection and even hostility, but I am also completely confident at least a few souls will be reached if they are reminded how offensive these places truly are.
So please leave a comment or e-mail me! You locals know who I am, by and large. Again, you don’t have to go to Mater Dei (even though, the clubs are less than 10 minutes from many MDers who live in Irving). I pray another 5 or 6 men will step forward to help get this started! I have to believe there are at least that many men who read this blog who care enough to take part and have one night free a month!
Either way, God bless you. Thank you for even listening to my whinge.
PS – I hope you can see how taking part in this activity may not only help the souls of others, but your own.
Please Pray for Father Michael Rodriguez! August 20, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, General Catholic, Latin Mass, manhood, martyrdom, mortification, persecution, priests, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
A little birdie has communicated to me that Father Michael Rodriguez’ situation in the Diocese of El Paso may be increasing in difficulty. There is nothing certain or public, of course, but due to his steadfast proclamation of the Truth and his firm attachment to all Holy Mother Church believes, he has become a veritable pariah among his brother priests in that Diocese. There is a new bishop in El Paso, Mark Seitz, and Bishop Seitz has done a good thing or two in his short time there, but Father Rodriguez’ position remains quite awkward. He is still serving in the furthest possible extremity of the Diocese in Presidio, Candelaria, and his “home” in Shafter.
Probably many readers have a list of priests they pray for. Or perhaps you pray for all priests. And I’m also confident many of my good readers already maintain Fr. Rodriguez in your prayers, but on the off chance you don’t, please pray for this good and holy priest who has done so much to bring the great Tradition of the Church to many starving souls. I cannot go into detail, but some of the things I’m being told are quite dark, quite worrisome. So please keep him in your prayers!
Thank you and God bless you!
Below, a few videos from Father Rodriguez. He hasn’t been making any lately, and there is, of course, a reason for that.
I do miss hearing from good Father Rodriguez! Maybe he could join the Fraternity (but I won’t hold my breath):
By the way, you can help Father Rodriguez, JMJHF productions, and many other good Catholic resources by supporting the Saint Vincent Ferrer Foundation. They provide a great deal of assistance to Father Rodriguez, some Carmelite monks associated with his apostolate, and other good works. This is a tax deductible foundation.
Flightline Friday – The Great F-14 Tomcat August 15, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society.
Oh I wish I had time to write all I could tell on this, the first of the fourth generation fighters to enter service, worldwide. Fourth generation fighters differed from the preceding 3rd generation (F-4 Phantom, F-105, etc) in having turbofan (as opposed to turbojet) engines, digital as opposed to analog electronics, more advanced aerodynamics, much improved performance, etc.
The F-14 came about as a result of a crash program to develop a new fleet defense interceptor after the failure of both the F6D Missileer and the “all-service” F-111. The F-111 was originally intended as a long-range deep penetration low-level strike aircraft for the Air Force. Robert Strange McNamara, in one of his many massive blunders as Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson, insisted that the F-111 be used by both the Air Force in its intended role, and by the Navy as their new fleet defense interceptor. Called the F-111B, the aircraft was a huge problem from the start.
For one, it was massively overweight. Designed to haul very heavy strike loads at very low level over a very long range, the F-111’s structure was far too heavy for Navy requirements. That, and General Dynamics generally blundered the design, period. It took about 10 years of in service development before the aircraft was really ready for prime time. That was the mid-70s, when the Navy needed an aircraft in 1965! The F-4 Phantom could sort of perform the fleet air defense role but it had several severe limitations – too short range, poor missiles, a s0-so at best radar…..it was a problem. The F-111B was intended to rectify all those deficiencies, but save for a much better radar and missiles, generally had performance so awful that it simply could not fill the role.
In addition, a little thing called the Vietnam War had started in the interim, from when TFX/F-111 got going (1962), and 1968, when it was realized the F-111B would never do for fleet air defense (it was simply too heavy to operate from the carriers, and had gravely insufficient thrust). The Vietnam War had pointed out a number of other deficiencies in US fighter designs, most notably, a certain lack of maneuverability in the transonic regime, where most air combat took place, and excess weight that made acceleration less than stellar.
By 1968, the Navy needed a new fighter/fleet air defense aircraft, and it needed it NOW. The problem was that the Soviets had built up a huge naval air force of Tu-95 Bear, Tu-16 “Badger,” and Tu-22 “Blinder” bombers that could each carry at least one, and sometimes several, long range anti-ship cruise missiles. This fleet grew greatly over the late 60s and early 70s and made the current air defense systems employed by the Navy tend towards obsolescence. The F-4 couldn’t really cope with the new threat (its radar, for one, could not track and engage multiple targets simultaneously), and the F-111B had turned into a giant flying garbage truck, so something new was needed.
Luckily for the Navy, Grumman stepped into the breech with a highly refined design they had largely developed at their own expense from 1965-1968. When the the F-111B was mercifully euthanized in May 1968, Grumman was given a new contract for a fleet air defense and air superiority fighter based on its model 303. Grumman performed admirably, producing a prototype in only 2 1/2 years (unthinkable today, but something quite possible in the 1960s- The Vought A-7 Corsair II was only 2 1/2 years from start of program to aircraft in service, 1964-1966 ), which took its first flight in December 1970. In spite of a crash of the first prototype on its second flight (see below), development was quick and the first squadrons began equipping with the type in late 1972. The aircraft was in regular fleet service by 1974, and squadrons VF-1 “Wolfpack” and VF-2 “Bounty Hunters,” flying from CVN-65 Enterprise, covered the final American withdrawal from Saigon.
So below some videos of the F-14, including that crash on the second test flight. The F-14A was always underpowered, using the same engines as the F-111, but the F-14B and D versions erased that difficulty with vastly improved F110 engines of 27,000 lbst.
Here is a video that contains cockpit voice recordings of the 1989 incident in which F-14As from the USS Kennedy shot down two Libyan MiG-23:
Discovery Wings episode on the F-14:
Really short Flightline Friday – the father of the F-18 August 8, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, silliness, Society, Victory.
I have no time, but I planned on doing a Flightline Friday today on the Northrop P-600/YF-17 “Cobra,” the plane that competed with the F-16 Fighting Falcon in the 1970s USAF lightweight fighter competition.
This project was started in 1970 as a way to provide a “low end” compliment to the “high end” F-15 Eagle already in advanced development. There has been much ballyhoo about this whole “lightweight fighter” issue, most of it put forward by a small group of not very influential but very media savvy analysts and pilots who called themselves the “fighter mafia.” They took Colonel John Boyd’s revolutionary studies in energy-maneuverability theory and sort of claimed them as their own. As the Vietnam War ground on, and shortcomings in many US aircraft became apparent, these “whiz kids,” none of whom had any experience either designing aircraft or fighting in combat, took it upon themselves to claim that the entire USAF fighter development system was broken and that they were the (only) ones who could fix it.
They claimed USAF brass demanded all kinds of baubles and advanced technologies in their fighters that made them weigh too much and performance suffer. There was some truth to that, there had been a trend in that direction in the late 50s and early 60s, but most of that was simply circumstantial, and not the result of bad planning. For one thing, Eisenhower had demanded a shift towards a “nuke first” type of defense policy, and the armed services responded. There were some problems with aircraft like the F-4 and F-105, they were not meant to be dogfighters and had trouble in that role over Vietnam, where the rules of engagement took the advantage of long range armament possessed by the F-4 in particular away.
But the “fighter mafia” went way, way too far. They wanted such a ludicrously light and cheap aircraft that it could be built it many thousands – maybe even 10,000 of one type. It would have no radar, only a couple Sidewinders and a gun, and would be oriented towards super maneuverability. Range, air-to-ground, everything else would be sacrificed in the single-minded pursuit of ultra-maneuverability. But the USAF already had an aircraft that did just that, the F-104, and it was found to be perfectly worthless. Another unstated assumption of the “fighter mafia” was that, in their desire to compete with Soviet numbers, they would produce such a low-tech aircraft that the USAF would lose thousands of them, and thousands of very expensively trained pilots, in any real war. These LWFs desired by the mafia would have no defense against SAMs or AAA, for instance. They would have been sitting ducks in many cases.
Thankfully, wiser heads at USAF and DoD prevailed, and the LWF was not so stripped down as the fighter mafia desired. There would be room for air-to-ground ordinance and sufficient advanced technology to make the aircraft a valid player in the modern battlefield.
Well, I am out of time, maybe more on Monday, but for now, one of the two LWF competitors, the Northrop YF-17. This aircraft lost the USAF LWF competition, but later won a similar Navy competition and became the F/A-18 Hornet. But USAF’s original concern over the F-17 always remained, even in today’s F/A-18E/F “Super” Hornet – lack of range. But you know that already, don’t you?
Some salient factors regarding the atomic bombings of Japan August 7, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, error, General Catholic, history, Latin Mass, reading, sickness, Society.
I heard a sermon last night that excoriated the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I will admit to being nonplussed more than just a bit, not so much because of the conclusion reached – that the bombings were fundamentally immoral – but with many of the arguments used to reach that conclusion. There are few issues in my life I have studied more than this one, and I wanted to hash out some of bad arguments, for the sake of accuracy and understanding.
What I will do is address some of the common claims made regarding the bombings and US strategic bombing strategy in general, and hopefully add some more context and possibly even refute one or two of the more common errors. Much of the data below comes from Richard B. Frank’s seminal Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire, and Giangreco’s Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-47.
- CLAIM: US Strategic bombing forces deliberately targeted civilians during the course of WWII. Status of claim: Demonstrably False, with a caveat. It was never formal US policy, unlike that of the British, to deliberately engage in “terror bombing” of civiliains. Throughout the war, the US went to great lengths to attack only militarily significant targets. The daylight bombing campaign over Europe is the prime example of this, the US endured horrific losses for the first year and a half of that campaign, refusing to use British night-area bombing tactics in order to be better able to target strictly military targets with the very rudimentary technology available at that time. Given that low level of technology, most bombs missed badly, and many civilian areas were hit, but those hits were incidental, not intentional. Depending on the target, only 0.5% to 0.01% of bombs dropped actually hit the target. US forces did not realize the ratio was quite that bad at the time, only post-war bombing surveys revealed that data. Nevertheless, many thousands of Americans died trying to avoid deliberately targeting civilians. The caveat is regarding the atomic bombings themselves, which I will address later.
- CLAIM: Don’t the night incendiary campaigns over Japan disprove the claim above? Wasn’t that just “terror bombing?” Status of claim: False. Once again, it was never US policy to deliberately target civilians. This nation certainly had the means to inflict massively more civilian casualties in all theaters than it did. Regarding the night incendiary attacks, Japanese industry was a special case. Even today, much of Japanese industry consists of tens of thousands of mom and pop shops making widgets for one larger supplier or another. Many of these only have a few major machine tools, like a mill, a lather, press brake, whatever, or even just one. In WWII, this situation was even more exacerbated. In Tokyo alone there was estimated to be 20-30,000 small machine shops all playing roles in the war industry. Some of these made just a few parts for given weapon, others made hundreds or even thousands of different parts. These shops were scattered all over Tokyo’s “residential” areas, which were actually a mix of residential and light industry (like Irving!). Similar situations applied to lesser degrees in other cities. Individually, these shops did not contribute much to the war effort, but collectively, they constituted between 10-15% of the entire Japanese war industry! But how to attack them? Here special problems entered in. Unlike Europe, Japan was subject to high winds, especially at altitude, that made the kind of high-altitude “precision” bombing done in Europe utterly untenable (the winds tending to scatter the bombs hither and yon). This was tried for many months with dismal results. It was Curtis LeMay who introduced the idea of using area incendiary attacks to deal with the highly dispersed Japanese industry. And since incendiary attacks had to be made at low level, it was decided to switch to night raids in order to give the bombers a chance to survive (Japanese low level defenses being much, much better than their high altitude defenses). Now it was known even at the time that using such tactics would likely result in large civilian casualties, but this was seen as unavoidable due to that dispersed nature of the Japanese war industry. It was certainly not expected that the raid of March 9-10, 1945 on Tokyo would result in a firestorm that killed 100,000 (as many as died, at least from initial effects, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined). That was due to unexpected atmospheric conditions and was not deliberate. Not that many on the US side were upset about that result, and as the incendiary campaign ground on over the summer of ’45 targets of less and less value were struck with more and more bombs, but the results of Tokyo never even came close to being duplicated. As the value/volume of bombing ratio deteriorated, it could be argued that, formal policy notwithstanding, the US was deliberately targeting civilians. That’s an argument one can make on the merits, but involves detailed examination of the evidence beyond the scope of this post.
- CLAIM: What about all those high military officials who claimed to have opposed the atomic bombings after the fact? Status of claim: dubious and self-serving. One can drag out quotes from Eisenhower, MacArthur, Leahy, and a few others in particular claiming – well after the fact, in most cases – that they “opposed” the bombings. Of course, none of them aside from Leahy even lifted a finger to stop them. I also heard a claim that even LeMay opposed the bombings, which is so ludicrous as to be mendacious, possibly even prevaricating. There was never a major US military leader in history that was more willing to use nuclear weapons that Curt LeMay, with the possible exception of his replacement as CINCSAC, Tommy Powers. Both of whom were great men who built up the most awesome fighting force the world has ever seen, but neither had any compunction over the use of nuclear weapons. On Eisenhower, he was thousands of miles from the action and had absolutely no real intelligence on the war in the Pacific. He was busy handling post-war Europe, so his opinion really means little. Eisenhower so disliked nuclear weapons that he later made them the centerpiece of his defense strategy and indicated great willingness to use them. In essence, all these appeals to authority are really meaningless. I could produce more quotes from high military figures supporting the use of the atomic bombs than can be found in opposition. In addition, self-interest entered mightily into these claims. All the Navy and Army guys knew the budget would be slashed after WWII, they knew the Air Force would gain its independence from the Army, and they feared that if the Air Force had this “war winning” weapon, it would get the lion’s share of the budget. Which did, in fact, occur. That led to the “Revolt of the Admirals” in 1948 and all manner of other unpleasantness. But again, appeals to authority are logical fallacies.
- CLAIM: Japan was going to surrender anyways! And requiring “unconditional surrender” was immoral! Status of claim: absolutely false and mostly false. This is really the argument on which all opposition to the atomic bombings hangs. Franks and Giangreco show definitively that the Japanese were nowhere near surrendering prior to the atomic bombings AND Russian entry into the war. It took three shocks and the direct intervention of the Emperor, amounting virtually to a anti-militarist coup, to effect the surrender. Even then it was a close run thing, the militarists almost blocked the Emperor’s surrender speech and dang near put him on ice for the duration of the conflict. The Japanese militarists who ran the country were gearing up for the “mother of all battles” that would leave half a million Americans dead and force the US to leave the militarist clique in power. That was the one real “non-negotiable” the militarists had. And they had the means to do it. The invasion of Japan, by all evidence, would have been the bloodiest fighting the world had seen, period. It would have made Stalingrad and Berlin look like walks in the park. As for the peace feelers sent out when the war turned against them, sure, they hoped the Soviet Union might somehow broker a favorable settlement, but that was really just wishful thinking. So long as the militarists insisted on remaining in power, a negotiated surrender was never going to happen. And let me say right now, the US never intended to remove the Emperor, and hinted strongly to the Japanese early on, that so long as the Emperor gave up his quasi-militarist ways (he had kind of gotten drawn into the weird eastern fascist bushido cum gladiator sickness that pervaded the whole of pre-war Japanese society – read John Toland’s The Rising Sun) he would remain as a figurehead. So the demand for “unconditional surrender” came down to the adamant refusal on the part of the Allies to allow the militarists to remain in power. Given that they had started the whole mess, that was not an unreasonable demand. Had the militarists been allowed to remain in power, there would almost certainly have been a WWIII with a nuclear armed Japan by 1965 or so. The whole bushido death cult demanded Japan’s military culture have world suzerainty, much like Nazism desired. But it can be argued that the willingness to keep the Emperor in place was never communicated clearly or well enough to reassure the Japanese (that’s because there was huge division in the US government over how he would behave and whether he could be “demilitarized”), and that the Potsdam Declaration demanding unequivocal, unconditional surrender was a massive, even immoral, mistake.
- CLAIM: But couldn’t the Allies simply have maintained a blockade or invaded, and wouldn’t that have been more humane? Status of claim? Are you drunk? These two really get to me, and they are closely tied to number 3 above. Each military service believed it had the way to win the war in the best way possible. The Army wanted invasion, the Navy blockade, and the Air Force bombing. All had grave problems but also substantial merits on their side. When you hear those quotes from Halsey or Leahy stating the atomic bombings were unnecessary, what you don’t read is the second part of the sentence, wherein they state that blockade would have done Japan in a few months, anyways (a highly dubious claim). Same for the army guys. But at what cost? Invasion would have resulted in hundreds of thousands if not millions of Japanese dead and tens if not hundreds of thousands on the Allied side. When I say that this invasion would have been a nightmare, believe me, it would have. It would have combined all the worst possible elements of the other options. First of all, it was planned to “prep” the landing sites with atomic bombs. Didn’t know that, didya? Second, poison gas was going to be used in abundance. The US had found it was hideously expensive to root a few Japanese hiding in some karst caves, and took a really long time. Why not just gas them? Third, a naval blockade of Japan would have been ongoing. So, you really get the worst of all possible worlds. A naval blockade alone could have taken years to starve the Japanese into submission and I fail to see how starving millions to death is morally superior to bombing them. And while all these very long term events are playing out, 100,000 innocent Asians are dying per month at the hands of the Japanese. Plus there were ongoing US casualties which in July ’45 ran at the rate of 7,000 per week. So even if the initial invasion of Kyushu somehow shocked the Japanese into surrender on 1 Nov ’45, 300,000 more Asians would have died (and the US incurred 84,000 more casualties) than occurred with the way the war ended in reality. Thus, the atomic bombings ended the war with by far the fewest casualties possible. They may have been immoral, but they have that fact on their side.
- CLAIM: Anti-Catholic protestants in the government bombed Nagasaki because they hate Catholics (Nagasaki being the ancestral home of Catholicism in Japan). Status of claim: False. The original target on 080945 was Kokura, not Nagasaki. Nagasaki was on the list for atomic bombings because it had not been bombed much at all. Clouds socked in Kokura (sorry, got my ‘K’ cities mixed up!) so B-29A-40-MO 44-27297 “Bockscar” switched to the alternate target, Nagasaki. A twist of fate resulted in Nagasaki’s destruction, it could just have easily been Kokura.
- CLAIM: Many of the men who flew the atomic bombing missions were afflicted with terrible guilt, most became drunks or suicides. Status of claim: bogus This is a common falsehood trotted out. It is absolutely false. Not even one of the crew ever declared any regrets, nor did any become drunks or commit suicide. Paul Tibbets, Charles Sweeney, the two commanders, and all the rest of the crew were utterly convinced their actions wound up saving countless lives by shortening the war and were proud of what they did. I have met both men personally several times. I have a picture of me with General Tibbets somewhere.
- I thought you said there was a caveat surrounding the atomic bombings? I did. Look, there were many military targets in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki (especially the latter, it was a more legitimate target, 90% of the city’s workforce was involved in war production). The Air Force always argued it was going after those military targets. But that’s pretty weak tea, taking out two entire cities to go after targets that took up perhaps 5-15% of the land area of those cities was pushing things (but, perhaps, still arguable as a way to attack dispersed military targets). Truman had great political instincts. I think he knew the invasion MacArthur wanted so badly would be a bloodbath. Truman had served in combat in WWI and knew war. He was no dummy. He saw the atomic bombs as a way to shock the Japanese into surrender and spare US servicemen the horrors of an invasion. He wanted the war to be over. He knew the Soviets were coming in around Aug 1. So Truman reasoned that the simultaneous Soviet entry into the war, plus the use of this fantastic new weapon that leveled large parts of cities at a time, would shock the Japanese into surrender. And having read so much on the course of the Japanese surrender, those cats were so fanatical even being completely blockaded, bombed to bits, having the Soviets (their one hope for a negotiated surrender) enter the war, and now these bombs -even all that combined BARELY did the trick. Most of the militarists, the officer caste, the Kempeitai secret police (who were everywhere), and even most of the enlisted men would have chosen to fight to a glorious death, even if it meant the death of the Japanese as a people -which it might well could have. But the thing is, I don’t think Truman much cared if a bunch of Japanese civilians had to die to achieve his aim of ending the war as quickly and bloodlessly (for Americans) as possible. I think the vast preponderance of the evidence also indicates the atomic bombings+Soviet entry (overrunning the vaunted (but by then, gutted and obsolete) Kwantung Army in Manchuria in a few days) was by far the most cost-effective way to end the war in terms of lives lost. But a good end cannot come from an evil act, and I think Truman did intentionally kill approximately 100,000 Japanese civilians (the casualty claims from the atomic bombings are frequently grossly exaggerated, certainly 50,000 CIVILIANS died in Hiroshima (+30,000 military) but only about 20-30k in Nagasaki. Those were the immediate deaths, another 20-30 thousand died from longer term nuclear effects) to bring the war to a speedy end. From that standpoint, it was an immoral act to intentionally target civilians, and represented a tragic last minute change to US policy. But given all the mitigating circumstances, I don’t think it was nearly as dastardly or evil as it is often made out to be.
So, this is a pretty quick and dirty analysis. It has some holes, to be sure, but I’ve already spent ~3000 words and that’s too much for a blog post. I could, quite literally, write a book. And mostly from memory.
I will say I have seen it is almost de rigeuer among traditional Catholics to have a visceral hatred of the atomic bombings. Which, OK, but much of that is based on ignorance of a very complex issue. I agree they were immoral, but offset by enormous mitigating circumstances. There is just so much misinformation out there on this topic. Very early on, the Soviets through their many agents in the US stirred up a propaganda campaign in opposition to the bombings and pretending to loathe atomic weapons as immoral devices (this was the period before the Soviets acquired their own atomic device, greatly aided by stolen US designs – designs stolen by commies). That effort morphed over time into one of the left’s sacred shibboleths of hating on the atomic bombings. Being of the left, there are a lot of lousy arguments and false data out there. I have been exposed to many of these erroneous commentaries for decades. This post hopes to correct many of those, but some remain.
One point I hope folks take away from all this, is that the decision to use the atomic bombs or not ultimately came down to one thing: to leave the militarists in power, or not (another alternative of lesser probability is Soviet domination of most of Japan. I wont’ get into that potentiality for now). Invasion and blockade were demonstrably far worse alternatives for all involved. So the issue comes back to negotiated surrender, and the one thing the militarists wanted was power, power to try again, to continue warping and twisting Japanese society according to their sick code, power to to come back and teach the US a lesson it would never forget. Japan would have acquired nuclear weapons under the militarists by the mid-50s, even if Japan suffered severe economic sanctions and had to give up all its ill-gotten territories. Then the world would have faced an even more intractably bizarre and evil Japanese culture, but nuclear armed, and hungry for revenge.
I don’t know how this will be received. I suspect many people won’t care, some will be outraged, some others might find the above enlightening.
We shall see.
Non Sequitur fun – Tank crushes Prius August 6, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, silliness, Society, Victory.
This is just too much fun to resist. Not only am I familiar with the Roadkill series from Hot Rod Magazine, not only do I regard Priuses with a fulminating hatred, but this video features my favorite tank of all time, the British Chieftain. A 55 tonne heavily armoured beast with a 120 mm rifled gun (some weighed more and incorporated Chobham armor), I should do a Fullbore Friday on the Chieftain someday:
Man! That tank said hoof to that Prius!
Chieftains are becoming increasingly popular in the US as collector’s items since they are not American (and not subject to some controls on US military equipment), quite modern, readily available, and not as crushingly expensive as one might think. They are about the most modern and capable tank a civilian can legally acquire (I’m not sure about M-60A3 TTS, for sure, the sophisticated electronics would be removed before a civilian could get one, and without those, the Chieftain is better) The Chieftain was designed in the late 50s but was very advanced (if a bit underpowered) for its day. It was probably the best protected and most well armed tank NATO had until the Leopard II came along. Here is another video of a Chieftain crushing cars – these American mini-vans held up much better than I would have thought!
I don’t know if I have any readers who are Prius drivers/lovers (they tend to be the same), but if so……I do not retract my distaste. I got in trouble with a co-worker over my hatred for Priuseseses……..she’s the kind of gal who can’t stand having people not thinking her decisions are the very best, unquestionable, etc.
That is also the one who ended an 8 year marriage to run off with a woman. Uff da…….
Educational industrial complex silliness, vol. 99899 August 5, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, non squitur, self-serving, silliness, Society.
I saw the bumper sticker in the photo below while driving around Irving on Saturday. Lamar Middle School is a school in Irving. Is it just me, or is this just lame?
“Every child is an honored student at Lamar Middle School.” I get they’re not saying every child is an honor student, but this seems like one of those facile sentiments that try to show “caring” but in a cheap and shoddy way. I have seen these before. They seem to be riffing on the “My child is an honor student at XXXXX XXXXX school stickers.” But I’ve noted they tend to be from schools and districts that don’t produce a tremendous excess of honor students. They used to be pretty common for DISD schools, for instance, before someone got wise that maybe they weren’t conveying quite the right message.
I am a rabid partisan of home schooling, but I do recognize that there are better districts, better schools, and good teachers and administrators. While I have numerous problems with the educational industrial complex especially at the federal/national levels, that is not to denigrate the efforts of those schools and teachers that do try hard. Some of whom even read this blog, so they’ve got to be at least somewhat awesome.
Just some random dystopia for the day.