sam on March 25, 2011, 01:39:32 pm
Japs in Okinawa proved they would do it.  Every Japanese soldier died, and a great many of the civilians.

That is probably not true. We took close to 10% of the Japanese force prisoner.

Oh wow!  So only a mere ninety percent of the Japanese soldiers fought to the death.  Hey, nothing fanatical about that.  Clearly a nation that is looking for the opportunity to surrender if asked nicely.  It was a dreadful crime that we failed to ask them nicely enough.

A very large proportion of civilians that lived, lived by fleeing to the US troops from soldiers that were making sure they "committed suicide", and to this day they feel guilty about it, and most of them hate US twice as much because of it.

spudit on March 25, 2011, 01:43:17 pm
The thing with government, I think, is to paraphrase a page from Karl Marx's book. Let it shrink until it withers away. Prune it, starve it and then we'll see.

The trouble, I think, is that it won't wither away until enough people empower themselves to take care of their own problems.

We gotsa learn'em good, but they are comfy where they are. Life on your hind legs is hard, falling down hurts, but their ancestors managed so the potential is there.

I'm not asking for the Roundup just yet, maybe start by cutting off the financial fertilizer.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 05:51:23 pm by spudit »
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sam on March 25, 2011, 02:05:27 pm
Perhaps similarly, Americans argue about the attack on Iwo Jima. Japan had a lot of men defending Iwo Jima, and our Marines marched up and attacked them headfirst, mostly making no attempt to take prisoners which may have stiffened Japanese resistance.

The Australian experience was that a take no prisoners policy actually diminished resistance.  Units collapse when men run away.  Men run away if they think you are going to kill them.

A policy of taking prisoners only benefits the side following that policy if it induces the enemy to surrender while they still have unit cohesion and are still inclined to obey their officers and can still find some officers to obey.  The Japanese rarely surrendered early enough for the policy of taking prisoners to provide any benefit.  To defeat Japanese military units, they had to be broken, and a kill-em-all policy is more intimidating.  The Japanese fought as long as any unit cohesion remained, and sometimes continued to fight even after unit cohesion collapsed.  So, to minimize casualties when defeating Japanese, need to destroy unit cohesion as rapidly as possible, hence, take no prisoners.  Once unit cohesion collapses, killing the remainder of them is cheap and convenient. 

A whole lot of US casualties basicly for nothing, but when it was first planned it seemed like a good idea. Would have been better to skip Iwo Jima and let the Japanese troops there starve alone until after VJ day? There are people who vigorously argue that it was absolutely necessary, or at least that nothing went wrong, because we lost so much they don't want to imagine it could have been a total waste.

An airport can sink an aircraft carrier, but an aircraft carrier cannot sink an airport.  We had to take Iwo Jima because it was an airport.   There was no cost to leaving Japanese troops behind isolated on Islands, with no airstrip, which we did whenever possible, but the cost of leaving behind us Japanese airports would have been unthinkably horrifying, far too terrible for the US public to accept.  We would have been defeated.

Iwo Jima is a natural airport - most of it is a flat plain formed by an eruption of very liquid molten lava, which froze flat as a lake.    It had to be taken.


J Thomas on March 25, 2011, 04:03:01 pm


A whole lot of US casualties basicly for nothing, but when it was first planned it seemed like a good idea. Would have been better to skip Iwo Jima and let the Japanese troops there starve alone until after VJ day? There are people who vigorously argue that it was absolutely necessary, or at least that nothing went wrong, because we lost so much they don't want to imagine it could have been a total waste.

An airport can sink an aircraft carrier, but an aircraft carrier cannot sink an airport.  We had to take Iwo Jima because it was an airport.   There was no cost to leaving Japanese troops behind isolated on Islands, with no airstrip, which we did whenever possible, but the cost of leaving behind us Japanese airports would have been unthinkably horrifying, far too terrible for the US public to accept.  We would have been defeated.

Iwo Jima is a natural airport - most of it is a flat plain formed by an eruption of very liquid molten lava, which froze flat as a lake.    It had to be taken.

This is a controversial question and I don't claim, as you do, to know the correct answer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Iwo_Jima
Quote
None of these calculations played much if any of a role in the original decision to invade, however, which was almost entirely based on the USAAF's belief that the island would be a useful base for long-range fighter escorts. These escorts proved both impractical and unnecessary, and only ten such missions were ever flown from Iwo Jima.[37] Other justifications are also debatable. Although some Japanese interceptors were based on Iwo Jima, their impact on the American bombing effort was marginal; in the three months before the invasion only 11 B-29s were lost as a result.[38] The Superfortresses found it unnecessary to make any major detour around the island.[39] The capture of Iwo Jima did not affect the Japanese early-warning radar system, which continued to receive information on incoming B-29s from the island of Rota (which was never attacked).[40] Some downed B-29 crewmen were saved by air-sea rescue aircraft and vessels operating from the island, but Iwo Jima was only one of many islands that could have been used for such a purpose. As for the importance of the island as a landing and refueling site for bombers, Marine Captain Robert Burrell, then a history instructor at the United States Naval Academy, suggested that only a small proportion of the 2,251 landings were for genuine emergencies, the great majority possibly being for minor technical checkups, training, or refueling.

It looks to me like the Japanese were utterly unable to resupply Iwo Jima, so their ability to launch planes from the airfield was strictly limited. They were not a big threat. Or maybe I'm wrong, it could depend on tiny details I don't know.

I have read from several sources that the initial decision to take Iwo Jima was mostly because the Air Force said they wanted an airfield to do fighter-escorts from. The AAF changed their mind but the planning was already in full swing and went ahead through inertia. But it's possible that other important reasons were found later, and were not particularly discussed since there was no threat the project would be cancelled.

From what I have seen, the preponderance of evidence was that the invasion was a tragic mistake. But that evidence isn't completely overwhelming; there could be secret reasons that would make sense even while the public rationalizations appear to be mostly bullshit.

J Thomas on March 25, 2011, 04:39:43 pm
Perhaps similarly, Americans argue about the attack on Iwo Jima. Japan had a lot of men defending Iwo Jima, and our Marines marched up and attacked them headfirst, mostly making no attempt to take prisoners which may have stiffened Japanese resistance.

The Australian experience was that a take no prisoners policy actually diminished resistance.  Units collapse when men run away.  Men run away if they think you are going to kill them.

Putting aside the argument about whether take-no-prisoners is more pragmatic or less pragmatic, and putting aside any argument about morality, I want to note that you claim the Japanese were fanatical and refused to surrender, and at the same time it was often the case that our side refused to let them surrender. And Japanese officers told their men that the Americans would not let them surrender -- to a large extent correctly.

So I say that "fanatics" is an over-simple explanation. People who believe they will be killed if they try to surrender are likely not to try to surrender. They don't have to be unusually fanatical. Davy Crockett at the Alamo wasn't necessarily a fanatic to fight to death rather than try to surrender to the Mexicans, when the Mexicans had loudly announced they offered no quarter.

Quote
A policy of taking prisoners only benefits the side following that policy if it induces the enemy to surrender while they still have unit cohesion and are still inclined to obey their officers and can still find some officers to obey.  The Japanese rarely surrendered early enough for the policy of taking prisoners to provide any benefit.  To defeat Japanese military units, they had to be broken, and a kill-em-all policy is more intimidating.  The Japanese fought as long as any unit cohesion remained, and sometimes continued to fight even after unit cohesion collapsed.  So, to minimize casualties when defeating Japanese, need to destroy unit cohesion as rapidly as possible, hence, take no prisoners.  Once unit cohesion collapses, killing the remainder of them is cheap and convenient.

It's possible that if we had encouraged japanese surrenders, our psywar guys could have persuaded a lot of them to surrender. This is not currently testable, since we did not try it then and it's too late to try it now. We assumed the Japanese would not surrender and we often killed them when they tried -- sometimes in line with official policy -- and so we got the result we expected. I  understand that the logistics are easier when there is no need to feed or guard POWs, and so it's some ways cheaper and more convenient to slaughter them. I have doubts that this is cheaper and more convenient in the long run, but I'm not ready to argue definitely that it isn't, and maybe it's the best thing sometimes and very bad other times.

Going back to morality -- I would not be surprised if you have a lot of bad dreams. You are living in a waking nightmare, one that's hard to wake up from. It probably affects your night-time dreams too. And yet it might be possible for you to wake up. Human beings can fit a variety of ecological niches, we are not stuck with just one.

When you find yourself thinking about what methods work best for an entirely amoral government that is in no way influenced by vestiges of humanity, you might notice that you do not have to fill that ecological niche. You can be some other kind of person and leave the robot-monster role to somebody else. You can, if you want, look for ways that groups of human-type human beings can stop or avoid the robot-monster-government groups and live well despite them.

Brugle on March 25, 2011, 05:43:55 pm
Most people here in this forum will partly agree with you and then say, but we dont need any government because Wall Street can pave roads, install sewer and water systems, provide disaster assistance and put out fires, and provide medical care better.
Wrong again.  I've followed most of the posts on this forum, and I don't recall anyone saying that Wall Street could or would do any of those things.  The only forumers I remember who support Wall Street have been you and a few other government apologists (since government power is invariably used to benefit the politically powerful, which in the US today means primarily Wall Street).

The entire reason governments exist is so that the big picture decisions can be made by representaives of the people who are elected.
I suppose what you mean is that you can't think of any other reason for government to exist.  The rest of us are not so mentally challenged.  The primary reason governments exist is to enrich those who control them.

So happens so that every person in society doesnt have to spend all of their time trying to figure out how to do everything for themselves.
An organized group figures out power generation and distribution, another does water transportation, filtering and distribution and maybe sewer.
Yes, voluntarily cooperating people can do all that.  No need for aggressive violence.

All of the things that make modern life possible have become so invisible to the government haters that they dont realize what their life would be like without those now-invisible things.
You actually think that All of the things that make modern life possible exist solely because of government aggression?  You can't even imagine people voluntarily cooperating for mutual benefit?  That's very sad.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 05:46:02 pm by Brugle »

J Thomas on March 25, 2011, 08:50:33 pm

The entire reason governments exist is so that the big picture decisions can be made by representaives of the people who are elected.

I suppose what you mean is that you can't think of any other reason for government to exist.  The rest of us are not so mentally challenged.  The primary reason governments exist is to enrich those who control them.

I don't really want to argue teleology, but maybe something else.

It could be argued that the entire reason you exist is your parents' purposes for you. But once you got a life of your own, you developed your own purposes too.

Quadribloc apparently is thinking that the only purpose for government is the good goal he imagines for it. But whatever the purposes the Founding Fathers had when they first created it, every individual cog in the government has his own purpose for it, and influences it. And the government itself takes on a sort of life of its own. The people in it prefer that their lives not be disturbed without strong reason, and their inertia turns into a sort of personality for the government -- it acts as if it cares about self-preservation and expansion.

Complex systems generally develop a life of their own and behave as if they are trying to survive and grow. And whatever purpose other people have for them, the systems' own purposes come first.

I'm not clear what to do about that, beyond notice what's going on, and look for ways to exploit it.

sam on March 26, 2011, 03:38:46 pm
Putting aside the argument about whether take-no-prisoners is more pragmatic or less pragmatic, and putting aside any argument about morality, I want to note that you claim the Japanese were fanatical and refused to surrender, and at the same time it was often the case that our side refused to let them surrender.

There was never a case in which our side refused to let them surrender in a timely fashion.  The problem was that the Japanese never attempted to surrender until things had gone far past the point where our side had anything to gain by accepting surrender - and accepting surrender at that point would merely encourage resistance in the next battle.

And Japanese officers told their men that the Americans would not let them surrender -- to a large extent correctly.

In the battle of Okinawa, the Americans did accept surrender, made it glaringly obvious that they would accept surrender, went to extraordinary lengths to facilitate Japanese surrender, suffering grave and easily avoidable casualties in their efforts to save the lives of their enemies, and still there was no surrender.

In the battle of Okinawa, as in every other battle, attempts to follow the strategy you suggest merely prolonged the battle and got Americans killed - probably resulted in the Japanese successfully killing a lot more of their own civilians than they otherwise would have been able to.

It's possible that if we had encouraged japanese surrenders, our psywar guys could have persuaded a lot of them to surrender

In Okinawa we did encourage Japanese surrenders, at considerable cost in American lives, and our psywar guys attempted, quite unsuccessfully, to get them to surrender.

In Okinawa, Americans died so that Japanese could live, and it did not work.  Not even a little bit.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 03:46:57 pm by sam »

sam on March 26, 2011, 04:16:45 pm
[A whole lot of US casualties basicly for nothing,
This is a controversial question and I don't claim, as you do, to know the correct answer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Iwo_Jima
Quote
None of these calculations played much if any of a role in the original decision to invade, however, which was almost entirely based on the USAAF's belief that the island would be a useful base for long-range fighter escorts. These escorts proved both impractical and unnecessary, and only ten such missions were ever flown from Iwo Jima.[37] Other justifications are also debatable. Although some Japanese interceptors were based on Iwo Jima, their impact on the American bombing effort was marginal; in the three months before the invasion only 11 B-29s were lost as a result.[38] The Superfortresses found it unnecessary to make any major detour around the island.[39] The capture of Iwo Jima did not affect the Japanese early-warning radar system, which continued to receive information on incoming B-29s from the island of Rota (which was never attacked).[40] Some downed B-29 crewmen were saved by air-sea rescue aircraft and vessels operating from the island, but Iwo Jima was only one of many islands that could have been used for such a purpose. As for the importance of the island as a landing and refueling site for bombers, Marine Captain Robert Burrell, then a history instructor at the United States Naval Academy, suggested that only a small proportion of the 2,251 landings were for genuine emergencies, the great majority possibly being for minor technical checkups, training, or refueling.

Your source also says:
Quote
The loss of the Marianas during the summer of 1944 greatly increased the importance of the Ogasawaras for the Japanese, who were well aware that the loss of these islands would facilitate American air raids against the home islands, disrupting war manufacturing and severely damaging civilian morale.

and
Quote
In a postwar study, Japanese staff officers described the strategy applied in the defense of Iwo Jima in the following terms:
Quote
In the light of the above situation, seeing that it was impossible to conduct our air, sea, and ground operations on Iwo Jima toward ultimate victory, it was decided that in order to gain time necessary for the preparation of the Homeland defence, our forces should rely solely upon the established defensive equipment in that area, checking the enemy by delaying tactics.

Which implies that Japanese military officers believed that the US could not attack Japan unless it first seized Iwo Jima.

J Thomas on March 26, 2011, 07:09:39 pm

Your source also says:
Quote
The loss of the Marianas during the summer of 1944 greatly increased the importance of the Ogasawaras for the Japanese, who were well aware that the loss of these islands would facilitate American air raids against the home islands, disrupting war manufacturing and severely damaging civilian morale.

and
Quote
In a postwar study, Japanese staff officers described the strategy applied in the defense of Iwo Jima in the following terms:
Quote
In the light of the above situation, seeing that it was impossible to conduct our air, sea, and ground operations on Iwo Jima toward ultimate victory, it was decided that in order to gain time necessary for the preparation of the Homeland defence, our forces should rely solely upon the established defensive equipment in that area, checking the enemy by delaying tactics.

Which implies that Japanese military officers believed that the US could not attack Japan unless it first seized Iwo Jima.


Good! You looked at it! Very often people don't follow up on such things.

So, the Japanese realized that they were at a severe disadvantage and they had essentially no chance to win or even to break even. Lacking any effective strategy they settled on attempts to delay the defeat which was inevitable unless for some reason their enemy chose not to press its advantage.

In that context, given a choice to defend Iwo Jima or abandon it, which would they do? They would of course defend it, because if they didn't the US could just move in and establish air bases with no opposition. And if Japan tried to defend it then if the USA did not attack then that particular island would not be used for US airfields, and if the USA did attack, there would be delays due to Japanese defense.

They had even more troops at Chichijima, which presumably would have been harder to attack, and there were some sort of defenses at Hahajimi. I haven't heard of any defenses at any of the other nearby islands. Presumably if the USA just wanted an airfield we could have had one at some undefended island. But we didn't really need an airfield near there.

So I wouldn't say the Japanese high command was exactly clueless, it was more that they had no hope so they made useless plans because there was no other kind available to them.

sam on March 26, 2011, 07:16:41 pm
When you find yourself thinking about what methods work best for an entirely amoral government that is in no way influenced by vestiges of humanity, you might notice that you do not have to fill that ecological niche.

Takes two to make peace, only one to make war.    No point in persuading me, you have to persuade the mob that raped Lara Logan.

The alternative to war that you lot are pursuing is to convert Islam to progressivism - as Lara Logan thought you were successfully doing in Egypt.  The US government's efforts to convert Islam to progressivism are conspicuously failing - largely because progressivism really sucks - it is unappealing, collective suicide, and contrary to the evidence of the senses.  It only seems to be winning within the west because of increasingly massive, drastic and overt state backing.  It is winning as the official state religion, but buying enough votes to maintain it as the official state religion without overtly abandoning democracy for theocracy has become impractically expensive.

sam on March 26, 2011, 09:57:16 pm
The entire reason governments exist is so that the big picture decisions can be made by representaives of the people who are elected. 

Historically, the entire reason any particular government exists is usually that some bandit made himself supreme, became a bandit king, for example William the Bastard, or Romulus.

As time goes by, his apparatus starts grow cancerous. Laws, bureaucrats, and taxes multiply.  After a while, the burden becomes alarming, so the increasingly expensive apparatus looks for some way to obtain legitimacy.  Democracy is the latest public relations offensive by the sock puppets of this ever growing band of bureaucrats.

Government originates in a stationary bandit, a bandit king, a bandit so  successful he deters or exterminates all competition.  The government at  first consists of little more than the bandit himself.  Taxation  consists of him suggesting that the eminent give him and his boys land  and money, thus taxes, though capricious and erratic, are quite low.  Laws are few, verging on nonexistent, but enforced with brutal  efficiency, the main law being that no one else does any banditry.

Over time bureaucrats, laws, taxes, quasi governmental organizations,  and regulations multiply like vermin. Eventually, laws, taxes and  meddling bureaucrats become a serious burden, and the bureaucrats face  the need to persuade everyone that a horde of bureaucrats is a good thing.  As the burden increases, the "consent of the governed" becomes more and more important, and more and more effort is put into obtaining it.

Ever since the efficient and effective government of the original bandit chieftain, government has moved ever further leftwards, and will always move ever further leftwards until checked by crisis and collapse, or reformed by internal totalitarian terror, "leftism" being whatever rationalization is currently deployed to justify and excuse the unavoidable and uncontrollable expansion of government.

sam on March 26, 2011, 10:07:51 pm
So, the Japanese realized that they were at a severe disadvantage and they had essentially no chance to win or even to break even.

Now if they were good little progressives, this would indeed induce an inclination to surrender, but, though I know you will find this hard to believe, not everyone is a good little progressive.

In Christian theology, the good guys turn the other cheek, the bad guys win, then the bad guys go to hell and suffer eternal torment while the good guys laugh at them from heaven - which theory can never be disproven.

In progressive theology, Christian theology is transliterated to this world, so the good guys turn the other cheek, and the bad guys lose - which theory can, however, be disproven.

sam on March 27, 2011, 12:51:05 am
We are talking about US options; nuke, invade, or...? Wouldn't accepting a surrender be a third option? Wouldn't that have save US and Japanese lives too? Unfortunately, we will never know, because that evil little man, Harry Truman, wanted to scare the Soviets. Monstrous.

But, when Japan chose to surrender, we did accept surrender.

The fact is, that after the first nuke, the emperor and cabinet reviewed the situation, and decided to fight to the death.

After the second nuke, they again reviewed the situation and decided to fight to the death.  The Cabinet was then given (false) information that the US had hundreds of nukes, and the delay was just fitting the planes to carry them.  The emperor then ordered surrender - and promptly faced a military mutiny that attempted to take him prisoner before the surrender order could be made public.

J Thomas on March 27, 2011, 08:43:44 am
When you find yourself thinking about what methods work best for an entirely amoral government that is in no way influenced by vestiges of humanity, you might notice that you do not have to fill that ecological niche.

Takes two to make peace, only one to make war.    No point in persuading me, you have to persuade the mob that raped Lara Logan.

Well, no. You are taking a messy situation where everything is blurred, and turning it into something with crisp sharp lines.

There are occasional gang rapes, sometimes even when society hasn't particularly broken down. It isn't always political.
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7489488.html

But this might have been political. It might for example have been by government employees who were trying to cause trouble, as the "reformists" were accusing them of doing for some time. They said that the secret police were posing as civilians and breaking into buildings and stealing stuff etc so they could claim the reformers were violent and justify suppressing them, and doing mass attacks, etc. Was that true or was it only an excuse for the demonstrators who couldn't police criminals who came out and did their crimes during the disorder?

And there's a possibility that it was entirely disinformation, that Lara Logan was part of a group who staged a pretend-rape intended to influence public opinion, and that you fell for it because it precisely fit your preconceptions.

So, do you want to eliminate group rape worldwide? How would you do that? Inside the USA would it help to disband all the college fraternities? Yes, that would help some, but it wouldn't be enough and it probably wouldn't be worth it. This is something we have to live with. Protect your own women as best you can. Teach them to avoid the worst situations and be ready to protect themselves. My own wife does not want firearms at all -- she doesn't trust herself with them. The one time somebody maybe was starting to rape her, she got mad and warned him if he touched her again she'd hurt him, and he ran away. That approach doesn't work every time, but it worked for her that time.

Quote
The alternative to war that you lot are pursuing is to convert Islam to progressivism - as Lara Logan thought you were successfully doing in Egypt.  The US government's efforts to convert Islam to progressivism are conspicuously failing - largely because progressivism really sucks - it is unappealing, collective suicide, and contrary to the evidence of the senses.  It only seems to be winning within the west because of increasingly massive, drastic and overt state backing.  It is winning as the official state religion, but buying enough votes to maintain it as the official state religion without overtly abandoning democracy for theocracy has become impractically expensive.

?? You make no sense. We have by far the strongest military in the world. But you are still afraid.

We probably have the most nukes. (The Russians are likely to lie and overestimate the number of functional nukes they have.) But you are afraid.

We have the best molecular biologists exploring the questions of how lethal bacteria do their thing. You are still afraid.

We have the best nerve gas. But you are still afraid.

What would it take for you to relax for awhile? If we killed off everybody but our kind of people, would that do it? I don't think so. Because if we are the kind of people who kill off the others, when they were gone we'd pretty quick decide that we weren't all the same kind of people after all....

So, relax. We might at get into a situation where we have implacable enemies who are actually dangerous in the short run. We might have to kill them. We might leave it off until it's almost too late and there's a serious chance they'll kill us instead. That's all stuff that can happen. But for now, in the USA, you're about as safe as you can be. If you waste the good times being scared the bad times will come back. what good does that do you?

And if you're scared of the mob that might have raped Lara Logan, don't go to Egypt. But if you're some sort of bodhisattva who can't rest until everybody in the world is permanently safe from the bad guys, then Lord have mercy on you.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 09:44:35 am by J Thomas »