Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Great! All Obama needs to do now is say "I believe it is peace in our time."

James Bond

San Diego, CA

Apr 7 2010 - 7:52pm

Web Letter

This article reminds me of the thought of J. Reuben Clark on nuclear weapons.

Clark was the under secretary of state during the Hoover administration and the author of the "Clark Memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine." He was ambasador to Mexico. After government service, he became a member of the First Presidency of the Mormon Church.

Clark was a pacifist and was greatly shocked by the saturation bombing of Germany and Japan. He felt that the development of atomic weapons was a perversion of science. Most important, he believed that by the first use of atomic weapons the United States gave up the moral ability to object to the development and use of those weapons by any other country.

Robert Scheer's thoughts have been expressed by others like Clark. Mormons may not remember him, but his teachings on atomic weapons were quite clear.

Kenneth Lougee

Salt Lake , UT

Apr 7 2010 - 5:48pm

Web Letter

T0 this author's previous article on this subject, my comments were rather general and analytical. My own view is that nuclear weapons are useful only as deterrent! They are not to be used in pre-emptive first strikes, bunker busters or any other nonsense. They should only be use as a second-strike reply to a nuclear attack on the United States.

The use of chemical or biological weapons is not sufficient cause for a second nuclear strike against another country. To be effective, chemical weapons would have to be confined to a limited area. Any resulting casualties would probably not exceed 9/11. As we have seen with the recent "swine flu" pandemic, biological weapons could not be limited to one country; they would very quickly go global. They could come back and bite any country that launched such an attack.

Unlike the conventional weapons I used to store and maintain, nuclear weapons are weapons of uncontrolled mass destruction. You not only have blast effects but radiation and radioactive fallout that can go beyond the borders of the country that is targeted.

You do not play political games with nuclear weapons. You do not threaten countries or make their use a bargaining chip. There are good reasons not to have them, and these reasons can be discussed in negotiations without preconditions. Obama is an amateur, playing with dangerous weapons he doesn't understand.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Apr 7 2010 - 4:13pm

Web Letter

Awwwww. So the Japanese got nuked in World War II. Too bad. They started. We finished. They sowed the wind; they reaped the whirlwind.

If Scheer had one ounce of historical honesty or a single gram of research ability, he would have read and grasped the story of the planned invasion of Japan (“Operation Downfall”) and the estimated casualties of 1,000,000 American servicemen and millions of Japanese, plus the near-complete devastation of Japan (“An Invasion Not Found in the History Book,” by James Martin Davis, reprinted from the Omaha World Herald, November 1987).

Considering what might have been, the Japanese got off easy.

Quoting from “The Story of the Invasion of Japan,” by James Martin Davis:

General Charles Willoughby, MacArthur's Chief of Intelligence estimated that American casualties from the entire operation would be one million men by the fall of 1946. General Willoughby's own intelligence staff considered this to be a conservative estimate.

Quoting further from the article:

Intelligence studies and realistic military estimates made over forty years ago, and not latter day speculation, show quite clearly that the battle for Japan might have well resulted in the biggest bloodbath in the history of modern warfare.

At best, the invasion of Japan would have resulted in a long and bloody siege. At worst, it could have been a battle of extermination between two different civilizations.

Far worse would be what might have happened to Japan as a nation and as a culture. When the invasion came, it would have been after several additional months of the continued firebombings on all of the remaining Japanese cities and population centers. The cost in human life that resulted from the two atomic bombs would be small in comparison to the total number of Japanese lives that would have been lost by this continued aerial devastation.

By so cavalierly circumscribing America’s repertoire of response, Barack Obama deserves the Neville Chamberlain “Peace in Our Time” Award. And based on your willful misrepresentation of historical fact, not to mention your gross ignorance, Mr. Scheer, you deserve the biggest dunce cap money can buy.

Jack Davis

Phoenix, AZ

Apr 7 2010 - 3:52pm

Web Letter

The Kellogg-Briand pact signed in 1928 outlawed the use of war as "an instrument of national policy." Germany signed; Japan signed;, Britain, France, the US and the Soviet Union signed. Every major and minor participant in World War II signed. The pact remains officially in force. The only practical effect of the pact was to comfort the foolish in the face of German, Japanese and Italian militarism and inhibit the rearmament and assertive foreign policy from Britain and France that would have been the only preventative for the war. US Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French foreign minister Aristide Briand both won the Noble Peace Prize. President Obama is in that august tradition.

Joseph Trevisani

New York, NY

Apr 7 2010 - 3:24pm