Wednesday, October 26, 2005

War Deaths - A historical context

Here are the casualty numbers from one DAY in WWII. (Admittedly that was a battle like no other but still - how would the press handle those numbers today?)

Or how many died in just a few weeks in Iwo Jima? Find out here.

Could President Bush seriously consider this which Truman considered?

"From 3:30 to 5:00 P.M. the President conferred with the Joint Chiefs of Staff [Leahy, Marshall, Admiral Ernest King, and Lt. General Ira Eaker for General Henry Arnold], the Secretary of War [Henry L. Stimson], the Secretary of the Navy [James Forrestal], and Assistant Secretary of War [John J.] McCloy, in regard to the necessity and the practicability of an invasion of Japan. General Marshall and Admiral King both strongly advocated an invasion of Kyushu at the earliest practicable date.
General Marshall is of the opinion that such an effort will not cost us in casualties more than 63,000 of the 190.000 combatant troops estimated as necessary for the operation (emphasis added).
The President approved the Kyushu operation and withheld for later consideration the general occupation of Japan. The Army seems determined to occupy and govern Japan as is being done in Germany. I am unable to see any justification from a national defense point of view for a prolonged occupation of Japan. The cost of such an occupation will be enormous in both lives and treasure." (shoprat's note - much of this essay is quite a worthwhile read)

I am saddened that we have lost 2000 of our very best, but we are either defeating or at least seriously harming a man every bit as murderous as Hitler or Imperial Japan at a much lower cost.


Blogger KnightofGoodMrIronMan said...

From a poor and misguided lefty, roaming the Blogging Party of Canada

"Princess Monkey said...
You see Dazz, it's stuff like this:

regarding the troops that makes *me* mad. I guess you and I have differing ideas about what is disgraceful. Holding a vigil vs calling the deaths "negligible"..."

Well, I guess some people are JUST more concerned with defeating evil than holding anti-war vigils...

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One fallacy to avoid is that the level of deaths in Iraq now indicates much of anything. In the last two years the rate has gone up somewhat and this is cited as evidence that we are losing or making no progress. In fact, it means little since Iraq is now not war but politics.

In wars the level of death tends to be high during offensives and low when neither side sees an advantage in attacking. In this case we defeated the Iraq army and the deaths stopped.

Then slowly resistance formed. That sort of effort does not produce decisive battles and there is almost no way to know how much of their strength they are expending. The insurgents can choose to produce some deaths now or defer until later - it is a political choice.

So the Iraq situation must be evaluated by other means. Judging social, economic, and political progress is much harder than counting bodies. But that is the only way to make decisions.

3:28 AM  

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