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What Hollywood Ignores.....war epics on screen skips mass slaughter of Japanese and German civilians http://thepeopleofpakistan.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/herold2.jpg The Firebombing of Dresden Germany http://people.moreheadstate.edu/students/alsimp01/images/hiroshima1.gif The result of the bombing of Hiroshima By CHARLES BURRESS | The Japan Times | May 7, buy calming formula cats cod 2010 SAN FRANCISCO — Does the history diet fed to Americans by Hollywood promote an unhealthy national memory? The latest screen epic about American heroism in World War II — the HBO miniseries “The Pacific” — is clouded by an unintended irony. Creators Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, buy calming formula cats cod who teamed up also on “Band of Brothers” and “Saving Private Ryan, buy calming formula cats cod” have sought to strengthen the authenticity of Hollywood renderings of World War II. Buy calming formula cats cod But while such portrayals may give us a keener appreciation of the courage and suffering of U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod troops on the battlefield, buy calming formula cats cod they also add further weight to a lopsided World War II history that leaves the dishonorable part of America’s wartime behavior buried deeper in national amnesia. In what may be added irony, buy calming formula cats cod the widely reported premier of “The Pacific” came but four days after the little noticed anniversary of one of the darkest events in American war history — the March 10, buy calming formula cats cod 1945, buy calming formula cats cod firebombing of Tokyo. Buy calming formula cats cod The two-volume World War II history “Total War, buy calming formula cats cod” by Peter Calvocoressi, buy calming formula cats cod Guy Wint and John Pritchard, buy calming formula cats cod describes the massive napalm attack on Japan’s capital as not only “the greatest air offensive in history” but also “deliberate, buy calming formula cats cod indiscriminate mass murder.” The raid by B-29 bombers probably ranks as history’s largest mass killing of civilians in a short time span. Buy calming formula cats cod The estimated death toll of 100, buy calming formula cats cod000 exceeded the immediate deaths in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, buy calming formula cats cod or the Dresden firebombing. “The street was filled with blackened corpses, buy calming formula cats cod” air raid survivor Haruko Nihei recently told a U.C. Buy calming formula cats cod Berkeley audience on her first trip to tell her story in America. Buy calming formula cats cod “There were so many of them that it was hard to walk on the streets.” Then an 8-year-old girl, buy calming formula cats cod Nihei survived after falling in the panicked tumult and being covered by other people. Buy calming formula cats cod When she came to, buy calming formula cats cod she found the bodies on top of her were “black as charcoal.” The U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod Strategic Bombing Survey said at the time that “probably more persons lost their lives by fire in Tokyo in a six-hour period than at any time in the history of man.” The inferno was so intense that fleeing victims burst spontaneously into flame and were boiled alive in canals into which they had plunged to escape. Buy calming formula cats cod Their agonies were no less severe than those suffered at Hiroshima. Confronting U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod mass killing of civilians in WWII — particularly the Tokyo firebombing — is important now, buy calming formula cats cod not just because Americans should remember both the good and bad about their history. Buy calming formula cats cod The U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod has trouble winning hearts and minds in today’s war against terrorists in part because the terrorism blood on America’s own hands leaves it vulnerable to effective enemy propaganda and charges of hypocrisy. In the aftermath of 9/11, buy calming formula cats cod Osama bin Laden cited Hiroshima, buy calming formula cats cod as if to say the World Trade Center deaths represented only a small taste of the type of warfare that the U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod had long ago sanctioned. America was far from the first to bomb cities. Buy calming formula cats cod The tactic began as early as the 19th century with bombs dropped from balloons over Venice. Buy calming formula cats cod Indiscriminate killing of noncombatants from the air began, buy calming formula cats cod according to many historians, buy calming formula cats cod in the 1930s. Buy calming formula cats cod The Japanese bombing of civilians in the Chapei section of Shanghai in January 1932 “horrified much of the world and anticipated the mass bombings of populations a decade later, buy calming formula cats cod” wrote Cornell University historian Walter LaFeber. Buy calming formula cats cod The most infamous early example, buy calming formula cats cod immortalized in a painting by Picasso, buy calming formula cats cod came five years later in 1937 when more than a thousand people died in the German bombing of Guernica. The Japanese military embraced the tactic during the Second Sino-Japanese War, buy calming formula cats cod bombing several Chinese cities. Buy calming formula cats cod The most destruction came from repeated air raids on Chongqing, buy calming formula cats cod China’s wartime capital after the 1937 fall of Nanjing. Buy calming formula cats cod Aerial attacks on Chongqing in May 1939 alone claimed an estimated 5, buy calming formula cats cod400 lives, buy calming formula cats cod according to Mark Selden, buy calming formula cats cod a Japan specialist at Cornell. In WWII in Europe, buy calming formula cats cod bombing tolls mounted, buy calming formula cats cod beginning with German air raids on Warsaw in 1939 and Rotterdam in 1940. Buy calming formula cats cod German bombing of British cities in the eight months following September 1940 claimed about 30, buy calming formula cats cod000 lives. Buy calming formula cats cod British bombing of German cities began in 1942 and was later joined by the Americans. Buy calming formula cats cod About 45, buy calming formula cats cod000 were killed in raids on Hamburg alone in July and August of 1943. Buy calming formula cats cod Nearly as many were killed at Dresden in February 1945. The concentration of carnage saw a significant escalation when America sent waves of bombers over Japan, buy calming formula cats cod especially in 1945. Buy calming formula cats cod In attacks on 66 Japanese cities, buy calming formula cats cod including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, buy calming formula cats cod the number of civilians killed by American bombs was “probably close to four hundred thousand, buy calming formula cats cod” estimated MIT historian John Dower. In the 2003 documentary “Fog of War” Robert McNamara, buy calming formula cats cod who served in World War II under the architect of the bombing campaign, buy calming formula cats cod Maj. Buy calming formula cats cod Gen. Buy calming formula cats cod Curtis LeMay, buy calming formula cats cod quoted LeMay’s postwar assessment: “If we’d lost the war, buy calming formula cats cod we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.” McNamara, buy calming formula cats cod who later became U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod Secretary of Defense, buy calming formula cats cod added, buy calming formula cats cod “I think he’s right. Buy calming formula cats cod He, buy calming formula cats cod and I’d say I, buy calming formula cats cod were behaving as war criminals.” But if the U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod was guilty of war crimes, buy calming formula cats cod then weren’t Japan, buy calming formula cats cod Germany and Great Britain also guilty? All of them rained bombs indiscriminately on civilians. Buy calming formula cats cod America may have done so with the largest kill ratio, buy calming formula cats cod but virtually all laws against killing of innocents are not conditional on the number killed. International law on bombing cities at that time was not clearly established. Buy calming formula cats cod A Hague Convention that was drafted in 1923 explicitly banned aerial bombardment of civilians but was never ratified. Buy calming formula cats cod The League of Nations unanimously passed a resolution in 1938 outlawing aerial bombing of civilian populations, buy calming formula cats cod but Japan and Germany by then had withdrawn from the league and the U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod had never joined. The most relevant agreement was the earlier Hague Convention Respecting Laws and Customs of War on Land of 1907, buy calming formula cats cod which had been ratified by the major combatants of WWII. Buy calming formula cats cod It forbade bombardment of “undefended” towns, buy calming formula cats cod bombardment without prior warning and destruction of enemy property not demanded by military necessity. Buy calming formula cats cod But those who ordered the later bombings in Asia and Europe, buy calming formula cats cod though they were accused by their adversaries of violating international law, buy calming formula cats cod typically said they had met the required conditions. At the Tokyo war crimes trial, buy calming formula cats cod bombing of cities was not one of the charges brought against the Japanese defendants. Buy calming formula cats cod Nor was it charged against leaders at Nuremberg. Buy calming formula cats cod “Aerial bombardment had been used so extensively and ruthlessly on the Allied as well as Axis side that neither at Nuremberg nor Tokyo was the issue made a part of the trials, buy calming formula cats cod” recalled Telford Taylor, buy calming formula cats cod chief prosecutor at Nuremberg. So, buy calming formula cats cod should anyone be blamed? One Japanese scholar said the 20th century’s ghastly record of civilian slaughter from the air had its origin in Japan’s attacks on Chinese cities. In the book “Bombing Civilians, buy calming formula cats cod” Tetsuo Maeda, buy calming formula cats cod who retired in 2007 as a professor of international studies at Tokyo International University, buy calming formula cats cod wrote, buy calming formula cats cod “The sudden horror from the skies that took place in wars of the 20th century had its roots in tactics used by the Japanese forces during the Asia Pacific War. Buy calming formula cats cod This horror boomeranged back to Japan in extreme form with the disasters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” The argument that “Japan started it” is often expressed, buy calming formula cats cod especially by American patriots, buy calming formula cats cod in the many debates over “victors’ justice” at the Tokyo war crimes trial and American misdeeds in the Pacific war. Buy calming formula cats cod Can earlier Japanese bombing in China — along with German and British bombing in Europe and the uncertainty of international law at the time — exculpate the later American bombing of Japanese cities? International laws of war, buy calming formula cats cod though not precisely defined, buy calming formula cats cod are generally viewed as including more than just signed treaties and agreements. Buy calming formula cats cod Many scholars and jurists, buy calming formula cats cod including the judges at Nuremberg, buy calming formula cats cod have held that nations are bound also by “customary laws of war, buy calming formula cats cod” regardless of what particular treaty was signed by what country. The indiscriminate slaughter of noncombatants violates customary laws of war as well as universal moral values. Buy calming formula cats cod It sickens the human soul. Buy calming formula cats cod Saying “Somebody else did it too” is no excuse. All nations that bomb civilians are guilty and should account for their actions, buy calming formula cats cod and I believe the U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod owes a special accounting. Buy calming formula cats cod The scale and intensity of American bombing crossed a new threshold and, buy calming formula cats cod in the view of some critics, buy calming formula cats cod turned the bombing of cities into America’s chief weapon in concluding its war against Japan. “If others, buy calming formula cats cod notably Germany, buy calming formula cats cod England and Japan led the way in area bombing, buy calming formula cats cod the targeting for destruction of entire cities with conventional weapons emerged in 1944-45 as the centerpiece of U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod warfare, buy calming formula cats cod” Selden wrote. It was the Tokyo attack that “initiated the U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod government’s embrace of urban terror bombing as a legitimate form of warfare, buy calming formula cats cod” wrote Cary Karacas, buy calming formula cats cod an assistant professor at the College of Long Island who studies bombing of civilian populations. In 1945, buy calming formula cats cod U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod Brig. Buy calming formula cats cod Gen. Buy calming formula cats cod Bonner Fellers described the U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod air raids over Japanese cities as “one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of noncombatants in all history.” The U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod — and especially Hollywood’s shapers of national memory — have a special responsibility also to make amends for past omissions and tell the full truth about the past. Buy calming formula cats cod A more forthright confrontation by Americans with their own war crimes would not only provide a model for other nations with dark pasts but also undermine the ability of America’s present enemies to win recruits for committing similar crimes against the U.S. Buy calming formula cats cod and its allies. Charles Burress is a San Francisco Bay Area freelance journalist who researched war memory as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tokyo and Keio University. Buy calming formula cats cod Original article found at: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20100507a1.html