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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 cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online who teamed up also on “Band of Brothers” and “Saving Private Ryan, buy cheap elimite online” have sought to strengthen the authenticity of Hollywood renderings of World War II. Buy cheap elimite online But while such portrayals may give us a keener appreciation of the courage and suffering of U.S. Buy cheap elimite online troops on the battlefield, buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online 1945, buy cheap elimite online firebombing of Tokyo. Buy cheap elimite online The two-volume World War II history “Total War, buy cheap elimite online” by Peter Calvocoressi, buy cheap elimite online Guy Wint and John Pritchard, buy cheap elimite online describes the massive napalm attack on Japan’s capital as not only “the greatest air offensive in history” but also “deliberate, buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online The estimated death toll of 100, buy cheap elimite online000 exceeded the immediate deaths in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, buy cheap elimite online or the Dresden firebombing. “The street was filled with blackened corpses, buy cheap elimite online” air raid survivor Haruko Nihei recently told a U.C. Buy cheap elimite online Berkeley audience on her first trip to tell her story in America. Buy cheap elimite online “There were so many of them that it was hard to walk on the streets.” Then an 8-year-old girl, buy cheap elimite online Nihei survived after falling in the panicked tumult and being covered by other people. Buy cheap elimite online When she came to, buy cheap elimite online she found the bodies on top of her were “black as charcoal.” The U.S. Buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online Their agonies were no less severe than those suffered at Hiroshima. Confronting U.S. Buy cheap elimite online mass killing of civilians in WWII — particularly the Tokyo firebombing — is important now, buy cheap elimite online not just because Americans should remember both the good and bad about their history. Buy cheap elimite online The U.S. Buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online Osama bin Laden cited Hiroshima, buy cheap elimite online as if to say the World Trade Center deaths represented only a small taste of the type of warfare that the U.S. Buy cheap elimite online had long ago sanctioned. America was far from the first to bomb cities. Buy cheap elimite online The tactic began as early as the 19th century with bombs dropped from balloons over Venice. Buy cheap elimite online Indiscriminate killing of noncombatants from the air began, buy cheap elimite online according to many historians, buy cheap elimite online in the 1930s. Buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online” wrote Cornell University historian Walter LaFeber. Buy cheap elimite online The most infamous early example, buy cheap elimite online immortalized in a painting by Picasso, buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online bombing several Chinese cities. Buy cheap elimite online The most destruction came from repeated air raids on Chongqing, buy cheap elimite online China’s wartime capital after the 1937 fall of Nanjing. Buy cheap elimite online Aerial attacks on Chongqing in May 1939 alone claimed an estimated 5, buy cheap elimite online400 lives, buy cheap elimite online according to Mark Selden, buy cheap elimite online a Japan specialist at Cornell. In WWII in Europe, buy cheap elimite online bombing tolls mounted, buy cheap elimite online beginning with German air raids on Warsaw in 1939 and Rotterdam in 1940. Buy cheap elimite online German bombing of British cities in the eight months following September 1940 claimed about 30, buy cheap elimite online000 lives. Buy cheap elimite online British bombing of German cities began in 1942 and was later joined by the Americans. Buy cheap elimite online About 45, buy cheap elimite online000 were killed in raids on Hamburg alone in July and August of 1943. Buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online especially in 1945. Buy cheap elimite online In attacks on 66 Japanese cities, buy cheap elimite online including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, buy cheap elimite online the number of civilians killed by American bombs was “probably close to four hundred thousand, buy cheap elimite online” estimated MIT historian John Dower. In the 2003 documentary “Fog of War” Robert McNamara, buy cheap elimite online who served in World War II under the architect of the bombing campaign, buy cheap elimite online Maj. Buy cheap elimite online Gen. Buy cheap elimite online Curtis LeMay, buy cheap elimite online quoted LeMay’s postwar assessment: “If we’d lost the war, buy cheap elimite online we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.” McNamara, buy cheap elimite online who later became U.S. Buy cheap elimite online Secretary of Defense, buy cheap elimite online added, buy cheap elimite online “I think he’s right. Buy cheap elimite online He, buy cheap elimite online and I’d say I, buy cheap elimite online were behaving as war criminals.” But if the U.S. Buy cheap elimite online was guilty of war crimes, buy cheap elimite online then weren’t Japan, buy cheap elimite online Germany and Great Britain also guilty? All of them rained bombs indiscriminately on civilians. Buy cheap elimite online America may have done so with the largest kill ratio, buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online A Hague Convention that was drafted in 1923 explicitly banned aerial bombardment of civilians but was never ratified. Buy cheap elimite online The League of Nations unanimously passed a resolution in 1938 outlawing aerial bombing of civilian populations, buy cheap elimite online but Japan and Germany by then had withdrawn from the league and the U.S. Buy cheap elimite online had never joined. The most relevant agreement was the earlier Hague Convention Respecting Laws and Customs of War on Land of 1907, buy cheap elimite online which had been ratified by the major combatants of WWII. Buy cheap elimite online It forbade bombardment of “undefended” towns, buy cheap elimite online bombardment without prior warning and destruction of enemy property not demanded by military necessity. Buy cheap elimite online But those who ordered the later bombings in Asia and Europe, buy cheap elimite online though they were accused by their adversaries of violating international law, buy cheap elimite online typically said they had met the required conditions. At the Tokyo war crimes trial, buy cheap elimite online bombing of cities was not one of the charges brought against the Japanese defendants. Buy cheap elimite online Nor was it charged against leaders at Nuremberg. Buy cheap elimite online “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 cheap elimite online” recalled Telford Taylor, buy cheap elimite online chief prosecutor at Nuremberg. So, buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online” Tetsuo Maeda, buy cheap elimite online who retired in 2007 as a professor of international studies at Tokyo International University, buy cheap elimite online wrote, buy cheap elimite online “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 cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online especially by American patriots, buy cheap elimite online in the many debates over “victors’ justice” at the Tokyo war crimes trial and American misdeeds in the Pacific war. Buy cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online though not precisely defined, buy cheap elimite online are generally viewed as including more than just signed treaties and agreements. Buy cheap elimite online Many scholars and jurists, buy cheap elimite online including the judges at Nuremberg, buy cheap elimite online have held that nations are bound also by “customary laws of war, buy cheap elimite online” 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 cheap elimite online It sickens the human soul. Buy cheap elimite online Saying “Somebody else did it too” is no excuse. All nations that bomb civilians are guilty and should account for their actions, buy cheap elimite online and I believe the U.S. Buy cheap elimite online owes a special accounting. Buy cheap elimite online The scale and intensity of American bombing crossed a new threshold and, buy cheap elimite online in the view of some critics, buy cheap elimite online turned the bombing of cities into America’s chief weapon in concluding its war against Japan. “If others, buy cheap elimite online notably Germany, buy cheap elimite online England and Japan led the way in area bombing, buy cheap elimite online the targeting for destruction of entire cities with conventional weapons emerged in 1944-45 as the centerpiece of U.S. Buy cheap elimite online warfare, buy cheap elimite online” Selden wrote. It was the Tokyo attack that “initiated the U.S. Buy cheap elimite online government’s embrace of urban terror bombing as a legitimate form of warfare, buy cheap elimite online” wrote Cary Karacas, buy cheap elimite online an assistant professor at the College of Long Island who studies bombing of civilian populations. In 1945, buy cheap elimite online U.S. Buy cheap elimite online Brig. Buy cheap elimite online Gen. Buy cheap elimite online Bonner Fellers described the U.S. Buy cheap elimite online air raids over Japanese cities as “one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of noncombatants in all history.” The U.S. Buy cheap elimite online — 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 cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online 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 cheap elimite online Original article found at: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20100507a1.html