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