Re: If we do get Afghanistan, what shall we do with it?

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Sun Nov 25 2001 - 14:56:45 MST wrote:
> In a message dated 11/25/01 11:12:32 AM, writes:
> >Furthermore, I don't regard Hiroshima or Nagasaki to be primarily
> >terrorist acts. By late in the war, both the German and Japanese
> >governments had so thoroughly mobilized and armed their societies in
> >preparation for invasion of their home territories that the only people
> >there that could be considered 'non-combatants' under the Geneva
> >Conventions were those in POW camps and patients in hospitals.
> Fooey. Japanese civilians didn't fight at Saipan or Okinawa (I imagine
> you could find a few exceptions). Some did kill themselves.
> With the Germans, we *did* invade, and the civilians didn't fight -
> that tells you how mobilized the civilians were.

Once a civilian has been mobilized, they are no longer a civilian. In
Saipan and Iwo Jima, there were significant civilian casualties in
combat. Not so much in Okinawa, but the native population had always
been treated poorly by the Imperial forces anyways. Observation of
mainland Japan in the months leading up to August showed that women and
schoolchildren were being trained in use of not just rifles, but even
bamboo spears.

The German civilians generally didn't fight the US/British forces, but
they certainly fought against the Soviets. In early 1945, large numbers
of civilians were armed with Mauser rifles and anti-tank weapons,
primarily in eastern Germany. The public policy was fighting against all
allies, but the dispersal of resources indicates that the goal was
actually to make sure that more of Germany fell into western hands.

> >Under the Geneva Conventions, when a combatant hides behind
> >non-combatants or in non-combatant facilities, those then become
> >combatant targets as well, legally.
> For that reason Tokyo and Hamburg are iffy - there was some military
> value to those bombing, although creating terror was an explicit part
> of the goals of both bombings. But Hiroshima and Nagasaki were "saved"
> for A-bomb demonstrations and the US military sensibly chose
> militarily irrelevant targets.

Hiroshima had military facilities. The iffy part was that those
facilities were not the 'ground zero' that was targeted. Neither city
was saved because it lacked military targets. As you said, they were
saved specifically so that the damage of the atomic weapons could be
more objectively evaluated. If there were prior bombing runs with
conventionals, no objective conclusions could realistically be made in
post-nuke bomb damage assessments.

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