What makes a justified/morally correct war? Now discussing the 2003 US invasion of Iraq

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by saturn5, Feb 12, 2010.

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  1. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    No, they wouldn't. Unless these soldiers can walk on water and march hundreds of miles out to sea, they posed little threat to US forces unless they were to approach the Japanese shores in order to land troops. No invasion = no casualties.

    Then if I suggested you read some books, would you really have the inclination to confirm my sources for yourself?

    Sea of Thunder ~ Evan Thomas
    The Two Ocean War ~Robert K Mackie
    Derailing the Tokyo Express
    Battleship Musashi
    Battle of Leyte Gulf

    I don't have all the authors on the top of my head, but I'll get them when it's convenient.

    No such plan was seriously drawn up that I know of. The reason isn't because it would have been unsound, but because US citizens wouldn't have been satisfied with anything less than Japan's unconditional surrender. It was politics which an invasion or the A-bomb would have been used. The logical tactical move with minimal loss of life would have been a blockade.
  2. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    So you're saying that a blockade alone would have been sufficient enough to lead to Japan's surrender? How long would it have taken? What are the casualty estimates?
  3. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Undefeated? So there were still hostile forces in all those countries in 1945? I'm not so sure.
  4. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    Well, I can't speak for their locations, but the Imperial army had an estimated 4 million combat ready troops in mid-45.

    So there were 2 million in Japan and 2 million...?

    Let me check something.
  5. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I would say certainly a lot fewer American lives than in an invasion.

    The truth is that I really can't say. Truman made the decision to drop the bombs and the military forces were organized around those A-bombs. It's not like their military posed much of a threat at that point. If the war lasted another month, then if a B-29 crashed from normal operations, those would be lives lost, but they wouldn't have been lost to Japanese forces.

    Then again, I'm not taking into account the estimated casualties from continued operations in China.
  6. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    The Chinese had been utterly incapable of moving the frontline at all for years. Heck, I think they kinda viewed it as a success that they finally stopped the Japanese advance. But pushing the Japs out of China they had not been able to do. And that proved important later on: the incompetency of the Guomindang ultimately would cost them the war against Mao's Communists, much to the detriment of the Chinese people, I might add. Not that the Guomindang were nice folks, they just weren't quite as hellish as Mao. And to my knowledge, there were no significant American army troops in that area either. The consequences of the American advance against Japan from the east meant that supply stopped coming in to the Japanese occupational forces, and it probably stopped their ability to continue their aggression against the Chinese, so they might not had been hostile in that sense, but they had not been defeated and pushed out. Only in the last days or so did the Soviets enter the war and sweep into Manchuria and Korea, but they also didn't enter the rest of China, AFAIK...
  7. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Okay, I put my foot in my mouth somewhere.

    In terms of casualties, there was little threat to American forces from the Japanese military at the end of the war. The Japanese forces which had invaded China were stopped, but they weren't wiped out. If the war continued, both the Chinese and Japanese in that part of the world would have likely suffered many more casualties. That was ended by the Japanese surrender.

    The US Navy Brass had their own ideas for defeating Japan with a blockade while Army jocks were more insistent that they needed to invade within a year of Germany's surrender to make the greatest impact on the Japanese people. Pretty much everyone was moving for doing whatever possible to end the war quickly.
  8. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I think the issue here, Yathura, is that you tend to look at things in isolation. (at least as evidenced by your posts around here.) Or rather, in terms of a 1 to 1 ratio.

    Under your "blockade and starve" proposal, what else would you have done to to control the Japanese Imperial forces? For example, how did the Allies know if Japan had access to Nazi V-1/V-2 rocket technology? So we're 3 months into a blockade, and next thing you know, 3 destroyers and a battleship go up in flames because they've just been hit with rockets from the mainland. That would end the blockade and escalate the war all over again. I don't know if the Japanese forces had access to V-2 rockets. Maybe it would be U-boats, or a variation on the Kamikaze, or any of a number of other possibilities.

    But the point is that you're suggesting that in the middle of a war, that one side pull back and surround an opposing side within their home country, while at the same time, allowing them unrestricted access to any possibility they come up with to defeat the blockade itself.

    Modern blockades (or "quarantine" if we fast forward a decade or so) are political tools, not warfighting tactics. They don't win wars that happen to include technology beyond the 2-D battlefield.
  9. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Based on an assumption that V-2's are so accurate that they can hit a target the size of a battleship, that the ship is anchored, that the Japanese can lock on to a target over the horizon, that they had the manufacturing infrastructure to actually build V-2 rockets, that hundreds of cargo ships miraculously penetrated the blockade, and that they decided to invest what limited resources they smuggled to their mainland into building V-2's? I'm sorry, but that's too many assumptions for me to wrap my mind around.

    And by what grace of God would such a feat be possible? Even in the unlikely event that they should sink several American ships and get what remaining few cargo ships they had through, it's not like it would tip the balance in Japan's favor.

    I'm sorry, but I don't think I see what you're getting at. You're basing an assumption off another assumption that contradicts itself.

    So are you suggesting that the German U-boat campaign in WWII was all for nothing? That it was just pointless of them to go out and sink all those merchant ships from the US to Britain?

    I think they go to prove how effectively a military power can strangle another country of resources with destroying their merchant fleet.
  10. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Another issue is that a blockade, while keeping Japanese Nationalist aggression contained, might not have liberated the Japanese people from a totalitarian system. We should't forget the freedom of the Japanese themselves in all this. Today, Germany, Italy and Japan are entrenched democracies posing no threat to either their own people or their neighbours because they all underwent about a decade of de-dictatorship-ification under foreign occupation.
  11. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    A professor once told me about how history is often judged. The traditional way people criticize past actions is based off of what we know today; few truly can appreciate the difficulties in understanding what was known at the time the deed was done. We in the US didn't know all that much about the Japanese, so we couldn't expect that dropping two A-bombs would bring the war to a quick end, which would then follow a process by which they would eventually become one of the world's leading economies.

    Dropping two A-bombs within the course of just two days was a deliberate attempt to give the impression the US had multiple warheads ready. That was done with the sole intent to bring fear into the hearts of the Japanese to the point they would surrender. On top of the firebombing, hundreds of thousands of civilians died from US bombers.
  12. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Maybe you're applying 'because' too rapidly here.
  13. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I'm sorry, but I don't think I see what you're getting at. You're basing an assumption off another assumption that contradicts itself.

    Yeah, that's kind of the point. Really, the "not knowing" part is the point. All I'm saying is that you can't take a single variable and pretend like it covers all other variables.

    Let me ask you a question. What do you think would have happened if a reverse scenario was true and Great Britain was blockaded by the Axis powers as a military tool to try and force a British surrender in say, 1940? Do you think the British people would have just rolled over, given up, and starved into submission because some ships were parked around the British Isles? Of course not.. The "Battle over Britain" proved their resolve here. Britain would have done everything within its power and beyond to break the blockade, especially since the people themselves weren't being restrained in any way within their home country.

    Well, Japan would be no different, and I think you're selling the people of Japan short by suggesting that parking ships around the island while not doing anything else would somehow bring about a military victory. Like I said, I don't know the specifics, and you're arguing against hypothetical examples. Sure, V-2 rockets weren't accurate as we knew them. But would a blockade have provided the focus to make them more accurate? Maybe they would have set up a cable/pulley system of underwater baskets to deliver rice and consumables from an island? Maybe small, one man smuggling subs? Who knows? The hypotheticals aren't important. What you're not doing is thinking in terms of a blockadee, or accounting for any variable at all.

    Your example-professor is correct in one area. What we can do is look to 2 modern blockades and use them as comparisons, even if neither one was part of military action.

    1)The Berlin blockade/airlift that took place in 1948-49. It was defeated simply because Allied forces thought in 3 dimensions instead of 2. It ended up embarrassing the Soviets, and demonstrated that blockades don't work when you have technology available beyond horseback.

    2)JFK's Cuban quarantine during the Cuban Missile Crisis- Here, it wasn't so much about blockading Cuba itself, but rather demonstrating at a political level the US's resolve with regard to nuclear weapons in its backyard. Even so, 1) if the Soviets were to test the blockade, it would have turned into combat rather quickly, and 2)the actual solution involved political dealing and didn't really have anything to do with the blockade itself.

    History illustrates that military blockades aren't successful in post-industrial revolution times, and they have limited use in the political arena. I would like to see what variables you're using to support a conclusion that it would have been successful during the open hostilities of WWII?
  14. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    It seems silly to Monday morning quarterback 50 years later.

    I also think it silly to set apart nuclear weapons as such a separate tool. Traditional bombs were just as deadly, just a lot more expensive and risky. I mean it is almost silly, because the only right answer to what makes a morally justified war that we can generally agree on is World War II. Were questionable tactics used? Of course, but what was the end result? Does the end result not matter? Does what the opponent did not matter?

    If we had sat on the bombs, and we and our enemies always wondered what it would be like to use them, whose to say they would have just stopped at two when they had hundreds lying around?

    Anyone else see the first episode of The Pacific? Really awesome, and I'm proud that my grandfather who died before I was born served as a Marine on Guadalcanal. At one point they overlook the runway and explain that the 5th Marines had taken it, and that was the battalion that he was with. He was one that never talked about the horrors he saw, but years ago we were able to get his service record from our Congressman. So I know he landed there on the second day, which is when they show the runway.

    The Japanese seemed to have a loyalty to the death that surpassed any European, and it is just impossible to know for certain what would have happened had they not dropped the bombs. In the end it worked, and saved at least some American lives. And who knows, it may have saved my grandfather's life by not having to invade Japan, but the nuclear fallout from Nevada going into Utah or witnessing post war Pacific tests could have been what caused him to die of cancer when he was 45. I don't think it is possible to have a clear cut answer that what they did was wrong, and we can never know if it was the "best" solution, but the world they created turned out a lot better than the worst alternatives.
  15. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    They saddled the world with the biggest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, that's what they did... I maintain that it's undefendable to develop them in almost any scenario. Not even the threat of Hitler developing them warrants it, in my opinion, because once you've developed these mothers, they're here to stay - and a new Hitler may always rise.
  16. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    And you can't just dismiss one of which was of which makes your entire entire assumption moot.

    Ever hear of the Royal Navy? Even before American involvement in WWII, it was still a force to be reconned with. If a few German ships surrounded the British Isles, they would dispatch both that and the RAF.

    Maybe you should pick up a book sometime and wonder why Japan decided to attack the US fleet at Pearl Harbor and start a war with the US. Then you'd slap yourself on the head and say 'Of course! They depended on so many resources from other places that cutting them off would leave the Japanese with nothing to fight with.'

    Yes, because many hypothetical examples people are conjuring don't address the Japanese economy. If it were incapable of producing results the likes of which would be needed for all these 'wonderweapons,' then why should anyone take it seriously?

    And you are completely disregarding the feasibility of any of these! Building something underwater like the cross channel tunnel would have been beyond their industrial and technological abilities. Even if it weren't, the US would likely shut it down, as such a project would attract a lot of attention. Subs would have been too small to make a significant impact on getting supplies to the mainland. The closest thing to an a smart bomb then was the Kamakazi, but they were not as successful as the Japanese had hoped. Improving the V-2 or their variant of the V-1 would have taken significant R&D of which they couldn't afford.

    I've not simply chosen one solution and disregarded the rest; I've taken a lot of variables into consideration.

    Wait... why didn't the Soviets have AAA emplacements in the path of these transports? Or fighters would have worked rather well.

  17. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Watched a fascinating documentary the other day on National Geographic about the Japanese navies I-401 giant subs, each of which could launch 3 seaplanes (and indeed actually bombed Oregan during the war). In the last days of 1945 debate raged as to whether they should be used to launch kamakazie strikes on the allied fleet, mine the Panama canal or drop anthrax on major US cities (anthrax developed by the Japanese army's infamous Unit 731 which was conducting experiments on Chinise prisoners that would make the Nazis blush).
    They were still at sea when the A-bomb ended the war at a stroke. Sometimes a wounded and cornered snake can be the most dangerous of all
  18. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    The Sentoku class? They considered using it against the Panama canal, but the events in the Pacific lead to the Japanese scrapping the mission.

    In spite of this, the strategic value of the Sentoku would have been significant.
  19. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Churchill himself said that the U-boats were the only thing that truly scared him during the war. If Germany had managed to cut Britain's supply lines, then the RAF would have been grounded and the Royal Navy confined to port. Yes, the Battle of Britain was definitely a story of resolve, but cold hard logistics need to be taken into count as well.

    Also, the Berlin blockade and the Cuban quarantine were peacetime blockades. If the Soviet Air Force took to shooting down the American transport planes as they would have done in a shooting war, then the airlift would have been shut down. The Pacific War was just such a shooting war and a blockade of the Japanese home islands has to be taken into such a context....an American submarine commander doesn't have to worry about the political consequences of sinking an enemy ship because well, when you're at war your diplomatic relations are sorta thrown out the window.

    True, but America's war aims weren't to democratize Germany or Japan, it was neutralize a threat. Regarding the Pacific war specifically, it was to punish Japan for aggression. By 1945, Pearl Harbor was more or less avenged, and Japan was about to be kicked out of China courtesy of the Russians, so an atom bomb is still somewhat overkill. As for democracy....Japan did experiment with it for a while so it's also possible that they would democratize eventually even without an unconditional surrender. The Japanese militarists would have been thoroughly disgraced by their defeat so it would have been an opening for pro-democracy figures to make their move.

  20. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Thank-you. That answers my question. It's not like they overcame the Berlin blockade through innovative thinking, but because the Soviets hadn't resorted to using fighters.

    Thank-you again. The US were able to use submarines in the same way that the Germans had to defeat the British. The most significant difference between the war in the Atlantic and that of the Pacific was that the German subs were being destroyed. By war's end, the Americans had more Gato class subs operating than two years earlier.

    I'm not so sure. I know that Japan had more or less suffered gruesome losses to the Americans, but their deeds during the war only seemed to make them less popular with the American people. Pearl Harbor alone may have started the war with Japan, but their cruelty and devotion to victory only seemed to make the American people more committed to winning it.
  21. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yathura, all the points you made in your last post are actually the strongest points against what you originally proposed. You can't apply certainty-based logic to any of those examples, because they are all hypothetical and didn't happen.

    Sure, the Berlin airlift could have turned hostile if the Soviets used fighters. But the Berlin blockade was a political ploy, not a military operation. They didn't use fighters, so it's pointless to counter a hypothetical with a hypothetical and ignore all the other political realities that existed at the time. But that's the point.

    Couldn't the Japanese Imperial forces deploy similar tactics as well against a blockade, especially since both parties were in a state of open world war? But seemingly, all the US had to do is park a bunch of naval ships around Japan, and it would have meant the surrender of Japan itself, even though imperial nationalism at the time would suggest the complete opposite.

    We haven't even looked at other modern examples, like the sieges of Dien Bien Phu and Khe Sanh, both in Vietnam, which were both defeated by airlifts. We can look to the Yugoslav blockade of Sarajevo in 1992, which was defeated by an underground tunnel/track system.

    Scientific skepticism looks at all the evidence presented and then makes a determination based on the probability of something happening. As a tactic, the blockade was most effective in pre-industrial societies. Anything past the industrial revolution and the technology available to both parties makes it an uncertain tactic. Probably the Civil War period was the last time it was effective, give or take a decade or so. Certainly, we can actually look to historical evidence and determine that modern blockades haven't been effective at all.

    Sure, the US could have instituted a blockade of Japan in an attempt to militarily force an end to the war, but of any tactic available at the time, it would have been the one that had the smallest chance of success. No evidence that's emerged in the 60 odd years since then has changed this, unless there's something that not been presented.
  22. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Your Berlin example won't fly, so desist with it. A Japanese blockade would NOT have been political, but a tactical move by which you sever a mainland from vital supply lines in force.

    By the way, the last post was aimed at your modern blockade theology. If you want to compare the ineffectiveness of a blockade, then use Britain. An Island nation dependent on global supply lines, very much like Japan.

    What's the complete opposite? You suggest that Japan would have lashed out and destroyed those naval warships demanding their surrender.

    I can already guess as to what your response will be, so I'll provide the response to that.

    Given as Japan was so starved for resources, they wouldn't have had the means to implement such counter offensive operations on a meaningful scale. Unless they somehow developed transporter technology or transmutation, then any argument for 'Japan lashing out and defeating the American blockade' simply won't fly.

    Please, bring your modern examples to the table! Rather than just accept that it's a bad assumption, pursue it further and watch your pride go up in flames.

    You're either very ignorant, or you're placing a lot of faith in the marvels of technology. I'll say that technology had allowed for an industrial society to free itself from certain limitations when it came to blockades. Germany had come up with a scientific way to produce gun powder when the British cut off their supply lines to S America. The US had come up with ways to substitute for rubber when the Phillippines were lost. 'Globalization makes the world smaller' That's true to an extent, but don't you go off ranting about how technology creates something called 'modern blockades' which spontaneously aren't effective at all.

    I've looked at the historic evidence and I've seen the submarine become the predominant weapon of war in the last century. To say that blockades aren't effective is to say that submarines were quite pointless in war. Do you know what the majority of their victims were? Merchant vessels, not warships. In WWII, Germany's modern blockade did rather well. They nearly brought Britain to its knees until the US joined the war effort.

  23. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Um, well I guess I'm confused. You don't consider examples from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 90's to be part of modern times? I'm sorry I don't have any examples from the great Venusian uprising of 2345 if you're looking for a truly modern account. But then again, the Venusian uprising was more concerned with attack robots and their resistance to psionic attack than any sort of blockade, so I guess I loose again. Stupid robots.

    But you're right. I'm sure Imperial Japan would have been different, considering their utter unfamiliarity with naval tactics at the time, or just how much the concept of the rising sun represented insipidness. Even today, when anyone thinks about concepts like Samurai, Kamikaze, or the Emperor, one automatically equates them with "lacking in determination."
  24. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    And even if you did have the ability to see into the future, you'd still have exactly nothing.

    There's nothing that should be confusing you at all, unless you're temporally impaired. I've come to assume you're quite informed of military tactics and history, yet you seem under the impression that the world hadn't changed much since the end of WWII. You're using examples from the Cold War era for a WWII scenario. After you transitioned into a post-nuclear world, you get something very different from the war of battleships and massive armies seeking to destroy the other. And then you implied that you would use an example from a post Cold War world. How about an example from BEFORE WWII?

    That's what you seem to be neglecting.

    Actually I would equate Japan with having been the dominant navy of the Pacific at the outbreak of WWII. Only through the US's industrial might did it overtake the Japanese, not to mention them having lost the majority of its ships and best navy pilots.
  25. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    A blockade means Japan continues to build suicide planes and suicide boats to kill American sailors, indefinitely. You could slow this a bit by wrecking Japanese industry through strategic bombing, but that is just as deadly and destructive as using nuclear weapons. They had no chance of developing V2s, no chance of regaining any sort of superiority, but the point is that military leaders cannot sit back and let their men steadily die when there's a clear way to end the conflict.

    And, of course, Allied POWs in Japanese camps would continue to die of starvation, disease and neglect. American leaders had a duty to free the British, American and Dutch prisoners before they died--to say nothing of the enslaved Koreans and other victims of Japanese expansion.
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