Wednesday, May 20, 2009

US wronged Pakistan for 30 years - Hillary Clinton - 1

US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton

The US secretary of state acknowledged on Tuesday that Washington had not been consistent in its dealings with Islamabad. Talking to reporters at the Foreign Press Centre and the White House, Hillary Clinton said “it is fair to say that our policy towards Pakistan over the last 30 years has been incoherent. I don’t know any other word”. US wronged Pakistan for 30 years, admits Hillary By Anwar Iqbal Wednesday, 20 May, 2009 06:53 AM PST

Let me help you Ms. Hillary Clinton by taking back you to not too distant History that USA not only wronged Pakistan but almost every nation in the World particularly in the Third World, and Yankees didn't even spare their own citizens what to talk of Children of Lesser god i.e. Third World...

In the best-selling version of popular myth as history, U.S. "goodness" peaked during World War II (aka America's War Against Fascism). Lost in the din of trumpet sound and angel song is the fact that when fascism was in full stride in Europe, the U.S. government actually looked away. When Hitler was carrying out his genocidal pogrom against Jews, U.S. officials refused entry to Jewish refugees fleeing Germany. The United States entered the war only after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. Drowned out by the noisy hosannas is its most barbaric act, in fact the single most savage act the world has ever witnessed: the dropping of the atomic bomb on civilian populations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war was nearly over. The hundreds of thousands of Japanese people who were killed, the countless others who were crippled by cancers for generations to come, were not a threat to world peace. They were civilians. Just as the victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings were civilians. Just as the hundreds of thousands of people who died in Iraq because of the U.S.-led sanctions were civilians. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a cold, calculated experiment carried out to demonstrate America's power. At the time, President Truman described it as "the greatest thing in history". Is this what you called Democracy???



Paul Wolf, Attorney at Law P.O. Box 11244 Washington DC 20008,

COINTELPRO is an acronym for a series of FBI counterintelligence programs designed to neutralize political dissidents. Although covert operations have been employed throughout FBI history, the formal COINTELPRO's of 1956-1971 were broadly targeted against radical political organizations. In the early 1950s, the Communist Party was illegal in the United States. The Senate and House of Representatives each set up investigating committees to prosecute communists and publicly expose them. (The House Committee on Un-American Activities and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy). When a series of Supreme Court rulings in 1956 and 1957 challenged these committees and questioned the constitutionality of Smith Act prosecutions and Subversive Activities Control Board hearings, the FBI's response was COINTELPRO, a program designed to "neutralize" those who could no longer be prosecuted. Over the years, similar programs were created to neutralize civil rights, anti-war, and many other groups, all said to be "communist front organizations." As J. Edgar Hoover, longtime Director of the FBI, put it

The forces which are most anxious to weaken our internal security are not always easy to identify. Communists have been trained in deceit and secretly work toward the day when they hope to replace our American way of life with a Communist dictatorship. They utilize cleverly camouflaged movements, such as peace groups and civil rights groups to achieve their sinister purposes. While they as individuals are difficult to identify, the Communist party line is clear. Its first concern is the advancement of Soviet Russia and the godless Communist cause. It is important to learn to know the enemies of the American way of life.

The United States and Middle East: Why Do "They" Hate Us? by Stephen R. Shalom, December 12, 2001

Stephen R. Shalom

The list below presents some specific incidents of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The list minimizes the grievances against the United States in the region because it excludes more generalized long_standing policies, such as U.S. backing for authoritarian regimes (arming Saudi Arabia, training the secret police in Iran under the Shah, providing arms and aid to Turkey as it ruthlessly attacked Kurdish villages, etc.). The list also excludes many actions of Israel in which the United States is indirectly implicated because of its military, diplomatic, and economic backing for Israel. Whether any of these grievances actually motivated those who organized the horrific and utterly unjustified attacks of September 11 is unknown. But the grievances surely helped to create the environment which breeds anti-American terrorism.

1947-48: U.S. backs Palestine partition plan. Israel established. U.S. declines to press Israel to allow expelled Palestinians to return.

1949: CIA backs military coup deposing elected government of Syria.1

1953: CIA helps overthrow the democratically_elected Mossadeq government in Iran (which had nationalized the British oil company) leading to a quarter_century of repressive and dictatorial rule by the Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi.

1956: U.S. cuts off promised funding for Aswan Dam in Egypt after Egypt receives Eastern bloc arms.

1956: Israel, Britain, and France invade Egypt. U.S. does not support invasion, but the involvement of its NATO allies severely diminishes Washington's reputation in the region.

1958: U.S. troops land in Lebanon to preserve "stability".

early 1960s: U.S. unsuccessfully attempts assassination of Iraqi leader, Abdul Karim Qassim.2

1963: U.S. supports coup by Iraqi Ba'ath party (soon to be headed by Saddam Hussein) and reportedly gives them names of communists to murder, which they do with vigor.3

1967_: U.S. blocks any effort in the Security Council to enforce SC Resolution 242, calling for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 war.

1970: Civil war between Jordan and PLO. Israel and U.S. discuss intervening on side of Jordan if Syria backs PLO.

1972: U.S. blocks Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat's efforts to reach a peace agreement with Israel.

1973: Airlifted U.S. military aid enables Israel to turn the tide in war with Syria and Egypt.

1973_75: U.S. supports Kurdish rebels in Iraq. When Iran reaches an agreement with Iraq in 1975 and seals the border, Iraq slaughters Kurds and U.S. denies them refuge. Kissinger secretly explains that "covert action should not be confused with missionary work."4

1975: U.S. vetoes Security Council resolution condemning Israeli attacks on Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.5

1978_79: Iranians begin demonstrations against the Shah. U.S. tells Shah it supports him "without reservation" and urges him to act forcefully. Until the last minute, U.S. tries to organize military coup to save the Shah, but to no avail.6

1979_88: U.S. begins covert aid to Mujahideen in Afghanistan six months before Soviet invasion in Dec. 1979.7 Over the next decade U.S. provides training and more than $3 billion in arms and aid.

1980_88: Iran_Iraq war. When Iraq invades Iran, the U.S. opposes any Security Council action to condemn the invasion. U.S. soon removes Iraq from its list of nations supporting terrorism and allows U.S. arms to be transferred to Iraq. At the same time, U.S. lets Israel provide arms to Iran and in 1985 U.S. provides arms directly (though secretly) to Iran. U.S. provides intelligence information to Iraq. Iraq uses chemical weapons in 1984; U.S. restores diplomatic relations with Iraq. 1987 U.S. sends its navy into the Persian Gulf, taking Iraq's side; an overly_aggressive U.S. ship shoots down an Iranian civilian airliner, killing 290.

1981, 1986: U.S. holds military maneuvers off the coast of Libya in waters claimed by Libya with the clear purpose of provoking Qaddafi. In 1981, a Libyan plane fires a missile and U.S. shoots down two Libyan planes. In 1986, Libya fires missiles that land far from any target and U.S. attacks Libyan patrol boats, killing 72, and shore installations. When a bomb goes off in a Berlin nightclub, killing three, the U.S. charges that Qaddafi was behind it (possibly true) and conducts major bombing raids in Libya, killing dozens of civilians, including Qaddafi's adopted daughter.8

1982: U.S. gives "green light" to Israeli invasion of Lebanon,9 killing some 17 thousand civilians.10 U.S. chooses not to invoke its laws prohibiting Israeli use of U.S. weapons except in self_defense. U.S. vetoes several Security Council resolutions condemning the invasion.

1983: U.S. troops sent to Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping force; intervene on one side of a civil war, including bombardment by USS New Jersey. Withdraw after suicide bombing of marine barracks.

1984: U.S._backed rebels in Afghanistan fire on civilian airliner.11

1987-92: U.S. arms used by Israel to repress first Palestinian Intifada. U.S. vetoes five Security Council resolution condemning Israeli repression.

1988: Saddam Hussein kills many thousands of his own Kurdish population and uses chemical weapons against them. The U.S. increases its economic ties to Iraq.

1988: U.S. vetoes 3 Security Council resolutions condemning continuing Israeli occupation of and repression in Lebanon.

1990_91: U.S. rejects any diplomatic settlement of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (for example, rebuffing any attempt to link the two regional occupations, of Kuwait and of Palestine). U.S. leads international coalition in war against Iraq. Civilian infrastructure targeted.12 To promote "stability" U.S. refuses to aid post_war uprisings by Shi'ites in the south and Kurds in the north, denying the rebels access to captured Iraqi weapons and refusing to prohibit Iraqi helicopter flights.13

1991_: Devastating economic sanctions are imposed on Iraq. U.S. and Britain block all attempts to lift them. Hundreds of thousands die. Though Security Council had stated that sanctions were to be lifted once Saddam Hussein's programs to develop weapons of mass destruction were ended, Washington makes it known that the sanctions would remain as long as Saddam remains in power. Sanctions in fact strengthen Saddam's position. Asked about the horrendous human consequences of the sanctions, Madeleine Albright (U.S. ambassador to the UN and later Secretary of State) declares that "the price is worth it."14

1991-: U.S. forces permanently based in Saudi Arabia.

1993_: U.S. launches missile attack on Iraq, claiming self_defense against an alleged assassination attempt on former president Bush two months earlier.15

1998: U.S. and U.K. bomb Iraq over the issue of weapons inspections, even though Security Council is just then meeting to discuss the matter.

1998: U.S. destroys factory producing half of Sudan's pharmaceutical supply, claiming retaliation for attacks on U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and that factory was involved in chemical warfare. Evidence for the chemical warfare charge widely disputed.16

2000-: Israel uses U.S. arms in attempt to crush Palestinian uprising, killing hundreds of civilians.


1. Douglas Little, "Cold War and Covert Action: The United States and Syria, 1945_1958," Middle East Journal, vol. 44, no. 1, Winter 1990, pp. 55_57.

2. Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA, New York: Knopf, 1979, p. 130.

3. Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, New York: Harperperennial. 1999, p. 74; Edith and E. F. Penrose, Iraq: International Relations and National Development, Boulder: Westview, 1978, p. 288; Hanna Batatu, The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq, Princeton: Princeton UP, 1978, pp. 985_86.

4. U.S. House of Representatives, Select Committee on Intelligence, 19 Jan. 1976 (Pike Report) in Village Voice, 16 Feb. 1976. The Pike Report attributes the quote only to a "senior official"; William Safire (Safire's Washington, New York: Times Books, 1980, p. 333) identifies the official as Kissinger.

5. UN Doc. # S/11898, session # 1862. For a full list of U.S. vetoes in the Security Council on Middle East issues, along with full text of the draft resolutions, see the compilation by David Paul at

6. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977-1981 (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1983), pp. 364-64, 375, 378-79; Gary Sick, All Fall Down: America's Tragic Encounter with Iran (New York: Penguin, 1986), pp. 147-48, 167, 179.

7. Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Le Nouvel Observateur (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76.

8. See the sources in Stephen R. Shalom, Imperial Alibis (Boston: South End Press, 1993, chapter 7.

9. Ze'ev Schiff, "Green Light, Lebanon," Foreign Policy, Spring 1983.

10. Robert Fisk, "The Awesome Cruelty of a Doomed Poeple," Independent, 12 Sept. 2001, p. 6. Fisk is one of the most knowledgeable Westerners reporting on Lebanon.

11. UPI, "Afghan Airliner Lands After Rebel Fire Hits It," NYT, 26 Sept. 1984, p. A9.

12. See, for example, Barton Gellman, "Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq; Officials Acknowledge Strategy Went Beyond Purely Military Targets," Washington Post, 23 June 1991, p. A1. See also Thomas J. Nagy, "The Secret Behind the Sanctions," Progressive, Sept. 2001.

13. Cockburn and Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, chap. 1.

14. Cockburn and Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, chap. 5. Albright quote is from CBS News, 60 Minutes, 12 May 1996.

15. On the dubious nature of the evidence, see Seymour Hersh, New Yorker, Nov. 1, 1993.

16. See Seymour Hersh, New Yorker, Oct. 12, 1998.

A Tale of Two Cities: “Original Child Bomb” An extraordinary documentary looks at the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki By RAYMOND A. SCHROTH National Catholic Reporter, July 29, 2005

“It is a thing of beauty to behold,” wrote The New York Times’ William L. Laurence of the atomic bomb nestled in the belly of the B-29, Aug. 9, 1945, on the way to Nagasaki. Did he feel any pity or compassion for the “poor devils about to die”? Not when he thought “of Pearl Harbor or the Death March on Bataan.”

Awestruck, he watched the black object fall and the ball of fire rise. His imagination struggled to match metaphors to what he saw: It was a “new species” being born, a flower, a mushroom 45,000 feet high topped by creamy foam, a thousand Old Faithfuls, a decapitated monster growing a new head.

When the first bomb hit Hiroshima three days before, my family was on vacation on a farm in Pennsylvania. When we heard the news on the radio, I remember looking up “atomic” in the dictionary. That night on a horseback ride I saw a comet course across the sky. Was this an omen of world peace? I was 12 years old.

It was not until I read John Hersey’s Hiroshima, with its description of the 20 men whose faces had been turned upward when the bomb exploded, that I knew what happened to those “poor devils” below: Their eyeballs had melted and run down their cheeks. Around 1949, Fr. Schiffer, a Jesuit who had survived Hiroshima, addressed our high school, St. Joe’s Prep. I remember the scars from the shattered glass on his bony face.

“Original Child Bomb,” first released in 2004, is an extraordinary documentary on the moral impact of dropping the first atom bombs. Directed by Carey Schonegevel and produced by Mary Becker, it is, in a sense, made to educate “children” like me. The American and Japanese generation with any memory of August 1945 is dying out. We turn to the visual arts, to its graphic depiction of human suffering, to render today’s viewers more compassionate.

Ms. Becker’s father was a U.S. sailor in the Pacific when the bomb dropped. Inspired by Thomas Merton’s poem “Original Child Bomb,” haunted by her visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the 9/11 images of the planes hitting the Twin Towers and bodies tumbling through the air, she has moved toward this documentary for more than 20 years. She has woven together long-suppressed film footage and photos, drawings and animation, interviews with survivors and contemporary teenagers, statistics on the carnage, and Merton’s text.

The film opens with old color footage of pre-bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki street life in 1945. Children exercise, play baseball and dance. Men and women circulate in the outdoor market, cut wheat, eat lunch. A plane appears in the sky. The screen erupts in an animated blast. A woman’s body flies through the air. America celebrates. WAR IS OVER. President Truman proclaims the “biggest achievement of organized science in history.”

Then -- red, withered faces; chests, backs, breasts, legs blistered, torn, gone. A witness told Ms. Becker her friend had looked like “a fish on a charcoal grill.” In a few days came the effects of radiation -- vomiting blood, diarrhea, paralysis.

By the 1960s, a cloistered Trappist monk, writing daily in his cell, had become the religious voice of the antiwar movement. Merton’s prose-poem, a 41-stanza narrative, moves from President Truman’s first learning about the project in April to the 70,000 killed by the first bomb, which the Japanese called “original child” because it was the first of its kind. The poet’s brutal ironies illuminate the moral madness behind the decision: Many advisers opposed its use, yet some insisted that using it just once or twice “would produce eternal peace.” The president’s committee picked Hiroshima because “it had not been bombed at all. Lucky Hiroshima! What others had experienced over a period of four years would happen to Hiroshima in a single day! Much time would be saved, and ‘time is money.’ ”

In a classroom discussion among American students who have viewed the Hiroshima pictures, one asks, when will the blind cycle of Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima -- they BOOM us, we BOOM them -- stop? Another concludes: “Americans have a hard time feeling compassion for people other than themselves.”

In a creative riff, the producers send a present-day Hiroshima teenager in a backward baseball cap and earphones on a walk through the modern city, leading into the wreckage of 1945. He hears the voices of victims pleading with a woman with milk in her breasts to share it with another’s starving baby.

The film ends too quickly with its warning that the Bush administration has not learned the futility of atomic war: While the United States threatens Iran and Korea lest they develop nuclear capabilities, we order a whole new family of tactical nuclear weapons we are all too ready to use.

“Original Child Bomb” will be shown on the Sundance TV Channel Aug. 6 and 7.

Jesuit Fr. Raymond A. Schroth teaches journalism ethics at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City.

Headlines like “Jap City No More” soon brought the news to a joyous nation. Crowds gathered in Times Square to celebrate; there was less of the enemy left. Rarely are victors encumbered by remorse. President Harry Truman declared: “When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true.”[ii] Not surprisingly, six decades later, even American liberals remain ambivalent about the morality of nuking the two Japanese cities. The late Hans Bethe, Nobel Prize winner in physics of Manhattan Project fame and a leading exponent of arms control, declared that “the atom bomb was the greatest gift we could have given to the Japanese”[iii].

Bin Laden And Hiroshima by Pervez Hoodbhoy August 06, 2005

A New Look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 06, 2005 By Frank Brodhead

For the last 60 years we have been taught that the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended World War II. To be sure, there has been an intense debate about whether the bombs were necessary to end the war, or whether there were alternatives. Now a new study argues that not only were there alternatives to using the atomic bombs, but that the atomic bombs were essentially irrelevant in ending the war.

This argument is presented in Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's meticulously researched study, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. While building on an immense amount or research by many historians, Hasekgawa uses U.S., Japanese, and (for the first time) Soviet archives to take a new look at the Japanese decision making process that culminated in Emperor Hirohito's "sacred decision" to "bear the unbearable" and surrender to the allies. This hour-by-hour examination of why and how the Japanese leadership decided to surrender finds that it was the Soviet declaration of war on August 8th – and not the Hiroshima bomb on August 6th or the Nagasaki bomb on August 9th – that led to surrender. As Hasegawa notes in his conclusion, "Justifying Hiroshima and Nagasaki by making a historically unsustainable argument that the atomic bombs ended the war is no longer tenable" (pp. 299-300).

Why the Soviet declaration of war, and not the atomic bombs, was the critical event leading to surrender will be discussed shortly. But it is worth noting at the outset that Hasegawa's chronology and his interpretation of the U.S. government's diplomacy toward Japan in July and August of 1945 leads to some very disturbing conclusions.

The first conclusion largely supports the so-called "revisionist" interpretation of why the atomic bombs were used. Where the "traditional" interpretation argues that the bombs were used to end the war before an invasion of the Japanese home islands was necessary, and that there were no realistic alternatives to using nuclear weapons, the "revisionist" interpretation argues that there were additional factors or motives within U.S. policy making circles that were pressing for their use. According to the "revisionist" argument, Truman and his advisers did not consider alternatives to the bombs because, in addition to ending the war against Japan, they wanted to demonstrate the power of the bomb– and thus the greatly increased military power of the United States – to the Soviet Union. In using atomic bombs against Japan, therefore, the United States not only ended the war and opened the "Nuclear Age," but it also opened the era of "atomic diplomacy" and gave a powerful boost to the emerging Cold War.

Secondly, Hasegawa makes a strong case that Truman was so determined to use the atomic bomb on Japan that that he rejected alternatives that might end the war before the bomb was available. In addition to the factor of "atomic diplomacy" noted above, Truman also wanted to revenge Pearl Harbor and the special savagery with which the Pacific war was fought. Any possible modification of the demand that Japan surrender "unconditionally," therefore, was rejected not only for objections to any particular modification – for example, that the safety of Emperor Hirohito be guaranteed – but because there was the danger that Japan might accept such terms and the opportunity to use the atomic bomb on Japanese cities would be lost.

As Hasegawa notes, the responsibility of Japanese leaders, including the Emperor, for the tragedy of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was very large. Their continuation of the war after the loss of Okinawa was totally irresponsible and demonstrates how little the well being of their countrymen counted against the mystifications of preserving the Emperor system and the virtues of military glory. But the declaration by the Japanese government on August 10th that the United States was guilty of a "crime against humanity" is surely accurate, and judgment should be rendered, at least in our understanding of the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan

The use of the atomic bombs in the context of the US-Soviet rivalry at the end of the Pacific war has been explored by many historians. At the Yalta conference in February 1945, the Soviet Union reaffirmed its earlier pledges to enter the Pacific war three months after the end of the war in Europe. At the Potsdam conference in July 1945, Stalin told Truman and Churchill that the Soviet Union would declare war on Japan shortly after August 15th.

Once information about the power of the atomic bomb test in New Mexico reached Truman in Potsdam on July 21st, observers reported that Truman appeared very energized and became more aggressive toward the Soviets in negotiating the many outstanding issues on the table regarding especially the postwar settlements in Europe and Asia.

In addition to Truman's "atomic diplomacy," the atomic bomb appeared to offer the Americans a way to end the Pacific war before the Soviets could enter it. Truman immediately authorized the use of two atomic bombs against a short list of Japanese cities that included Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombs were to be used as soon as possible; the understanding was that this would be on August 3rd or as soon as weather conditions over Japan permitted. Truman hoped, and expected, that the bombs would force Japan to surrender before the Soviets could enter the war.

For their part, the Soviet Union planned to declare war according to the timetable noted above in part to secure the territorial concessions that it had been promised by Roosevelt and Churchill at the Yalta conference in February. This was mostly territory seized from Russia by Japan at the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5. As the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union deteriorated after the death of Roosevelt in April, the Soviets saw their entry into the Pacific war as increasingly urgent, no longer trusting the United States to fulfill its earlier pledges. Stalin also expected to be included in the postwar settlement and administration of Japan, along the lines of the four-power occupation of Germany that accompanied the end of the war in Germany.

Throughout the war in Europe, the Soviet Union had a Neutrality Treaty with Japan, though they had given the Japanese notice in April 1945 that it would be terminated in 1946. As Japan's military prospects collapsed in 1945, keeping the Soviets out of the Pacific war became the main focus of Japanese diplomacy. In addition to not wanting the power of the Soviet military brought to bear against the Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea, the Japanese Foreign Office somewhat ludicrously hoped that the Soviets would agree to broker or mediate a peace treaty with the United States and Britain that would be less severe than "unconditional surrender." Because it had broken the Japanese diplomatic code, the "Magic intercepts," the United States was aware of these diplomatic moves; and Japan's offers were also communicated to the Allies by the Soviets.

But the importance of this diplomacy to the Japanese "peace party" has not been thoroughly explored until now. Realistically or not, the Japanese leaders maintained the hope that the Soviets would save them right up to the declaration of war by the Soviets on August 8th. It was only at that point that they realized that all was lost. Similarly, the Japanese military's unrealistic belief that it could achieve consolation and glory by one final battle against the invaders of the home islands could not stand up to the prospect of a Soviet invasion of Manchuria and the northernmost home island of Hokkaido. And finally, the great fear shared by all the Japanese leaders that domestic unrest would overthrow their leadership from within was amplified by the prospect of communist armies on their soil.

By contrast, records of the Japanese government deliberations show that the military leaders appeared unfazed by the bombing of Hiroshima, and the bombing of Nagasaki was barely mentioned in the cabinet discussions of that day. Indeed, regarding the bombing of Hiroshima, Hasegawa observes that, "If anything, the atomic bomb on Hiroshima further contributed to their desperate effort to terminate the war through Moscow's mediation" (p. 186).

The Potsdam Proclamation and the Japanese Surrender

According to Hasegawa, the United States constructed its end-game diplomacy with Japan not to seek its surrender, but to justify using the atomic bomb. This was the import of the Potsdam Proclamation and the US insistence on retaining the stance of "unconditional surrender."

The allied conference at Potsdam began on July 7th and ended on August 2nd. Both the United States and the Soviets brought to the conference the draft of a proclamation calling on Japan to surrender. Both of them contained the demand for unconditional surrender. The American draft promised that if Japan did not surrender, it would be met with "prompt and utter destruction." This was the only "reference" to the atomic bomb in the proclamation, though it obviously could not be understood by the Japanese to refer to such weapons.

The original plans for a joint proclamation demanding Japan's surrender envisioned that it would be issued at the time of the Soviet declaration of war on Japan. Once the news from New Mexico had been received that the atomic bomb test was successful, and the United States could attempt to end the war by using the atomic bomb before the Soviets could declare war on Japan, it became vital that the Soviets be excluded from being a signatory to the proclamation. The British and Americans accomplished this essentially by lying to the Soviets, hoping in this way to exclude the Soviets from the postwar settlement if the war ended quickly. Ironically, by excluding Stalin's signature from the proclamation, the Japanese were misled to believe that there was a division between Stalin and Truman and Churchill. This encouraged them to continue their diplomatic strategy with the Soviets for a mediated settlement, and lessened the pressure within Japan's leadership circles to consider the proclamation as the basis of surrender negotiations.

But the most important point about the Potsdam proclamation, according to Hasegawa, was that it was drafted with the intention of being rejected, and thus justifying using the atomic bombs. Referring to James Byrnes, Truman's Secretary of State, Hasegawa summarizes his stance at Potsdam thusly:

In Byrnes's mind the atomic bomb ... would force Japan to surrender and forestall Soviet entry into the war. The atomic bomb had to be used. In order to drop the bomb, the United States had to issue the ultimatum to Japan, warning that the rejection of the terms specified in the proclamation would result in ‘prompt and utter destruction.' And this proclamation had to be rejected by the Japanese in order to justify the use of the atomic bomb. The best way to accomplish all this was to insist upon unconditional surrender.... Byrnes knew even before the Japanese responded to the Potsdam Proclamation that the document was the prelude to the bomb. (158)

The proclamation was "issued" by broadcasting it over the radio. When the Japanese government did not directly respond to the proclamation – intensifying its diplomacy with the Soviets, as noted above – the Japanese press stated that the government had chosen to "ignore" the proclamation. On the basis of such press reports, Truman maintained then and to his dying day that the Japanese had rejected the allies' ultimatum. As one conservative US diplomat put it, "There seemed to be an eagerness for grasping at any excuse for dropping the bomb" (170).


Though Truman maintained that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets, the bombs killed 110,000 civilians and 20,000 military personnel instantly. Tens of thousands more died later from radiation sickness. Many historians reasonably argue that the fire-bombing of Tokyo, Dresden, and other cities had so eroded the protections that the laws of war were supposed to extend to noncombatants that the atomic bombings were simply more of the same. Others note that the loss of so many lives in a single instant, and the lingering deaths suffered by so many thousands who fell victim to radiation poisoning, marked the atomic bomb as a qualitatively new kind of weapon of mass destruction. In either case, the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki opened an age of terror that is still with us. But it can no longer be maintained that the bombs helped to end World War II and in saving many lives by shortening the war were therefore justified.

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