Thursday, August 4, 2011




Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters:


Contents of #1


Dick’s Essay on US Violence and Air War

Contents of #2

Bombing Civilians in 20th Century

Bombing German and Japanese Cities WWII

Air War Against Japan WWII

Bombing of Tokyo WWII

21st Century:   Drones


Tanaka, Juki and Marilyn Young. Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth Century History.  New P, 2009.  Rev. The Catholic Worker (August-Sept. 2010).  Scholarly support to our moral outrage from historical, legal, political, and cultural experts.


“Bombing Civilians: An American Tradition” By Marilyn B. Young

Ms. Young is a professor of history at New York University. This excerpt originally appeared in Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History edited by Yuki Tanaka and Ms. Young.

Airpower embodies American technology at its most dashing. At regular intervals, the air force and allied technocrats claim that innovations in air technology herald an entirely new age of warfare. Korea and Vietnam were, so to speak, living laboratories for the development of new weapons: the 1,200-pound radio-guided Tarzon bomb (featured in Korean-era Movietone newsreels); white-phosphorous-enhanced napalm; cluster bombs (CBUs) carrying up to 700 bomblets, each bomblet containing 200 to 300 tiny steel balls or fiberglass fléchettes; delayed-fuse cluster bombs; airburst cluster bombs; toxic defoliants; varieties of nerve gas; sets of six B 52s, operating at altitudes too high to be heard on the ground, capable of delivering up to thirty tons of explosives each. A usual mission consisted of six planes in formation, which together could devastate an area one half mile wide by three miles long. Older technologies were retrofitted: slow cargo planes (“Puff the Magic Dragon”) equipped with rapid-fire machine guns capable of firing 6,000 rounds a minute; World War I– era Skyraiders, carrying bomb loads of 7,500 pounds and fitted with four 20-millimeter cannon that together fired over 2,000 rounds per minute.

The statistics stun; they also provide distance. They are impossible to take in, as abstract as the planning responsible for producing them. In Korea over a three-year period, U.S./UN forces flew 1,040,708 sorties and dropped 386,037 tons of bombs and 32,357 tons of napalm. If one counts all types of airborne ordnance, including rockets and machine-gun ammunition, the total tonnage comes to 698,000. Throughout World War II, in all sectors, the United States dropped 2 million tons of bombs; for Indochina the total figure is 8 million tons, with an explosive power equivalent to 640 Hiroshima-size bombs. Three million tons were dropped on Laos, exceeding the total for Germany and Japan by both the U.S. and Great Britain. For nine years, an average of one planeload of bombs fell on Laos every eight minutes. In addition, 150,000 acres of forest were destroyed through the chemical warfare known as defoliation. For South Vietnam, the figure is 19 million gallons of defoliant dropped on an area comprising 20 percent of South Vietnam—some 6 million acres. In an even briefer period, between 1969 and 1973, 539,129 tons of bombs were dropped in Cambodia, largely by B-52s, of which 257,465 tons fell in the last six months of the war (as compared to 160,771 tons on Japan from 1942–1945). The estimated toll of the dead, the majority civilian, is equally difficult to absorb: 2 to 3 million in Korea; 2 to 4 million in Vietnam.

To the policy makers, air war is abstract. They listen attentively for a response to the messages they send and discuss the possibility that many more may have to be sent. For those who deliver the messages, who actually drop the bombs, air war can be either abstract (in a high-flying B-29 or B-52, for example) or concrete. Often it is a combination. Let me offer an example that combines the abstract with the concrete. During the Korean War, one pilot confided to a reporter that napalm had become the most valued of all the weapons at his disposal. “The first couple of times I went in on a napalm strike,” Federic Champlin told E.J. Kahn,

I had kind of an empty feeling. I thought afterward, Well, maybe I shouldn’t have done it. Maybe those people I set afire were innocent civilians. But you get conditioned, especially after you’ve hit what looks like a civilian and the A-frame on his back lights up like a Roman candle—a sure enough sign that he’s been carrying ammunition. Normally speaking, I have no qualms about my job. Besides, we don’t generally use napalm on people we can see. We use it on hill positions, or buildings. And one thing about napalm is that when you’ve hit a village and have seen it go up in flames, you know that you’ve accomplished something. Nothing makes a pilot feel worse than to work over an area and not see that he’s accomplished anything.

A “hill position,” a “building” (in Vietnam, “hooches,” sometimes “structures”)—not people. For the man with the A-frame on his back, air war can only be concrete. In 1950, in the month of November alone, 3,300 tons of napalm were dropped on North Korean cities and towns, including the city of Kanggye, 65 percent of which was destroyed by incendiary bombs. In Korea, the British correspondent Reginald Thompson believed he was seeing a “new technique of machine warfare. The slightest resistance brought down a deluge of destruction, blotting out the area. Dive bombers, tanks and artillery blasted strong points, large or small, in town and hamlet, while the troops waited at the roadside as spectators until the way was cleared for them. . . .”

Years later, another pilot, flying a small spotter plane to call in napalm strikes in South Vietnam, told Jonathan Schell how he identified the enemy: “If they run away.” He added: “Sometimes, when you see a field of people, it looks like just a bunch of farmers. Now, you see, the Vietnamese people—they’re not interested in the U.S. Air Force, and they don’t look at the planes going over them. But down in that field you’ll see one guy whose conical hat keeps bouncing up and down. He’s looking, because he wants to know where you’re going.” Then, Major Billings continued, “you make a couple of passes . . . and then, one of them makes a break for it—it’s the guy that was looking up at you—and he’s your V.C. So you look where he goes, and call in an air strike.” Once, Billings remembered, he “about ran a guy to death,” chasing him through the fields for an hour before calling in planes to finish the job. Schell thought this amounted to “sniping with bombs,” and Billings agreed.17 For Billings, the people themselves were concrete abstractions, ideas all too literally in the flesh.

In addition to the bombs that were dropped on Korea, there were those that were constantly contemplated but never used. On June 29, 1950, just four days after the war began, the possibility of using nuclear weapons in the event of Chinese intervention in the war was broached in the National Security Council. In June, as again when the subject came up in July at a State Department policy and planning staff meeting, the questions was not so much whether to use nuclear weapons but rather under what conditions they might be used: if there was overt Chinese and Soviet intervention; if their use were essential to victory; “if the bombs could be used without excessive destruction of noncombatants.”18 Talk of using the bomb increased dramatically after the Chinese entered the war in late October 1950, and President Truman’s casual reference to the possibility in a press conference brought a nervous Prime Minister Clement Atlee to Washington on the next plane. A joint communiqué, however, expressed only a sincere hope that “world conditions would never call for the use of the atomic bomb.”

General Douglas MacArthur thought the conditions were ripe in December 1950 and requested permission to drop a total of thirty-four bombs on a variety of targets. “I would have dropped 30 or so atomic bombs . . . strung across the neck of Manchuria,” he told an interviewer, and “spread behind us—from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea—a belt of radioactive cobalt . . . it has an active life of between 60 and 120 years. For at least 60 years, there could have been no land invasion of Korea from the North.” MacArthur’s replacement, General Matthew Ridgway, requested thirtyeight atomic bombs. In the event, nuclear weapons were not used; the destruction of northern and central Korea had been accomplished with conventional weapons alone.

The cease-fire that ended the Korean War followed a crescendo of bombing, which was then taken as proof that airpower was as decisive in limited wars as it had been in total war. The cities and towns of central and northern Korea had been leveled. In what Bruce Cumings has called the “final act of this barbaric air war,” North Korea’s main irrigation dams were destroyed in the spring of 1953, shortly after the rice had been transplanted. “The subsequent floods scooped clean 27 miles of valley below. . . . The Westerner can little conceive the awesome meaning which the loss of [rice] has for the Asian—starvation and slow death.” By 1952, according to a UN estimate, one out of nine men, women, and children in North Korea had been killed. In the South, 5,000,000 people had been displaced and 100,000 children were described as unaccompanied. “The countless ruined villages are the most terrible and universal mark of the war on the Korean landscape. To wipe out cover for North Korean vehicles and personnel, hundreds of thatch-roofed houses were burned by air-dropped jellied gasoline or artillery fire,” Walter Sullivan, former New York Times Korea correspondent, reported in The Nation. J. Donald Kingsley, head of the reconstruction agency, called Korea “the most devastated land and its people the most destitute in the history of modern warfare.”

Freda Kirchwey, in an essay for The Nation, tried to explain the general indifference of the American public to the destruction:

We were all hardened by the methods of mass-slaughter practiced first by the Germans and Japanese and then, in self-defense, adopted and developed to the pitch of perfection illustrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Western allies and, particularly, the Americans. We became accustomed to “area” bombing, “saturation” bombing, all the hideous forms of strategic air war aimed at wiping out not only military and industrial installations but whole populations. . . . A deep scar was left on the mind of Western man, and, again, particularly on the American mind, by the repression of pity and the attempt to off-load all responsibility onto the enemy.

Kirchwey thought that this repression explained the lack of protest “against the orgy of agony and destruction now in progress in Korea.” Nothing the North Koreans, Chinese, or Russians had done “excuses the terrible shambles created up and down the Korean peninsula by the American-led forces, by American planes raining down napalm and fire bombs, and by heavy land and naval artillery.” And now Korea, “blotted out in the name of collective security, blames the people who drop the fire bombs,” which might seem unfair to the military mind but was inevitable:

For a force which subordinates everything to the job of killing the enemy becomes an enemy itself. . . . And after a while plain horror displaces a sense of righteousness even among the defenders of righteousness, and thus the cause itself becomes hateful. This has happened in Korea. Soon, as we learn the facts, it will overtake us here in America.

“The American mind,” Kirchwey was certain, “mercurial and impulsive, tough and tender, is going to react against the horrors of mechanized warfare in Korea.”

The air force reached different conclusions. In 1957, a collection of essays was published whose title declared its thesis: Airpower: The Decisive Force in Korea. The authors of one of the essays in the collection describe an air operation they considered exceptionally successful. Late in 1952, a small group of air commanders set out to demonstrate the extent to which airpower alone could “occupy” territory. Their intention was to show the North Koreans that the United States could “exert an effective form of air pressure at any time or any place, could capture and air control any desired segment of his territory for was long as the military situation warranted.” The campaign began in January 1953. For five days, twenty-four hours a day, “a devastating force walked the earth over a 2-by-4 mile target area” and for six days thereafter nothing in the area moved. After 2,292 combat sorties, “Air forces bought a piece of real estate 100 miles behind enemy lines and ruled it for 11 days.” But on the fourteenth day, “with typical Communist swiftness,” “hordes” of “Red laborers and soldiers” began repair work; six days after the attack, a bypass was in place and rail links had been restored. The bridges attacked had been rebuilt, as had the highways and rail links. Still, the report was certain, “in the gnarled steel and wrenched earth the Communists saw the specter of a new concept in war—air envelopment.” One might imagine that the Americans had a lesson to learn here: that bridges could be rebuilt; that a “curtain of fire” created by such raids could cost the enemy a week’s time, but not stop them. Instead, against the evidence, many in the air force concluded that had such airpower been applied earlier in the war, it would have ended earlier and on better terms.

In what turned out to be the final phase of the talks, President Eisenhower threatened to use nuclear weapons if the Chinese did not sign a cease-fire agreement. It has become part of the Eisenhower legend that this last threat broke the stalemate and, in Eisenhower’s words, gave the United States “an armistice on a single battleground,” though not “peace in the world.” In the event, as most authorities agree, the Chinese may not have even been aware of the threat, much less responded to it. Chinese acceptance of the concessions demanded at Panmunjom (all of them relating to the issue of repatriation of prisoners of war) was granted for reasons to do with Chinese, North Korean, and Soviet politics, not U.S. atomic flashing. Nevertheless, in addition to the Republican Party, many senior officers in the air force were convinced of the value of such threats and the necessity, if it came to that, of acting on them.

Whatever the air force learned from the Korean War, what the politicians drew from it was more specific and could be boiled down to one dictum: fight the war, but avoid Chinese intervention. Unlike Freda Kirchwey, military and civilian policy makers (and, for that matter, the majority of the American public) never, to my knowledge, questioned the morality of either the ends or the means of fighting in Korea. The difficult question that faced administrations, from Kennedy through Nixon, was tactical: how to use military force in Southeast Asia without unduly upsetting the Chinese. President Kennedy’s solution was to concentrate on counterinsurgency, which, as it failed to achieve its end, devolved into a brutal ten-year bombing campaign in South Vietnam.

Copyright © 2009 by Marilyn B. Young. This excerpt originally appeared in Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History edited by Yuki Tanaka and Marilyn B. Young. Published by The New Press. Reprinted here with permission.




Among the Dead Cities by AC Grayling

Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan  by AC Grayling.    Bloomsbury, 2006.

This book is going to cause a good deal of annoyance, not least because its extremely sophisticated argument lends itself to being immediately misunderstood by those of a less liberal frame of mind. Grayling uses his fine philosopher's mind to examine the question of whether the western Allies committed "war crimes" in their area bombing campaigns during the second world war. That he thinks the answer to this question should be in the affirmative is what will lead to a good deal of huffing and puffing. Those historians who have written about Bomber Command will object to his moral judgment; others will object simply to the way his mind works; still others will rail against the concept of applying such moral judgments to something designed to stop Hitler. All such readers would be well advised to take a deep breath and count to 10; after that they should proceed to chapter seven, where they will find that Grayling has anticipated all their arguments (save the most bone-headed). If they read him with the care he deserves, they will find that his critique is directed against the concept of area bombing, not against the idea of bombing itself.

Grayling outlines his argument carefully, and its obvious contemporary relevance gives this book a timeliness to add to the timeless nature of the debate to which it contributes. It might be objected that all he does is prove that by 21st-century standards those who dictated our bombing policy in the last world war were war criminals; that would be to simplify things to the point of misrepresentation. As Churchill himself recognised, once one begins to use concepts such as "war crimes", all war leaders stand in danger of condemnation; if that makes our leaders rather more careful in future, it is no bad thing. The modern international laws of war, whose origins Grayling details in chapter six, owe those origins, at least in part, to the horrors depicted here; this is not a book for the squeamish.

Grayling is not deaf to the argument that war justifies whatever means might be necessary to win it most effectively, but he shows that even this cannot be deployed to condone barbarism - especially when this makes it more difficult to win the war. He shows, convincingly, that area bombing may have lowered the western governments to the level of the Nazis but did not speed up the Allied victory. German morale was not broken, nor was its ability to carry on the war much impeded. Targeted bombing campaigns might have been just as effective in military terms, and would not have carried the moral stigma of area bombing; much the same argument is used to combat the idea that area bombing pulled German war matériel away from the eastern front. It might seem pertinent to ask whether Allied bombing techniques were advanced enough in the 1940s to allow precision strikes, and even here, as recent events have shown, civilian casualties cannot be avoided.

The bigger question lurking in this provocative and readable study is how far civilised powers should go in waging war. For pacifists the question has an obvious answer, but for those engaged with the Hobbesian struggle that is international relations, other answers have to be found. The claim to be fighting for civilisation is one that is hard to deny to Churchill and company; a victory for Hitler would indeed have signalled a "new Dark Age". But it does no one any favours to overlook the crimes committed in pursuit of that victory. Allied leaders themselves had earlier rejected the concept of mass area bombing and, on the evidence offered here, they were right to do so; it was militarily ineffective and morally repugnant; two wrongs do not make a right.

This book has a clear moral purpose. Only by acknowledging where mistakes were made in the past can we avoid making them in the future. Perhaps Grayling's tone is, at times, too much of that of the detached moral philosopher, and he is bound to find reviewers asking him what he would have done at the time; but that is the purpose of his book, to provoke our leaders, and those on whose behalf they purport to act, to ask how to wage a war by methods short of barbarism. Although Grayling does not cite him, he might like to be reminded of the comment of that unjustly forgotten Liberal leader, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who, when confronted with evidence of the British use of concentration camps in the Boer war asked: "When is a war not a just war? When it is carried on by methods of barbarism in South Africa." Unless we exercise vigilance over our leaders, they will fall for the tempting arguments that lead to area bombing, or its modern equivalent. Books like this should be compulsory reading for all senior politicians.

· John Charmley is professor of modern history at the University of East Ang



*       Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945

From Booklist

Tillman, who has written many books on WWII aviation, scales from histories of particular types of warplane up to, in this volume, a history of an entire air war. Spanning the American air campaign against the Japanese home islands, which began with the famous Doolittle Raid of April 1942 and concluded with several conventional attacks mounted after the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tillman centers on the B-29 bomber as the war-winning weapon. Hampered by technical problems in development, the plane’s effectiveness was also limited by its initial basing in India and China and its operators’ doctrinal fixation on high-altitude “precision” bombing. As Tillman recounts, only when based in the Mariana Islands and commanded by a general (of whom Tillman is a biographer, LeMay,2005) who firebombed enemy cities from low altitude did the B-29 vindicate its fearsome potential. Also recounting attacks by American carrier aircraft and the atomic bombings, Tillman tenders his verdicts on controversies about their strategic utility or justification, and embeds combat experiences in a narrative sure to engross WWII readers. --Gilbert Taylor



Bombing of Tokyo

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Bombing of Tokyo

Part of Pacific War

Firebombing of Tokyo.jpg
Tokyo burns under B-29 firebomb assault, May 26, 1945




Tokyo, Japan


 United States

JapanEmpire of Japan


The bombing of Tokyo, often referred to as a "firebombing", was conducted by the United States Army Air Forces during the Pacific campaigns of World War II. The U.S. mounted a small-scale raid on Tokyo in April 1942, with large morale effects. Strategic bombing and urban area bombing began in 1944 after the long-range B-29 Super Fortress bomber entered service, first employed from China and thereafter the Mariana Islands. B-29 raids from those islands commenced on November 17, 1944 and lasted until August 15, 1945, the day Japan capitulated.[1] The air raid of 9–10 March 1945 was one of the most destructive bombing raids in history.



·         1 Doolittle Raid

·         2 B-29 raids

·         3 Partial list of B-29 missions against Tokyo

·         4 Other attacks

·         5 Immediate effects and aftermath of the firebombings

·         6 Postwar recovery

·         7 Postwar debate and legal dispute

·         8 See also

·         9 Notes

·         10 Further information

o    10.1 Books

o    10.2 Web

[edit] Doolittle Raid

Charred remains of Japanese civilians after the March 10, 1945 firebombing of Tokyo. Photograph by Ishikawa Koyo.

Main article: Doolittle Raid

The first raid on Tokyo was the Doolittle Raid of 18 April 1942, when sixteen B-25 Mitchells were launched from USS Hornet to attack targets including Yokohama and Tokyo and then fly on to airfields in China. The raid was the retaliation against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid did no damage to Japan's war capability but was a significant propaganda victory for the United States.[2] Launched prematurely, none of the attacking aircraft reached the designated airfields, either crashing or ditching (except for one aircraft which landed in the Soviet Union, where the crew was officially interned and secretly repatriated). Two crews were captured by the Japanese in occupied China.

[edit] B-29 raids

This Tokyo residential section was virtually destroyed.

The charred body of a woman who was carrying a child on her back; her back itself was not burned.


The key development for the bombing of Japan was the B-29 bomber plane, which had an operational range of 3,250 nautical miles (6,019 km); almost 90% of the bombs dropped on the home islands of Japan were delivered by this type of bomber. Once Allied ground forces had captured islands sufficiently close to Japan, airfields were built on those islands (particularly Saipan and Tinian) and B-29s could reach Japan for bombing missions.

The initial raids were carried out by the Twentieth Air Force operating out of mainland China in Operation Matterhorn under XX Bomber Command, but these could not reach Tokyo. Operations from the Northern Mariana Islands commenced in November 1944 after the XXI Bomber Command was activated there. The B-29s of XX Bomber Command were transferred to XXI Bomber Command in the spring of 1945 and based on Guam.[citation needed]

The first raid using low-flying B-29s carrying incendiary bombs to drop on Tokyo was in February 1945 when 174 B-29s destroyed around one square mile (3 km²) of the city.[citation needed] Changing their tactics to expand the coverage and increase the damage, 335 B-29s took off[3] to raid on the night of 9–10 March, with 279 of them[3] dropping around 1,700 tons of bombs. Fourteen B-29s were lost.[3] Approximately 16 square miles (41 km²) of the city were destroyed and some 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the resulting firestorm, more than the immediate deaths of either the Hiroshima or Nagasaki atomic bombs.[4][5] The US Strategic Bombing Survey later estimated that nearly 88,000 people died in this one raid, 41,000 were injured, and over a million residents lost their homes. The Tokyo Fire Department estimated a higher toll: 97,000 killed and 125,000 wounded. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department established a figure of 124,711 casualties including both killed and wounded and 286,358 buildings and homes destroyed. Richard Rhodes, historian, put deaths at over 100,000, injuries at a million and homeless residents at a million.[6] These casualty and damage figures could be low; Mark Selden wrote in Japan Focus:

The figure of roughly 100,000 deaths, provided by Japanese and American authorities, both of whom may have had reasons of their own for minimizing the death toll, seems to me arguably low in light of population density, wind conditions, and survivors' accounts. With an average of 103,000 inhabitants per square mile (396 people per hectare) and peak levels as high as 135,000 per square mile (521 people per hectare), the highest density of any industrial city in the world, and with firefighting measures ludicrously inadequate to the task, 15.8 square miles (41 km2) of Tokyo were destroyed on a night when fierce winds whipped the flames and walls of fire blocked tens of thousands fleeing for their lives. An estimated 1.5 million people lived in the burned out areas.[7]

The destruction and damage were greatest in the parts of the city to the east of the Imperial Palace.[citation needed] Over 50% of Tokyo was destroyed by the end of World War II.[citation needed]

[edit] Partial list of B-29 missions against Tokyo

·         19 February 1945: 119 B-29s hit port and urban area

·         25 February 1945: 174 B-29s dropping incendiaries destroy ~28,000 buildings

·         4 March 1945: 159 B-29s hit urban area[3]

·         10 March 1945: 334 B-29s dropping incendiaries destroy ~267,000 buildings; ~25% of city[3] (Operation Meetinghouse) killing some 100,000

·         2 April 1945: >100 B-29s bomb the Nakajima aircraft factory

·         3 April 1945: 68 B-29s bomb the Koizumi aircraft factory and urban areas in Tokyo

·         7 April 1945: 101 B-29s bomb the Nakajima aircraft factory.

·         13 April 1945: 327 B-29s bomb the arsenal area

·         15 April 1945: 109 B-29s hit urban area

·         24 May 1945: 520 B-29s bomb urban-industrial area south of the Imperial Palace

·         26 May 1945: 464 B-29s bomb urban area immediately south of the Imperial Palace

·         20 July 1945: 1 B-29 drops a Pumpkin bomb (bomb with same ballistics as the Fat Man nuclear bomb) through overcast aiming at but missing the Imperial Palace[8]

·         8 August 1945: ~60 B-29s bomb the aircraft factory and arsenal

·         10 August 1945: 70 B-29s bomb the arsenal complex

[edit] Other attacks

Additional missions against Tokyo targets were carried out by twin-engine bombers and by fighter-bombers.[9]

[edit] Immediate effects and aftermath of the firebombings

1947 U.S. military survey showing bomb-damaged areas of Tokyo

Cenotaph of a citizen. Bombing of Tokyo in World War II, Sumida park, Taitō, Tokyo.

Damage to Tokyo's heavy industry was slight until firebombing destroyed much of the light industry that was used as an integral source for small machine parts and time-intensive processes. Firebombing also killed or made homeless many workers who had been taking part in war industry. Over 50% of Tokyo's industry was spread out among residential and commercial neighborhoods; firebombing cut the whole city's output in half.[10]

The Imperial Palace was surrounded by areas destroyed by firebombing. The main Palace itself (Kyūden), home of the Imperial General Headquarters, took heavy damage by fire, even though bombing it was specifically prohibited by USAAF order.

Emperor Hirohito's viewing of the destroyed areas of Tokyo in March, 1945, is said to have been the beginning of his personal involvement in the peace process, culminating in Japan's surrender five months later.[11]

[edit] Postwar recovery

After the war, Tokyo struggled to rebuild. In 1945/1946, the city received a share of the national reconstruction budget roughly proportional to its amount of bombing damage (26.6%), but in successive years Tokyo saw its share dwindle. By 1949, Tokyo was given only 10.9% of the budget; at the same time there was runaway inflation devaluing the money as Japan was spending more than it was bringing in from taxes. Occupation authorities such as Joseph Dodge stepped in and drastically cut back on Japanese government rebuilding programs, focusing instead on simply improving roads and transportation. Tokyo did not experience fast economic growth until the 1950s.[12]

[edit] Postwar debate and legal dispute

In 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō apologized in print, acknowledging Japan's bombing of Chinese cities beginning in 1938, killing civilians. He wrote that the Japanese government should have surrendered as soon as losing the war was inevitable, an action that would have prevented Tokyo from being firebombed in March 1945, as well as subsequent bombings of other cities.[13] Thereafter, survivors banded together and unsuccessfully sued the Japanese government for compensation; however, efforts continue.[14]

[edit] See also


Tokyo portal

·         United States strategic bombing of Japan

·         Bombing of Kobe in World War II

·         Battle of Okinawa

·         Battle of Iwo Jima

·         Grave of the Fireflies

·         Curtis LeMay

·         Unexploded ordnance

·         Japanese village

[edit] Notes

1.      ^ Craven, Wesley Frank, and James Lea Cate, eds. The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume Five, the Pacific: Matterhorn to Nagasaki June 1944 to August 1945. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953, page 558.

2.      ^ Shapiro, Isaac (2009). Edokko: Growing Up a Foreigner in Wartime Japan. iUniverse. p. 115. ISBN 144014124X. 

3.      ^ a b c d e Air Force Historical Studies Office. U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology. March 1945. Retrieved March 3, 2009.

4.      ^ Freeman Dyson. Part I: A Failure of Intelligence. Technology Review, November 1 2006, MIT

5.      ^ David McNeill. The night hell fell from the sky. Japan Focus, March 10 2005.

6.      ^ Rhodes, Richard. "The Making of the Atomic Bomb". p 599. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks (1984) ISBN 0-684-81378-5.

7.      ^ Mark Selden. A Forgotten Holocaust: US Bombing Strategy, the Destruction of Japanese Cities and the American Way of War from the Pacific War to Iraq. Japan Focus, May 2 2007.

8.      ^ Norman Polmar. The Enola Gay: The B-29 That Dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, pp. 24. Potomac Books (2004) ISBN 1-57-488836-6.

9.      ^ Air Force Historical Studies Office. U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology 1941–1945.

10.  ^ United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Summary Report (Pacific War), p. 18.

11.  ^ Bradley, F. J. No Strategic Targets Left. "Contribution of Major Fire Raids Toward Ending WWII" p. 38. Turner Publishing Company, limited edition. ISBN 1-56-311483-6.

12.  ^ Andre Sorensen. The Making of Urban Japan: Cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty First Century RoutledgeCurzon, 2004. ISBN 0-41-535422-6.

13.  ^ Karacas, Cary (2010). "Fire Bombings and Forgotten Civilians: The Lawsuit Seeking Compensation for Victims of the Tokyo Air Raids 焼夷弾空襲と忘れられた被災市民東京大空襲犠牲者による損害賠償請求訴訟". ISSN 1557-4660. 

14.  ^ Shimbun, The Asahi. "The Great Tokyo Air Raid and the Bombing of Civilians in World War II". The Asia-Pacific Journal date=. 

[edit] Further information

[edit] Books

·         Caidin, Martin (1960). A Torch to the Enemy: The Fire Raid on Tokyo. Balantine Books. ISBN 0553299263. D767.25.T6 C35. 

·         Coffey, Thomas M. (1987). Iron Eagle: The Turbulent Life of General Curtis LeMay. Random House Value Publishing. ISBN 0-517-55188-8. 

·         Crane, Conrad C. (1994). The cigar that brought the fire wind: Curtis LeMay and the strategic bombing of Japan. JGSDF-U.S. Army Military History Exchange. ASIN B0006PGEIQ. 

·         Frank, Richard B. (2001). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. Penguin. ISBN 0141001461. 

·         Grayling, A. C. (2007). Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan. New York: Walker Publishing Company Inc. ISBN 0-8027-1565-6. 

·         Greer, Ron (2005). Fire from the Sky: A Diary Over Japan. Jacksonville, Arkansas, U.S.A.: Greer Publishing. ISBN 0-9768712-0-3. 

·         Guillian, Robert (1982). I Saw Tokyo Burning: An Eyewitness Narrative from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima. Jove Pubns. ISBN 0-86721-223-3. 

·         Hoyt, Edwin P. (2000). Inferno: The Fire Bombing of Japan, March 9 – August 15, 1945. Madison Books. ISBN 1568331495. 

·         Jablonski, Edward (1971). "Air War Against Japan". Airwar Outraged Skies/Wings of Fire. An Illustrated history of Air power in the Second World War. Doubleday. ASIN B000NGPMSQ. 

·         Lemay, Curtis E.; Bill Yenne (1988). Superfortress: The Story of the B-29 and American Air Power. McGraw-Hill Companies. ISBN 0-07-037164-4. 

·         McGowen, Tom (2001). Air Raid!: The Bombing Campaign. Brookfield, Connecticut, U.S.A.: Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 0-7613-1810-0. 

·         Shannon, Donald H. (1976). United States air strategy and doctrine as employed in the strategic bombing of Japan. U.S. Air University, Air War College. ASIN B0006WCQ86. 

·         Smith, Jim; Malcolm Mcconnell (2002). The Last Mission: The Secret History of World War II's Final Battle. Broadway. ISBN 0767907787. 

·         Tillman, Barrett (2010). Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1416584407. 

·         Werrell, Kenneth P. (1998). Blankets of Fire. Smithsonian. ISBN 1560988711. 

[edit] Web

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Bombing of Tokyo in 1945

·         67 Japanese cities firebombed in World War II.

·         Army Air Forces in World War II.

·         The Center of the Tokyo Raid and War Damages / Introduction.

·         Barrell, Tony (1997). "Tokyo's Burning". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2006-11-03.  Transcript of a radio documentary/commentary on the Tokyo firebombing with excerpts from interviews with participants and witnesses.

·         Craven, Wesley Frank; James Lea Cate. "Vol. V: The Pacific: Matterhorn to Nagasaki, June 1944 to August 1945". The Army Air Forces in World War II. U.S. Office of Air Force History. Retrieved December 12, 2006. 

·         Hansell, Jr., Haywood S. (1986). "The Strategic Air War Against Germany and Japan: A Memoir". Project Warrior Studies. U.S. Office of Air Force History. Retrieved December 12, 2006. 

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Contacts: Cindy Sheehan (

Joshua Smith (


"Every one of these dead non-combatants represents an alienated family, a new revenge feud, and more recruits for a militant movement

that has grown exponentially even as drone strikes have increased." - David Kilcullen (Counterinsurgency Expert) Center for New American Security


On January 16th, 2010 from 1pm to 4pm activists descended upon the home of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia to protest the immoral, illegal and inhumane use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs - also known as "drones".)      Speaking at this event:

- Cindy Sheehan (world renowned American anti-war/peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee)

- Cynthia McKinney (former six term member of the U.S. House of Representatives and former Green Party candidate for President of the United States)

- Ann Wright (retired United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.)

- Kathy Kelly (American peace activist, pacifist and author, a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, one of the founding members of Voices in the Wilderness, and currently a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence)

- Debra Sweet (Brooklyn-based director of World Can't Wait)

- Bruce Gagnon (coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space)

-Hadi Jawad: Pakistani-American and Co-Founder of Crawford Peace House

- Joshua Smith (anti-war/peace activist, analyst and coordinator)

- David Rovics (musician)


By some reports the current implementation and planned operational expansion of the strike capable drone programs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have to date yielded up to 33% civilian (non-combatant) deaths. To any sane and honorable person this statistic alone should prove that the "actionable intelligence" and robotic delivery vehicle do not yield a proper basis and/or method for credible attack. The primary and proven case against drone attacks is that they pose a public danger that can only be deemed as indiscriminate bombing. On the day of the event activists will demand that the United States and its allies adhere to the protection of civilians (non-combatants) in international armed conflicts in accordance with the multiple existing conventions, protocols and customary international laws. These same activists will, of course, also demand an end to the wars and occupations currently under way and an immediate withdrawal of all troops and contractors.


Drones operate in the theater of war by being fueled and maintained at airbases within their locale but which are remotely piloted via satellite connected ground control stations half-way around the world and from an environment disassociated with any human connection to reality of their actions. The psychological aspect of this endeavor will ultimately create a false sense that war is easier to condone, safer to conduct and more acceptable in public and political opinion to initiate.


As of recent it has been reported in mainstream media that the United States Central Intelligence Agency has been working in cooperation with Private Military Contractors (PMCs - also known as "mercenaries") in waging secret operations in utilizing drone attacks. Under this veil of secrecy it can only be assumed that impunity for war crimes is being actively cultivated within the highest level of Department of Defense operations via proxy by the Central Intelligence Agency ( who then sub-contract out the directives.)


The most well known drone is the propeller driven Predator A (MQ-1). This drone began as merely a streaming video reconnaissance tool but was soon armed with Hellfire missiles. The United States Military then upgraded the entire drone arsenal with what has become  an even more ruthless killer - the Predator B "Reaper" (MQ-9.) With millions upon millions of U.S. taxpayer funded dollars the Reaper became higher, faster and stronger: increased size and fuel capacity, quicker engagement via a turbo-prop engine and a larger weapons payload/assortment. The Reaper is seemingly a "steroid raged monster" that sociopathically stalks it's prey. The next evolution is the Predator C "Avenger" which will employ stealth design/materials, jet engine and highly advanced optics systems.


The three most notable facts are (1) that drone programs currently under development will soon yield a series of UAV aircraft that will operate in a fully autonomous mode (meaning that no human will be controlling the craft remotely), (2) that the UAV program is destined to become the primary type of air power for the U.S. military which will also be tasked with the ability to carry out nuclear strikes, and (3) the use of drones will morph into rapid and various domestic roles as well (operating in, around and over cities of the United States.)




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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)