Sunday, May 19, 2013

Movie Theater: "The Fog of War"

The decision to deploy the atom bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man was not a war crime. On the contrary. It was an act of moral heroism. 

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

The documentary is a 2003 American documentary film about the life and times of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. It illustrates his observations of the nature of modern warfare. The title is related to the military phrase, "Fog of War". The film won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Reason for showing the movie today was a recent posting on the Dutch edition, titled "Atom Bombs on Japan: Gifts from Heaven" written by Clark Kent. The relevant passage reads as follows: 
(...) the former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara who served under the Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, expressed himself in terms of war crimes in "The Fog of War" , although he's referring to the pilots who dropped the bombs on the Japanese cities. But he stresses the importance of proportionality in Errol Morris' documentary.  His stance is clear. Both McNamara and the left - whom I don't consider morally on par - are both wrong. (...) 
In the first place, there is no moral equality between aggression and the retribution that stops the aggression. Furthermore, the Japanese military had sworn that an allied invasion of the island would be as bloody as possible to ensure better conditions for the eventual capitulation. Ten thousand kamikaze planes - human missiles - and another three thousand kamikaze ships would be deployed to inflict as much damage as possible. 
Almost three million soldiers and a civil corps of thirty million Japanese citizens would fight to the death. The American military estimated the losses of an invasion of Japan would amount to at least a quarter of a million casualties. By the decision the unleash the bombs on Hiroshima on August 6 and on Nagasaki on August 9, Japan was forced to capitulate unconditionally. On August 15 the emperor, to the Japanese a god on earth, announced he would 'accept the unacceptable'.