Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
Amy Kane

"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)."
Erik Keilholtz

Under the patronage of St. Tammany



Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

News & Ideas
Real Clear Politics
Daily Telegraph
Washington Post
Pajamas Media
American Digest
Little Green Footballs
National Review
The New Republic
The Corner
Opinion Journal
Best of the Web Today
Lileks: The Bleat
Mark Steyn
Midwest Conservative Journal
The Spectator
Atlantic Monthly
Front Page Magazine
Critical Mass
Weekly Standard
Power Line
Llama Butchers
The Onion
Conservative Home
Tory Diary
Henry Jackson Society
Naked Villainy
Fear & Loathing in Georgetown
Commentary: Contentions
The People's Cube

Culture & the Arts
Times Archive Blog
Spectator Book Club
Zajrzyj tu
Terry Teachout
Elliott Banfield
Today in History
Telegraph Obits
Maureen Mullarkey
City Journal
The Historical Society
The New Criterion
American Memory
Wodehouse Society
Hat Sharpening
Doubting Hall
Random Pensées
Hatemonger's Quarterly
Patum Peperium
Forgotten NY
NYPL Digital Gallery
Mid-Manhattan Library
BPL Online Prints
Cigar Store Figures
Scuffulans Hirsutus
Poetry Hut
Spinning Clio
Ye Olde Evening Telegraph
Atlantic Ave.
The Monarchist
Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine
The Port Stands At Your Elbow
Sven in Colorado
Dickens Blog
Feast of Nemesis

Red Hot Jazz Archive 'Perfessor' Bill's Ragtime
Arhoolie Records
Sinner's Crossroads
Riverwalk Jazz
Steamboat Calliopes
Cajun Music mp3
Old Hat Records
Virtual Victrola

Touching All the Bases
SABR Baseball Bios
Baseball Fever: Teams of Yesteryear
Boston Sports Temples
Philadelphia A's
Elysian Fields Quarterly
Mudville Magazine
US College Hockey Online
Baseball Reliquary
Sons of Sam Horn
Smoky Joe Wood & More
WaPo DC Baseball
Royal Rooters
Baseball Library
H-Y Football Gallery
Shoeless Joe

Cops in Kilts
Irish Eagle
Slugger O'Toole
Tallrite Blog
Irish Echo
Edmund Burke Society
Wild Geese Today

Theodore Roosevelt
Winston Churchill
Louis Armstrong
H.L. Mencken

St. Blog's Sampling
New Liturgical Movement
Damian Thompson
First Things
Mere Comments
Andrew Cusack
The Revealer
E. L. Core
Catholic Light
Thomas Fitzpatrick
Inn at the End of the World
Dale Price
Curt Jester
Domenico Bettinelli
Erik's Rants and Recipes
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Todd Flowerday
Some Have Hats
Daniel Mitsui
Roman Miscellany
Against the Grain
Summa Minutiae
Digital Hairshirt


Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Irish Elk - Blogged


05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002 06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002 10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002 11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002 12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010

Irish Elk
Monday, June 03, 2002  
"I say that its purpose was political and military, sadistic and humanitarian, horrible and welcome." Paul Fussell, on the dropping of the A-Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The debate over The Bomb at St. Blog's has drawn a number of thought-provoking contributions, from Veritas and Disputations, John Betts and Mark Butterworth, Louder Fenn and E.L. Core. For this space, an enjoyable result of the give-and-take over such a grim subject has been a reacquaintance with the writing of the curmudgeonly Paul Fussell (with whom the Atlantic did this interview in 1997).

Fussell, in Thank God for the Atom Bomb, writes from the perspective of a combat veteran in defending the bombing as necessary to ending an unspeakably ghastly war in the Pacific.

Arthur T. Hadley said recently that those for whom the use of the A-bomb was "wrong" seem to be implying "that it would have been better to allow thousands on thousands of American and Japanese infantrymen to die in honest hand-to-hand combat on the beaches than to drop those two bombs." People holding such views, he notes, "do not come from the ranks of society that produce infantrymen or pilots."…

Former Pfc. E. B. Sledge, author of the splendid memoir With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa, noticed at the time that the fighting grew "more vicious the closer we got to Japan," with the carnage of Iwo Jima and Okinawa worse that what had gone before. He points out that

What we had experienced in fighting the Japs on Peleliu and Okinawa caused us to formulate some very definite opinions that the invasion…would be a ghastly bloodletting…It would shock the American public and the world. [Every Japanese] soldier, civilian, woman and child would fight to the death with whatever weapons they had, rifle, grenade or bamboo spear.

The Japanese pre-invasion patriotic song, "One Hundred Million Souls for the Emperor," says Sledge, "meant just that." Universal kamikaze was the point…And the invasion was going to take place: there's no question about that. It was not theoretical or merely rumored in order to scare the Japanese. By July 10, 1945, the prelanding naval and aerial bombardment of the coast had begun…

…John Kenneth Galbraith is persuaded that the Japanese would have surrendered surely by November without an invasion. He thinks the A-bombs were unnecessary and unjustified because the war was ending anyway. The A-bombs meant, he says, "a difference, at most, of two or three weeks." But at the time, with no indication that surrender was on the way, the kamikazes were sinking American vessels, the Indianapolis was sunk (880 men killed), and Allied casualties were running to over 7,000 per week. "Two or three weeks," says Galbraith. Two weeks more means 14,000 more killed and wounded, three weeks more, 21,000. Those weeks mean the world if you're one of those thousands or related to one of them. During the time between the dropping of the Nagasaki bomb on August 9 and the actual surrender on the fifteenth, the war pursued its accustomed course: on the twelfth of August eight captured American fliers were executed (heads chopped off); the fifty-first United States submarine, Bonefish, was sunk (all aboard drowned); the destroyer Callaghan went down, the seventieth to be sunk, and the Destroyer Escort Underhill was lost. That's a bit of what happened in six days of the two or three weeks posited by Galbraith. What did he do in the war? He worked in the Office of Price Administration in Washington. I don't demand that he experience having his ass shot off. I merely note that he didn't.

It is worth noting that a million American lives were expected to be lost in an invasion of mainland Japan; that 123,000 Japanese and Americans had killed each other on Okinawa weeks before the A-bomb killed 140,000 in Hiroshima; Hiroshima was indeed militarily significant as headquarters of the Japanese Second Army; and that the foe was an expansionist power of singular barbarity that preferred death to surrender, regarded with moral contempt conquered peoples who chose otherwise, and was preparing a kamikaze defense of the homeland to the last man, woman and child.

Catholic just-war thinking starts with a “presumption for justice,” not a “presumption against violence,” maintains George Weigel (second essay). In an immoral business, in which no choice is palatable, might it not be argued that the evil of the a-bomb is preferable to the greater evil of extended warfare, in that the bomb hastens the end of warfare and the imposition of justice?

And on the "Ends Justifying the Means" question: If it would lead to information that would prevent the terrorist destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge or the Sears Tower, I would unhesitatingly prescribe the Iron Maiden for Osama bin Laden.

When I read that we will fight the Japs for years if necessary and will sacrifice hundreds of thousands if we must, I always like to check from where he's talking: it's seldom out here. Lieutenant (j.g.) John F. Kennedy, US Navy, 1943


This page is powered by Blogger.