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Sunday, September 20, 2015

MAKING PEACE - One - Common Interests

I have begun to wonder just how we can end will the war in Afghanistan. In this endeavor we are haunted by
the old dictum from the American Civil War. Having surrounded a Confederate army in Fort Donaldson, Kentucky, General  U.S. Grant demanded their  " unconditional and immediate surrender." But the reality was that demand was immediately rejected by the Confederate commander, General Buckner. And Grant immediately modified his offer.  Despite this President Roosevelt issued the same demand in World War Two of both Germany and Japan. And because Germany was crushed and occupied, the “Greatest Generation” and their children, still expect all American wars to end like World War Two in Europe did. But the truth is that even WWII did not end in "unconditional surrender" in the Pacific, the most heartless bloodbath America has ever been caught up in.
Logically, America and Japan's war in the Pacific was decided on Sunday, 9 July, 1944. On that day, at 16:15 hours (4:15pm local time), the American commander Admiral Richmond J. Turner declared the island of Saipan secured. The victory had been decisive.
In the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot (AKA the Battle of the Philippine Sea), three Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk and 600 aircraft and pilots were destroyed. 
The United States lost just 123 planes, and 80 of those experienced air crews were rescued. On  Saipan itself  30,000 Japanese soldiers and 22,000 civilians had died for the Emperor. The United States lost less than 3,000 dead, and 10,364 wounded. That ratio of 10 Japanese dead for every one American dead, had been fairly constant through the war in the Pacific.. 
And even before Admiral Turner’s pronouncement, U.S. Navy Construction Battalions ("the amazing C.B.’s") had begun turning Siapan into the world’s largest airport, from which, eventually, 2,000 B-29’s heavy bombers would turn Japanese factories and cities into torches.
The Japanese recognized it. Nine days after Admiral Turner's pronouncement, Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, the architect of the war with America, and his entire cabinet (above) resigned. This was unambiguous proof that every Japanese senior commander knew that Japan had lost the war. But Japanese leadership now offered the dream that if the Japanese could kill enough Americans in just one more big battle, they would win a more favorable peace from the Americans - no occupation, and no war crimes trials, as were already being held in Germany. So they adjusted their strategy.
In conquering Iwo Jima  (above) the United States suffered 8,621 dead and 19,189 wounded. And at Okinawa, on the threshold of Japan itself, America suffered 12,513 dead and 38,513 wounded 
But in those two island battles,  Japan would lose 21,000 dead and 130,000 dead. The ratio of American to Japanese losses had been lowered. But the Americans still gave no public hint of bending on terms. The Japanese strategy was not working..
Even after those bloodbaths, no Japanese leader even hinted in public that they might be willing to negotiate a peace with the Americans. In part this was because the Japanese saw no evidence that America was having any second thoughts about "Unconditional Surrender", and in part because the Japanese military was driven by its most radical leadership.  It can be said that Japan's public silence on the issue of a negotiations  amounted to the mass murder of their own citizens and soldiers,  and of the U.S. forces closing in on them, and the hundreds of thousands of civilians in occupied China and the Philippines, caught between the avenging Americans and the fatalistic fanatics of Japan.
It takes only one nation  to start a war, but it takes two nations to make was peace. And there were only a few, mostly in Washington, D.C. and at Pearl Harbor, who realized it was in neither in America nor Japan's best interests to continue this slaughter.  How could these few find a way to convince the majority on both sides  to stop the killing?.
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