boingboing at June 12th, 2014 18:54 — #1
daneel at June 12th, 2014 19:02 — #2
Up there with Project Pigeon.
tmburke at June 12th, 2014 19:04 — #3
digitalartform at June 12th, 2014 19:47 — #4
doccam at June 12th, 2014 20:04 — #5
As awful as this obviously is, I mean, geez, talk about an interesting idea. The fact that it worked at all boggles the mind. Still, shame about the bats, especially now that they are dwindling in number. They're wonderful creatures, and like most 'vermin' don't deserve an ounce of the stigma that is associated with them. Bats, rats, seagulls and crows 4 lyfe.
andy_hilmer at June 12th, 2014 20:16 — #6
Talk about making the cost-effective choice.
bcsizemo at June 12th, 2014 20:47 — #7
I like the fact that bats are natural predators to all the things I don't like. However I like it when bats stay outside instead of finding ways into my house. I think I'd find it less frustrating if I knew for sure it wasn't carrying rabies or something...
doccam at June 12th, 2014 21:06 — #8
Oh, I completely understand your distaste for that bat in the house problem, it's not a blast. Still, doesn't mean it's a bad animal, and it's not as if they carry rabies on purpose...then again...
l33tminion at June 12th, 2014 21:36 — #9
An Olga of Kiev solution to a Robert Oppenheimer problem.
glitch at June 12th, 2014 22:47 — #10
The terrible thing is that we were already doing just fine burning Japanese cities with conventional weapons. The final stage of the war was really just retaliatory strikes against major population centers, trying to kill as many civilians as physically possible.
The Japanese air force and navy had been destroyed essentially in full at that point, their anti-air capabilities had been annihilated, and they really had no real means of defending themselves from carpet bombing. Our bombers flew unescorted, with their armoring removed to let them carry more bombs, in broad daylight. They dropped bombs in this care-free, unendangered fashion for months.
The level of destruction was staggering. Thirty three major Japanese cities suffered at least 50% destruction. Another twenty eight suffered at least 25% destruction. Can you even imagine?
Picture a city like Springfield, Missouri or St. Louis, Mississippi having a quarter of it burned to the ground. Or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvanis having half of it be reduced to rubble. Or even New York City, or Washington D.C. having up to 99% of its area utterly destroyed. To properly compare, pick over 70 major American cities, then draw a number out of a hat from 25 to 100 for each one to determine the percent amount of slaughter and destruction they each receive.
This against a defeated foe who literally could no longer defend themselves in the slightest. This purely for the sake of achieving "unconditional surrender", something practically unheard of in modern human history. We could have ended the war at any point by offering "reasonable" terms slanted highly in our favor. We chose to simply keeping killing civilians until they surrendered without terms instead. Then we nuked them, just to be thorough about it.
You hear a variety of motivations.
"Softening up Japan for invasion, because they'd never surrender" is a popular one, especially since it lets you claim you save the lives of American soldiers who would otherwise be thrown into combat on the ground as an occupying force.
Nevermind that the invasion was unnecessary - Japan had no means of making war, and had no food to eat. Their surrender was both inevitable and imminent. The mythical Japanese will to fight to the last is just that - a myth. At best, they were trying to save face. With a properly dimplomatic approach we could have helped them do so, while still ending the war without further bloodshed.
msuggitt at June 12th, 2014 22:55 — #11
Book: Silverwing, by Kenneth Oppel. The first in a series of books told from the perspective of silverwing bats, ultimately describing their experiences being caught and dropped with incendiary devices.
michael_r_smith at June 13th, 2014 05:12 — #12
The Loaded Dog by Henry Lawson can be read as a cautionary tale about weaponising animals.
avocadohead at June 13th, 2014 07:45 — #13
Still doesn't beat Project Blue Peacock. (chicken powered nuclear landmines)
synesthesia at June 13th, 2014 10:46 — #14
I hear you. It boggles the mind why that part of the war is not talked about more often. We speak about the cold efficiency of the corpse factories that were the concentration camps, but pound for pound, project manhattan blew that efficiency out of the water. On a defeated enemy, no less.
I hear the bombings were also done on clear days to facilitate observation, and understand the effectiveness of the weapons.
mister44 at June 13th, 2014 10:52 — #15
OH yes, those poor WWII era Japanese.
jandrese at June 13th, 2014 10:55 — #16
My understanding is that the civilian leadership would have sued for peace many months before the bombs dropped, but they effectively had no power because the country was being run by the military and the military was still operating under a "never surrender" philosophy. This philosophy was on display with every island captured, where the military would fight to the last man and commit suicide when captured with inevitable. Plus, the top military leadership was insulated from the real horrors being inflicted on the southern half of the country and were focused on building underground factories and submarine carriers to fight their long term guerrilla war.
glitch at June 13th, 2014 12:02 — #17
Are you seriously suggesting that one war crime vindicates another?
The militaries and governments of both Japan and the US are guilty of attrocities. "He did it first!" isn't justification, especially when you are slaughtering innocent civilians who had nothing to do with it.
You might have a leg to stand on if you insisted that the guilty parties be brought to justice (although taking "an eye for an eye" isn't justice), but to condone the willful slaughter of uninvolved civilians for any reason is abjectly monstrous.
Your thinking is sad and despicable, and it pains me to know that you are not alone in your warped hatred, blind condemnation, and rationalization of mass murder. It is that sort of mentality that perpetuates warfare and helps doom humanity to further stubborn, senseless cruelty and ruination.
mister44 at June 13th, 2014 14:27 — #18
Civilian die in wars. Especially ones that involve invasions. If you don't see the difference between bombing, as indiscriminate as it might have been, vs systematic atrocities committed by the Japanese, Germans, and Russians, then I don't know what to tell you.
One is to enact of the destruction of infrastructure and moral and force a surrender. One is sadistic murder and torture after surrendering/being captured. If you can't discern the nuance of the two, well honestly that doesn't surprise me.
glitch at June 13th, 2014 15:57 — #19
Listen to yourself. You're trying to justify murdering civilians. That is not only a war crime, contravening the Geneva Conventions, but a crime against humanity.
Yes, civilians die in wars. That's called "collateral damage". Except that collateral damage means you were actively targeting military assets and civilian casualties occured accidentally in the process.
You know what we call purposefully targeting civilians, non-combatants, or neutral forces instead of hostile military targets in order to demoralize a foe and coerce a desired political outcome, such as a military surrender? Terrorism.
The firebombing of almost a hundred major Japanese cities is, to use your own words, a systematic atrocity. They weren't destroyed accidentally while targeting military assets, they were intentionally, systematically targetted - for a period of months - for the express purpose of spreading fear, panic, and dissent via the slaughter of civilians.
There weren't even any worthwhile military targets left to destroy - the Japanese military was in abject ruin. And even if it hadn't been, indiscriminate firebombing purely to destroy such targets with complete disregard for civilian casualties is utterly indefensible and morally bankrupt.
But the single most damning argument against your insanity? The Nanking Massacre was justified by its perpetrators with the exact same reasoning.
There are still individuals who maintain to this very day that the massacre was carried out against military assets - that any civilian casualties that resulted from it were mere "collateral damage", and consequently no crimes were committed.
There are also those who do not deny the targeting of civilians, but who justify it as a measure to compel the defeated Chinese (whose capital they had just captured) to surrender.
You are blind to your own double standard. When the other side does it, it is inexcusible and evil. When your side does it, it is necessary and justified, and not actually a crime anyway.
When they claim their side was just targeting military assets or just trying to end a war they had already won, you say they are lying. When you offer the exact same claims regarding your side, you refuse to believe those claims could be anything but pure, unvarnished truth.
clamb at June 13th, 2014 16:57 — #20
If this had been successfully used would a bat arms race have developed between the USA and the USSR?
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