Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Very Different Bomber Mission Over Nagasaki

It occured on May 20, 1938, and is told by Nicholson Baker in Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization:
    Two Martin B-10 Bombers, flown by American-trained pilots, flew from Hankow, China, to Nagasaki, Japan. They flew around Nagasaki for half an hour, dropping leaflets that denounced Japanese militarism. The flying visit, one leaflet asserted, was a gesture of good will. The bombers also passed over Kyushu and the naval base at Sasebo.

    Premier H.H. Kung, brother-in-law to Madame and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, was waiting with a group pf reporters at Hankow air base for the Nagasaki mission to return. Kung, a graduate of Oberlin College, said to the oil-spattered airmen: "You did not drop bombs, as the Japanese air force is doing in China, but dropped leaflets, because China champions humanitarianism."
This was a few months after the Nanking Massacre. A very different bomber mission would be carried out over the same city years after an attack on an American naval base.

Cynics might say Premier Kung's "bomber mission" was nothing more than a desparate propaganda ploy played out by the "sick man of Asia" in its weakness, and a foolish act that ultimately failed to halt Japanese aggression. Confucians would understand it within the general Confucian contempt for things military and within a philosophy which holds that moral example, not force, should rule the world. (H. H. Kung was "a 75th generation descendant of Confucius" and "the richest man in China at that time.") Christians (Kung was also a convert) would understand that might does not make right and that the morality of an act is not judged by its ultimate success or failure.

That a very different bomber mission over this ancient center of the Catholic religion in Asia should have been carried out under the orders of a little thirty-third degree Freemason from Missouri should not surprise us; what should surprise us is that certain Catholics should to this day attempt to find justification for one of the most heinous acts of state terrorism of a heinous century characterized by state terrorism.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.