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May 08, 2008

Dick Cheney's spring reading

    Our McClatchy colleague who covers the White House, William Douglas, contributed the following report today to Nukes and Spooks. The vice president's choice of reading material comes as he reportedly presses for a tougher line against Iran, while Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been speaking publicly about avoiding conflict with the Islamic Republic.

    Vice President Dick Cheney, arriving in Philadelphia today to watch economic stimulus rebate checks processed at a government financial center, had a thick hardcover book tucked under his arm as he got off Air Force Two at Willow Grove Naval Air Station.

    Aides said the book was "Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45," by the British historian Max Hastings.

    Reviews on Amazon.com describe the book as a brutally honest recounting of some of World War II's bloodiest clashes in the Pacific from the perspectives of the troops - American, Japanese, Australian, Russian and Chinese - more than the views of the generals and world leaders who sent them into battle.

    The book's main premise, according to reviews, is that the United States was justified in dropping  atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "The myth that the Japanese were ready to surrender anyway has been so completely discredited by modern research that it is astonishing some writers continue to give it credence," Hastings writes.

    At the same time, the book is critical of Gen. Douglas MacArthur for making some war-time decisions - like the battle of Manila - that Hastings believes "satisfied his (MacArthur's) own ambition more convincingly than the national purpose of his country."

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Comments

Steve Jones

Dick Cheney is reading a book written from the perspective of the troops of WW2? Wish he'd read a few from the perspective of the troops he sent off on his imperial quest.

KA

I'm glad to see someone is keeping an eye on him. I always get nervous when Cheney is out of view for a while.

So many of our bad policies can be laid at his feet.

I'd like to see him travel a bit; someplace other than Saudi Arabia or Israel. Someplace that wants him for war crimes.

Generalissimo

zen...
those of us void of avarice, that mind our own business might not see any justification,

but the slippery ones with easy access to America's coffer's are teeming with justifications

Zentrails

There is no enemy now like Stalin. Not even close. Even if a terrorist got a nuclear weapon and detonated it in a US city, it would not even come close to the threat Stalin represents.

There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for Chaney to authorize the use of nuclear weapons against anyone at this time.

Absolutely none.

If he does that he will surpass Stalin as an evil leader, if he has not already done that.

Zentrails

IMO, the real purpose of the 2 bombs being dropped on Japan was to scare the bejebus out of Stalin which it certainly did. Stalin had just declared war on his former Axis ally, Japan, and was about to start invading. Stalin was the only real threat to the US at the time and there is no question that he had to be stopped.

RandyT

I have not read the book. However we should be very concerned when a man that pulls the puppet's strings is working overtime to justify use of a nuclear bomb.

Gregorio

Max Hastings makes the claim that modern research has discredited the claim the Japanese were suing for peace, or at least pursuing the end of hostilities if the emperor were allowed to remain in place, or...what? It seems he merely is an indentured member of the claque that promotes nuclear explosive devices as weapons, and that has sold its soul to military industrialism.

Gregorio

Max Hastings makes the claim that modern research has discredited the claim the Japanese were suing for peace, or at least pursuing the end of hostilities if the emperor were allowed to remain in place, or...what? It seems he merely is an indentured member of the claque that promotes nuclear explosive devices as weapons, and that has sold its soul to military industrialism.

Gregorio

Max Hastings makes the claim that modern research has discredited the claim the Japanese were suing for peace, or at least pursuing the end of hostilities if the emperor were allowed to remain in place, or...what? It seems he merely is an indentured member of the claque that promotes nuclear explosive devices as weapons, and that has sold its soul to military industrialism.

justcorbly

"Retribution" is an excellent read for anyone interested in the war in the Pacific. In no way is it likely to bolster Cheney's modus operandi re: Iraq and Iran.

As I read the book, Hastings is realt very critical of MacArthur, arguing that MacArthur's attack on the Phillipines was of little relevance to the defeat of Japan.

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"Nukes & Spooks" is written by McClatchy correspondents Jonathan S. Landay (national security and intelligence), Warren P. Strobel (foreign affairs and the State Department), and Nancy Youssef (Pentagon).

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