• On the Ethics of Hell

    April 17, 2015

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Hooper's War


    Japan absorbed WWII. The collective memory was tidied up. Little is taught about the war in modern Japanese schools, and even less of what is taught is true. There seems no reason to bring up all those bad deeds and rotten memories. For the most part, the Japanese created their own alternate history of the war.


    So it is all the more shocking that a Japanese university opened a museum acknowledging that its staff performed vivisections on a handful of downed American airmen (above) during World War II. The incident has been previously documented by both sides of the war, but the very public and ongoing acknowledgement of the atrocity at the site where it was committed is quite unusual for Japan.

    The newly-opened museum at Kyushu University explains how eight U.S. POWs were taken to the center’s medical school in Fukuoka after their plane was shot down in May 1945. The flyers were subjected to horrific medical experiments. Doctors dissected one soldier’s brain to see if epilepsy could be controlled by surgery, and removed parts of the livers of other prisoners as part of tests to see if they would survive. Another soldier was injected with seawater, in an experiment to see if it could be used instead of sterile saline solution to help dehydration.

    The airmen so tortured were aboard a B-29 on a bombing raid over Fukuoka. They all bailed out when their aircraft was rammed by a Japanese fighter.


    The ethics of hell come into play when we think a bit on what those flyers were doing in the skies over Fukuoka: dropping bombs in hopes of burning, shredding or maiming as many Japanese as possible.

    The U.S. at this late stage of the war was as a strategy not discriminating between “military” and “civilian” targets, and often conducted mass firebombing raids over cities. Thousands of incendiaries were dropped simultaneously in hopes of creating a firestorm, a conflagration that burned hot and long enough to literally suck the oxygen out of the air and kill everything beneath it.

    I have a history of the war on my bookshelf that makes quite a point of being horrified, with no obvious irony, that when the Japanese captured another group of shot-down B-29 crewman from firebombing missions, the flyers were burned alive in an impromptu fire; some others were killed with boiling water. It says elsewhere a negotiated peace was impossible when one side was fighting for civilization and the other represented barbarism.

    Same kind of thing in an actual description from another book of one of the terrible things that happened in the Pacific War: “As the bodies started to sizzle, their arms and legs twitched, and they sat up as if they were alive. Smoke came out of their eye sockets, their mouths opened, and licks of flames came out. Their lungs were full of steam, and hissing noises came out.”

    Did that description come from the firebombing of a Japanese city, or from the burning alive of American prisoners? It was one of the two, though it describes both, but how does that matter?

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      ‘ For the most part, the Japanese created their own alternate history of the war.’

      You will not find this story on NBC:


      04/17/15 6:30 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck nasmith said...


      Imagine…A weapon with the name Hellfire to wage Peace and stop terror? I have a dream vs. I have a drone. Have a nice day. War Criminals are what they are.

      04/17/15 10:25 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      “Imagine…A weapon with the name Hellfire to wage Peace and stop terror?”

      Indeed. I wonder who the “official” is who comes up with these names. Predator. Reaper. Hellfire.

      I bet he tortured his cat as a youngster.

      Wait till they start naming the weaponized robots.

      God, what a world. Imagine what it would be like without war. Something tells me we’ll never find out.

      04/17/15 11:03 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Speaking of Ethics and war criminals…


      As far as I’m concerned, Obama and all those who conspired in this abomination are murderers. Simple as that. Notwithstanding traitors.

      As for the subject at hand, the BIGGER story is.. Japanese war criminals were brought back to the US, notwithstanding the secret research into bio and chemical weapons done at Unit 731, using US Airman whose planes were downed while fire bombing Japanese cities. This whole story is absolutely sickening. Not to mention the Nazi scum who were brought back to the US.


      To my mind, the very fact that certain elements of the USG did this in secret, confirms my belief they are fucking psychopaths. Pure and simple. Not to mention dropping Atomic bombs on innocent human beings.

      04/17/15 11:21 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Pitch: Wrath of God? The Smiter? Guys probably crayoned those terms on the shells of cruise missiles. The one that always intrigued me was Enola Gay- the pilot’s mother’s name -painted on a plane he knew would vaporize tens of thousands of people.
      “Hey mom, today I vaporized Japs and in your name!” Top of the world mom, top of the world. Well, actually in a way yes. He was at 38K feet or so which did put him on top of the world with a proud mom back in the states. Sons and moms- Whew!

      04/17/15 11:23 AM | Comment Link

    • Avery said...


      I am always confused when people make a big thing about the bombing of Dresden. Because that’s what happened to almost EVERY Japanese city. And the only cities that really commemorates that fact are Hiroshima and Nagasaki, because of the relevance to the Cold War.

      04/18/15 3:04 AM | Comment Link

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