As we remember Hiroshima, let's not forget that the US strategy of mass slaughter of Japanese civilians didn't start there. 70 years ago on March 10th, even more people were killed in the firebombing of Tokyo - a city where most houses were made of paper.
279 planes flew over the city and dropped 1,665 tons of bombs. Most were 500-pound cluster bombs, each one releasing 38 incendiary bomblets at an altitude of about 2000 feet. These bomblets punched through the roofs of people's houses or landed on the ground and ignited 3–5 seconds later, throwing out jets of flaming, sticky napalm.
The planes also dropped 100-pound jelled-gasoline and white phosphorus bombs that ignited upon impact. The city's fire departments were overwhelmed, and the individual fires started by the bombs joined to create a huge conflagration that destroyed 16 square miles of the city. Over 100,000 people died - nobody knows how many, and both the Japanese and Americans had reasons to underestimate the casualties.
General Curtis LeMay, who led this attack, said:“Killing Japanese didn’t bother me very much at that time... I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal."
Joe O'Donnell, a marine sent in after the war to document the effects of the bombing, wrote:“The people I met, the suffering I witnessed, and the scenes of incredible devastation taken by my camera caused me to question every belief I had previously held about my so-called enemies.”
The picture shows the charred corpse of a woman in Tokyo who was carrying a child on her back. In this style of war, cities of people, many perfectly innocent, are treated like rats to be exterminated. Martin Middlebrook captured the horror of this in Hamburg, one of the German cities firebombed by the US:"A thermal column of wind generated heat in excess of 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, melting trolley windows and the asphalt in streets, the wind uprooting trees. When people crossed a street, their feet stuck in the melted asphalt; they tried to extricate themselves with their hands, only to find them stuck as well. They remained on all fours screaming. Small children lay like "fried eels" on the pavement. The firestorm sucked all the oxygen out of the city."
Let's try to avoid this, eh? It's not necessarily easy, and I'm not saying I know how, but let's try to avoid making our world into a hell.