47 TONS

While the Little Rocket Man and North Korea capture the world’s attention, our president is in Tokyo to deal with a threat that dwarfs anything we have faced since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 76 years ago.

The surprise attack against our Navy on Sunday morning, 7 December 1941, started a cascade of retaliation against the Japanese that three-and-a-half years later resulted in 67 Japanese cities burnt to ashes during a few months of sustained “fire-jelly” attacks by hundreds of Boeing-29 Superfortress bombers and other aircraft. After napalming the cities to dust, the United States followed the horror with a “preemptive” nuclear strike against the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Nine million Japanese civilians were left homeless. The death toll has never been definitively calculated, but two million souls is a reasonable guess.

The distance from Pyongyang, North Korea to Tokyo, Japan is 800 miles; to Hawaii, 4,400 miles; to Los Angeles, 6,000 miles; to Seattle, 5,150 miles; to Alaska, 3,200 miles. The border of North Korea meanders 25 to 50 miles from downtown Seoul, South Korea.

A few years after the stalemate of the Korean War, General Curtis LeMay—head of Strategic Air Command—claimed that his pilots had killed a similar number of Koreans by aerial bombardment—20% of the population.

The United States killed an estimated million Iraqi civilians in the more recent wars in the Middle East, which included the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

It killed two million Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam genocide of the 1960s and 70s.

In August 1945, USA bombers killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Millions were burned alive in fire-jelly (napalm) bombings, which decimated 67 cities over several months. Evacuation of cities helped to reduce casualties. 

Why am I bringing up a bunch of disturbing statistics? What’s the point? Why not leave unpleasant memories forgotten in a distant past where they can’t impact the happy lives we live now, not then?

What possible benefit can remembering the past confer upon our contented present? Why bother puking up a sour history that only the old-timers among us experienced? 

May I ask one more question? Maybe thinking about the answer will help some to make sense of current events that seem to have no rhyme or reason.

Of the fifty countries against which we have directed our military wrath since World War II, which among them has a right to the biggest grievance? Who did we hurt the most? 

Which country has been forced to endure the shame of a military occupation that never ends? Ok, maybe it sounds like more than one question. Deal with it. 

America fights secret and not so secret wars against communist, Islamic, western hemispheric, and, it turns out, African countries all the time. We have conducted strategic operations against friend and foe alike since World War II.

We have meddled in the internal politics of super powers like Russia and China. The Dalai Lama of Tibet wrote in his book Freedom in Exile that the United States gave him millions of dollars to incite violence against China, for example.

The USA has attacked militarily one in four of the 190 countries on the earth during the modern era. Which country is the one most likely to harbor a secret ambition for revenge?

America keeps itself in a state of perpetual war to feed the appetites of voracious weapons manufacturers whose stockholders are among the world’s most affluent. The AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force against terrorists) passed Congress, and President Bush signed the bill in August 2001 for a reason—to fuel the demands of arms dealers to free them from the inconvenience of securing approval by Congress to declare wars—which the Constitution demands. Only Barbara Lee (no relation to Billy Lee) of California voted against it.

Since 1991 Congress has passed and the president signed four AUMFs, mostly to cut down on the amount of work and resulting delays that are inevitable when large elected groups of representatives are compelled to go on record for or against any particular conflict. 

We in America live under a lot of illusions. We tell ourselves a lot of lies about how wonderful we are and how everyone wants to be like us. Our enemies who fear us the most insist—some of them anyway—that they love us; they want to live with us and be like us, and we tend to believe them.

No one tells a command officer who is carrying an automatic assault rifle that he is a pig; the term “butt-wipe” is never used. No one wants to die for a no good reason like name calling, for example. Our subjugates place flowers in the barrels of our guns and tell us they love us.

Everyone who has been shamed and humiliated prays for their day of liberation; the day of their revenge; the day the world is finally set right. It’s human nature. The desire to settle scores crosses cultural, religious, and geographical boundaries.

Few countries that have suffered cremation by fire of millions of their citizens forget. They don’t forgive. Think long and hard. It’s true.

For almost a year Billy Lee lived where he could view Mount Fuji from his bedroom window during his two-year stay in Japan. The Editorial Board

The situation in Japan is dire; it really is. The United States for some insane and goofy reason permitted the Japanese over the past thirty years to build the most sophisticated nuclear power grid the world has ever seen.

The USA sold the Japanese uranium-impregnated fuel rods. A by-product of their use (to produce the intense heat required to generate electricity) is plutonium. Instead of collecting and disposing the spent fuel rods, the Japanese built facilities to extract the plutonium. They promised to use the plutonium for fuel in advanced power generators called “fast reactors.” Fast reactors are, in theory, cheaper and less complicated; they are also more volatile; more dangerous to operate. 

After the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, the Japanese abandoned “fast reactors”. They discovered during the audits they conducted following the disasters at Fukushima and other facilities that their fast reactors had safety records that bordered on terrifying. They stopped using plutonium for fuel. With no place to “burn” the plutonium they were harvesting, it began to accumulate, bigly.

In the entire universe plutonium is found above trace amounts at one location and one location only: planet Earth. Plutonium went extinct due to radioactive decay billions of years ago. It can be created during rare cosmic events, but the bomb-making kind—Pu 239—is a manufactured element that does not occur in nature. It is a by-product of nuclear fission reactions. It hides itself within the matrix of elements that make up the remnants of spent fuel rods.

Plutonium is among the most poisonous substances known. The speck of plutonium dust that kills you, you will likely never see. Some scientists today have downplayed the lethality of plutonium 239. My advice is to be skeptical whenever vast amounts of money and power fuel a controversy.

Regardless of its lethality as a poison, no one argues that fourteen pounds is enough plutonium to make an atomic bomb of a construction so unsophisticated that a high schooler could fashion the necessary components in shop class. Sophisticated bombs require even less plutonium—a mere nine pounds.

This is what plutonium powder looks like. Japan has 94,000 pounds of it. 14 pounds are required for an unsophisticated bomb; 9 pounds for a sophisticated version.

Japan has harvested 47 tons (94,000 pounds) of high-grade plutonium from its nearly one-hundred or so nuclear power and processing plants, which include power plants, research reactors, fast reactors, reprocessing installations, and recently decommissioned facilities—decommissioned due mostly to safety concerns.

Japan’s production schedule is running at a frenetic pace—adding eight tons of surplus plutonium to its stockpile every year into the foreseeable future unless the United States is able to shut down Japan’s reprocessing installations with an agreement scheduled for negotiation in 2018. Our new president has said the old agreements won’t be changed.

By this time next year the Japanese will have accumulated enough high-grade Pu 239 to make as many as 12,000 atomic bombs. Should it make that choice, Japan will possess the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.

Plutonium is heavy. Nine pounds of Pu 239 is the size of a softball. It is exactly the right size to construct a single atomic bomb. By this time next year Japan will possess enough Pu 239 to make 12,000 bombs.

What follows next in this essay is the scary part. Some readers might want to bail and maybe find a good comic book to occupy their imaginations.

Despite agreements with the United States that followed World War II, Japan has one of the largest military budgets in the world. The country spends 42 billion dollars per year on its military. This expenditure does not include its civilian nuclear power system or its civilian space exploration programs. 

The Japanese consolidated three civilian rocket launching companies into one (named JAXA) in 2003. They are launching rockets into space all the time. JAXA designed, built, launched, and maintains the largest module on the International Space Station. The Japanese have spacecraft in the asteroid belt and spy satellites in earth orbit. These are civilian programs. 

Although the military budget of the United States seems huge, people might want to consider that the USA spends one-third of its military dollars on salaries and pensions. No other military spends as much. It maintains 800 military bases in 70 countries at an expense of $200 billion—an expense that other militaries simply don’t have. Japan spends about the same amount on defense as England, France, and Germany. A controversial argument can be made that the combined military might of Russia, China, Japan, and North Korea exceeds that of the United States. It is an argument that is hard to prove, because countries lie about their military expenditures, war-fighting readiness, and technical capabilities. The chart above is misleading in another important way, because it doesn’t include expenditures on nuclear weapons—their production, maintenance, and modernization—which are state secrets in all the countries that possess them.  

The Japanese don’t have to make bombs from their plutonium stores to wreak havoc on an adversary. They can pulverize the metal into aerosols and release plutonium dust into the air over cities.

They can load plutonium into drone subs like rumors say the Russians have done and set hundreds of them in the coastal waters of our country. The subs can lie in ocean sand and silt for decades before releasing their poisons, should it ever become necessary.

Their advanced missile technology might enable Japan to overwhelm our defenses by launching multiple warhead missiles over our homeland. It might take a few months, but poisoned populations would eventually succumb to the release of toxic dust.

And, should they choose to make bombs, well, any country with the resources of a country as sophisticated as Japan can turn high-grade plutonium into bombs in a few days; they can possess the capability to create hell on earth in the blink of an eye, anytime they choose. With the right (or wrong) leadership they can unleash a nightmare of suffering far worse than the inferno we inflicted on them 72 years ago.

This plant is the place where the Japanese extract plutonium from spent nuclear fuel rods. The Japanese have admitted on NHK television that they have 94,000 pounds of plutonium that they have no use for nor any place to safely store.

Plutonium is an artificially produced killing material that no human being, company, or country should ever be allowed to possess or use. It is a forbidden apple of physics that can only bring anguish to whoever uses or shares it with others. 

Japan has the potential to threaten the world with the same level of terror as the United States, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Britain, France, Germany, Israel, and who knows what other countries. Many countries are conducting (in secret) diabolical engineering even now and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

What could be worse? Believe it or not, our predicament might already be much worse than anyone in the USA is willing to think about or imagine.

What about the possibility that North Korea and China are playing a game of good cop / bad cop with our military planners? What if Japan is toying with the idea of leading an unholy alliance? Behind our backs? Do we really have enough Japanese-speaking spies to keep track of all the secret Samurai cults that might be conspiring at the highest levels of government. Do we?

What if Vladimir Putin thinks: The United States lied to me. I helped to elect an American president who is ineffective—a buffoon who can’t help me the way he promised. Let’s get ’em!

Imagine an alliance of China, North Korea, Russia, and Japan; an alliance led by the one country that has the greatest lust for payback; the strongest ache to settle scores once and for all.

A Hunkpapa Lakota holy man, Sitting Bull, had the vision that led to the defeat of the USA’s 7th Calvary Regiment on June 26, 1876—one week before the USA’s 100th anniversary. Five of seven battalions were decimated—one led by Civil War hero George Armstrong Custer. Sitting Bull became a celebrity who worked in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Later in life he became a leader of the Ghost Dance movement, which terrified whites, because it prophesied the exodus of white people from native American lands. Ten days before Christmas—on December 15, 1890 during an arrest by police on reservation property—Indian Affairs agents shot Sitting Bull in the head and chest in front of his family and friends. Agents removed his body to Fort Yates, where they buried him in a makeshift coffin.  

A surprise attack by such an alliance would be nation ending. It might end like the Battle of the Little Bighorn. We don’t have enough soldiers or missiles or ships to fight a gathering of tribes who possess tens of thousands of nuclear weapons.

The USA has the power to destroy the whole world if we must, but we can’t save ourselves; we can’t save our country; we can’t save the planet.

In the conflagration that took the hyper-alert Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer by surprise, all his ribbons and medals; all his accolades; all his friends in high places couldn’t save him, his men, or even his horses. The battle of the Little Bighorn was a massacre that dwarfed Custer’s reputation for being a really good person; a hero of the Civil War loved by every patriotic American.

To those who say, Billy Lee, you’ve gone paranoid on us… the Japanese would never organize an attack against America unawares… not a nuclear attack… they know how bad it would be… they suffered through one… they know better than anyone… and look at them, how they smile when we tell bad jokes. The last thing on their minds is revenge. The very last thing!

I say, you are so right!  The Japanese would never hurt us. I lived in Japan for two years after the war. The Japanese have their quirks, yes, but most of them are not cruel or insensitive. They don’t enjoy watching torture videos for entertainment, most of them. Tying up women and twisting their bodies to prepare them for rape is not something most Japanese men would have any part in. Am I right? Of course I am.

The Japanese are not monsters. They are a kind and gentle people who don’t farm or ranch or mine, because they are resource impoverished. When I lived there our Japanese house-maids and yard-boys were as sweet as they could be. They meant us no harm. I see that now. 

But how on earth are the Japanese going to get rid of the 47 tons of plutonium poison they have produced? And how will they dispose of the eight tons they plan to produce each year into perpetuity—plutonium which they admit has no longer any peacetime applications whatsoever?

Everybody knows plutonium has a radioactive half-life of 24,000 years. It’s never going to go away. Someday, through inattention or from whatever other cause, plutonium containment structures are going to rot, and the poison will leach into the soils, the oceans, and the atmosphere to kill all living things. It is Earth’s best case scenario—the scenario where nuclear war never happens, the world disarms, and plutonium is tucked away out of reach and out of sight of war makers and other terrorists.

The process that will sterilize the planet of all life is already well underway and cannot be stopped—not over a period of tens of thousands of years. Read the essay, RISK, elsewhere on this site. Humans are likely to be extinct by the time the unnatural poisons of war and opulence first make their advance against the innocent, less intelligent life-forms that we will leave behind—like chipmunks and kittens, for example—who will never be able to understand what is killing them or why.

Our new president is in Tokyo as I’m writing this essay. Anyone who asks him will learn—because he’s not afraid to say it—he is really smart and bigly educated. He understands people and how best to manipulate them to maximize his advantages and get what he wants. You don’t believe it?  Ask him—for the love of God—ask him. 

Maybe we should help the Japanese store their plutonium in a safe place—a place much safer than their earthquake tormented islands that float within the largest fisheries of the Pacific Ocean. We could store the plutonium perhaps deep in a cave somewhere. Maybe we could store it beneath the volcanic cauldrons of Yosemite—or some other remote location, like a trench astride the San Andreas fault.

Yeah, that sounds good. Let’s do that.

If we talk nicely, will the Japanese listen? Maybe they will, if our new president has the sense to ask. Does anyone have a better idea? For the love of God, tell someone. 

Billy Lee

Killing Frenzy

You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ Jesus

The wars of Israel were the only ‘holy wars’ in history… there can be no more wars of faith. The only way to overcome our enemy is by loving him.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Those who have waged war in obedience to the divine command (or in conformity with His laws) have represented…the wisdom of government and… put to death wicked men; such persons have by no means violated the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’
Saint Augustine


drone strike
The United States has deployed drones like the Scan Eagle and the Predator (which can dispatch Hellfire missiles) to kill people by remote control anywhere in the world.

Readers might notice that the quotes by the three Christian leaders cited above the picture don’t agree about murder. Killing is a moral controversy. The subject is even more contentious between leaders of religions outside Christianity. It’s a curious thing. In the United States, where Christianity is mainstream, church leaders often lead the charge toward war and some endorse capital punishment, so it’s confusing.

Can killing people ever be a good thing? The Catholic Church has developed theories of Just War, which permit the good people to kill the wicked under certain carefully worked-out conditions, such as proportionality, just cause, and last resort.

just war
From my point of view, the ideas of Just War fall under the umbrellas of self-justification, rationalization, and delusion. Can we admit the obvious? All countries are ruled by elites, and the USA is no exception. E
lites get to be elite through in-fighting, war, intrigue, and politics. They are, for the most part, de-sensitized to violence. The morality of religion is of no use to them, except when it helps to consolidate and enhance their prestige and power. If a philosophy like Just War helps alleviate the guilt feelings of soldiers they order into combat, they are fine with it.

Elites are, by process and definition, really good at fighting and maximizing their advantages. Over time elites become a law unto themselves and develop their world view and their reasons for doing things, which are usually not well-understood by the average people who serve them.

abu gharib
Who wants to take on people who can really hurt them?

In most places, people go-along with their elites to get along. It’s less stressful and much safer to pretend that average people’s best interests are at the heart of decisions made by the wealthy and the powerful, especially as they negotiate their deals, wage wars and craft treaties. Who wants to take-on people who can really hurt them, should they ever choose to?

For their part, our elites tolerate religion, because in the United States at least, Christianity seems to encourage citizens to be docile and compliant. Preachers and pastors encourage their flocks to turn the other cheek and to obey authorities.

Christian leaders don’t challenge military power, and they generally oppose government policies that might curb the power of individuals who accumulate vast wealth. At the same time some church leaders encourage gun ownership and participation in wars, which can be confusing to non-Christians, who might be under the impression that Jesus advocated pacifism and non-violence.

In the United States, the wealthy have built a powerful military and have used it to kill many millions of people during the past seventy-five years (the modern era).  Much of the killing has occurred during periods when the United States was not formally at war. 

A lot of the killing has taken place under continuing resolutions, like the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which helped to justify the long war in Vietnam. Another is the AUMF (Authorization For Use of Military Force)—passed by Congress on September 14, 2001—which provided the legal authority for the United States to use military force in perpetuity against any individual, group or country who might threaten us. Only Barbara Lee of California voted against it.

Joint session of Congress 2
Only Barbara Lee (no relation to Billy Lee) of California voted against AUMF, the perpetual war resolution of September 14, 2001. President George W. Bush signed it into law on September 18.

Congressional consent is no longer required to wage war. Military force from now on has been forever justified whenever and wherever the United States is threatened. The Congressional authorization of 2001 makes it easier for the USA to kill people, including American citizens living out of country. 

One estimate by The Hill, a news organization whose on-line stories are widely read by members of Congress, has estimated that the number of killings by USA drones operating outside of war zones since 2001 has reached 2,400. 

TheBillyLeePontificator.com could not independently confirm the estimate, which one of its editors characterized as “bordering on the ridiculous.”  It defies common sense that such a high number of assassinations of non-governmentally-allied civilians could occur outside of war-zones without arousing a profound backlash by people of goodwill, she insisted. Is she right? Does anyone outside of government really know?

History seems to say it’s possible. For example, over the years, the USA has invaded and tried to overthrow many countries, most often under the pretext of retrieving businesses that were seized by their host countries.

In most places the United States has succeeded, at least temporarily, like in Iran in 1953, where it secured natural gas and oil reserves; in Guatemala in 1954 where it took back the nationalized United Fruit Company; and in Chile in 1973, where it repossessed certain mines that were producing strategic metals. The problem for most of these countries is that after the USA retrieved its property it moved in to take over the country, usually behind the scenes using native-born (and often ruthless) dictators loyal to the United States.

life magazine bay of pigs
USA backed fighters killed and wounded 5,000 Cubans during the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. Cuba took 1,200 prisoners, who they later traded for medicine.

Every once in a while a takeover has failed, like in Cuba in 1961 and in Vietnam in 1972. In those countries, strategic resources were never at stake, so the losses didn’t affect our safety or our economic security very much. Still, after the fights ended we worked hard to make sure we ruined their economies by deploying embargos and unleashing our leverage over international banking.

Recent wars in the Middle EastKuwait, IraqSyria—were ignited by the USA for various reasons and continue to the present time. And the United States continues to fight a constitutionally undeclared war against terrorists (but permitted by the resolution mentioned earlier), which among other things allows us to kill our enemies anywhere in the world by remote control using unmanned drones.

It’s pointless to argue whether the killings are justified or moral, smart or stupid. Many families have been ruined by drones and by war. They don’t care about smart or stupid. They just hurt, and they all wonder what might have been had their loved ones been allowed to live.

So, how many people have we killed? How many have we hurt? How many have we wounded? How many amputees; how many blinded; how many have lost their hearing; how many have been disfigured?  How many orphans?  How many widows?  How many dreams have been crushed; how many aspirations demolished? 

Hellfire missile explosion
This picture shows how lethal a Hellfire missile strike can be.

How many loves-of-a-lifetime have been dashed on America’s battlefields?  Unless God Himself reveals it someday, we will never know, because since the era of Bush-senior and his general, Norman Schwarzkopf (of the famous German family), we no longer keep track of body-counts; and we never did keep statistics on the people we wounded. 

Our military says it doesn’t do statistics. It’s in bad taste. A country like the USA doesn’t count pelts, or put notches on rifles, and besides, how do you collect the names of entire families destroyed in an atomic blast like Hiroshima or Nagasaki? In those attacks, the genealogy archives of entire families were obliterated. Their records and the records of everyone who knew them were vaporized.

The directories of the dead in Japan are missing, perhaps forever. Unless resurrected by God, the departed, many of them, will be forgotten to the end of time.

Arlinton National Cemetary
The Arlington National Cemetery holds the remains of 400,000 veterans who have served the USA in defense of our way of life. It is a sacred place. The cemetery for those we have killed since 1940, if we ever build it, will be 25 to 150 times larger, depending on who counts the dead.

Nevertheless, some brave reporters and historians have tried to pull together records, where they can find them. I can tell you that the numbers of deaths, executions and imprisonments involving America’s wars are in dispute, with some articles on Wikipedia, for example, frozen in place and fought over by review committees for historical accuracy. The reports are hard reading, disturbing really, because some folks seem to be trying for whatever reasons to understate and misrepresent the carnage.

Despite obvious inaccuracies which defy common sense, the numbers on the internet are the most reliable numbers civilians have. They may, perhaps, be understated, but they are still large. I’ve included links for those who might want to verify the statistics.

Billy Lee


Notes from the Editorial Board: As everyone knows, the United States is closely allied with Israel. Many prominent Israelis are citizens of the United States, such as former Homeland Security Director, Michael Chertoff.  Some folks, like Billy Lee, consider Israel a de-facto fifty-first state of the Union, much like Hawaii, though he admits there are important differences, to be sure.  

Billy Lee has pointed out that since 1948 Israel and the United States have cooperated in a dozen or so wars and flare-ups (among them, the War of Independence, the Suez Crisis, the Six Day War, the War of Attrition, the Yom Kippur War, the Lebanon War of 1982, the South Lebanon conflict, the first and second Intifadas, the 2006 Lebanon War, the Gaza War, and various operations like Protective Edge) which were fought to secure Israel’s safety and its autonomy. 

The USA has spent trillions of dollars to stabilize the Middle East and prop up with money and weapons governments favorable to our side. It has pumped over two-hundred billion dollars into Israel’s economy alone. How many people have been killed in the wars which erupted?  Billy Lee doesn’t know. 

He seems to think that an accurate figure for war-related killings by the USA should include in some way the deaths inflicted during the many conflicts in the Middle East where the United States was directly involved. He simply doesn’t have the numbers, so he can’t report them. The numbers may be available to others, but they are not included in his analysis.

A similar concern involves NATO, where the United States, again, is partnering with others in wars and conflicts, and is not the sole actor. 

As for other conflicts: Billy Lee has added the following list with links to the statistics.
The Editorial Board


Dear Readers,

Here is a list of wars the United States has fought since 1940: World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War (including attacks on Cuba, Guatemala, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Grenada, Panama, Haiti, and others), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iran, the Iraq War, the Vietnam War, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, the Persian Gulf War, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and the War on Terror

Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The names and numbers of people killed in Japan will never be known. USA bombers obliterated their records in the fires they ignited in the Japanese made-from-wood-and-paper neighborhoods and cities. 

The War against Japan deserves special mention.

The names and quantities of people we killed in Japan will never be known. We obliterated their records in the fires we set in their made-from-wood-and-paper neighborhoods and cities. 

Beginning in 1945 sixty-seven Japanese cities of consequence were burned to rubble by incendiary night-time attacks involving hundreds of B-29 Superfortress bombers under the command of USA General Curtis LeMay. During the first attack against Tokyo in March 1945, Lemay deployed 325 bombers to drop a half-million slow-burning napalm cluster-bombs, which killed at least 150 thousand civilians. His bombing of the capital city continued unabated for three weeks; the fire-bombing of the other sixty-six Japanese cities continued for three more months.

Five cities were held back (protected from attack) until August 1945 to permit General LeMay to decisively demonstrate American atomic fire-power. He annihilated two of them—Hiroshima and Nagasaki—with the atomic bombs named Little Boy and Fat Man. He spared the three remaining targets, Yokohama (Japan’s second largest city, where I lived from 1952-1954), Niigata, and Kokura—after the Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945.

Some older readers might remember that Curtis LeMay ran for Vice-President in 1968 on a third-party ticket led by Alabama Governor George Wallace. The two men tried unsuccessfully to derail racial integration in the South, which our Congress had recently mandated.

One of General Douglas MacArthur’s closest aides, Bonner Fellers, once described Curtis LeMay’s attacks on Japanese civilians as “the most ruthless and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history.”

The most conservative estimate of the number of civilians burned alive that I’ve seen in print is 500,000. Some historians have estimated the number to be as high as two million. The Japanese effort to evacuate their cities saved countless lives, but left many millions of women and children homeless, until the cities could be rebuilt after the Japanese surrendered.

Official histories written by the US Air Force claim that five months of jellied fire attacks were so destructive that they cremated 65 Japanese cities. The attacks left 9.2 million homeless.


Here are some numbers of interest: Atomic bomb attacks in Japan – 225,000 killed;  Vietnam War – 3.4 million killed; World War II – 55 million killed; Korean War – 2 million killed; Iraq War – 1 million killed.

This list of wars is necessarily incomplete, because the USA fights secret wars from time to time. In his 1990 book, Freedom in Exile, the Dalai Lama spoke of one such war against the Chinese and admitted taking millions from the USA to support the effort. He claimed that America’s policy was to destabilize and overthrow wherever possible each and every Communist country in the world. Inside the US intelligence establishment, the suppression is called Strategic Strangulation.

This policy was the reason many Communist societies sealed their borders during the Cold War. Some, like North Korea, still do. Military historians have claimed that the United States dropped anthrax bombs on North Korean troops and their Chinese allies in 1954. This biological terror was unleashed after what historian Richard Rhodes says was a program of US bombing against cities and dams in North Korea that killed two million civilians.

General Curtis LeMay agreed. He led the US Strategic Air Command during the bombing of Korea. In 1984 he bragged before the Office of Air Force History“Over a period of three years or so, we killed off—what—twenty percent of the population.”  It helps to explain why they hate us. 

The numbers killed in these secret and not-so-secret wars are argued over; they are not certain or even known—certainly not by civilians who lack security clearances. Mayhem from traumatic wounds is not known.

The consensus seems to be that the total number of human beings killed by the United States since 1940 exceeds ten million.  Depending on how it is counted, the number could be far higher. A case can be made that it’s as high as sixty-five million.

We’ve been at war with one out of four countries on earth. I didn’t believe it, until I did the count. Count the number any which way you choose. It’s a big number. And the numbers of wounded and traumatized human beings is certainly enormous, but unknown.

I’d like to think that in the future the United States will resolve its differences with other countries and organizations in a way that doesn’t involve killing people. 

The United Nations was established to do just that—peacefully resolve disputes—but the United States runs the place, some say, and others have insisted that the USA is the biggest war-monger on the planet. It has something to do with its defense industry and the efforts of tycoons to maximize profits for themselves and their shareholders. 

I hope it’s not true.

Billy Lee

Post Script:  Here is a quotation from wisdom literature, which—who knows?—might help policy-makers. I wonder if anyone believes it.

It is by the fear of the LORD that someone turns away from evil. When someone’s ways please the LORD, He makes even their enemies be at peace with them. 

I found the passage in the Proverbs of the Bible.  See chapter 16.