About McPherson's Rant


McPherson’s Rant is an old Scots Folk Song about a Robin Hood Type Character who was hanged.

There is no connection, unless you count the “rant” part.  The world’s a strange place and sometimes a “rant” at absurdity and unfairness is just what’s required.

Here you can expect to find examples of stupidity, irony and idiocy , especially relating to Hong Kong, and with particular attention to the SCMP, and its’ letters page. A common problem with many blogs is their failure to find something new to say, I find the SCMP, and it’s letters page, provides plenty of ammunition on a daily basis and will reference them frequently. If you have your own letter not getting published, put it on our comments section.





Monthly Archives: August 2012

The English Patient & The Atomic Bomb

Following on from yesterday’s post, and after a few beers, I remembered a rhetorical question posed in The English Patient, a book I read many years ago, it was a wonderfully literary book, if rather hard going. But don’t panic, I’m not going all literary on you.

There was a Indian character in the book, Kip, named Kip I believe as a contrast to another Indian Character, Kipling’s Kim. Both are compliant wee brown men working for the colonial master, except Kim remains so, whereas Kip has an epiphany, in the blinding flash of an Atomic bomb, Kip suddenly knows, it dawns on him, the realization that the colonial master would always win out regardless of how good a wee brown man you were, that to the victor belongs the right to write, and the right to re-write history.

This was the part of the book that stuck in my mind when I was younger, the young Indian Kip, has been working for the British, of course he knows that there is a an unjustifiable irony in working for the colonial master,  but he believes that the British represent progress and advancement and a climb out of ignorance, until he learns of the Atomic bombing of Japan and the massive destruction and death… If I remember correctly he gets on his motorbike and leaves the Villa where they had all been staying and makes a statement along the lines of: ” They would never have done this to Germany [he may have said a white country} regardless, the question deserves reflection.

Do you think that the US Government would have NUKED Germany?  For sure, they would have NUKED Nazis, but a city in Germany. At the time, it stopped me reading the book whilst I pondered the question.  In the end, I decided that I didn’t think that anyone would  drop a Nuclear Bomb on people like themselves. I remember a few drunk conversations in the pub expounding the point, before, I moved onto another book.

You could of course point to Dresden, 80% destroyed and around 100 000 killed, but the sheer devastation of a nuclear weapon is something else, Bomber Command’s losses over Germany were astounding, by some estimates over 50% of participants were killed, Enola Gay bombed with impunity, a one trick pony with at most, a mere nine lives at risk.

It’s always so much easier to kill the other, to demonize, to satanize, if you like, to emphasize the difference, rather than the sameness.  It makes it easier.  Gooks, Reds, Blacks, Northerners, Southerners, Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Chinks, Pakis, Scots,  and now of course… infidels, non- believers.  It was ever thus.

Who Knows? Do you?

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Alternative Histories

Been a while and for that I apologize.  It’s not that I haven’t found stuff to bitch about, it’s just that there is so much crap in the SCMP I dunno where to start, so for now, am going to take a wee different tack.

I’ve been writing stuff for a while about the “law of unintended consequences” a favorite topic of mine, I suppose linked to the butterfly effect that everyone knows about by now, but again, this post is going off at a different tangent.  Yesterday was the 67th anniversary of the Hiroshima vaporization, 70 000 people vanished in a flash.  I’m going to offer you a valid alternative to an accepted facet of history and leave you to imagine what alternative reality you can posit had the Trueman administration not lied.

The commonly accepted argument is that the bombing was necessary as it saved countless American lives, it avoided the need to invade Japan and repeat the horror of Okinawa on the Japanese Mainland, I say Bullshit!

Japan was on it’s knees, it was already suing for surrender, the only sticking point was that America insisted on an unconditional surrender, but they knew the Japanese could never accept their Emperor being held responsible for any act of the War, they stupidly thought, still do in fact, that their emperor was/is Divine, so how could he be put on trial?

Germany had surrendered months earlier, Japan was being systematically bombed into the dark ages with hordes of B 29 bombers using conventional weapons, Tokyo was firebombed, in fact a host of cities were razed with minimal resistance.  However, strangely, four cities were left untouched, Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata and Kyoto.  Why?  Perhaps to see the effect of this new weapon on a virgin city!

General Eisenhower and Admiral Nimitz to their immense credit, declaimed the bombing as unnecessary, Japan was defeated.  Admiral Leahy, Trumans chief of staff went further and stated the bombing had no material effect on the outcome of the war.

I may seem to be repeating myself here, but Japan was defeated, they were asking for: “Peace, but please leave our emperor alone.”  Many in the US were asking why not just accept their surrender and allow Hirohito to remain free and assist in the rebuilding as a figurehead…  in fact the Amercians did just that, but after the dual atrocity.  Or should that be after the experiment.

And so it came to pass, a biblical Armegeddon, Hiroshima was destroyed, Kokura was next but the cloud cover was wrong so Nagasaki was added to the list and went the way of Hiroshima.  The Americans in their infinite mercy, spared Kyoto due to its cultural significance.

The National Review in 1958 stated that the: “Main purpose of dropping the atomic bombs on Japan was not military but diplomatic, and the the real target was not Japan but Russia…”

In retrospect it’s hard to avoid the obvious, the US wanted to prolong the war to test these new powerful weapons and send a message to Russia and the wider world: “We are the USA, look on my works, ye mighty,  and despair.”

Had the war ended sooner, Stalin may not have invaded northern China, and the whole discredited domino effect argument that defined US policy in Asia for the next 40 years would never have reared it’s ugly head, there may have been no Korean war, or in fact Vietnam war, East Timor, Cambodia…or perhaps you think different.

God Bless America, land of the free, home of the dead braves.

This post was motivated by a lengthy piece by Phil Strongman in The Independent Newspaper


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