Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 47047
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2018/10/19 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
10/19   

2007/6/23-28 [Politics/Foreign/Asia/Japan, Reference/History/WW2/Japan] UID:47047 Activity:moderate
6/23    In a technologically symmetrical war, why would historians (on
        the History Channel) say that taking over Okinawa exacted a heavy
        toll on the Americans? The total stat on the History Channel is:
        American deaths: 12,000
        Japanese deaths: 120,000
        This is a technologically symmetrical war, and the Japanese had
        the advantage of home-base and concealment. If this exacted a heavy
        toll on the Americans, then what do you call the Japanese defeat?
        \_ The estimated kill ratio of American vs. Vietcong was 1:10 to
           1:20. Many US generals were pissed off about the pullback since
           this kill ratio in the historical context is clearly a victory.
           \_ Kill ratios don't mean diddly squat when you are an occupying
              force.
              \_ kill ratio is everything. The better the ratio the more
                 likely the other side will see that it's pointless to
                 resist.
                 \_ Which is why time and time again occupying forces have
                    insanely high kill ratios and the other side doesn't
                    stop fighting.  If you get your panties in a "WE WERE
                    WINNING DAMNIT" wad when someone mentions Vietnam,
                    then how about we talk about Soviet Afghanistan, or
                    France and Algeria, or Italy and Ethiopia, or Britian
                    and India.  And so on.
                 \_ kill ratio is irrelevant if there is some arbitrary
                    threshold where political pressure at home of the enemy
                    gets them to withdraw.  What was the kill ratio in somolia,
                    vs how many US deaths did it take us to tuck tail and return
                    home?  How about rwanda?  A few belgian deaths and the UN
                    went home while the genocide raged...
        \_ American public tolerance for war:
           bool tolerateWar(int enemyDeaths, int americanDeaths) {
             float ratio = americanDeaths / enemyDeaths;
             if (year <= 1950) return (ratio <= 1/10)
             else if (year <= 1970) return (ratio <= 1/100)
             else if (year <= 1990) return (ratio <= 1/1000)
             else if (year <= 2000) return (ratio <= 1/10000)
             else if (year <= 3000) return (ratio <= 1/10000000);
           }
           \_ There should be a "hatredOfEnemy" factor in there somewhere.
              I think part of the problem now and in Vietnam is we didn't
              really buy into the enemy being our enemy. I.e. "why are we
              there". For example if we were actively defending ourselves
              or an unambiguous ally from aggression then I think we would
              "tolerate" huge numbers of deaths.
        \- i dont know the context of where you are coming from, but
           in addition to comparing the capabilities of the (two) sides,
           the offensive/defensive balance changes over time, e.g.
           e.g. development of the tank in ww2 was a change from trenches
           + fixed machine guns. coastal batteries, mine fields are defensives,
           airpower, offensive. so the casualities cant simply be compared
           1:1. btw, the off/def approach is more of an approach rather than
           a strict category. see e.g. http://tinyurl.com/2ysgtu
        \_ You can't compare Japanese expectations and tolerance of casualties
           at the time to that of the U.S.  Furthermore, while the Japanese
           had the advantages you mention, the U.S. had complete air
           superiority, 100% reinforcement flexibility (as opposed to 0% for
           the Japanese), and most importantly, were able to set the conditions
           for battle.  The Japanese could not maneuver outside of their
           fortifications without being cut down by vastly superior firepower,
           and could only react to U.S. initiative.   The 12k U.S. deaths are
           the result of the advantages the Japanese had, while the overall
           balance of casualties shows how far in favor of the U.S. the
           conditions for battle were.  Lastly I wouldn't go so far as to say
           that, by 1945, the Americans and Japanese were fighting anything
           even close to a technologically symmetrical war.  -John
           \_ You forgot another thing.   Ryukyu was an independent kingdom
              for more than 2000 years before being annexed by Japan in 1895.
              Japanese never really considered citizens in Ryukyu island
              (so called Okinawa) "real" Japanese anyway.  So, part of the
              reason for such high tolerance of casualties was because
              Japanese themselves were performing genocide on that island any
              way.  Aside from the fact that Ryukyu was this close to the
              Japanese main island, Japenese didn't really give a crap about
              people who lives there.
              \_ Good point -- nonetheless, the Japanese suffered 66,000
                 purely military casualties; the 140k or so civilians dead
                 were another thing entirely, as below poster correctly
                 points out.  At the same time, you may want to draw a
                 comparison with the battle of Saipan for comparisons on how
                 the Japanese viewed civilian casualties.  The IJN/IJA high
                 command was not terribly concerned with civilians, ethnic
                 Japanese or not.  -John
        \_ Since so many Japanese were using suicide bombing tactics at
           that time, I am not sure you can really call this battle
           symmetric.
        \_ Wikipedia has 12k US dead, 66K Japanese. If you count wounded
           it is more like 50k to 83k. Civilians really don't count.
2018/10/19 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
10/19   

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tinyurl.com/2ysgtu -> links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0020-8833(198406)28%3A2%3C219%3ATOBOMT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-1
LOG IN OPTIONS The material you requested is included in JSTOR, an online journal archive made available to researchers through participating libraries and institutions. The publisher of this journal has not yet elected to make single articles available for purchase via the Publisher Sales Service, a publisher opt-in service facilitated by JSTOR. Authorized users may be required to log in via their library website. About the Journal This journal is licensed to JSTOR by The International Studies Association The Offensive/Defensive Balance of Military Technology: A Theoretical and Historical Analysis Jack S Levy International Studies Quarterly, Vol. First page of requested article: The Offensive/Defensive Balance of Military Technology: A Theoretical and Historical Analysis Abstract This study examines various attempts to define the concept of the offensive/defensive balance of military technology, to trace the theoretical consequences of an offensive or defensive advantage, and to measure or classify the balance for the last eight centuries. It is concluded that the last two tasks are flawed because of the ambiguity of the concept of the offensive/defensive balance. There are multiple definitions and multiple hypotheses, but these are not interchangeable, particularly between the pre-nuclear and nuclear eras, where the concept means something fundamentally different. Hypotheses appropriate for one definition may be implausible or tautological for another. It is concluded that the notion of the offensive/defensive balance is too vague and encompassing to be useful in theoretical or historical analysis, but that some of the individual variables that have been incorporated under this broader concept may themselves be useful. Much more analysis is needed, however, to demonstrate that these concepts have important theoretical consequences.