Oliver Kamm Tells A Lie

On January 25, 2010, The Times Online’s blogger and Times leader-writer Oliver Kamm told a lie.

Boy, was it a whopper.

That is to say, in his January 25 blog for The Times Online, "An apology to my readers," Oliver Kamm wrote the following:

"I of course haven’t attempted to ‘justify’ the killings of civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In my post, I was concerned with refuting the ahistorical claim that President Truman ‘knew’ the bombs were militarily unnecessary: Truman knew no such thing."

So, what makes Kamm’s denial of his past record on the U.S. nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a big fat lie? 

Well, as Edward Herman and I point out in our "The Oliver Kamm School of Falsification" (MRZine, January 22), Kamm used the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. nuking of Hiroshima to publicly and explicitly justify the mass killings of civilians at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

There, we write (see the section we’ve titled "Kamm and Nukes"):

As a genocide denier and facilitator, it is hardly surprising that Kamm defends the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, given that his favorite aggressor carried it out; the 200,000 – plus immediate civilian deaths don’t faze him one bit.  "Our side did terrible things to avoid a more terrible outcome," he has written.  "[A]bjuring the bomb would have caused greater suffering still."[72]  There is perhaps no better illustration of Kamm’s depravity that he can treat the U.S. nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as moral and humanitarian acts.

Our endnote #72 is also highly relevant here. — As we used it to add:

[72] Oliver Kamm, "Terrible, but not a crime," The Guardian, August 6, 2007.  Instead, see Abbas Edalat and Mehrnaz Shahabi, "Prospects of Armageddon," The Guardian, August 7, 2007.  As these authors rightly objected, the "subtext" of Kamm’s defense of the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki "is plain: The same camp whose vocal endorsement led to the present catastrophe in Iraq are no hawkishly gazing at Iran.  The same absurd and dangerous logic that defends the nuclear atrocities of 1945 can no be used to support the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons against Iran—the threat of which in turn makes the idea of a conventional attack appear more palatable."

Thus, in fact, Oliver Kamm has gone on the record in the past to justify the mass killings of civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  He does this, he alleges, because these mass killings — the only two uses of nuclear weapons to date — served a higher good — namely, the causing of fewer deaths than would have occurred, had the United States and its allies physically invaded the national territory of Japan. 


I don’t believe this for one second.  But it is the argument that Kamm offers in public.

Nevertheless.  Kamm’s real reason for justifying the mass killings of civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki comes down to something much closer to this: Because one of his favorite mass killers (in this case, the United States of America) was the perpetrator, this, ultimately, is what makes Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-Okay in Oliver Kamm’s scales of justice.

Of course, readers can only speculate how many other lies Kamm told in his "An apology to my readers."

The next time, he owes his readers a sincere apology.



"An apology to my readers," Oliver Kamm, The Times Online, January 25, 2010

"The Oliver Kamm School of Falsification," Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, MRZine, January 22, 2010. 

"Oliver Kamm Tells A Lie," David Peterson, ZNet, January 25, 2010


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