Should General MacArthur have been court-martialled?

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23579
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Post by David Thompson » 15 Jan 2005 05:31

James No1 -- I originally asked:
(1) What are the specific charges and their factual bases, drafted in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) equivalent in effect in 1941-1942, which you feel would be appropriate in this matter?

(2) What documentary or testimonial evidence can you bring to support each charge?

(3) What exculpatory or mitigating evidence exists that would tend to explain away or minimize General MacArthur's culpability?

(4) How is the character evidence you mentioned, assuming it could be proven, relevant to any or every charge?

(5) Considering the above, is there proof beyond a reasonable doubt of any of the proposed charges?
I've asked this several times now, at:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 113#620113 and
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 953#620953

This makes the third time I've asked. For whatever reason, you seem to be reluctant to give any answers here, but have referred the readers to your website on three separate occasions. I read through the website the first two times I visited. The url you gave: http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... index.html
provides no sources whatsoever on that page. That page links to seven others on the campaign in the Philippines:

http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... index.html
http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... rview.html
http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... tacks.html
http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... tCorr.html
http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... capes.html
http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... orreg.html
http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... venge.html

Of these linked pages, five have no references at all. I found two pages, each of which had one quotation from a cited secondary source:

http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... tacks.html
http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... capes.html

Other quotes bore no attribution at all. Of the two quotations which were referenced, neither provided the page number of the secondary source where the quote could be found, the footnote checked, or the context of the quote, if any, evaluated. References to official publications, such as those cited to on the "Debacle at Clark Field" thread at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=68074 are conspicuously absent.

It is your privilege to maintain your own views on General MacArthur, and post them on your website with or without supporting authority, but we are not on your website now.

This is a research section of the forum. The purpose of a research section of the forum is to exchange information and hold informed discussions about historical problems. When a person becomes an advocate, he has the burden of providing evidence for his point of view. If he has no evidence, or doesn't provide it when asked, it is reasonable for the reader to conclude that his opinion or viewpoint is uninformed and may fairly be discounted or rejected. Neither I, nor the readers, should have to go on a scavenger hunt for proof of your contentions. If you have it, post it.

JamesNo1
Member
Posts: 50
Joined: 26 Nov 2004 07:30
Location: Australia

Should General MacArthur have been court-martialled?

Post by JamesNo1 » 15 Jan 2005 07:08

I am beginning to entertain serious doubts as to whether David Thompson appreciates the correct function of a moderator. It means to mediate or arbitrate between disputants, or more generally, to preside over a meeting or discussion to facilitate its business. Moderator does not, and I repeat not, include the sort of offensive partisan role that David Thompson has been adopting in relation to this MacArthur thread.

As I suspected, and indicated in my last post, I did not expect David Thompson would want to respond directly to the matters raised with him in that post, and of course he evaded doing so.

I regard David Thompson's persistence in attempting to test my miltary and historical knowledge by a series of very unusual questions, some requiring esoteric knowledge of American military law as it stood in 1941, as being very questionable behaviour on the part of a person purporting to fulfil the role of moderator of a discussion forum.

However, I will respond by referring to my second posting where I explained that, in asking whether MacArthur should have been court-martialled, I was referring to MacArthur's indecision and failure (during the nine hours immediately following his knowledge of Pearl Harbor) to bring his command to a proper state of readiness to resist a likely Japanese attack. These grave failures on MacArthur's part on 8 December 1942 are matters of historical fact. They are not allegations plucked by me out of the air. I have already tried to explain that in my view MacArthur's failure of duty was far more serious conduct than that attributed by the Roberts Commission to Admiral Kimmel and General Short who were taken completely by surprise by the Japanese attack. The finding of dereliction of duty against Kimmel and Short led to consideration of court martial. I have already pointed out that Roosevelt was advised not to approve court martial for reasons other than inadequacy of evidence.

In view of David Thompson's insistence on adopting an offensive partisan attitude, rather than adopting the correct role of a moderator which is to preside over and facilitate discussion, I feel that it is pointless for me to continue this thread.

However, I would urge those with an interest in the Battle of the Philippines and MacArthur's role in this American defeat to read the whole story at:

http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... index.html

That web-site has been functioning for three years with my email address for correspondence attached, and no one apart from David Thompson has ever questioned my grasp of the history of the Battle of the Philippines. Perhaps there is an inference to be drawn from that.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23579
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Post by David Thompson » 15 Jan 2005 07:19

JamesNo1 -- No sources again, after multiple requests? I think the readers can draw their own conclusions about your claims at this point.

As for your remarks about the role of moderators, you are working under a misconception. I certainly don't mind responding directly to your point (which of course sidesteps the requests for sources). In the first place, any reader in this forum may ask a poster for his sources, and insist on an answer -- even moderators get to. In the second place, I moderate the H&WC section of the forum, not this one. WWII-P&A is Peter H's realm.

Adios.
Last edited by David Thompson on 15 Jan 2005 07:46, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Peter H
Member
Posts: 28628
Joined: 30 Dec 2002 13:18
Location: Australia

Post by Peter H » 15 Jan 2005 07:44

James,

You said of David Thompson:
...offensive partisan role...
..very questionable behaviour...
Would you please curtail your attacks on his character and probity.

We are all serious researchers here and we have our differences of opinion.So be it, but don't take it so personal.

Your website is a credit to yourself but its contents can be questioned.This is no reflection on your own character or honour though.


Peter

User avatar
Andy H
Forum Staff
Posts: 15326
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 20:51
Location: UK and USA

Post by Andy H » 15 Jan 2005 16:37

Peter H wrote:B-17s in the Philippines:

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b17_20.html
For reasons which are still unclear even today, the planned raid on Formosa was delayed. Instead, in order to prevent them from being destroyed on the ground by a Japanese air attack, all flyable B-17s based at Clark Field had been ordered into the air and to patrol the waters around Luzon. In the meantime, General Lewis H. Brereton, General MacArthur's air commander, finally got approval to carry out the strike against Japanese bases on Formosa, and the B-17s were recalled to Clark. When the Fortresses returned to Clark, three of them were equipped with cameras for reconnaissance and the remainder were loaded up with 100-lb and 300-lb bombs in preparation for the planned mission to Formosa.

The three reconnaissance B-17s were taxiing out for the initial photographic mission to Formosa when about 200 Japanese aircraft struck. Unfortunately, all the P-40 fighters had been recalled for refuelling and were on the ground. The attack was devastating. All except one of the B-17s were destroyed or damaged on the ground. The sole survivor had not taken off on the morning alert, and had been taken up in the air while the rest were being prepared for the Formosa raid. The Fortresses at Del Monte 500 miles to the south were out of range of the Zeros from Formosa and were left untouched.



I doubt though that 19 B-17s at Clark Field would have defeated the Japanese Empire in its expansionary plans south in December 1941.

Manchester also mentions that fog over Formosa was a common seasonal hinderance at the time,limiting recce flights.
December 8th event timeline according to US Army in WW2-The Fall of the Phillipines

0500 Gen.Bereton visits USAFFE HQ for the first time. Seeking MacArthur, he ends up conferring with Maj-Gen Sutherland and seeks permission to carry out a daylight attack against Formosa. Sutherland, MacArthur's C-o-S told Bereton to make the preperations, but to await MacArthur's authorisation to make the attack

Bereton returns to his HQ at Nielson Field where he spoke to Colonel Eubank who had just flown down from Clark Field. Orders were issued to get the B17's ready

0715 Gen.Bereton returns to MacArthurs HQ, where again he requests permission to attack Formosa. Sutherland again tells him to standby (1)

At around the same time Bereton recieved a call from General Arnold, where Bereton made mention of his proposal and Arnold gave details of the Pearl attack, and so that he wouldn't be caught in the same way and have his "entire air force destroyed" (2)

0800 With various reports of enemy air activity being reported at AF HQ, the B17's were ordered aloft on patrol, without bombs.

1000 Gen Bereton again seeks permission for offensive action. Speaking to General Sutherland he stated "that if Clark Field was attacked successfully we would be unable to operate offensively with bombers" . Sutherland again denied the request (3)

1010Colonel Eubank heads back to Clark Field to prepare a recce mision over Formosa.

1010 MacArthur phones Bereton and informs him that since Clark Field had not yet been attacked he would hold the bombers in readiness, until the recce reports were recieved. They agreed that if no reports were recived then the bombers would attack Formosa late that afternoon. MacArthur left to Bereton "the decision for offensive action" (4)

1045 Bereton called his C-o-S and told them of his conversation with MacArthur. Orders were given to call in the heavy bombers. The planes were readied for a recce mission whilst the remainder were briefed for offensive actions.

1120 Field Order No1 of the Far East Air Force was sent by teletype to Clark Field. It confirmed Bereton's instructions to Eubank around 1045, to attack southern Formosa with 2 heavy bombardment squadrons "at the latest daylight hour today that visibility will permit"

1130 Bombers back at Clark Field being made ready etc

1156 Bereton informs Sutherland of his intentions regarding the Formosa attack.

More to follow



(1) Taken in part from Summary of Activities, Far East Air Force, entry 08/12/41, in Air University Historical office. A later version is made in 1951 within the official air force account in Craven & Cate, The Army Air Forces in WW2

(2) General Harold H Arnold, Global Mission,1949

(3) General Bereton, Diaries

(4) Summary of Activities, Far East Air Force, entry 08/12/41, in Air University Historical office. Gen Bereton omits entirely any mention of his conversation with MacArthur, and he states he received the authority to attack Formosa from Gen.Sutherland at 1100. In a 1951 interview, Sutherland says he doesn't recall MacArthur speaking to Bereton that morning.
Last edited by Andy H on 21 Jan 2005 17:39, edited 1 time in total.

JamesNo1
Member
Posts: 50
Joined: 26 Nov 2004 07:30
Location: Australia

Should General MacArthur have been court-martialled?

Post by JamesNo1 » 16 Jan 2005 02:37

I take Peter H’s point, but I feel that I have a legitimate grievance to air.

I was going to discontinue participation in this thread, but when I read David Thompson’s words below, I felt obliged to continue this discussion.

“…I moderate the H&WC section of the forum, not this one. WWII-P&A is Peter H's realm.”

If David Thompson is not a “Moderator” of the WW II-P&A section, I feel that he should not have described himself as one in the course of this MacArthur thread. As I have mentioned earlier, the term moderator usually conveys the meaning:

“to mediate or arbitrate between disputants, or more generally, to preside over a meeting or discussion to facilitate its business.”

I am not questioning David Thompson’s right to use the title “Moderator” in his H&WC section of the forum but I feel that it is misleading for him to have used that title outside the section that he actually moderates. The fact that he did was calculated to cause at least some contributors to this thread (including myself) to believe that David Thompson has the right “to preside over…discussion to facilitate its business”. I feel that in the context of the WW II-P&A section of this forum, he should have limited his description of himself to “Forum Staff”.

Believing him to be a “Moderator” of the WW II-P&A section, I responded with courtesy to David Thompson’s response to my initial posting even though I felt the tone was offensive and quite unreasonable in its demands.

Speaking of impoliteness, brings me to David Thompson’s demands for references to my sources which clearly border on hectoring.

“JamesNo1 -- No sources again, after multiple requests? I think the readers can draw their own conclusions about your claims at this point.”

One of my university degrees included Far East history and as a veteran myself, I was invited to set up the Pacific War Web-site in May 2002 at the invitation of the Australian Government’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The web-site had to be on-line in time for the 60th anniversary of the Battle for Australia in September 2002. Before writing the history, I first had to learn how to create a web-site. It now covers the equivalent of about seven hundred A4 pages and covers Japanese history from the pre-Tokogawa period to the Pacific War.

It was not humanly possible to research and write all that material, and create a web-site by September 2002 without cutting some corners. I am now engaged in the process of revising all of that historical material and will include references to sources where I deem it appropriate to do so. I receive hundreds of email requests each year for assistance on historical aspects of the Pacific War and I strive to answer all with courtesy and as much information as I can supply, including references.

However, I do not respond well to impolite hectoring of the kind that I have been subjected to since I posed the question that initiated this thread.

I feel that it would be better for me to withdraw from the Axis History Forum.

User avatar
Peter H
Member
Posts: 28628
Joined: 30 Dec 2002 13:18
Location: Australia

Post by Peter H » 16 Jan 2005 04:57

James,
Any controversial topic like the competence of MacArthur in 1941 is going to generate responses both pro and con.

David,with his knowledge of US military law,was expressing the point that even if he was incompetent in his role for that period,it was not a court martial offence.

I take your point that your sources are all not listed,and easily available,but to step into this 'arena' on such an controversial issue without some freely available sources at hand can lead to the charge that opinion is overriding fact.Prompts for such sources are not 'hectoring' in my opinion and are a legimate debating tool.

Moderators are also members of this forum as well--there is no restriction on them posting or being involved in debates,especially outside the section that they have been given the responsibility to moderate.


Peter
Last edited by Peter H on 16 Jan 2005 07:57, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
David C. Clarke
Member
Posts: 11368
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 17:17
Location: U.S. of A.

Post by David C. Clarke » 16 Jan 2005 05:01

If this Thread had a purpose, it has certainly lost it. Therefore, I'm closing it.

~D, the EviL

Return to “WW2 in the Pacific & Asia”