Ending a war is a good thing. Killing civilians a bad thing. Deliberately targeting civilians is murder, and is never morally licit, even in pursuit of a good thing such as ending a war. The tens of thousands of Japanese non-combatants we killed 68 years ago this week with two nuclear bombs were not “collateral damage” of military strikes. They were the intended targets. We hoped that mass murder would bring the Japanese emperor to surrender. It worked, and American and Japanese soldiers’ lives were probably saved by it —
I don´t think anyone involved in the Manhattan project knew exactly what the fallout (literally) would be from using nuclear bombs.
War is nasty business -- people die, thinks break. The sooner it´s over, the better. The more we as a nation wring our hands over "those poor dears" the more our enemies will live among the innocent and use them as a literal and figurative shield to our moral angst. The faster that innocent people realize that they are being used by their own people as pawns and shields, the faster they may *do something* about it before the bomb drops.
Hate to be cold and calculating -- but the loss of another American´s life in WWII was not worth protecting the sensibilities of milquetoast westerns apologizing for a country that went on suicide missions and who hurled themselves and their children off cliffs at the behest of their emperor (instead of being captured), and who started the damn war with the US to begin with.
No one really knows, of course, how the war would have gone if the bombs hadn´t been dropped. But, I had at least one relative who was poised to be part of the first wave of a Japanese homeland invasion. He and who knows how many others were spared. That´s a very good thing.
However, I have never been completely convinced that the second bomb was necessary, Nagasaki. Opinions vary.
In my view, a life is a life is a life. A soldier´s life is no less (and arguably more) valuable than a civilian´s life. Our culture has protected civilians as the soldiers, not they, "fight" the war. In the modern era, that is no longer the case - especially in democratic systems. Civilians give birth to, make weapons for, pay taxes to support, and otherwise facilitate the soldiers. They are, like it or not, part of the war machine. Our enemies know that and it is time for us to stop the denial. We´re all in it together.
Soldiers are not "drones" destined to die for the rest of us. They are our (and their) sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, who had the courage to step forward. War is a necessary evil that should be waged in a way to avoid unnecessary loss of life - civilian and military alike.
There are valid arguments on both sides of the decisions to bomb Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and even Dresden. We mourn the loss of all who died, were wounded, and suffered in the wars waged to preserve our civilization. We must redouble our efforts to avoid these wars as much as possible - and to settle them as quickly as possible when they cannot be avoided.
It is difficult (if not impossible) to understand the mindset of wartime Japanese people. How do you explain the mass hysteria that produced kamikaze pilots?
Japanese physicists made an aerial inspection wrought by Little Boy and immediately knew we had exploded a nuclear device; they petitioned the military to surrender. Firebrand nationalists were convinced America was bluffing and began their campaign to immediately invade the U.S. The Japanese people were prepared to die to the last - we spared those lives with the detonation of Fat Man.
Millions of lives - both Japanese and American - and years of war were avoided because Truman had the guts to drop those bombs. One could argue the merits of such warfare but nothing written or said 70+ years later will alter those facts.
The use of the atomic bomb was not only the right thing to do, it would have been immoral not to use it.
US military planners had scheduled the invasion of the Japanese homeland to occur a few months later. The expected allied deaths were in the tens of thousands and injuries in the hundreds of thousands with several times as many Japanese in both categories
The utopian critics can argue till hell freezes over, but the notion of intentionally sacrificing 50 or 60 thousand of our soldiers to avoid killing a slightly larger number of the enemy is absurd.
As to the "but they were mostly civilians" is also silly. In total war - a war for the survival of civilization - there are no "civilians."
The best arguments for using the bomb was exactly what #3 mentions. the Germans and the Japanese would have used it it they had it and a way to deliver it. Don´t think there wasn´t a race on to develop atomic warfare either because there was. Just as certain as they would have used it 68 years ago, cave-men in the Middle East will certainly use them today when they finally acquire them. Of that there is no question, and when they do Liberals won´t cite the fact that for 68 years we have been responsible care-takers of nuclear technology. No, they will blame America for using it 68 years ago to end a bad war we didn´t start!
My Dad was trained to be an anesthesiologist in the medical M.A.S.H. units if we had to invade Japan. At the time they were worried about up to 500,000 casualties if the mainland was invaded based on Japanese fighting approaches in the islands.
One bomb would have been sufficient but the Japanese were so stubborn it took two.
#4 -- Not only did it save countless American lives, but it mostly likely saved many more Japanese lives. Estimates are that hundreds of thousands of Japanese would´ve died had we invaded the homeland (some even estimated that 1 million lives would´ve been lost).
Forty years ago, I read David Westheimer´s "Lighter Than a Feather", an alternate history novel set during the Allied invasion of Japan´s homeland. It´s written from the Japanese perspective and I have never forgotten that book. If you can locate it, I highly recommend it.
The Japanese were preparing for an invasion by the U.S. and their plan was to inflict as many casualties as they could so that the U.S.would lose heart. It took fire bombing of major cities, two atomic bombs and the threat of many more to convince them to surrender. Even at that, it took them five days after Nagasaki. Further, there was an attempted coup by junior officers of the Japanese military who wanted to fight to the death. This was not a society that was going to give up easily. Anyone who doubts this should review the battle of Okinawa (100,000 Japanese troops and 65,000 American died, and one quarter of the island population died).
At the time of the Battle of the Bulge, FDR asked about using the atomic bomb against the Germans....but learned that it was not yet ready. So much for those who inject a bit of race into Truman´s decision.
Imagine the reaction from the American people if we had continued fighting Japan for another year, knowing we had 2 bombs that would quickly end the war. It was the right thing to do. It also gave Stalin pause in his attempt to grab Manchuria and northern Japan.
Here are two books that provide a great deal of information about that terrible time I believe too few are aware of.
Hell to Pay Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 http://www.usni.org/store/books/ebook-editions/hell-pay
Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-679-41424-7
Both books are available on Amazon and other booksellers.
If you read either or both you will understand what we would have faced had we invaded and also the "fog of war" our leaders had to contend with.
The books claim that the Japanese government was prepared to accept 20 million Japanese dead to achieve an armistice leaving the Japanese government at least partially intact. Our estimates, not fully shared with Truman, were a million American soldiers killed. Not casualties -- killed.
We used two bombs. There were seven more being assembled in the Philippines. MacArthur wanted to use them to destroy opposition at the beachheads.
If you read one or both of these books, you will not continue to repeat the shallow cliches about that time.
Both we and the Japanese people should be grateful Truman decided to use the bombs.
Among the many advantages of using both bombs was that it made it culturally possible for the Japanese to surrender. For every life lost on those 2 days, another 10 to 20 are alive because there was no kamikaze defense to an invasion.
One of the more vile and reprehensible actions of the modern "progressive" LIEberals is their habit of taking an event from history, stripping it of any context, then applying today´s morality to that event in order to "prove" how wrong "we" were in our history.
It fits this situation as well as the "Founding Fathers owned slaves" situation, or the "Founding Fathers thought blacks were only ´worth´ 3/5´s of a white man," two of the more common usages of this phenomenon.
Had this author been consulted, I would have lost my father. He was 4-F during WW II. He got his 1-A notice in August 1945. He would have come home. Home in one of the 1,000,000 body bags which the Army had already ordered. So don´t tell me the A-bomb was immoral. The sole purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. The A-bomb broke the will of the Japanese. They had no idea how many of the weapons we had (in fact we had only two at the time). The military is called in when diplomacy fails. Japan indicated what they wanted when they destroyed Pearl Harbor. They wanted a fight to the death. That is what we gave them. And you can blame the partisans for the failure of the Germans to build their own A-bomb. Read about the destruction of the heavy water supply. Bah. Humbug. Hogwash. This "person" should be sent to North Korea as a permanent resident. Then we will see what he thinks.
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