Letters to the Editor

Moral costs

April 14, 2009


To the editor:

President Barack Obama has announced his goal to get nuclear weapons banned worldwide. Since the United States is the only country to have employed nuclear weapons in war, we are especially obligated to prevent their future use.

In May 1945, Nazi Germany had been defeated. By August 1945, Japan’s situation was hopeless. Both Japan’s air force and its navy had been virtually destroyed. Japan lacked food supplies. The Soviet Union was about to declare war upon Japan. The United States had not offered the Japanese the retention of their emperor as an incentive to surrender. Nor did we drop demonstration atom bombs on a sparsely populated area.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have shortened the war by a week or so, but at a terrible moral cost: the complete killing of civilian populations including many women and children. As commander in chief, President Truman bears the responsibility.

I believe that there is hope. The United Nations could evolve into a world federal government with complete control of nuclear weapons.

Bond is from Lawrence


Maddy Griffin 9 years ago

Atomic bombs--the gift that keeps on giving for generations to come. I think it's a wonderful idea to ban them worldwide. Mr. President, you impress me more each day. You've made me proud to say "I voted for him and will again".

cato_the_elder 9 years ago

"Shortened the war by a week or so?" Are you serious? You need to take the time to learn the facts concerning the projected loss of life if we hadn't dropped the bombs. Even with the bombings, a contingent of fanatic militarists almost succeeded in overthrowing the emperor and continuing the war. Uninformed letters like this are a constant reminder that, with the passage of time, historical revisionists - or people who are simply ignorant - can say anything they want (e.g., the Holocaust never happened), and get away with it. Japan was given every opportunity to avoid what happened, but refused to surrender until after the second bomb had been dropped. We should all be thankful that Harry Truman was a man of resolution and courage, and that the war with Japan was brought to a much swifter end, with considerably less loss of life, than an invasion would have entailed.

labmonkey 9 years ago

I will take a little loss of moral ground for the estimated 500k-1 million American lives saved (not to mention millions of Japanese lives). The LTE must not have read his history of Okinawa where military fanitism ruled the day. Japanese soldiers stole food, raped, and used the local populace as human shields. They encouraged the local populace to commit suicide by telling them the Americans would commit horrible atrocities if they should be captured by the Americans...handing them grenades to blow themselves up civilians throwing themselves off the cliffs. (Those who didn't kill themselves were pleasantly suprised the Americans treated them much better than the Japanese did). Others were impressed into the Japanese Army. You don't think this would have happened times 100 on the Japanese mainland?

Which brings me to the militaristic Japanese mindset in the 1940's. This would not have been Europe where France, the low countries, and even the German (on the western side...the Soviets raped and pillaged on the east) people seen the Allied forces as liberators...the whole population of Japan was readying itself for a fight to the death. The war would have lasted at least two years, but probably more. The Japanese policy was pretty much that the American people don't have the stomach for a seven year war, and they would be able to get a negoiated peace the longer they held out. Yes, the Soviet Union declared war on Russia, but in looking at the last 64 years of prosperous Japanese history, would Soviet boots in Japan been a good thing? 1) As I mentioned earlier, the Soviet army was notorious for raping and pillaging. 2) If the Allies did win a conventional war with Japan, you would have had another cold war hotspot with Japan split into two countries and the Soviet military would have been used in the mainland Asia areas Japan held which would have led to much more communist Asia. 3) How much of the Japanese populace would have been killed....1/3? 1/2? more?

If the American people knew we had a weapon to end the war quickly and didn't use it, there would be much more outrage since the end of the war because of all the casulaties our military would have received. I know this is not a politically correct thing to say, but the atomic bomb saved Japan. And it saved hundreds of thousands of American lives. Before you condemn the bomb, think of your direct ancestry. Your grandfather may have been one of those killed in the invasion and you would not be here. I know I probably wouldn't be here now.

The LJW would have done this LTE writer a service by not printing his ignorant letter.

VTHawk 9 years ago

The US Government estimated (and still estimates) that dropping the bombs saved 1M American lives. The Japanese determination to win the war was so great that 1 bomb wasn't enough. How would a demonstration in an unpopulated area have been more persuasive than the first bomb (horrible, though, as the consequences were)?

labmonkey 9 years ago

As for the demonstration...we only had three bombs at the time, and the risk for its failure was great. What if it fizzled? (Yes, it didn't, but you are looking with 20/20 hindsight.) That would have really shown the Japanese.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

Jesus, it's really late to try and worry about loss and responsibility. They happened, nothing we can say or do will change that, so why don't we focus on what we need to do for it not to happen again, rather than waste energy bickering about could of and would of beens.

jayhawklawrence 9 years ago

The real lesson to be learned is this;

Don't attack the United States of America. Ever. We will destroy you and we may or may not show any mercy.

Most Americans believed the loss of life could be 1,000,000 Americans dead. After Tarawa especially, the United States grew to fear the incredible resolve of the Japanese soldiers to fight to the death.

The dropping of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima may have been the most humane option at the time. Nagasaki convinced the leadership in Japan that we weren't just dropping gasoline on them.

No one will ever know if Truman made the best decision but it was not a bad decision at the time.

War sucks. Atomic war sucks worse. That is the best lesson to take from these disasters. Don't start wars.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says…

"Well, anyway, it was another opportunity for logrithmic to state and re-state and re-state again that the “right-wing” is the sole problem with America."

So he's the yin to your yang, then. The left to your right. You complete each other.

Sigmund 9 years ago

Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says… "Well, anyway, it was another opportunity for logrithmic to state and re-state and re-state again that the “right-wing” is the sole problem with America."

Which happens to agree with the current Administration and Homeland Security. A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority. It may include groups and individuals that are "dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration." http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/14/federal-agency-warns-of-radicals-on-right/

Happy faced fascism: it's not just a good idea, soon it will be the law. Logrithmic will be there calling the feds and reporting on the suspicious activities of his neighbors and coworkers who need to be "reeducated."

Flap Doodle 9 years ago

keep quoting Chomsky, loggy. You'll get that Order of Lenin yet.

jayhawklawrence 9 years ago

What we should fear is extremism and the loss of our freedoms.

Militarism in Japan pushed them into a war that many in Japan knew they would lose. Many leaders in Japan were educated in US Universities and knew the power of the United States would eventually overwhelm the Japanese. Many of these leaders were assassinated by the militarists

We need to fear extremism whether it comes from the Left of the Right wing.

We need to let our political leaders know that we expect them to do a better job of working together to solve our problems which they have not done for the last 8 years.

We also need to get rid of those who are incapable of doing so. Now is not a time for dirty politics and character assassination.

That is the message we need to send to our political leaders. Otherwise, things will get worse and we will have more people like John Bond talking about world governments because they have lost hope in our own government.

That is a pity.

Practicality 9 years ago

This author of the LTE obviously needs a history lesson. Shortened the war by one week. Lord. Where do I start.

Just another example of these looneys in Lawrence just making up and believing some idiotic fact to try and proove their point.

George Lippencott 9 years ago

While sharing the author's concern for the consequences of our use of nuclear weapons I think that a broader perspective might be in order. During the waning months of WWII, many bombing missions resulted in a death count greater than our nuclear missions did. I seriously doubt that the victims of the fire bombing of Dresden count less then the victims of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. Over 50 million people died in WWII. We should lament all their passing rather than fixate on some specific event.

I might observe that wars occur because one group of people seeks to impose some desired outcome on another group and are unable to do so by peaceful means. Kind of like where we are today in our own country. We won so we get to make you do what we want. That kind of thinking has led to almost all wars in recorded history to include our own civil war. Compromise or die all tensed up!

Sigmund 9 years ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says… "Sigfried writes:"

Gee, name calling by the LJW resident expert in Ad Hominen attacks, what a shock! Now hurry off and call in a report of a right wing "denier" in need of reeducation.

scaramouchepart2 9 years ago

History shows that long hand ringing discussions on whether to drop the bomb or kill millions more over the long haul of literally invading Japan was the reason the decision was made. Either way many civilian Japanese were going to be killed becuase Japan's leadership would not yield and millions of Russian and Americans would also die before the end. More than a week.

jaywalker 9 years ago

I think eliminating nukes is a noble and prudent goal, but is it realistic? Will world powers negate their stockpile while any nut-driven country (N. Korea, Iran, etc. and ever-changing) can and will thumb their noses at what the majority strive to achieve?
And a 'world governing body'? Talk about unrealistic.

BigAl 9 years ago

Harry Truman was a proud Democrat. Just sayin'..

badger 9 years ago

OK, LTE. I was with ya on the elimination of nukes. I was willing to concede that we can't really know whether dropping the bombs on Japan saved more lives than it cost, so I could live with you being on the other side of that argument.

But then you go off the rails and start talking about the UN as a sole world government with all the control of the nukes, and I'm done with you.

I don't want anyone to have nukes, anywhere. I think they're an inherently bad thing. But if anyone has them, I want my country to, because though I'd prefer a leveled and empty nuclear playing field, I won't accept one where we're not as well-equipped as the other teams. That's just stupidity. I could never support putting the control of the US' nukes in any hands but our own.

RedwoodCoast 9 years ago

I have a feeling that Truman dropping the bombs on Japan was only partially geared towards Japanese surrender. The remainder was probably a demonstration of US capabilities to Stalin.

aragorn 9 years ago

Summary of thread thus far= support Obama in eliminating nukes support UN in becoming a world government The US is really mean to people who attack us and should repent

Summary of reality= Obama is a fool for proposing that we eliminate nukes, since it is equivolent to cutting off a girl's feet then telling her to kick a potential rapist in the nuts Envisioning the UN as a potential world government gives every sane person the almost irresistable urge to immediately slit their wrists. Yes, the US is indeed very mean to people who attack us. That's why you get to sit at your computer and voice your thoughts right now without worrying about the thought police coming and taking you in for re-eduaction.

Foolishness, they name is Obama

BigAl 9 years ago

And under a republican, the man that attacked us on 9/11 is still out there.

At least under Obama, the pirates were taken out. Under Bush, we would have taken out their neighbor.

TacoBob 9 years ago

Somewhere somebody was going to use this technology. We should all be grateful that it was during this war, arguably the most 'just' war we were involved in. If we had not done so, at that very point in history, think about when it would have happened.......perhaps used not by us, but by another country, very likely not part of the free world, in a conflict with a most assuredly different 'winner'. We, the world, are much safer today due to these events. The alternatives would have been much, much worse.

notajayhawk 9 years ago

jaywalker (Anonymous) says…

"I think eliminating nukes is a noble and prudent goal, but is it realistic?"

No. It would be like uninventing the gun and hoping everyone goes back to fighting with edged weapons instead.

The technology exists. It isn't going to be forgotten. Even if all the current nuclear powers agreed to dispose of their arsenals, which is highly unlikely anyway, sooner or later all those advanced, enlightened, progressive nations would be at the mercy of some miserable little third world despot unhappy with his share of the world's resources. Nice ideal, completely unrealistic.

(Besides, how the heck would you verify it? The things are small enough to fit in a backpack or an artillery shell, for pity's sake.)

beatrice 9 years ago

Why am I thinking some here have never heard of Paul Lettow's book "Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons." http://www.amazon.com/Ronald-Reagan-Abolish-Nuclear-Weapons/dp/1400063078

I guess some on the right are now going to have to whine that Obama is being too Reagan-esq in his ambitions.

Silly conservatives.

Danimal 9 years ago

This editorials is one of the dumbest things I've read recently. The idea that the UN, whose development program is headed up by Zimbabwe, could rule the world is laughable at best. Mr. Bond needs to put down the bong and do some reading up on international affairs and history.

notajayhawk 9 years ago

beatrice (Anonymous) says…

"Why am I thinking some here have never heard of Paul Lettow's book “Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons."

One slight difference - Reagan wanted to have a defense system in place that would render nuclear weapons obsolete - that is, with some form of missile defense system in place (such as 'Star Wars') we could get rid of our nukes without worrying about Eastern Morfrankistan building some. Whether or not any such plan was feasible, that's what he wanted. Obama wants to get rid of ours without any such defense in place.

It's understandable you can't fathom the difference. Silly liberals.

james bush 9 years ago

People who write LTE's like this probably are too young to have known WWII vets and have been educated by the liberal professors in our universities( and who are training the teachers to propagandize our children). Reagan stopped this subversion of our education/entertainment industry for awhile but the leftist are back and now they've put their guy in the presidency. God help the USA!

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