Letters to the Editor

Right decision

April 28, 2009

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To the editor:

This letter is in response to Mr. Bond’s April 14 letter. I don’t know where he got his historical information on the bombing of Japan, but here are a few facts and impressions.

Japan was not weeks from surrender. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets not chosen by population; more people died in Tokyo by conventional bombs.

The Japanese were a proud, stubborn but fanatical enemy. The battle of Okinawa in March 1945 where they lost 100,000 men in kamikaze suicide bombers proved that. Japanese leaders believed they could make the cost of conquering Japan too high for the U.S. to accept, leading to an armistice instead of losing face in total defeat. Conservative estimates by the U.S. secretary of war, as well as civilian consultants, had American casualties of 750,000 and 250,000-500,000 dead. The estimates for Japan were 2-3 million casualties and over 1 million dead.

Do you not think the Japanese would not have used such a weapon against us? If not, read more about Pearl Harbor. I have talked to many World War II vets who agree with me that dropping the bomb was unfortunately necessary to end the war. Despite the terrible suffering it caused, it saved lives of millions of Japanese and Americans. I thank Harry Truman for making the tough decision and wonder if perhaps both Mr. Bond and myself would be discussing this today if he had not. We can hope that this decision never has to be made again.

Tucker is from Lawrence

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

As long as that bit if fiction makes you feel good, believe whatever you want, Craig.

jaywalker 6 years ago

What's fictitious about what he said, bozo?

tolawdjk 6 years ago

I've got to concure, bozo. What did he say that was ficticious?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

There were many motivations for dropping the bomb. By far the biggest one was because we had it. All the rest is window-dressing.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Hate America first, right, bozo?

Chris Ogle 6 years ago

come back bozo... I am ready for the Tom and Bozo show.... My bet is on Tom concerning this one..... but you need the practice anyway, boz.

Practicality 6 years ago

bozo,

you are an idiot. Nothing Craig has written is untrue. But, of course, it appears you just make snap decisions based on emotion and not on facts so it really doesn't matter what the truth is to you. Did the dropping of the Atomic Bomb bring a terrible destruction to Japan, yes. Did it bring an end to the war with Japan without having to invade Japan? Yes. Did that save an estimated million American lives? Yes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Where do I send my 5 cents for that bit of "astute analysis" 75X55?

jaywalker 6 years ago

"There were many motivations for dropping the bomb. By far the biggest one was because we had it. All the rest is window-dressing."

Ah. So what you're saying is you prefer to be the writer of fiction. Gotcha. No doubt there were many motivations at work. But stating that "by far the biggest one was because we had it" is something a 12 year old adds on to an essay for filler 'cuz he doesn't know what to say. Yes, I'm sure Truman was overwhelmed with giddiness to try out his new toy. Ending the war was an afterthought. Read Mcullough's 'Truman', bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

My aren't we a sensitive lot when our heroic fairy tales are questioned.

Connacht 6 years ago

The dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan was not purely intended to simply end the war.

After studying the issue of atomic weaponry in WW2, I think one could justify dropping the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, but not dropping the second one on Nagasaki. If you're goal is to make an enemy surrender, then you don't throw two knock out blows when just one would suffice. Had the United States just waited a few more days before dropping the second atomic bomb on Japan, or perhaps demanded the Japanese surrender or face more of the same, Japan might have surrendered then and there, without the need for further atomic bombs. If not, a second strike could be justified.

I should also point out that the original targets for the atomic attacks were places of deep cultural importance to the Japanese, such as Kyoto, their ancient capital. Fortunately someone Roosevelt/Truman administration who had visited Kyoto, vetoed the military's plans for such attacks. Make no mistake, the atomic attacks were originally planned to kill as many civilians as possible and strike at the deepest cultural senses of the Japanese people. They were an attempt to end the war to be sure, but end it through a last and final revenge strike against a hated enemy.

Dropping these bombs was additionally a strategic move against the Soviet Union, demonstrating the United States' military and scientific power. It was a multi-faceted decision.

Like most issues in history, this one is complex and has to be taken into context on a number of levels. It should not and can not be dismissed or justified with an off the cuff remark or sound bite.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Fairly certain you're the only moron who'd refer to what happened as a 'fairly tale'. And you 'questioned' nothing, you predictably made something up to fit into your sad, myopic perspective of things. Business as usual at Sanitorio de Bozo.

TheYetiSpeaks 6 years ago

"My aren't we a sensitive lot when our heroic fairy tales are questioned."

Where did anyone say or imply that it was heroic or that anyone took pride in the bombs? We believe that the way history tells it is closer to the truth than your conspiracy theory. Does that mean we are jumping up and down and celebrating the fact that many Japanese died? Of course not. We did what had to be done. Plain and simple.

"War is cruelty, and it cannot be refined." -Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

Leslie Swearingen 6 years ago

Dropping the bombs was a terrible, terrible thing. Both sides did dreadful things to each other in the fury and blood lust of battle. The public never was told the details about this as it was constrained by national security issues. Most people at that time were simply happy the war was over and their boys would be coming home. To find out, you have to be thinking about the subject and be willing to do some research. This was required when I was in high school. "An article called "Hiroshima" written by John Hersey was published in The New Yorker magazine in August 1946, a year after World War II ended. The article was based on interviews with atomic bomb survivors and tells their experiences the morning of the blast and for the next few days and weeks. It was a calm and accurate account of survival in the first city to be destroyed by a single weapon. There were many remarkable things about the "Hiroshima" article. Just a few: * "Hiroshima" took over the entire issue of the The New Yorker, there were no articles or cartoons. * The issue caused a tremendous effect, and sold out within hours. * Many magazines and newspapers commented on the article. * The full text was read on the radio in the U.S. and other countries. * The Book-of-the-Month club sent a free copy in book form to all its members. "Hiroshima" was quickly published as a book, and remains in print today. Here is where you can read the book if you are interested. http://www.archive.org/stream/hiroshima035082mbp/hiroshima035082mbp_djvu.txt

cthulhu_4_president 6 years ago

"My aren't we a sensitive lot when our heroic fairy tales are questioned."

Yes, people are sensitive when their fairy tale is challenged. It's the same sensitivity that motivated you to first post at 7:01 when your fairy tale was challenged by the letter writer. The difference is, their fairy tale is grounded in evidence, documentation, and first hand accounts. Your fairy tale mostly relies on emotion, and, possibly, a conspiracy theory blog. Get some evidence to support these claims:

"There were many motivations for dropping the bomb. By far the biggest one was because we had it. All the rest is window-dressing"

and then we can debate comparative fairy tales. Until then, your posts are baseless and only intended to bait and stir the pot. I hope the attention you receive on this thread will give you an accomplished feeling for the day.

Practicality 6 years ago

logicsound04,

I think what the author was referring to was the casualty report which is released by the military after engangements and/or operations. This list includes (Wounded In Action), (Killed In Action), and (Missing In Action).

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

other estimates at the time had 2-million dead american service personnel, 1-million british and colonials dead, and 6-million japanese dead service personnel and civilians.

once again I ask, is Bozo really the best the left can swing on these comment threads? sad.

generally I disagree with conacht but he/she/it is correct that demonstration to the soviets was a consideration, but far from the primary consideration.

Truman weighed this decision very carefully. I disagree regarding the dropping of the second nuke. american leaders were not privvy to the japanese leaders' deliberations. and many people in retrospect have used words like paralysis to describe them after the dropping of the first nuke.

waiting did have costs and dangers which are easy to forget today. continuing the conflict, continuing the dying, being the worst.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

"My aren't we a sensitive lot when our heroic fairy tales are questioned."

Seems it's your fairy tale they're discounting, boohoozo.

But then, that's nothing new.

Practicality 6 years ago

I agree with you about Conacht's statement B_G.

After dropping the first A-bomb, the U.S. waited for word concerning Japanese's acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration and still no sign of a surrender. This is after something like 70 days of intense Allied Bombings on much more important cities to Japan like Toyko. After no word of surrender, the U.S. dropped the second bomb, which I believed they decided to move the second bomb up about 5 (unsure of exact number) days because bad weather was expected. Therefore, the original plan had called for a little longer wait between bombings, but because of the forecast, they decided to move up the second bombing. Although I think that the Soviets decided to start an invasion the day before, so that much is true concerning Conacts post, as the bombing did send a message to them as well.

The U.S. was still unsure about the outcome of the first bombing when they went ahead with the second. Japan was taking a terrible beating from regular bombings prior to the first A-bomb and still they refused to surrender. So, the belief that it was logical that they were going to surrender after the bombing was understandably skeptical when put into the context of the present day, during a war, without any communication from the Japanese that they were even contemplating surrendering. It is understandable that they dropped the second.

If people think that it was cruel to drop the A-bombs, that is understandable to a point as well. But, it did bring an end to the war and doubtless saved millions of American lives in the process. I know every person I talked to who served in WWII said they were glad we dropped the bombs. Especially the ones who were scheduled to be sent from the European Theatre to the Pacific Theatre. I also suggest everyone take a hard look at the Japanese Military during that time and research the atrocities they committed against Korea and China and the Phillipines to understand the mindset we were facing when the decision was made to drop the Bombs.

ilikestuff 6 years ago

Craig is spot on in his assessment. Truman made the right decision & frankly it was the only choice he could make. If the US had launched operation “Downfall” w/o using its new super weapon I believe Truman would have & should have been impeached. If the war had continued into 1946-7 and the US continued absorbing causalities at the same rate as it had thus far in the Pacific theater he should’ve been impeached. Japan, while beaten by August 1945 was hardly ready to surrender w/o introduction of our new super weapons

It is absolutely ridiculous to presume the Japanese were about to surrender &/or would have w/o use of the atomic weapons. At best, it would have taken several more months or years for the blockade to starve them into submission. Also, Japan retained a huge, well-supplied & well-motivated army on the home islands. Finally, given its bizarre and seemingly eager willingness to die as demonstrated all throughout the war one can only imagine the hell our troops would have faced from not only the army but tens of millions of “civilians” as well.

Responsibility for protecting Japanese lives laid solely with the Japanese Emperor & its military government not the United States. The Japanese were given one opportunity after another to capitulate & ignored them. When the war finally ended their surrender was hardly unconditional. They did not suffer the same humiliation & utter destruction that Germany did. It is utterly ridiculous to assert that America shouldn’t have used any means available to win the war against Japan. Only a naïve or simpleminded revisionist would assert otherwise.

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