To the editor:
Aug. 6 and Aug. 9 are anniversaries of nuclear attacks by U.S. Army Air Forces. Lawrence peace advocates plan a vigil for Japanese victims. I offer a different perspective. The legacy of Japan’s capitulation is not lost souls killed by our bombs. Rather the true legacy of the nuclear attacks is the postwar peace constitution that renounced war, gave women the vote, established due process of law and established many aspects of a peaceful, economically vibrant democracy.
Shamefully, peace advocates perpetuate great fallacies through their vigil. The entire cost of war in the Pacific must fall upon legions of Japanese war criminals and their awful deeds. The Japanese were not victims of Allied efforts to end Japanese aggression swiftly. The truth is a depraved monarchy permitted vastly violent racist and sexist acts too numerous to count.
Far beyond military necessity, the Imperial Japanese military killed, maimed, raped or otherwise brutalized those in Japanese-occupied territories, including Allied POWs. Simply, in 1945 the path to undo Japanese aggression with least killing and destruction was through nuclear weapon attacks rather than continued explosive and incendiary bombing, blockade and amphibious invasion, or acceding to terms dictated by war criminals.
When, if ever, peace advocates want to commemorate Imperial Japanese Army victims of the Rape of Nanking, Bataan Death March, burning of Manila, or millions of peaceful and productive Japanese alive today because the war ended before invasion or widespread starvation due to blockade, I’ll gladly join them.