Saturday, August 06, 2005

Hiroshima Saved Lives

On vacation at Whistler, BC, Canada in an internet cafe with a view of The Mountain itself: People are wringing their hand over the "terrible" thing president Harry Truman did when he used atomic bombs against 2 Japan cities 60 years ago. Japan was preparing to defend their homeland. The invasion was expected on the southern island of Kyushu and they were beefing up the defenses. Japan was on the run; they had lost most - all? - of the land they had captured. So strategic defeat had been accomplished. But the war machine was continuing to fight. The military leaders estimated that it would cost 1,000,000 Allied lives, mostly American, and every more Japanese lives. A large number of kamikaze planes were prepared which can take a large toll on a ship with just one airplane. And, regarding the numbers of dead in the two cities, a number several times their sum had already been lost to Allied bombing of Japanese cities. So why kill more? Because the stunning power of the one bomb delivered by one airplane would shock the Japanese military into realizing they could not outlast the US. The best suggested alternative was a demonstration blast over an uninhabited area. But we only had two bombs and as we saw one was not enough. So it was right to use both for populated areas. Victor Davis Hanson explains it very well.

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