Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hiroshima Day

I had mixed feelings about receiving this in my Inbox yesterday:

"I never really understood the craziness until I saw this video"

In honor of the victims of Hiroshima, send this E-card to your friends

Dear Andrew,

Sunday is Hiroshima Day, the 61st anniversary of the first atomic bomb attack in history.

We've come up with a 90-second video that shows the truth in a simple way you'll never forget.(click below to watch it).

Hiroshima Day is a time to remember the dead, but let's also work toward a saner, safer future. Please send the E-card to asmany people as you can. You will be commemorating the day at the same time you spread the crucial information needed stop the craziness.

No more Hiroshimas,

Matt Holland
TrueMajority Online Director

As TrueMajority videos go, this one isn't so bad, but what's with the crass reference to Hiroshima?

First, "No More Hiroshimas" suggests that there was an inadequate moral rationale for having dropped Little Boy on it. There is an important historical debate with valid points on both sides as to whether Japan would have surrendered without the two atomic bombs. The firebombings of Tokyo and other cities (over 100,000 civilians killed) in the winter and spring of 1945 didn't do it. The brutal battle for Okinawa (an estimated 150,000 civilians killed) in May and June of 1945 didn't do it. So what was going to do it in the absence of the atomic bombs? More firebombings? A naval blockade leading to widespread starvation? A full American invasion of Kyushu and beyond? It's hard to imagine we would have killed fewer than 200,000 Japanese with any of those options.

Second, we are told that "Hiroshima Day is a time to remember the dead." I'd like to suggest that if one were to observe Hiroshima Day, it should be a time to remember the living as well. In many communities across the country, there are men in their eighties, veterans of World War II, who would have perished in an invasion and occupation of Japan that might otherwise have been necessary to end the war. Commemorate Hiroshima Day by telling them how glad you are that they got to live for another six decades, to be fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, rather than paying the ultimate price.


Roland Patrick said...

Dropping the atomic bombs almost surely saved Japanese lives. Far more would have died if we'd had to invade.

Which ought to be a sobering lesson for our policy makers when they contemplate what's going on in Iraq, where we inflicted very little damage to win the war.

Arun Khanna said...

Nagasaki showed that Hiroshima was needed. So, if anything Nagasaki is debateable not Hiroshima.

Robert Chiovoloni said...

My initial reaction to the Hiroshima reference was pretty neutral. Having spent a few minutes pondering, I don't think using it as a frame of reference is egregious. I line up on the side of those who believe that dropping the bomb was a horrible necessity. I read somewhere that Truman had been told that the US Army would take a million casualties in an invasion. If you look at the increasing numbers of dead and wounded the army and marines(Marines, esp) were taking as we got closer to Japan, it makes sense--each new island fought over was more hotly defended than the last--it becomes more difficult to blame Truman for the decision. After all, his job was to protect American troops, not Japanese.

Tom C said...

In my discussions with my fellow democrats, mostly much more liberal than I, it seems to me that the speed of the killing is more horrifying to them than the prospect of so many more being killed over a longer period of time. In effect, it's the difference between a plane crash and 500 individual car lose more in the car accidents, but we live with those better.

Many also argue that Japan was "just about to give up" but that strikes me as Monday-morning quarterbacking of the highest order. I will agree however, that the gradual approach would always give them the chance to give up (although not unconditionally) before our worst fears were realized.

Teri said...

Amen. It's easy for people in this time to use hindsight about what should have been done. They tend to ignore the atrocities of the Japanese. They haven't bothered to read the history of WWII and can't understand why that choice was made.

AAustin said...

My dad was on a troop ship that arrived in Okinawa when the landscape was still smoking. He always argued that dropping the bomb was immoral.

Perhaps the military told Truman that other options would cost a million casualties. However, Truman as much as anyone appreciated that much of what the military said was bunk.

Nicolai Brown said...

Terrorism (n): targeting civillians to pressure political change.

History: Used at Hiroshima, USSR, 9/11, Lebanon, etc.

Tenkuu said...

CNN said that 140.000 death in Hiroshima. Think about Japanese killed 7.000.000 Chinese civilian in WWII. They raped Chinese and Korean woman. Compare to these, death in Hiroshima is nothing.

Mark said...
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