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Happy Pearl Harbor Payback Day!

Surber just comes right out and says it.

We should have dropped three bombs
Sunday marks the 78th anniversary of the Enola Gay, piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets, dropped the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. Three days later, we dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The Japanese warlords still voted 3-3 on surrendering. Intervention by the emperor ended the war and the Japanese told the allies it planned to surrender, which it did on September 2.

With the new movie Oppenheimer‘s debut last month and the end of the teaching of American history in a positive light, lefties have resurrected the argument against using the A-bomb to end World War II.

The Atlantic published the first and perhaps only rebuttal you need to read to this daft argument in December 1946. Written by Karl T. Compton, an atomic physicist and president of MIT, one of the many people involved in the development of these two bombs, the article addressed the argument against the bombings.

Compton wrote, “About a week after V-J Day I was one of a small group of scientists and engineers interrogating an intelligent, well-informed Japanese Army officer in Yokohama. We asked him what, in his opinion, would have been the next major move if the war had continued. He replied: ‘You would probably have tried to invade our homeland with a landing operation on Kyushu about November 1. I think the attack would have been made on such and such beaches.’

“‘Could you have repelled this landing?’ we asked, and he answered: ‘It would have been a very desperate fight, but I do not think we could have stopped you.’

“‘What would have happened then?’ we asked.

“He replied: ‘We would have kept on fighting until all Japanese were killed, but we would not have been defeated,’ by which he meant that they would not have been disgraced by surrender.

“It is easy now, after the event, to look back and say that Japan was already a beaten nation, and to ask what therefore was the justification for the use of the atomic bomb to kill so many thousands of helpless Japanese in this inhuman way; furthermore, should we not better have kept it to ourselves as a secret weapon for future use, if necessary? This argument has been advanced often, but it seems to me utterly fallacious.”

The Japanese would rather die than surrender. They proved this in battle after battle.

That’s about the size of it, yeah; as Don goes into later in the piece, if you don’t think so, ask any survivor of the Bataan Death March or the Rape of Nanking about it, if you can find one. Truman knew it too:

Bombing Japan into surrender was the only option. Harry S. Truman considered the bombing to be his biggest achievement as president and rightly so. He had survived as a field artillery officer that meatgrinder we now call World War I.

Truman wrote a letter to Compton in response to that Atlantic article.

The president said, “Your statement in the Atlantic Monthly is a fair analysis of the situation except that the final decision had to be made by the President, and was made after a complete survey of the whole situation had been made. The conclusions reached were substantially those set out in your article.

“The Japanese were given fair warning, and were offered the terms which they finally accepted, well in advance of the dropping of the bomb. I imagine the bomb caused them to accept the terms.”

The only reason we did not drop three bombs is that we did not have a third one.

We do now.

Heh. Yep. Roger Kimball says it wasn’t only American lives that were saved.

The atomic bomb saved Japanese lives, too
The choices we face are often not between good and bad but between bad and worse

Something else that has contributed to the fraught atmosphere is the war in Ukraine. After all, one side in that conflict, Russia, controls the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, more than 6,000 warheads. My friend Roger L. Simon is right: atomic weapons are “as close or closer to being used today than ever since World War Two because of the endless war in Ukraine.”

That is a sobering thought.To his succeeding questions “Was this worth doing? Was it moral to build such an extreme weapon?” I would answer “yes” and “yes.” I also, by the way, support our use of this most horrible weapon in Japan. Why? Because its use at Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended World War Two. In so doing, it saved hundreds of thousands of American lives. Data point: the military is still using the huge supply of Purple Hearts it manufactured in anticipation of an invasion of the Japanese home islands.

But put the number of American lives saved to one side. The use of the bomb, by ending the war, also saved millions of Japanese lives.

This was widely understood at the time. In subsequent years, however, a new, mostly left-wing, narrative has grown up which faults President Truman for using the bomb. Today, as Oliver Kamm noted in the Guardian, “Hiroshima” and “Nagasaki” are often used as a shorthand terms for war crimes.

That is not how they were judged at the time. Our side did terrible things to avoid a more terrible outcome. The bomb was a deliverance for American troops, for prisoners and slave laborers, for those dying of hunger and maltreatment throughout the Japanese empire — and for Japan itself. One of Japan’s highest wartime officials, Kido Koichi, later testified that in his view the August surrender prevented 20 million Japanese casualties. The destruction of two cities, and the suffering it caused for decades afterwards, cannot but temper our view of the Pacific war. Yet we can conclude with a high degree of probability that abjuring the bomb would have caused greater suffering still.

What is the essence, the core, of conservative wisdom? One part is that when it comes to the real world, the choices we face are often not between good and bad but between bad and worse. This is particularly true in times of war. A difficult lesson. But crucial for those who wish to do good as well emit good-sounding slogans.

Of course, for the Left there is no sincere regard for numbers of lives lost or saved; by their facile, jejune calculus, they don’t really care about such mundanities at all. No, what chaps modern-day shitlib asses the hardest is that American won.

SIDE NOTE: my post title was hijacked from WRSA.

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