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August 6th, 2010 10:18 am
On This Date: Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima, Japan
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“He who controls the past controls the future.” ~George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Sixty-five years ago today, the B-29 Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.  That decision was a no-brainer.  After four years of wretched, filthy, excruciating, scorched hellhole-by-hellhole Pacific warfare vividly portrayed by HBO’s recent series The Pacific, American leaders preparing to invade Japan expected one million U.S. casualties, not to mention two million Japanese deaths.  Apparently, however, that is of little import to contemporary historical revisionists.  Pontificating from the comfort of their armchairs and coffeehouses, they sanctimoniously second-guess President Truman’s decision and imply a false moral equivalency between the Japanese and American war efforts.  Imagine the misery of Iwo Jima multiplied by forty (we suffered 25,000 casualties at Iwo Jima), because that’s what such sophists suggest as the more humane alternative.

The facts simply do not support the revisionists’ self-righteous argument.  First of all, conventional bombing of Japanese cities killed over twice as many as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.  Would revisionists prefer that instead of ending the war more quickly with the atomic bombs, we should have burned Japan to the ground city-by-city, causing even more Japanese deaths?  Second, revisionists are wrong to say that Truman could have brought surrender by “demonstrating” a nuclear explosion on some deserted island.  After all, the Japanese didn’t surrender even after one bomb had incinerated Hiroshima.  They required a second at Nagasaki.  Third, would revisionists have been happier with a drawn-out blockade of Japan?  How many people would that have slowly starved to death?  How many American airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines would have died through Japanese naval, air and ground attacks in that interim?  Fourth, as referenced above, do revisionists contend that an inch-by-inch invasion would have been preferable?  Not only would that have cost millions of American and Japanese lives, but it would have left Japan nothing more than a heap of dust.

This debate is about more than historical trivia.  In seeking to rewrite history, as Orwell suggested, revisionists encourage a future where a nation attacked refrains from vigorously defending itself and its ideals.  That, in turn, facilitates tyranny.  In the name of those who gave their lives in defending this nation, and in the name of future generations, our current generation cannot allow that to happen.

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