This week marks the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and I will be having posts about this during the week. The above video takes on Jon Stewart’s remark in 2009 that Harry Truman was a war criminal. (Stewart subsequently apologized for that comment.) Such remarks are a mixture of historical ignorance and a lack of empathy for the situation facing the United States as it confronted the prospect of a million casualties to force the Japanese leadership to admit defeat in a war that they clearly could no longer win. Paul Tibbets who piloted the Enola Gay that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, had an encounter after the War with the lead pilot at Pearl Harbor, who subsequently became a fervent Christian:
I once met [pilot Mitsuo Fuchida] the commander of the Japanese forces that carried out the raid on Pearl Harbor. It was time to rebuild Japan, and they were here to visit our factories. He came over to meet me. I told him, `You sure as hell surprised us at Pearl Harbor.’
“His response was, `You sure as hell surprised us with that bomb. We had been instructed to fight until the last man, woman and child, and we were going to do it. But I came by to thank you for saving lives on both sides of that war.'”
In 2007 Fumio Kyuma, the then Japanese minister of defense, said “I understand that the bombings ended the war, and I think that it couldn’t be helped”. He was then forced to resign because the official Japanese position is that nothing that Japan did in a War in which they killed some twenty million people justified the use of Little Boy and Fat Man, the two atomic bombs. Of course the bombs allowed the Japanese to surrender for the first time in their history and save face. As one Japanese general noted at the time, “Who can fight against science”? However, for subsequent Japanese governments, playing the victim is more pleasant than admitting the actual role Japan played in the War it started and waged with astonishing barbarity.
So now on Saint Blogs we will have usual breast beating about Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of the annual August bomb follies, and people will spit on the grave of Harry Truman who simply have no comprehension of the bloody war he was attempting to quickly end, and who will never have the soul rending experience of knowing that whatever decision you make, quite a few people are going to die as a result of it.