Friday, August 6, 2010

Hiroshima: The bomb that saved lives

Hiroshima was horrible and terrible and despicable and.... abso-fucking-lutely necessary. The Japanese were prepared to fight to the last man, woman, and child. We knew this based on intel at the time and our previous experience with the Japanese during the island hopping campaign of the Pacific. In the intervening years, we have since found out that we didn't know the half of just how bad it was going to be. Casualty estimates for taking the main Japanese island at the time ran into the millions for US casualties, into the tens of millions for the Japanese. The ENTIRE European theater claimed 114,000 US casualties!

You know what the alternative plan being considered by Allied planners was in the absence of the bomb? Chemical weapons. Mass bombardment of population centers with mustard gas and other agents pre-invasion to TRY to uproot the massively dug-in defenders. What do you imagine the death toll would have been then?

Though estimates vary, approximately 66,000 people were killed in Hiroshima. Approximately 39,000 were killed in Nagasaki. Neither figure was out of line for that war. The firebombings of Dresden and Hamburg killed upwards of 75,000 (25,000 in Dresden & 50,000 in Hamburg). When one considers the hundreds of thousands, likely millions who would have died in an invasion of the Japanese homeland, it becomes obvious that the death wrought by the atomic bomb, while terrible, pales in comparison. The liberals can wring their hands and vilify America all they like for being the only nation to use nuclear weapons, but the sad, *undeniable* irony is that the A-bomb ultimately SAVED many, many more lives than it destroyed.

So look at the horrific, grisly pictures of the aftermath, and lament about the horror that is war. I'm right with you there. But if you expect me to condemn it because of these horrors, you're out of luck. It was absolutely the right thing to do. It saved lives. It ended the most ghastly war man has ever known.

You know what else? They could have avoided it altogether by surrendering. But they didn't. They *forced* us to take it to the next level. They brought it upon themselves. We can only hope that no other aggressive nation state ever forces us into this particular corner again.