Monday, August 6, 2007

A contentious anniversary

Back from hiatus now, in Hawaii...we on the mainland have long ago forgotten, or at least placed out of our minds the events of August 6, l945, the day the United States dropped the first of two atom bombs on the Japanese homeland. Most people either believe that the United States committed a war crime in dropping those bombs, or that the decision was an extremely regrettable necessity. I tend to take the latter position, because of the dilemma President Truman faced: his military advisers all told him that to continue the war in the Pacific would cost at least a million additional lives and prolong the war perhaps by two years. If he used the bomb, the war would be over basically immediately. If you are the American President, it seems to me, your primary responsibility is to save American lives. President Truman did just that, act to save American lives. It was a terrible thing for the Japanese people, but it's important to remember that they were our enemies at the time, and that they started the fight. That is not to justify--you can't justify it--but to explain.

The Japanese, of course, take a different view, and since there are many, many Japanese living in Hawaii, there is a yearly public ceremony of remembrance on the anniversary of the atom bomb, a minute of silence followed by Buddhist prayers and contemplation. It's a good thing to remember...even if you believe the atom bomb was the correct decision, it's worth pausing to contemplate never taking that course again and/or what you can do personally to prevent a repeat of that terrible day.


german said...

yes it is a sad anniversary but maybe a little over the top if that happened in hawaii. i do not think any chinese people living in america would take that opportunity to remember some of the notable events of the rape of naking and other incidents of dropping dirty bombs (cholera, and other bacteria like bombs.)

moville said...

I think you are right about not noting the chinese anniversaries...after all, the chinese of that day perpetrated those crimes, they were not innocent victims. i guess it comes more naturally if your group was the victim of an attack by someone else.