71th Anniversary of the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Saturday marked the 71st anniversary of U.S. President Harry Truman’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. The atomic bombing of Nagasaki took place three days later in 1945. Some 90,000-166,000 individuals were killed in Hiroshima. The Nagasaki bombing killed 39,000-80,000 human beings. (It has come to my attention that the U.S. military bombed Tokyo on Aug. 14 – after destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki and after Emperor Hirohito expressed his readiness to surrender.)

There isn’t much to be said about those unspeakable atrocities against civilians that hasn’t been said many times before. The U.S. government never needed atomic bombs to commit mass murder, but it dropped them anyway. (Remember this when judging the official U.S. moralistic stance toward Iran.) Its “conventional” weapons have been potent enough. (See the earlier firebombing of Tokyo.) Nor did it need the bombs to persuade Japan to surrender; the Japanese government had been suing for peace. The U.S. government may not have used atomic weapons since 1945, but it has not yet given up mass murder as a political/military tactic. Presidents and presidential candidates are still expected to say that, with respect to nuclear weapons, “no options are off the table.”

Mario Rizzo has pointed out that Americans were upset by the murder of 3,000 people on 9/11 yet seem not to be bothered that “their” government murdered many more Japanese civilians in two days. Many more died as a consequence of the bombings. Conservatives, ironically, were among the earliest critics of Truman’s mass murder. It’s also worth noting that the top military leaders of the day opposed the use of atomic bombs.

As Harry Truman once said, “I don’t give ’em hell. I just drop A-bombs on their cities and they think it’s hell.” (Okay, he didn’t really say that, but he might as well have.)

Some people still see the A-bombs as the only alternative to invasion, which would have cost many more civilian lives. Now there’s the fallacy of the false alternative in dying color. Why couldn’t the U.S. military have called it a day and gone home? Why the assumption that the state must destroy and conquer its “enemy”? Why demand unconditional surrender? (To back up a step, why go to war against Japan at all? Pearl Harbor was the result of systematic, intentional provocation – as Herbert Hoover and others pointed out at the time) – perhaps with Roosevelt’s foreknowledge. A government less concerned with a rival for its and its allies’ colonial possessions might have not gotten involved.)

Rad Geek People’s Daily has a poignant post here. Rad says: “As far as I am aware, the atomic bombing of the Hiroshima city center, which deliberately targeted a civilian center and killed over half of the people living in the city, remains the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of the world.”

Other things to read: Anthony Gregory’s “Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the US Terror State,”David Henderson’s “Remembering Hiroshima,” G.E.M. Anscombe’s “Mr. Truman’s Decree,” and my own “Truman, A-bombs, and the Killing of Innocents.”

Finally, if you read nothing else on this subject, read Ralph Raico’s article here.

Sheldon Richman keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. His latest book is America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited.

8 thoughts on “71th Anniversary of the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

  1. I was in the fish n chip shop saturday afternoon. One of my neighbors hailed another and said “happy Hiroshima day”. Some people never learn. It doesn’t count that the governments of the US (at all levels) inhibit education as much as possible. A mind is a terrible thing to waste on a redneck war freak.

  2. The author can have his own opinion, but not his owns facts. You, sir are a disgrace to this country. Too bad you were not on the Bataan March, maybe you would have a set of balls !!

    1. I had ancestors on a forced march called The Trail of Tears. American men women and especially children. The number of deaths from it were in the thousands. Hmmm. maybe that WOULD be sufficient provocation for a unilateral attack on the US government…

      1. Oh, and you needn’t worry about The Other. I keep a spare set beside my bed on the nightstand in case of emergency. one is as big as a grapefruit…

          1. And with all facetiousness exhausted, the bombing of civilians with whatever weapons, Dresden leaps to mind, London as well… is pure murder. To say that the Japanese military committing or alleged to have done so is a license to kill civilians, babies even, would be the affirmation of the stated goals of 9/11. Oklahoma City. It would be seen by some as justification for nuking an American city to avenge any one of United States acts of terrorism. It would be tantamount to me going up to you or any other randomly selected American or group thereof, and just start killing in vengeance for the massacre at Wounded Knee or Village Creek or Sand Creek or the Little Ouachita. Or My Lai or No Gun Ri. We are supposedly a free nation wherein we do not have to support every evil or stupid action done by “our” leaders or “our” troops. Nor should the people of Japan or Germany. Nor should we in any part of the world or any part of the human race have to take the blame for something done by some agents of “our” government.

          2. The “eye for an eye” is a Statute of Limitations. You can only take ONE eye for ONE eye. ONE tooth for one tooth. And that’s not a commandment to take the eye for an eye. You can’t take, legally in the EYE of God the vengeance rules that prevailed before this statute, and which a lot of people ignore and just take wholesale vengeance. The old law which was superseded by God was to just round up some of your comrades, ride into the village of the person who injured and just kill anybody who couldn’t be sold as a slave, burn anything which can’t be carried away and taking the people and goodies which you can carry away. Killing two cities filled with civilians is Not Pleasing God.

          3. If you can’t bring yourself to believe in God or righteousness on a religious level then maybe you should understand that you are better than exactly No One. And you should treat your brothers and sisters around the world would treat you. Jesus said it, and whether you believe Him to be the savior he was STILL RIGHT. If you go about condemning or punishing your fellow humans you give them a license to do the exact same thing back to you, as thou sowest so also shalt thou receive and that, whether you believe it inspired by God, is STILL RIGHT. I get sick and God Damned tired about people demanding I support murder to avenge another murder which was brought about in vengeance for yet another killing. like the Fleas poem “great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em, and little fleas have lesser fleas and so ad infinitum.” It all spirals into madness. Unless you think it’s sane and rational to kill people. In which case you should instead of telling me anything, just tell it to a priest, a lawyer and a psychiatrist. You’ll need the help of all three once you go to killing people.

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