August 9, 1945. Imagine that instead of nuking the Japanese city of Nagasaki, the US government instead lined up 80,000 of its civilians– children and teenagers, babies and the elderly, men and women alike–and shot them in the head and kicked them into a ditch. How would this have been different than dropping a Plutonium bomb on their heads, which in reality ripped them apart, burned them to death or fatally poisoned them?
The government has worked insidiously to convince us since early childhood that there is a difference between foreigners targeting innocent Americans to achieve their objectives and the US government targeting innocent foreigners to achieve its objectives. We are to believe that when others do it, it’s called terrorism, but when the US does it, it’s called foreign policy, or at worst it’s excusable as the euphemism “collateral damage”.
With Hiroshima and Nagasaki in particular, the government has gone so far as telling us tales about how half a million American soldiers would have died if not for its brutal destruction of these two Japanese cities full of civilians, and thus it had to be done.
Well, that is simply false, as confirmed by the military commanders and other government officials at the time. That number was made up by propagandists after the fact and repeated relentlessly over several decades to rationalize the nuclear slaughter of massive numbers of civilians.
The real estimate of soldiers that might be killed in an invasion of Japan was less than one tenth of that number and the Japanese were on the verge of surrendering anyway, holding out on the condition of keeping their emperor (which they ultimately were allowed to do). Yet, we’re supposed to believe that destroying not one but two cities full of civilians with nuclear weapons was strategically necessary?
General Dwight D. Eisenhower:
…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.
Admiral William D. Leahy (president Truman’s chief of staff):
…the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan.
But even if those massively inflated numbers of projected American soldier casualties were true, how can the act of targeting innocents in order to achieve certain goals be logically or morally different depending on who is doing the killing? What if it had been the Germans or Japanese who dropped atomic bombs on cities in the United States or Great Britain? How is that different?
Answer: It isn’t. It’s all the same. Killing innocents is always wrong and wholly unjustifiable in any case, by any perpetrator. Period.
Imperial Japan committed unspeakable atrocities in WWII. We’ve learned about them since we were little kids. There are many days from that horrible war that will live in infamy. But August 6 and August 9, and the intentional slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians by the US government, should live in infamy too.