I applaud John Keisling's column on the Enola Gay debate ("American values won in Enola Gay debate" Feb. 3). I, too, was infuriated at the Smithsonian's attempt to grossly misrepresent the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The notion that this decision was made out of cruelty to exact revenge for Pearl Harbor, or anything else, is ludicrous. If this were true, why not atomic bomb Toyko.
The truth is the bloody invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa were harbingers to the invasion of mainland Japan. Expected casualties were high. Truman, hoping to end the war without another catastrophic invasion, made a difficult decision to use the atomic weaponry constructed by the Manhattan Project. Hiroshima was bombed on Aug. 6, 1945, with a warning to surrender issued immediately afterwards. Hearing no reply, Nagasaki was bombed on Aug. 9. Japan surrendered six days later.
The Smithsonian lambasts the United States for using atomic warfare on Japan, even though over twice as many Japanese civilians were killed by conventional bombs as were killed by the two atomic blasts. The bombings certainly are not something to celebrate. They were tragic. The loss of human life in war is always tragic. However, the country was at war with a hostile nation, and Truman made a gutsy call that saved tens of thousands of American lives and ended the war. I, for one, am glad that our nation's leadership during World War II was composed of strong, courageous men like Harry S. Truman, and not a bunch of museum curators.
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