It’s that time again…happens every year about this time in the dog-days of August…patriots, peaceniks, propagandists…memorializing the events on the part of the “sanguinary” majority(?)…caterwauling harangues by the “sensitive” few(?)…the never-ending discussion of the two things that set the tone for history post WWII – Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Or did they? Or, if so, how? Flash back from August 1945 to a six-week period from December 1937 to February 1938. The place: Nanjing, China. The Japanese Army took the city and within a six-week period without the use of bombs, artillery, or anything much more lethal than bayonets and rifles managed to kill about 300,000 people, mostly civilians and POWs. How does an army stab to death or otherwise polish off 7,200 people per day without even a roadside bomb or a battalion of suicide bombers, while committing 20,000 reported rapes (maybe one reported for every ten unreported?) and getting the bodies out of the way?
It must have been mostly over by 17 January 1938 when then-Japanese Foreign Minister Hirota Koki confirmed in a message to the Japanese embassy in Washington that 300,000 had been killed in Nanjing (National Archives, Washington, D.C. – released September 1994). Koki probably didn’t mention it, but two Japanese officers held a competition to see who could bring about the most beheadings. The two officers were executed in 1947. Apparently, hara-kiri, the honorable way out, was not honorable enough for them, so they stuck around until somebody else did the deed for them.
The euphemism for their wretched status was Comfort Women. These were the 200,000 women/girls, mostly Korean, who were shipped like so many pack mules to the various fronts where Japanese soldiers were fighting in order to allegedly protect the precious “freedom fighters” from STDs, ergo, foreclose their absence from the war, account of VD. The notion that this stopped the rape of whoever just happened to “be there” is too ridiculous to even contemplate. The Japanese were equal opportunity rapists, and their victims – at least in Muslim theology – represented paradise, albeit in the midst of massacres by the boatload.
But what does all this gory stuff have to do with Hiroshima and Nagasaki? For those dumb enough to ask that question, the answer, via other questions, is simple: Would it have been better to bypass Japan in 1945 and thus give that cruel regime the opportunity to continue its bloodthirsty campaigns until it threatened the entire world, including this nation? Is it better to kill the enemy on his soil rather than kill the enemy on one’s own soil? In choosing weaponry, is it better to use the most powerful at a distance…or, is it better to go to the trenches and “fight fair,” eyeball to eyeball…sort of like the English/French/Germans in 1914-18?
To rational people, the answers are simple enough. President Truman knew them in August 1945. Americans had been dying at about the 320-per-day rate (counting all war-induced deaths) for some three-and-a-half years. Why should more of them die just because a cruel regime had decided to conquer and enslave Asia, for starters, and the rest of the world, in time? He decided there was no reason for that and could hardly have faced the relatives of the American dead, or the survivors, tens of thousands of whom had been wounded, if he had failed to take all possible actions to end the conflagration started by the Japanese.
At 8:15 a.m. on 06 August 1945, the first atomic bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy,” was dropped from a B-29 known as the “Enola Gay” and piloted by Army Air Corps Colonel Paul Tibbets. It detonated at 2,000 feet altitude and obliterated 4.7 square miles of the city. Some 70,000 people died or went missing instantly and another 70,000 were injured, with perhaps 140,000 dead altogether by the end of the year. Rational leaders would have seen the handwriting on the wall, but Japan was not blessed on that day with rational leaders…only bloodthirsty and ambitious killers.
President Truman waited for an offer of surrender, being a rational leader himself and thus expecting, in the face of such a threat of eventual utter destruction, that common sense would prevail among the Japanese leaders. Enigmatically, nothing happened; therefore, at 11:02 a.m. on 09 August 1945, a full three days having passed for allowing reasonable leaders to act, the second atomic bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” was dropped from another American plane on Nagasaki, destroying one-third of the city, or about 1.8 square miles. Some 40,000 people were killed or went missing and another 40,000 were injured, with perhaps 70,000 dead altogether by the end of the year. This grabbed the attention of Japanese leaders, and the rest is history. Even at that, not as many died in those cities because of a weapon used at a distance as died in Nanjing through the use of the rifle and knife in actual hands-on brutality of a sort too incomprehensible to contemplate.
So…was it better for Hiroshima and Nagasaki to happen than for the expected millions, including Japanese women and children, to die in the unavoidable invasion of Japan necessary to end the war? The answer is obvious. Had the Japanese not been defeated, as well as the Nazi Germans a few months before (after having brought about the deaths of millions), American women today would be in the “Comfort Brigades” shipped all over the world, and there would not be a single Jew still alive. When the “sensitivity” cadres look at things in this light, perhaps they will see the light, although one wonders, in light of the mushy-mindedness of those who rail against this country because they are too dumb to see the connection between Nanjing 1937 and New York/Washington/Pennsylvania 11 September 2001.
President H.S. Truman drew a line in the sand in August 1945. President G.H.W. Bush drew a line in the sand in 1991. President G.W. Bush drew a line in the sand in 2001 and again in 2003. Though the sands constantly shift, one hopes for reasonable leaders who will always draw the line.