Letter at length, August 13

Stop justifying unconscionable use of atomic bombs in Japan

David Wood accurately states at the opening of his guest commentary in the Tidings (see Aug. 10 "Dropping atom bombs on Japan may have saved lives"): "It is a sad fact that most Americans are ignorant of history"¦" Sadly, he then goes on to prove his point by defending as necessary the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan in World War II. Had Wood visited the Plaza in downtown Ashland on Aug. 6, he might have read any of the following:

"Use of the bombs was completely unnecessary from a military point of view."

— General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander Pacific

"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender."

— Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, President Truman's Chief of Staff

"... I voiced to [Secretary of War Stimson] my grave misgivings "¦ on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary ..."

— Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander Europe

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before "¦ the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into war ..."

— Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Forces

For the sake of the integrity of our nation, we need to stop justifying the unconscionable use of the atomic bomb by saying "it saved lives" (while destroying 370,000 Japanese). This is not to deny the tremendous suffering of so many around the world during that tragic time. But no longer ignorant of history, we might join in the words written and sung in Japan by the late Dave Marston:

"From America to Hiroshima

O'urushio, I'm so sorry.

We killed your mothers and your babies

When we dropped the bomb on you and Nagasaki."

Shoshana Alexander


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