But nuking Japan was absolutely neccessary!

by | Aug 10, 2006 | Stress Blog | 1 comment

Eugene Jarecki has stepped up and written an article for Antiwar.com called “Truman Haunts Us,” which lists a few of the dissenting officers of the day – to add to the Ike quote Jose left for us the other day.

“In my movie, Why We Fight, I’ve been criticized for allowing Gore Vidal to suggest onscreen that the bombings were intended as much to send a message of American nuclear primacy to Stalin as to compel unconditional Japanese surrender. No claim in the film has generated more controversy than Vidal’s assertion that “the Japanese were trying to surrender all that summer, but Truman wouldn’t listen, because Truman wanted to drop the bombs.” I left this bold claim in the film because it is supported by a tragic mountain of evidence that Truman indeed acted against the advice of a chorus of voices among his military advisers arguing that the use of weapons of mass destruction against Japanese civilians was an unwarranted, immoral, and gratuitous act.

“I recognize this is a matter of intense historical debate that I do not intend to settle here, but I encourage skeptics to investigate the deep reservations expressed at the time by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Adm. William Leahy, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Brig. Gen. Carter Clarke, Gen. Carl Spaatz, Adm. Ernest King, and Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz. I also urge readers to consult Truman’s own diaries, in which he reveals his awareness both of Japan’s intention to surrender as well as the strategic importance of nuclear power to the growing prospect of competition with Stalin’s Russia in a postwar world. His diary entries betray an almost playful sense of rivalry with Stalin over America’s possession and planned use of the bomb.

“I know proponents of the bombings will argue that the Japanese sought conditional surrender while Truman sought unconditional. To this I would note that the key condition sought by the Japanese was that their emperor (seen by them as a direct descendant of their god) be left in power and not be subject to a war crimes tribunal following the war, a condition ultimately granted them in any event by the U.S.”

Geez, it seems like this argument would have been won by now.

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