Reader's view: Dropping the atomic bomb on Japan was justifiable
Mark Jeneson was correct. Western powers economically sanctioned Japan, as Jeneson pointed out in his Aug. 25 Local View commentary, "Road to dropping atomic bombs began with provoking Japan."...
Mark Jeneson was correct. Western powers economically sanctioned Japan, as Jeneson pointed out in his Aug. 25 Local View commentary, "Road to dropping atomic bombs began with provoking Japan."
He seemed unusually empathetic toward Japan about its imperialism and its brutality. And he was critical of a previous writer who "seemed apathetic toward the idea of global cooperation and general caring for humanity," as he wrote.
There wasn't much "caring for humanity" after World War I or leading up to World War II. It's easy to forget the tumult of the 1930s, a decade of upheaval, world power shifts, the rise of dictators and fascists, world depression, dying colonialism and subsequent revolutions. Individual lives were worthless in many places.
American sanctions unreasonable? Many considered sanctions against Japan (and Nazi Germany) inevitable and a down-payment pittance to halt the world's catapult into severe, long-term contagion.
Japan's quest for empire building mandated its invasion of China and other countries. The Japanese Rape of Nanking was among dozens of infamous events. The Rising Sun Empire seemed to know no boundaries in pillaging.
Dropping atom bombs and killing a quarter million people is unfathomable to many. After four years of brutal war, how many Allied
civilians would've been empathetic to Japan? World War II claimed more than 15 million civilian lives. The U.S. Eighth Air Force leveled so many European towns there was nowhere to bomb by the end of the war. Some 40,000 perished in the Dresden fire bombings alone, and more than 100,000 in the fire bombings of Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe.
It is naive to think the inevitable invasion of Japan wouldn't have killed hundreds of thousands more civilians. Jeneson was simplistic to write, "They dropped a pebble; we dropped a boulder." Hardened Marines wept when told they wouldn't invade Japan. I doubt they had second thoughts about dropping a boulder.