Bob Grove’s submission on Sept. 1, “Americans lucky to have Truman as a leader,” cites a declassified document outlining a Japanese mainland invasion plan from World War II and praises the actions of former President Truman for his decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as it saved American lives. However, this declassified government document paints a different story: www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/tech_journals/mokusatsu.pdf. This document shows that the Japanese government almost certainly planned on surrendering after we issued the Potsdam declaration, but our government prematurely bombed Hiroshima based on a mistranslation from Japanese premier Kantaro Suzuki. Other sources even suggest that the Japanese may have surrendered immediately had the Potsdam declaration not implied that emperor Hirohito would be dethroned. Furthermore, the Japanese surrender on Sept. 2 (1945) may have been a result of the Russians’ declaration of war on Japan on Aug. 8, and our Aug. 6 and 9 bombings may have been irrelevant to their decision.
It is impossible to justify the deaths of 225,000 innocent Japanese civilian lives, no matter the cost of the alternative invasions. To kill innocent people in war makes us the same as the suicide bombers of today that Grove criticizes. It saddens me that even in the globalized 21st century, some nationalistic Americans can dehumanize and devalue hundreds of thousands of civilians simply because they are not American; they are “the enemy.”
If we were the next civilians to be killed in a war that wasn’t ours, would that be justified?
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