What Would Truman Do?

60 years ago, 6th of August 1945. A B-29 Superfortress carrying the Little Boy, a 4 ton atomic bomb containing 60kg of Uranium 235, bombed the city of Hiroshima, Japan. 80,000 civilians killed outright. Many many more continue to suffer 'til this day.

It was a hot discussion topic over the last couple of days on the Internet. The atomic bombs landed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the first weapons of mass destruction. It reminded us about the danger of human warfare, and how much damage we can cause each other. We cannot replay the history, but we should focus on the future, doing our best to eliminate the possibility of another mass destruction.

But my question is, if you are Harry Truman, the new President of the United States of America during the second World War, what would you do, when you were presented with the option to bomb two Japanese cities with weapons of mass destruction? To bomb or not to bomb, that is the question.

As a Christian humanitarian, my immediate response should be "No"!! Atomic bomb is just too cruel. Too lethal. Too inhuman. It not only kills thousands upon thousands the moments even before the dreaded mushroom cloud is formed, the side effects will also continue to last for generations. And the people you killed - ain't they ordinary citizens, having a small family, working hard trying to make a living, and have completely no desire in the war? But there was no "smart" nuclear fission, where only evil people were burnt.

But my response would be tainted by my background. Having a grandfather who actually fought the Japs. Having family relatives murdered in Nanjing. Knowing many more of my innocent countrymen were killed because of the war -- more than those killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think I actually sided with Truman this time.

And what if the bombs weren't dropped 60 years ago? Would Japan win the war? Not likely. They were slowly losing, getting defeated in air and on the sea. Japanese doesn't easily give up, and they were prepared for defensive land war to drag WWII even further. The victory might still be with the allies, but that would be an expensive one. If the bombs weren't dropped to send the clear warning message, even more people will be killed -- both allies and Japanese. Japan would be in a even more devastated state if a land war in Japan did occur. Maybe we won't even see the highly advanced Japan today, drive Nissan cars, play Sony Playstation, watch Toshiba plasma panels, if the land was totally laid waste due to prolonged war.

So am I saying that bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was actually good?

Not at all. It might be the necessary evil at the time, but it was still evil.