Sunday, August 07, 2005
Dropping the bomb: Sixty years ago this weekend, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. I must confess that I've little sympathy for the ignorant peace protesters who come out every year to demand unilateral nuclear disarmament. Sixty years after the fact, too many just don't get it, and the ones that do -- because they lived it -- are dying.
A group of veterans offered an opposing message across the park, with one sign reading: "If there hadn't been a Pearl Harbor, there wouldn't have been a Hiroshima."
Steve Stoddard, 80, of Los Alamos said the group was trying to counter the "demonizing of the bomb" by the anti-nuclear demonstrators.
"We feel the bomb saved our lives," said Stoddard, a World War II veteran who fought in Europe. He said he believed he would have been sent to fight in Japan had the bombs not ended the war when they did.
These "peace" protesters (who are really more accurately described as "appeasers") have a serious disconnect with reality. No serious student of World War II truly believes that Japan would've surrendered without an invasion of their home islands were it not for the massive destruction caused by U.S. atomic bombs. Was it tragic that so many people died? Certainly. Would it have somehow been better had we sent the Marines charging up Japan's beaches? Hardly.
Ben Cohen, of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream fame, was on the Michael Medved radio show earlier this week decrying the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal (still about 1/3 that of the Russians'). Why do we need enough nukes to destroy the world 10x over? This is an argument from ignorance. We have all sorts of nuclear warheads -- some atop missiles in silos in the upper Midwest, some atop missiles in nuclear submarines, some attached to bombs on B-1 and B-2 bombers, and some on cruise missiles. Why do we have so many different ones? So that any enemy of the United States can be assured that no matter how hard they try, there's no possible way to destroy them all -- and they will be hit back. (Let's also ignore the massive cost it would incur if we were to dismantle all of these weapons -- you can't exactly just throw them in the dumpster behind Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.)
Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to happen. It's unfortunate that it had to happen, but the deaths of tens, and possibly hundreds, of thousands more American soldiers was unacceptable to a nation that had already lost so much treasure in Europe and a slew of Pacific islands.
Today's anti-war left bemoans the deaths of more than 1,800 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in Iraq. But would they be willing -- if it were possible -- to stop further loss of American life by dropping a nuke in Iraq? It's a math problem: How many innocent -- and guilty -- Arabs is an American soldier's life worth? The calculus in 1945 was that overall more lives would be saved by dropping those bombs. Today, such a calculation is not possible, because a nuclear bomb can't solve the problem -- it can't bring about the surrender of Osama bin Laden or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. However, today's anti-war left is incapable of even seriously pondering this sort of question. There is no possible solution to this problem for them, because they are unwiling to acknowledge that there are people out there who want to kill us. They are appeasers. After Pearl Harbor, they would be looking to understand the Japanese. After Germany declared war on the U.S., they would be asking: "Why do they hate us?"
Sometimes you just have to kill the bad guys. That is why we dropped nuclear bombs on Japan. That's why we're fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.
*UPDATE* Check out Victor Davis Hanson's thoughtful piece.