Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sixty-nine years of the atomic bomb: Peace is hard work

The effects of radiation
Sixty-nine years ago today, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, and two days later dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki:
"Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki; roughly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians, although Hiroshima had a sizeable garrison." Wikipedia
Since that day, the debate has raged over whether or not using such a terrible weapon was justified.

It was not.

President Truman, who ordered the bombs dropped, knew this, at least intuitively. Over the course of his post-presidency, Truman gave several statements in defense of his decision. It seems as if each time Truman spoke on the subject, the number of lives "saved" because of his decision increased. I believe Truman sought greater and greater justification for his decision under the weight on his conscience of all those he ordered killed. As the years passed it wasn't hundreds of thousands of American troops saved from a prolonged war, it was millions.

War is easy. Hate is easy. Vengeance is easy.

Peace is hard work. Love is difficult. Forgiveness all but impossible.

But we have to try.

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