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Armchair ethicists and the A-bomb

August 28, 2015
Kent Grealish
San Mateo

Shame on Tony Magliano!

Calling himself a “peace columnist” does not allow him to spread slander about U.S. servicemen (“A-bomb chaplain’s conversion,” Aug. 14). Does he endorse the execrable statement of Father Zabelka that “… (American) planes went to Japan with the express purpose (my emphasis) of … slaughtering hundreds and thousands of children and civilians.” If not, he should say so.

Referencing hysterical propaganda does not strengthen his argument. His right to express political opinions does not include repeating Zabelka’s hateful slur, dishonoring men who risked their lives defending America. He owes them an apology.

The 80,000 deaths in Hiroshima were tragic. So were 300,000 deaths perpetrated by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Nanking Massacre. An invasion of Japan would have been worse than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. The Japanese military were preparing all civilians to fight to the death (and to execute all POWs). The Battle of Okinawa (a sample of what the Allies would face) cost 72,000 American casualties and possibly 160,000 civilian deaths. Virtually all 77,000 Japanese troops on the island died.

Armchair ethicists, insulated by 70 years of faded memories, smugly pontificate about dropping the A-bomb. Historian Paul Fussell would have been part of the invasion force. In “Thank God for the Atom Bomb” http://crossroads.alexanderpiela.com/files/Fussell_Thank_God_AB.pdf Fussell wrote: “… the farther from the scene of horror, the easier the talk.”

Tony Magliano should read Fussell’s essay to understand the facts and the context surrounding that awful decision. Those horrific bombs saved more lives than they claimed.

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