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Reflection on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

September 17, 2015
Lenny Barretto
Daly City

Kent Grealish (letter, Aug. 28) is upset and angry with Tony Magliano for reporting the article on Father Zebelka, the A-bomb chaplain who indicated remorse for blessing the A-bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that resulted in the death of thousands of civilians and children.

In my opinion, Tony Magliano did not endorse or condemn the statement of Father Zebealka, nor did he make any comments on the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Kent Grealish has also misleadingly asserted that Magliano spread slander about U.S. servicemen.

However, at the end of the article, Tony Magliano did write a meaningful and apt statement: “We can choose to rationalize and condone violence and war or we can build a kingdom of hope and love.”

Kent Grealish recommends that Magliano read the essay on “Thank God for the Bomb” by the historian Paul Fussell. In this direction, I refer Grealish to the statement made by the co-pilot Robert Lewis on Enola Gay,- who wrote “as the bomb fell over Hiroshima and exploded we saw an entire city disappear. I said, ‘Oh God, what have we done.’”

I also recommend he read the statements made by the senior military American officers – Gen. Eisenhower, Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur, Gen. George C Kenney, Adm. William D. Leahy – on “Was the use of the atomic bomb against Japan justified?”

Gen. Eisenhower stated, “I had been conscious of a feeling of depression so I voiced my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary … It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of face.”

Adm. Leahy said that the use of the barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender; his own feeling was that in being the first to use it. We had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. He was not taught to make war in that fashion and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

Gen. George Kenney told Gen. “Hap” Arnold that Japan will not last long. Clearly Japan was defeated and ready to surrender before the bomb was used.

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