This month we remember the 60th anniversary of the surrender of Japan, and the end of the Second World War. We've heard a lot about the two atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan, and the enormous human and moral cost of that decision. Then there's what we haven't heard:
1) that both Germany and Japan were conducting heavy water experiments that would have led to their own development of atomic weapons,
2) that Germany's V-2 rockets could have carried atomic payloads,
3) that had the war continued for another year or so, Japan would have already produced high-altitude long-range bombers capable of dropping bombs on California,
4) that had a land-based invasion of Japan been necessary, an estimated one-half to one million Allied troops would have been lost, and
5) that they would have been met by two million Japanese soldiers, along with as many as 20 million members of a "citizens militia," all of whom would have been prepared to die for their emperor.
No, you won't hear any of that. Fortunately, you'll hear some of it on the History Channel tonight. If you've got cable, I'd recommend it.
Was dropping the bomb immoral? Objectively speaking, it probably was. And in a recent column, Pat Buchanan makes a great case against the decision based on traditional Catholic morality. But I'm not sure the alternatives would have been any more palatable, given man's inherent right to defend himself.
I'm not sure whether the "double-effect" principle applies here, and I'm open to comment on that.
To this day, the USA is the only nation ever to have used nuclear weapons. We haven't used them since. We have helped to completely rebuild the nations we defeated, an unprecedented move in the history of warfare.
It coulda been worse, folks.