The local anti-war activists had their downtown vigil to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. I was probably the only one in the crowd who thought Truman’s decision was defensible and tracked down the Kalamazoo Gazette reporter.
She did accurately capture my words, but I’m not sure my intent came across very well (there’s a reason I blog rather than do public speaking . . . I tend to babble),
Brian Carnell, who also attended the event, holds different views. Carnell said people at such events seem to paint the bombing as a “spur-of-the-moment decision” and “forget the enormity of Japan’s crimes.”
“If it wasn’t for Hitler, Japan’s crime would have been one of the worst in human history,” Carnell said.
Carnell said promoting peace as an absolute is not realistic.
“Idealizing peace without any kind of moral context is problematic,” Carnell said.
One of the leaders of the Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War, Tom Small, was wearing a t-shirt with a saying to the effect that violence is always criminal. In making my case to the reporter I noted that this the United Nations satisfied Small’s requirement when it abandoned Muslims at Sebrenicia. They didn’t fire a single shot to defend those who came to the UN safe havens.
And, of course, the Sebrenicians were slaughtered. KNOW and Small embrace an idiotic form of pacifism and whose effect is to empower those who engage in violence. Under KNOW’s formulation, every act taken by the Allied powers during World War II was immoral and criminal.
And I was, frankly, angry to see the attack on Japan discussed as if, one day, Truman just woke up and for no good reason decided to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So there were readings of poems by survivors of Hiroshima, but no time for the millions and millions of victims of Japanese aggression.
It is odd that parts of the Left like this rail on and on about the horrors imposed by the Christian Right on this country, but today finds the U.S. war against a murderous religious dictatorship to have been unjust.
Photos and video to follow later this week.
Shadows of death Atomic bomb hit Hiroshima 60 years ago. Emily Walker, Kalamazoo Gazette, August 7, 2005.