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Dropping bombs was seen as necessary to end the war Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Sep. 16, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the article “Remembering the destruction” written by Tony Magliano in the August 19 issue of the Catholic Herald.

First, I want to preface my remarks by saying I am a proud son of a World War II veteran (my father), who “passed away” two years ago. My father was one of many soldiers (many of whom were still teenagers) stationed in the Philippines waiting for the order to attack Japan.

Their parents (my grandparents) were nervously waiting at home, not knowing whether their children were alive or dead. Many had bought burial plots because they were preparing for the worst.

I can’t imagine the anxiety that occurred during that period in our history. My grandmother bought two burial plots, just in case. My father was in the Philippines waiting to attack Japan and his brother (my uncle) was on a ship in the Mediterranean which was hit by a German torpedo.

I might add that it is interesting that the author decided to write this article after most WWII veterans have “passed.”

I want to comment on the first paragraph of the article which I quote, “Sixty-five years ago, the two, single most horrifying acts of war in the history of humanity were unleashed.” Would the victims at Pearl Harbor and their families agree? What about the Jewish victims and their families? The Czechs, the Polish, the Austrians, and on and on and on?

I don’t think they would agree with your first paragraph. There were many horrifying acts happening during that period in our history. I have read your article several times before I wrote this and tried to get a sense of how you can justify what you say.

Yes, the atomic bomb was horrific. But put yourself in Truman’s shoes if you can. There were three dictators trying to rule the world, one in Germany, one in Italy, and of course Japan. Many historians agree we were an eyelash away from ending up under the control of Hitler and Germany.

There was a sense of despair in the world. Fear permeated the entire world. What was happening in the camps in Europe under the control of Germany was worse than horrifying. And when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, they not only attacked our military, but also hospitals (yes, hospitals), civilians, children, and so on. And I am sure many of these victims were Catholic. The Japanese were not selective.

Who are you to judge 65 years later that what the U.S. did was “militarily unnecessary and gravely immoral”? Hindsight is always 20-20 but the U.S. was involved in the worst war in the 20th century and democracy (freedom) (humanity) was threatened.

There is only one person (God) who has the right to judge. The decision was made to load not one (because the Japanese would not surrender after the first bomb), but two very “unstable” bombs onto an airplane. It was decided at that time, before you and I were even born, that dropping these bombs was the only way to end the war.

If the Japanese would have surrendered after the first bomb, a second one would not have been dropped. Whether it was right or wrong, who knows. But to criticize the president and the military is totally, totally, unfair.

Another question we might ask ourselves is how was it that two very “unstable” bombs were able to be transported on two different missions for such a long distance without detonating? Maybe, just maybe, someone was watching over our country and more specifically that airplane.

Don Skarda, Wisconsin Dells