Tag Archives: Nagasaki

God bless President Truman

I have commented already on this blog about the significance that Aug. 6 has to the country and to me personally.

On that date in 1945, President Harry Truman issued an order that stands the test of time. He ordered a B-29 crew to take off from Tinian Island in the Pacific Ocean. It carried a single bomb.

The plane dropped that bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The A-bomb killed about 70,000 people instantly. Three days later, another bomber would fly over Nagasaki, Japan, and would drop another bomb. It killed 50,000 people.

Five days after that, Japan surrendered. World War II had come to an end.

I long have saluted President Truman for having the courage to act as he did to bring that war to an end.

He became president after Franklin Roosevelt’s death in April 1945. World War II would rage in Europe until May 8. The Nazis surrendered as the Soviet Red Army marched into Berlin. The Japanese would continue the fight into the summer on the other side of planet. Truman knew a tiny bit about some New Mexico project that was developing a new kind of weapon. Then the Joint Chiefs briefed him, telling him, in effect, “Mr. President, we have this bomb that we believe can end this war quickly.”

My father was part of an occupation force in The Philippines that summer. He was preparing to take part in the invasion of Japan, were that operation were to commence. He had already seen plenty of combat in the Mediterranean Theater. Dad told me once he figured that more combat awaited him once the invasion of Japan commenced. He was a Navy boatswain’s mate. His shipboard duty required him to fire a deck gun in anger at enemy aircraft in the Med. More of that kind of duty likely awaited him.

But then the president ordered the dropping of those atomic bombs. The war ended quickly afterward.

I never have questioned for a moment the wisdom of President Truman’s decision or doubted the courage he demonstrated in issuing the order. Hey, I have some “skin in that game” ‚Ķ you know?

I mean, if Dad hadn’t survived, well, I wouldn’t be here today, writing this blog telling you about how grateful I am to have been given life.

I once told a veterans group in Amarillo about my personal connection to the events of Aug. 6 and 9, 1945. I told those vets, “God bless President Truman.”

They clapped and cheered.

I feel just as strongly today as I always have about the president’s decision to end that terrible conflict in the manner that he did.

Nagasaki: That bomb ended it!

The United States Army Air Force dropped a second big bomb 73 years ago today.

That one exploded over Nagasaki, Japan. The first big blast, at Hiroshima, didn’t bring Japan to the surrender table. The second one did.

The atomic age had entered the world of warfare. It was called the Manhattan Project, where some of the world’s most brilliant nuclear physicists worked to perfect the atomic bomb.

They did. It worked.

The United States had been at war with Germany, Italy and Japan for nearly four years. Germany surrendered in May 1945; Italy called it quits in 1943.

Japan was left as the remaining Axis power. President Truman, new to the office he inherited when President Roosevelt died in April 1945, had the most difficult of decisions to make: whether to use this terrible new weapon.

He went with his gut. Yes, drop the bomb and hope to save many more lives than will be lost. That calculation proved accurate, too.

Nagasaki was devastated on Aug. 9, 1945 by an even bigger bomb than the one that leveled Hiroshima three days earlier. Less than a week after Nagasaki was incinerated, the Japanese surrendered.

World War II came to an end.

President Truman said he didn’t regret deploying the bomb. Many of the great men who developed it had second thoughts. The likes of Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi and Albert Einstein eventually expressed some form of regret for their roles in developing this monstrous weapon.

We all hope never to use them again. Twice was more than enough.

I can recall a quote attributed to Einstein, who once was asked how he thought a third world war would be fought. He said, in effect, that he didn’t know with absolute certainty, but was certain that the fourth world war would be fought “with sticks and stones.”

‘Power like the world has never seen’?

Donald J. Trump has issued the sternest of statements to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. It’s full of bluster and a bit of bravado.

It’s also frightening in the extreme — to our side as well as to the North Koreans!

The communist regime reportedly now is able to place a nuclear weapon aboard an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States. That’s a line that the president cannot tolerate.

So, while vacationing in New Jersey, Trump issued a direct threat to North Korea, saying that the United States is prepared to unleash “fire and fury” and a “power like the world has never seen.”

Let’s hold on. The United States once did unleash “fire and fury” on an enemy combatant state. It occurred on Aug. 6 and again on Aug. 9, 1945. We dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. World War II was drawing to a conclusion and President Truman decided he needed to deploy those weapons to persuade the Japanese that continued fighting would be futile.

Truman learned of the Hiroshima bombing while returning from the Potsdam Conference.

The strategy worked. Japan surrendered just days after Nagasaki was incinerated.

If Donald J. Trump is proposing measures that would eclipse those twin events in August 1945, then we are truly embarking down the most dangerous path anyone ever imagined.

No apology coming for Pearl Harbor attack? It should


That settles that issue, I guess.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is coming to the United States late this month for a state visit with President Obama.

He won’t apologize for what his forebears did on Dec. 7, 1941. You see, Abe will be at the place where the United States was drawn into World War II. He’ll visit Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He’ll likely tour the USS Arizona Memorial. He’ll get to hear about the suffering brought to the men who are entombed in the shattered remains of the ship that still rest at the bottom of the harbor.

As the Associated Press reported: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that ‘the purpose of the upcoming visit is to pay respects for the war dead and not to offer an apology.'”

Frankly, I wish he would at least offer an expression of regret.

We’ll learn in due course whether he changes his mind.

President Obama visited Hiroshima, Japan earlier this year. He didn’t apologize, either, for the atomic bomb that President Truman ordered dropped on that city. Then again, I don’t believe an apology — in that instance — was warranted. The Japanese started the fight with the sneak attack on our forces at Pearl Harbor; we finished it with the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and, three days later, on Nagasaki.

Abe’s circumstance, of course, is much different. He represents a government that in an earlier era talked to American diplomats about seeking peace while plotting an act of war.

He need not grovel. He need not beg for forgiveness. Indeed, U.S.-Japan relations are stronger than ever at this moment seven decades after¬†the two nations’ forces fought each other to the death throughout the Pacific Theater of Operations.


He’ll emphasize the “reconciliation” that has occurred. That’s fine. We all know that it is strong.

The act of war that precipitated the era of good feelings that followed, however, ought to require a statement of contrition from the leader of the government that caused all that senseless carnage in the first place.

Japan’s PM to visit site where ‘day of infamy’ occurred


Shinzo Abe is coming to America.

It’s no ordinary visit for a Japanese prime minister. Oh, no. He’s going to a place burned in the memories of¬†millions of¬†Americans.

Pearl Harbor awaits the visit of the first Japanese head of government since a bright sunny day in December 1941.

On Dec. 7, the United States entered World War II after its naval and air forces were attacked by Japanese bombers and fighter planes. Roughly 3,000 Americans died in that sneak attack. President Roosevelt stood before Congress the next day and declared we had been attacked “yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941, a date which will live … in infamy.”

The president ¬†sought a declaration of war; Congress gave it to him — and the world changed forever.

Prime Minister Abe is coming to Pearl Harbor to meet with President Obama.


This visit very well could mark a remarkable day of atonement for the Japanese government.

Abe said in a statement announcing the Dec. 26-27 visit: “I’d like to make it (meeting with Obama) an opportunity to send a message to the world that we will further strengthen and maintain our alliance towards the future,” he said. “And at the same time, I want to make it an opportunity to signal the value of Japan-US reconciliation.”

The prime minister’s wife, Akie, visited Pearl Harbor earlier this year, touring the USS Arizona Memorial, where she laid flowers and prayed.

There’s been a good bit of that sort of thing over the years as Japanese tourists¬†journey to Pearl Harbor. Aging men — many of whom fought against Americans during the war — have come to Pearl Harbor to pray and to seek forgiveness for their country’s role in initiating¬†the carnage that erupted all across the Pacific Theater after what FDR labeled a “dastardly” act.

President Obama visited Hiroshima earlier this year, speaking to the world about the dangers of nuclear weaponry. He didn’t apologize for President Truman’s decision on Aug. 6, 1945 to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Nor should he have done so.

The war ended a few days later. It’s been argued during the decades since that use of the atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki likely saved many more lives than they took. Still, the debate continues.

Now the focus turns to Prime Minister Abe’s return visit to Pearl Harbor. Does he make amends? Does he issue a formal apology to the United States for the actions of his predecessors?

My own feeling is that an apology is due. Whatever he says, though, I am certain it will be heartfelt and will, as he said, speak to the “reconciliation” that has drawn the United States and Japan closer in the years that came after that horrible “day of infamy.”

It should be a historic and profoundly meaningful visit, depending, of course, on what the prime minister tells the world.

Nuclear knowledge becomes an issue

by Snoron.com

Seventy-one years ago the United States of America set a terrible — but necessary in my view — precedent in the conduct of warfare.

A B-29 bomber crew on Aug. 6, 1945 dropped a bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The device killed tens of thousands of Japanese civilians in instant. Another crew took off three days later and did even greater damage to the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

World War II would come to an end just a few days later.

I raise the issue today because of some remarkable things that the Republican Party nominee for president — Donald J. Trump — has said about the use of nuclear weapons.

Trump has said several astonishing things along the way to his nomination.

* He said Japan and South Korea should be allowed to develop nuclear arsenals to defend themselves against North Korea.

* Trump has said he wouldn’t object if other countries, such as Saudi Arabia, developed nukes.

*¬†He was unable to answer a question about the so-called “nuclear triad.”

*¬†Trump told a TV interviewer that he wouldn’t take the use of nukes “off the table” in the Middle East or even in Europe.

The United States built its nuclear arsenal during the 1950s and 1960s to deter the other great nuclear power — the Soviet Union — from using the weapons against us or our allies. We didn’t build the weapons to use for offensive purposes. We built them to scare the daylights out of the Soviets.

Donald Trump is campaigning for the presidency with no apparent knowledge of our nuclear weapon policy or even any knowledge of why we have the weapons in the first place.

I’m old enough to remember the famous “Daisy” ad that President Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ran a single time on TV in 1964 against Barry Goldwater. It was meant to send the message that Sen. Goldwater could not be trusted with the nation’s vast nuclear arsenal.

I don’t expect another such ad to appear this time around.

However, Trump’s astonishing lack of understanding of nuclear weapons policy should give every American serious pause as they ponder who should become the next commander in chief of the world’s most powerful military machine.

Now … about dropping that nuclear bomb


It’s been called the “elephant in the room.”

Barack Obama is about to become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, Japan. The question of the day: Will he apologize for a decision one of his predecessors made to order the dropping of a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city? A corollary question: Should he apologize?

The late-May visit so far doesn’t include remarks from the president that amount to an apology.

Here’s some unsolicited advice, Mr. President: Don’t do it. There is no compelling need to apologize for a decision that President Truman made as a way to end the bloodiest conflict in human history.


The president said early in his time in office that he wanted to visit Hiroshima, which was targeted on Aug. 6, 1945 as the place where the United States would drop this then-secret weapon.

Many thousands of civilians died in that horrific blast. Are there regrets today for what happened then? Yes.

Let’s set this in some context.

Nazi Germany had surrendered in May 1945 to advancing Soviet, American, British and Allied troops. The war in the Pacific Theater was still raging, although Japan had retreated from all the territory it had claimed. The U.S.-led onslaught had brought the war to Japan’s homeland.

President Roosevelt died in April 1945 and the new president, Harry Truman, was briefed immediately about a project of which he knew next to nothing during the brief period he served as vice president.

He made the decision to use the weapon to persuade Japan that its continuing the fight would be futile.

Knowing what he knew at the moment, President Truman made the correct call.

My hope is that the current president, 71 years later, will recognize that his predecessor did what he believed at the time he had to do, which was to use the weaponry at his disposal to end the world’s bloodiest¬†conflict.

Let me be clear about one more point …

I have a direct interest in President Truman’s decision. My father, who saw intense combat while serving in the Navy in the Mediterranean theater of operations from¬†1942 through 1944, had arrived in The Philippines¬†in early 1945 and quite likely would have taken part in the effort to¬†invade and conquer¬†Japan.

I cannot prove this, but there’s a decent probability that the president’s decision to drop The Bomb on Hiroshima and later, on Nagasaki, might have saved my dad’s life.

For that reason, I say: God bless President Truman.


Nuke the Muslims? Stick to ag policy, Mr. Miller

sid miller

Sid Miller wouldn’t like this comparison; then again, neither would the man with whom I am making the comparison.

But the current Texas agriculture commissioner is making as many waves with his occasionally goofy behavior as former Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower.

Miller’s Facebook page recently featured a social media statement that said the United States has been at peace with Japan since Aug. 9, 1945 — when we dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki; then the post said “It’s time we made peace with the Muslim world.”

Hmmm. Does that mean he supports the idea of dropping nuclear bombs on Muslim nations? To be fair, Miller or his staff did not post the item, nor did Miller personally share it. But they aren’t going to apologize for its appearance on his department’s Facebook page. As the Texas Tribune reported: “The commissioner has no plans to figure out which of his staffers shared the posting, or to apologize, (Miller spokesman Todd) Smith said.”

The social media post has drawn the expected criticism. Indeed, this kind of message borders on the unbelievable.

Nuke the Muslim world? Does this guy really mean to obliterate all of it?

Good grief! We’re engaged in a death struggle with Muslim extremists, religious perverts — who do not represent the majority of those who worship one of the world’s great religions.

Miller is on a trade mission in China. I’ve got an idea: Why don’t you stick to promoting Texas agricultural products overseas, commissioner?

Outrageous social media posts have this way of diverting the commissioner from the message he was elected to deliver.



Why we must avoid the next real ‘world war’

The world is pausing this week to look back on a pair of events that occurred 70 years ago.

On this date in 1945, a B-29 U.S. Army Air Corps bomber took off from Tinian Island in the Pacific Ocean, flew to Hiroshima, Japan, and dropped an atomic bomb on the city.

Roughly 70,000 lives vanished in an instant.

Three days later, another B-29 took off en route to Nagasaki. That bomb did even more damage.

It was near the end of World War II. On Aug. 14, 1945, Japan surrendered. The war was over.

The nuclear age had been brought to bear in the most horrible fashion imaginable.

I remain committed to the notion that President Harry Truman made the correct call by dropping the bombs. Declining to do so would have resulted in the invasion of Japan by U.S. and allied forces, likely killing many more thousands of lives than were lost in those two blasts.

So, the president had to kill people to save people. It’s a terrible irony, to be sure.

But this look back also brings to mind something that one of the creators of this terrible weapon once said.

It comes from Albert Einstein, who noted: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.‚ÄĚ

May we never forget.

Truman faced a monumental choice … and never looked back

Seven decades ago, President Harry Truman — newly sworn into office upon President Franklin Roosevelt’s death — faced a choice no commander in chief should have to face.

Does he deploy a bomb he knows will kill tens of thousands of civilians but possibly spare the cost of many more tens of thousands of soldiers and sailors — on both sides — in a costly ground war?

The president chose to drop The Bomb. It was a nuclear weapon that exploded over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

It ushered in the nuclear age. A second bomb would detonate over Nagasaki three days later.

And about a week after that, the Japanese Empire waved the white flag of surrender. World War II came to an end.

Knowing what we know now about The Bomb, would the president have done it all over again? Truman said he would. He never wavered in his belief that he made the right call.

I happen to agree with him.

My late father, who was among the forces garrisoned in the Philippines when the bombs fell, could have been among those who died in the effort to subdue Japan using conventional means. Do I know that to be true? Of course not. He was a sailor who’d seen his share of combat in the European theater before being reassigned to the Pacific.

It never came to that, of course. Dad came home, got married and produced his family.

Because I am here today, I say without reservation: God bless President Truman.