Opinions remain divided on the morality of having dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. While some might contend that it was immoral, such assertions purposefully overlook the increased death toll that would have emerged from a full-scale invasion of the mainland.
Still, the debate lingers. However, Salon, the far-left liberal rag, recently compared the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In his piece entitled, “All Lives Matter” Has Always Been A Lie: The Brutality Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki Echoes In Ferguson And Iraq Today,” Arthur Chu, takes aim at those who insist that all lives matter- an assertion that is, somehow, considered racist by many as it does not elevate black lives above all others.
It shouldn’t be rocket science why invoking “All Lives Matter” is, at best, insensitive and, at worst, an active attempt to derail activism and deny reality. Nobody is disagreeing that all people’s lives do, in fact, matter and ought to matter equally.
The point is that right now they are not treated as though they matter equally. Some people’s lives are treated as precious, others as disposable garbage. If you really do believe all lives matter, then your focus should be on black lives, which are demonstrably the most neglected lives in our country and, for that matter, the world. Treating a focus on black lives as a “special interest” or parochial concern requires willful ignorance about what kind of world we actually live in…
It’s not new. I write this on the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing on August 6, 1945, shortly before the Nagasaki bombing on August 9. The estimated deaths from those two bombings–the only time in history nuclear weapons were used in war–are around 250,000 people, almost all civilians. Two whole cities, snuffed out in a flash of light.
This is more than half as many as the total deaths of US servicemen in the entire Second World War (407,300). This is double the total number of US servicemen who died in battle in the Pacific Theater (106,207).
This was an atrocity that even in the wave of jingoistic celebrations that marked the end of the war in the United States still gripped the imagination with just how horrible a weapon the A-bomb was, how indiscriminately destructive, how lingering the effects of radiation sickness and cancer and poisoned soil.
And yet we justify it…
Even today, I’ve seen people passing around Paul Fussell’s decades-old piece for The New Republic which uses a lot of words to tell us that war is hell, we’d understand why Hiroshima needed to be nuked if we were American GIs, and that the critics of the bombing are all privileged civilians who weren’t there. (This ignores that one of the greatest critics of the bombing and one of my personal heroes, John Rawls, very much was there, abandoned the military due to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and wrote his landmark “A Theory of Justice” partly in reaction to America’s moral myopia over the bomb.)
Over and over we hear it, that the bombing was justified because it “saved American lives”; we hear floated the idea that a half million American soldiers or more would’ve died in the invasion of the Home Islands (more than had died in the entire war up to that point), that Japanese civilians would have fought to the last man, woman and child, etc., etc. Usually left out of these debates are the fact that any American analysis of Japanese ferocity in the face of invasion was tainted by quite fanatical racism, the same racism that led to the incarceration of 120,000 Americans for no military purpose. Minus such racism the idea that every single person in Japan would’ve picked up gardening implements and kitchen knives to fight to the death—the assumption on which the enormous projected death tolls depended–seems unlikely.
Chu’s “analysis” is, all at once, shocking, ignorant, misleading, anti-American and downright untruthful.
He may blame racism for America’s belief that the Japanese were fanatical, but such an assertion is a purposeful distortion of reality. If, perhaps, Mr. Chu had spent more time reading one of the million tomes written by soldiers who fought in the Pacific, he would know that the fanaticism of the Japanese was not a belief predicated upon racism, but a belief predicated on cold, hard reality.
Any account of the fighting at Okinawa, Iwo Jima or any of the other tiny islands on which the Allies fought will paint a picture of the diehard fanaticism of Japanese soldiers. Banzai charges, Kamikazes, suicide bombers and the mass suicides occurring on Saipan to avoid falling into the hands of American G.I.s all paint a more-telling picture of the Japanese mindset. Still, for the anti-American crowd, facts are more fun when they get to cherry-pick their favorites and leave-out the less-convenient ones.
Chu’s command of the written word is, admittedly, impressive; however, it’s clear that he holds virtually no grasp on the historical realities of the Second World War in the Pacific.
He may weep for the Iraqis and the Japanese, but in purely sociological terms, relationship is a function of proximity. We care more about American lives just as the Japanese should care more about Japanese lives. A quadruple homicide in our hometown is infinitely more important to most of us than a quadruple homicide on the other side of the country. A death in the family is infinitely more-important to us than a death in someone else’s family.
Further, Chu’s laughable analysis presupposes that an injustice had taken place in Ferguson. A convenience store robber attacked a police officer and was shot as a result. The appropriate reaction is neither tears nor applause, but really, somewhere in between.
If anything the greatest injustice in Ferguson is the injustice perpetrated against the community itself as it was torn-apart by lawless hoodlums that felt that their warped sense of social justice obliged them to riot and loot. That Ferguson and Hiroshima could be even vaguely compared in the same article is not only a serious stretch, but downright insulting and moronic and a stark illustration of why our educational system must fully recommit to emphasizing the study of history in the classroom.