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为什麽我会用原子弹炸日本

美空军少将斯文尼(Charles Sweeney)

“曹长青网站”编者注∶美国退役空军少将查尔斯.斯文尼(Charles W. Sweeney)当年曾参与向日本广岛、长崎投掷两颗原子弹,而且只有他一人两次投掷行动都参加了。对于美国后来发生的对当年投掷原子弹的争议(很多否定和谴责),查尔斯.斯文尼将军于1995年5月11日参加了美国国会的一次特别听证会,在演讲中阐述了他作为当事人,对这件事情的看法。这篇演讲的中文译文(译者不详),被不少网络转载,但译文并不完整,尤其结尾部分的谴责斯大林邪恶的部分被删节,另外重要的结语也被省略没译。现刊出完整的译文(补译部份由“曹长青网站”编辑完成),并附上原英文(英文是从美国国会图书馆的存档中找到的)∶

不能忘记和篡改历史!
——美国退役空军少将查尔斯.斯文尼(Charles W. Sweeney)在美国国会听证会上的演讲∶

我是美国退役空军少将查尔斯.斯文尼。我是唯一一位参加了两次对日本原子轰炸的飞行员。在对广岛的轰炸中,担任驾驶员蒂贝茨上校的右座领航员,在对长崎的轰炸中,任编队指挥员。

作为唯一一个参与两次对日本原子轰炸的飞行员,我将陈述本人亲身经历的往事。我要强调指出,我所陈述的都是无可争辩的事实,而有些人就是无视这些明显的事实,因为这些事实与他们头脑中的偏见不符。

此刻,作为经历了那段历史的人们,我要陈述我的思考、观察和结论。我相信杜鲁门总统作出的对日本使用原子弹的决定不仅符合当时的情况,而且具有压倒其他可能选择的道义上的必要性。像我们这一代绝大多数人一样,我最不希望发生的一件事就是战争。我们作为一个民族不是骑士,我们不渴望那种辉煌。当我国正在大萧条中挣扎时,日本开始了对邻国的征服--搞什麽“大东亚共荣圈”。法西斯总是打着漂亮的旗帜去掩饰最卑鄙的阴谋。

这种“共荣”是通过对中国进行残酷的总体战进行的。日本作为一个国家,认为自己命中注定要统治亚洲,并由此据有亚洲的自然资源和广袤土地。未有丝毫的怜悯和犹豫,日本屠杀无辜的男人、女人和孩子。在惨绝人寰的南京大屠杀中,30万手无寸铁的平民被屠杀。这是犯罪。

这是事实!

日本认为美国是阻止其实现在亚洲的“神授”命运的唯一障碍。于是日本对驻扎于珍珠港的美国海军太平洋舰队进行了精心策划的偷袭。偷袭时间定于一个星期天的早晨,因为此时行动可以最大限度地摧毁舰队实力、消灭人员,给予美国海军以致命的打击。

数千名美国水兵的生命湮灭于仍然沉睡在珍珠港湾底的美海军亚利桑那号军舰里。其中的许多士兵甚至不清楚为什麽受到突然袭击。战争就这样强加在美国的头上。

科雷希多的陷落及随后对盟军战俘的屠杀,驱散了对日军兽性的最后一丝怀疑。即使是在战时,日军的残暴也是令人发指的。巴甘省的死亡进军充满恐怖。

日本人认为投降是对自身、对家庭、对祖国、对天皇的污辱。他们对自身和对敌人都不手软。7000名美军和菲律宾战俘惨遭殴打、枪杀、被刺刀捅死,或惨死于疾病和讥饿。

这都是事实随着美国在广阔的太平洋向日本缓慢、艰苦、一步一流血地进军,日本显示出自己是冷酷无情、桀骜不逊的杀人机器。无论战事是多麽令人绝望,无论机会是多麽渺茫,无论结果是多麽确定,日本人都战至最后一人。为了取得可能大的光荣,日军全力以赴去杀死尽可能多的美国人。

美军开进的距日本本土越近,日本人的行为就变得越疯狂。

塞班岛∶美军阵亡3000人,其中在最后几小时就死了1500人。

硫黄岛∶美军阵亡6000人,伤21000人。

冲绳岛∶美军阵亡12000人,伤38000人。

这是沉重的事实,凯米卡兹--即“神风敢死队”,驾驶装载炸弹的飞机撞击美国军舰。

队员认为这是天上人间至高的光荣,是向神之境界的升华。在冲绳海域,神风敢死队的自杀性攻击要了5000名美国海军军人的命。

日本用言语和行动表明,只要第一个美国人蹋上日本本土,他们就处决所有的盟军战俘。日本为大屠杀作准备,强迫盟军战俘为自己挖掘坟墓。即使在投降后,他们仍然处决了一些战俘。
这是事实!

《波茨坦公告》要求日本无条件投降。日本人认为这是荒唐可笑而不屑考虑的。我们从截获的密码得知,日本打算拖延时间,争取以可接受的条件经谈判投降。

在8月6日之前的几个月里,美国飞机开始轰炸日本本土。一个个日本城市化为火海,成千上万的日本人死去。但日军发誓决不投降。他们准备牺牲自己的人民,以换取他们所理解的光荣和荣誉--不管死多少人。

他们拒绝救助平民,尽管我们的飞行员事先已就可能来临的空袭投撒了传单。

在一次为期10天的轰炸行动中,东京、名古屋、神户、大阪的许多地方化为灰烬。

这是事实!

即使在用原子弹轰炸了广岛之后,日本军部仍然认为美国只有一枚炸弹,日本可以继续坚持。在8月6日之后,他们有3天的时间用于投降,但他们不。只有在长崎受到原子轰炸后,日本天皇才最后宣布投降。即使在这种情况下,军方仍声称他们可以而且应该继续战斗。一个陆军军官团体发起叛乱,试图截获并销毁天皇向日本人宣布投降的诏书。

这是事实!

这些事实有助于说明我们所面临的敌人的本质,有助于认清杜鲁门总统在进行各种选择时所要考虑的背景,有助于理解为什麽对日本进行原子轰炸是必要的。

像每一个男女军人一样,杜鲁门总统理解这些事实。伤亡不是某种抽像的统计数字,而是惨痛的事实。

---原子弹是否结束了战争?
---是的。
---它们是必须的吗?
---对此存在争议。

50年过去了,在某些人看来日本成为受害者,美军成为凶残成性的征服者和报复者;原子弹的使用是核时代的不正义、不道德的起点。自然,为了支撑这种歪曲,他们必然要故意无视事实或者编造新的材料以证明这种论调。其中最令人吃惊的行径之一,就是否认日军曾进行过大屠杀。

事物怎麽会弄成这个样子呢?

答案也许会从最近发生的一些事情中找到。

当前关于杜鲁门总统为什麽要下达对日本进行原子轰炸的命令的争论,在某些情况下已演变成数字游戏。史密斯策划的“原子轰炸后果”展览,显示了卑劣的论调,这种论调使史学界引起轩然大波。

“原子轰炸后果”展览传递出这样的信息--日本是受害者,美国是罪恶的侵略者。想像一下如果你的孩子去看展览,他们会留下什麽样的印像?他们还会知道事实的真相吗?

在一个全国性的电视辩论中,我听到这样一位所谓的杰出历史学家声称,原子弹是没有必要的,杜鲁门总统是想用原子弹吓唬俄国人,日本本来已经打算投降了。

有些人提出,艾森豪威尔将军曾说过,日本已准备投降,没有必要使用原子弹,然而,基于同样的判断,艾森豪威尔曾严重低估了德国继续战斗的意志,在 1944年就下结论说德国已无力进行攻势作战。这是一个灾难性的错误判断,其结果即是阿登战役的激战。是役,数万盟军毫无必要地牺牲了,并冒着允许德国拖延战争和有条件投降的风险。

一个相当公正的结论是,根据太平洋战争的情况,可以合理地预期日本将是比德国更疯狂的敌人。

最后,有一种理论认为,如果盟军进攻日本本土,我们的伤亡不是100万,而是只要死上46000人就够了。只不过是46000!你能够想像这种论调的冷酷吗?

仅46000人,好像这些是无关紧要的美国人的生命。

在此时此刻,我要承认,我不清楚在对日本本土的部队进攻中美军将会伤亡多少人--也没有任何人知道。

根据对日本战时行为的判断,我的确认为,一个公正合理的假设是对日本本土的进攻将是漫长而代价高昂的。根据我们所知道的情况,不是根据某些人的臆想,日本不打算无条件投降。

在对硫黄岛--太平洋中一个8平方英里的岛礁--的进攻中, 6000名海军陆战队官兵牺牲,伤亡总数达27000人。

但对那些认为我们的损失仅是46000人的人,我要问∶是哪46000人?谁的父亲?谁的兄弟?谁的丈夫?

是的,我只注意到了美国人的生命。但是,日本的命运掌握造日本人的手中,而美国不是。数以万计的美军部队焦急地在大洋中等待着进攻--他们的命运取决于日本下一步怎麽走。日本可以选择在任何时刻投降,但他们选择了等待。

而就是日本“无所作为”的时候,随着战事的进行,美军每天伤亡900多人。

我曾听到另一种说法,称我们应该与日本谈判,达到一个日本可以接受的有条件投降。

我从来没听任何人提出过与法西斯德国谈判投降。这是一个疯狂的念头,任何有理性的人都不会说出这样的话。与这样一个邪恶的法西斯魔鬼谈判,就是承认其合法性,即使是已经在事实上打败了它。这并不是那个时代空洞的哲学上的原则,而是人类的正义要求,必须彻底、干净地铲除法西斯恶魔的势力,必须粉碎这些邪恶的力量。法西斯的领导者已经无情地打碎了外交的信誉。

为什麽太平洋战争的历史这麽容易就被遗忘了呢?

也许原因就存在于目前正在进行着的对历史的歪曲,对我们集体记忆的歪曲。

在战败50年后,日本领导人轻率地声称他们是受害者,广岛、长崎与南京大屠杀在实质上是一回事!

整整几代日本人不知道他们的国家在第二次世界大战中都干了些什麽。这可以理解为什麽他们不理解日本为什麽要道歉。

与德国认罪的姿态不同,日本坚持认为它没干任何错事,它的行为是受当时局势的拖累。这种态度粉碎了任何真正弥合创伤的希望。

只有记忆才能带来真正的原谅,而遗忘就可能冒重复历史的危险。

通过精心策划的政治和公关活动,日本现在建议使用“太平洋胜利日”来取代“对日本胜利日”这一术语。他们说,这一术语将会使太平洋战争的结束不那麽特别与日本有关。

有些人可能会提出,这些文字能说明什麽呢?对日本胜利--太平洋的胜利--让我们庆祝一个事件,而不是一个胜利。

我要说,话语就是一切。

庆祝一个事件!类似于庆祝一个商场开业典礼,而不是欢庆战争的胜利。这将分裂整个地球。数以千万计的死者、数以千万计受到身心伤害的人和更多的人将会不知所措。

这种对语言的攻击是颠倒历史、混淆是非的工具。文字或话语可以像任何一种武器一样具有毁灭性∶上是下;奴役是自由;侵略是和平。

在某种程度上,通过抹除精确的描述文字而对我们语言所展开的攻击,要比10年前日本对我们进行的真正的侵略更具有危害性,至少在真正的侵略中,敌人是清楚的,威胁是清楚的。

今天日本巧妙地打起种族主义这张牌,以此来宣示其行为的正义性。日本不是进行罪恶的侵略,而只是从白人帝??的,他们用屠杀“解放”了2000万无辜的亚洲人。我坚信,这2000万无辜的人,他们的家人,他们的后代,永远也不会欣赏日本崇高的行为。

经常有人问我,用原子弹轰炸日本是否是出于报复,是否是蓄意毁灭一个古老而令人尊敬的文明。

对此,有如下事实∶其一,在最初的轰炸目标清单上包括京都。虽然京都也是一个合法的目标,在先前的空袭中未曾予以轰炸,国务卿史迪文森把它从目标清单中去掉了,因为京都是日本的古都,也是日本的文化宗教中心。其二,在战时我们受到命令的严格约束,在任何情况下,不得轰炸东京的皇宫--尽管我们很容易识别皇宫并炸死天皇。毕竟我们不是为了报复。我经常想如果日本有机会轰炸白宫,是否也会像美国这样克制。我认为日本不会。

在此让我澄清一个事实,纠正一个长期以来的偏见,那就是我们故意选择人口密集的城市轰炸。我们要轰炸的每一个目标城市都有重要的军事价值。广岛是日军南方司令部所在地,并集结了实力可观的防御部队。长崎是工业中心,有两个重要的兵工厂。在这两个城市,日本都把兵工厂和部队配置于市区中心。

像在任何一场战争中一样,我们的目标--理所当然的目标--是胜利。这是一个不可动摇的目标。

我不想否认双方死了许多人,不仅两国,而且是世界。我不为战争的残酷性而骄傲而欢乐,我不希望我国或敌国的人民受难。每一个生命都是宝贵的。但我的确认为∶这样一个问题应该去问日本战犯,是他们以日本人民为代价追求自身的辉煌。他们发动了战争,并拒绝停止战争。难道他们不应为所有的苦难、为日本的灾难负最终的责任吗?

也许如果日本人真切地了解过去,认清他们国家在战争中的责任,他们将会看到是日本战犯要负起战争的罪责。日本人民应该给远东人民一个答复,是谁把灾难强加给远东各国,最后强加给日本自己。当然如果我们与日本人一道抹煞历史的真相,那麽这一点是永远也做不到的!

如果日本不追询并接受真相,日本怎能安心地与自己相处,与亚洲邻国、与美国相处?

我和我的部属在执行原子轰炸任务时坚信,我们将结束战争。我们并没有感到高兴。而是一种责任感和使命感,而且我们想回到自己的家人身边。

今天,我站在这里作证,并不是庆祝原子弹的使用,而是相反。我希望我的使命是最后一次。我们作为一个民族应该对原子弹的存在感到恐惧。我就感到恐惧。

但这并不意味着回到1945年8月,在战时情况下,在敌人顽固凶残的条件下,杜鲁门总统没有义务使用所有可能的武器结束战争。我同意杜鲁门总统的决定,当时以及现在。

战后几年,有人问杜鲁门总统是否还有其他选择,他响亮地说∶没有。接着他提醒提问者∶记住,珍珠港的死难者也没有其它选择!

战争总是代价高昂的,正如罗伯特•李将军所说∶“战争如此残酷是件好事,否则就会有人喜欢它。”

感谢上帝使我们拥有原子武器,而不是日本和德国。科学有其自身的逻辑,迟早会有人设计出原子弹。科学是没法阻止的,它总是能找到自己的发展之路。

关于制造原子弹是否明智的问题,已被原子弹已被制造出来了这一事实所压倒。当时苏联实际上已经在发展他们自己的原子弹了。我们不要忘记,斯大林的邪恶并不亚於东京(的战犯)或他的前盟友希特勒。不说别的,斯大林至少屠杀了二千万他自己的人民。

这个世界更好了,因为德国和日本法西斯没有成gong地征服世界。日本和德国也成为美好之地,因为从我们的胜利中获益。

日本和美国的年轻人不再相互杀戮,而是生长、成家立业,在和平中生活。作为10个孩子的父亲和21个孩子的祖父,我可以表明,我很高兴战争这样结束。

我(在这里)不是代表所有参与二战的退役军人讲话。但是我相信,那种在第二次世界大战中能够服务自己国家的自豪感,是所有美国退役军人共享的。这也是为什麽关于二战的真实是必须尊重的。我们这些退役军人不是畏首畏尾的人,我们的感觉将不会因为那些对于该不该使用原子弹的争论和信息所粉碎。我们能应对这些。但我们将不会、也不能允许那些对美国大众和世界隐瞒(二战和向日本投掷原子弹的真实信息)的凭空胡猜式的辩论。

我对美国人民面对所有这些事实,以及对如何结束那场战争的信息判断力和公正性充满信心。

这是重要的辩论。我们国家的灵魂、本质、历史等,正处于紧要关头。


下面是Charles W. Sweeney在美国国会演讲的英文∶

Full text of Charles W. Sweeney’s Hearing Before the Committee:

I am Maj. Gen. Charles W. Sweeney, United States Air Force, Retired. I am the only pilot to have flown on both atomic missions. I flew the instrument plane on the right wing of General Paul Tibbets on the Hiroshima mission and 3 days later, on August 9, 1945, commanded the second atomic mission over Nagasaki. Six days after Nagasaki the Japanese military surrendered and the Second World War came to an end.

The soul of a nation, its essence, is its history. It is that collective memory which defines what each generation thinks and believes about itself and its country.

In a free society, such as ours, there is always an ongoing debate about who we are and what we stand for. This open debate is in fact essential to our freedom. But to have such a debate we as a society must have the courage to consider all of the facts available to us. We must have the courage to stand up and demand that before any conclusions are reached, those facts which are beyond question are accepted as part of the debate.

As the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions approaches, now is an appropriate time to consider the reasons for Harry Truman’s order that these missions be flown. We may disagree on the conclusion, but let us at least be honest enough to agree on basic facts of the time, the facts that President Truman had to consider in making a difficult and momentous decision.

As the only pilot to have flown both missions, and having commanded the Nagasaki mission, I bring to this debate my own eyewitness account of the times. I underscore what I believe are irrefutable facts, with full knowledge that some opinion makers may cavalierly dismiss them because they are so obvious - because they interfere with their preconceived version of the truth, and the meaning which they strive to impose on the missions.

This evening, I want to offer my thoughts, observations, and conclusions as someone who lived this history, and who believes that President Truman’s decision was not only justified by the circumstances of his time, but was a moral imperative that precluded any other option.

Like the overwhelming majority of my generation the last thing I wanted was a war. We as a nation are not warriors. We are not hell-bent on glory. There is no warrior class - no Samurai - no master race.

This is true today, and it was true 50 years ago.

While our country was struggling through the great depression, the Japanese were embarking on the conquest of its neighbors - the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. It seems fascism always seeks some innocuous slogan to cover the most hideous plans.
This Co-Prosperity was achieved by waging total and merciless war against China and Manchuria. The Japanese, as a nation, saw itself as destined to rule Asia and thereby possess its natural resources and open lands. Without the slightest remorse or hesitation, the Japanese Army slaughtered innocent men, women and children. In the infamous Rape of Nanking up to 300,000 unarmed civilians were butchered. These were criminal acts.

THESE ARE FACTS.

In order to fulfill its divine destiny in Asia, Japan determined that the only real impediment to this goal was the United States. It launched a carefully conceived sneak attack on our Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. Timed for a Sunday morning it was intended to deal a death blow to the fleet by inflicting the maximum loss of ships and human life.
1,700 sailors are still entombed in the hull of the U.S.S. Arizona that sits on the bottom of Pearl Harbor. Many if not all, died without ever knowing why. Thus was the war thrust upon us.

The fall of Corregidor and the resulting treatment of Allied prisoners of war dispelled any remaining doubt about the inhumanness of the Japanese Army, even in the context of war. The Bataan Death March was horror in its fullest dimension. The Japanese considered surrender to be dishonorable to oneself, one’s family, one’s country and one’s god. They showed no mercy. Seven thousand American and Filipino POW’s were beaten, shot, bayoneted or left to die of disease or exhaustion.

THESE ARE FACTS.

As the United States made its slow, arduous, and costly march across the vast expanse of the Pacific, the Japanese proved to be ruthless and intractable killing machine. No matter how futile, no matter how hopeless the odds, no matter how certain the outcome, the Japanese fought to the death. And to achieve a greater glory, the strove to kill as many Americans as possible.

The closer the United States came to the Japanese mainland, the more fanatical their actions became.

Saipan - 3,100 Americans killed, 1,500 in the first few hours of the invasion Iwa Jima - 6,700 Americans killed, 25,000 wounded

Okinawa - 12,500 Americans killed, total casualties, 35,000

These are facts reported by simple white grave markets.

Kamikazes. The literal translation is DIVINE WIND. To willingly dive a plane loaded with bombs into an American ship was a glorious transformation to godliness - there was no higher honor on heaven or earth. The suicidal assaults of the Kamikazes took 5,000 American Navy men to their deaths.

The Japanese vowed that, with the first American to step foot on the mainland, they would execute every Allied prisoner. In preparation they forced the POW’s to dig their own graves in the event of mass executions. Even after their surrender, they executed some American POW’s.

THESE ARE FACTS.

The Potsdam Declaration had called for unconditional surrender of the Japanese Armed Forces. The Japanese termed it ridiculous and not worthy of consideration. We know from our intercepts of their coded messages, that they wanted to stall for time to force a negotiated surrender on terms acceptable to them.

For months prior to August 6, American aircraft began dropping fire bombs upon the Japanese mainland. The wind created by the firestorm from the bombs incinerated whole cities. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese died. Still the Japanese military vowed never to surrender. They were prepared to sacrifice their own people to achieve their visions of glory and honor - no matter how many more people died.

They refused to evacuate civilians ever though our pilots dropped leaflets warning of the possible bombings. In one 3-day period, 34 square miles of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe and Osaka were reduced to rubble.

THESE ARE FACTS.

And even after the bombing of Hiroshima, Tojo, his successor Suzuki, and the military clique in control believed the United States had but one bomb, and that Japan could go on. They had 3 days to surrender after August 6, but they did not surrender. The debate in their cabinet at times became violent.

Only after the Nagasaki drop did the Emperor finally demand surrender.

And even then, the military argued they could and should fight on. A group of Army officers staged a coup and tried to seize and destroy the Emperor’s recorded message to his people announcing the surrender.

THESE ARE FACTS.

These facts help illuminate the nature of the enemy we faced. They help put into context the process by which Truman considered the options available to him. And they help to add meaning to why the missions were necessary.

President Truman understood these facts as did every service man and woman. Casualties were not some abstraction, but a sobering reality.

Did the atomic missions end the war? Yes...they...did.

Were they necessary? Well that’s where the rub comes.

With the fog of 50 years drifting over the memory of our country, to some, the Japanese are now the victims. America was the insatiable, vindictive aggressor seeking revenge and conquest. Our use of these weapons was the unjustified and immoral starting point for the nuclear age with all of its horrors. Of course, to support such distortion, one must conveniently ignore the real facts of fabricate new realities to fit the theories. It is no less egregious than those who today deny the Holocaust occurred.

How could this have happened?

The answer may lie in examining some recent events.

The current debate about why President Truman ordered these missions, in some cases, has devolved to a numbers game. The Smithsonian in its proposed exhibit of the Enola Gay revealed the creeping revisionism which seems the rage in certain historical circles.
That exhibit wanted to memorialize the fiction that the Japanese were the victims - we the evil aggressor. Imagine taking your children and grandchildren to this exhibit.

What message would they have left with?

What truth would they retain?

What would they think their country stood for?

And all of this would have occurred in an American institution whose very name and charter are supposed to stand for the impartial preservation of significant American artifacts.

By canceling the proposed exhibit and simply displaying the Enola Gay, has truth won out?

Maybe not.

In one nationally televised discussion, I heard a so-called prominent historian argue that the bombs were nor necessary. That President Truman was intent on intimidating the Russians. That the Japanese were ready to surrender.

The Japanese were ready to surrender? Based on what?

Some point to statements by General Eisenhower years after the war that Japan was about to fall. Well, based on that same outlook Eisenhower seriously underestimated Germany’s will to fight on and concluded in December, 1944 that Germany no longer had the capability to wage offensive war.

That was a tragic miscalculation. The result was the Battle of the Bulge, which resulted in tens of thousands of needless Allied casualties and potentially allowed Germany to prolong the war and force negotiations.

Thus the assessment that Japan was vanquished may have the benefit of hindsight rather than foresight.

It is certainly fair to conclude that the Japanese could have been reasonably expected to be even more fanatical than the Germans base on the history of the war in the Pacific.
And, finally, a present-day theory making the rounds espouses that even if an invasion had taken place, our casualties would not have been a million, as many believed, but realistically only 46,000 dead.

ONLY 46,000!

Can you imagine the callousness of this line of argument? ONLY 46,000- as if this were some insignificant number of American lives.

Perhaps these so-called historians want to sell books.

Perhaps they really believe it. Or perhaps it reflects some self-loathing occasioned by the fact that we won the war.

Whatever the reason, the argument is flawed. It dissects and recalculates events ideologically, grasping at selective straws.

Let me admit right here, today, that I don’t know how many more Americans would have died in an invasion - AND NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE!

What I do know is that based on the Japanese conduct during the war, it is fair and reasonable to assume that an invasion of the mainland would have been a prolonged and bloody affair. Based on what we know - not what someone surmises - the Japanese were not about to unconditionally surrender.

In taking Iwo Jima, a tiny 8 square mile lump of rock in the ocean, 6,700 marines died - total casualties over 30,000.

But even assuming that those who now KNOW our casualties would have been ONLY 46,000 I ask -

Which 46,000 were to die?

Whose father?

Whose brother?

Whose husband?

And, yes, I am focusing on American lives.

The Japanese had their fate in their own hands, we did not. Hundreds of thousands of American troops anxiously waited at staging areas in the Pacific dreading the coming invasion, their fate resting on what Japanese would do next. The Japanese could have ended it at any time. They chose to wait.

And while the Japanese stalled, an average of 900 more Americans were killed or wounded each day the war continued.

I’ve heard another line of argument that we should have accepted a negotiated peace with the Japanese on terms they would have found acceptable. I have never heard anyone suggest that we should have negotiated a peace with Nazi Germany. Such an idea is so outrageous, that no rational human being would utter the words. To negotiate with such evil fascism was to allow it even in defeat a measure of legitimacy. This is not just some empty philosophical principal of the time - it was essential that these forces of evil be clearly and irrevocably defeated - their demise unequivocal. Their leadership had forfeited any expectation of diplomatic niceties. How it is, then, the history of the war in the Pacific can be so soon forgotten?

The reason may lie in the advancing erosion of our history, of our collective memory.
Fifty years after their defeat, Japanese officials have the temerity to claim they were the victims. That Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the equivalent of the Holocaust.

And, believe it or not, there are actually some American academics who support this analogy, thus aiding and giving comfort to a 50-year attempt by the Japanese to rewrite their own history, and ours in the process.

There is an entire generation of Japanese who do not know the full extent of their country’s conduct during World War II.

This explains why they do not comprehend why they must apologize- for the Korean comfort women? for the Medical experimentation on POW’s which match the horror of those conducted by the Nazi’s ? for the plane to use biological weapons against the United States by infecting civilian populations on the West Coast ?for the methodical slaughter of civilians? and for much more.

In a perverse inversion, by forgetting our own history, we contribute to the Japanese amnesia, to the detriment of both our nations.

Unlike the Germans who acknowledged their guilt, the Japanese persist in the fiction that they did nothing wrong, that they were trapped by circumstances. This only forecloses any genuine prospect that the deep wounds suffered by both nations can be closed and healed.

One can only forgive by remembering. And to forget, is to risk repeating history.

The Japanese in a well orchestrated political and public relations campaign have now proposed that the use of the term "V-J Day" be replaced by the more benign "Victory in the Pacific Day". How convenient.

This they claim will make the commemoration of the end of the war in the Pacific less "Japan specific".

An op-ed piece written by Dorothy Rabinowitz appearing in the April 5 Wall Street Journal accurately sums up this outrage:

The reason it appears, is that some Japanese find the reference disturbing - and one can see why. The term, especially the "J" part, does serve to remind the world of the identity of the nation whose defeat millions celebrated in August 1945. in further deference to Japanese sensitivities, a U.S. official (who wisely chose to remain unidentified) also announced, with reference to the planned ceremonies, that "our whole effort in this thing is to commemorate an event, not celebrate a victory."

Some might argue so what’s in a word - Victory over Japan, Victory in the Pacific - Let’s celebrate an event, not a victory.

A say everything is in a word. Celebrate an EVENT!

Kind of like celebrating th opening of a shopping mall rather than the end of a war that engulfed the entire Earth - which left countless millions dead and countless millions more physically or mentally wounded and countless more millions displaced.

This assault on the use of language is Orwellian and is the tool by which history and memory are blurred. Words can be just as destructive as any weapon.

Up is down.

Slavery is freedom.

Aggression is peace.

In some ways this assault on our language and history by the elimination of accurate and descriptive words is far more insidious than the actual aggression carried out by the Japanese 50 years ago. At least then the threat was clear, the enemy well defined.

Today the Japanese justify their conduct by artfully playing the race card. They were not engaged in a criminal enterprise of aggression. No, Japan was simply liberating the oppressed masses of Asia from WHITE Imperialism.

Liberation!! Yes, they liberated over 20 million innocent Asians by killing them. I’m sure those 20 million, their families and the generations never to be, appreciate the noble effort of the Japanese.

I am often asked was the bomb dropped for vengeance, as was suggested by one draft of the Smithsonian exhibit. That we sought to destroy an ancient and honorable culture.
Here are some more inconvenient facts.

One, on the original target list for the atomic missions Kyoto was included. Although this would have been a legitimate target, one that had not been bombed previously, Secretary of State Henry Stimson removed it from the list because it was the ancient capital of Japan and was also the religious center of Japanese culture.

Two, we were under strict orders during the war that under no circumstances were we to ever bomb the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, even though we could have easily leveled it and possibly killed the Emperor. So much for vengeance.

I often wonder if Japan would have been shown such restraint if they had the opportunity to bomb the White House. I think not.

At this point let me dispel one of many longstanding myths that our targets were intended to be civilian populations. Each target for the missions had significant military importance - Hiroshima was the headquarters for the southern command responsible for the defense of Honshu in the event of an invasion and it garrisoned seasoned troops who would mount the initial defense.

Nagasaki was an industrial center with the two large Mitsubishi armaments factories. In both Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Japanese had integrated these industries and troops right in the heart of each city.

As in any war our goal was, as it should be, to win. The stakes were too high to equivocate.

I am often asked if I ever think of the Japanese who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
I do not revel in the idea that so many on both sides died, not only at those two places but around the world in that horrible conflict. I take no pride or pleasure in the brutality of war whether suffered by my people or those of another nation. Every life is precious.
But it does seem to me such a question is more appropriately directed to the Japanese war lords who so willingly offered up their people to achieve their visions of greatness. They who started the war and then stubbornly refused to stop it must be called to account. Don’t they have the ultimate responsibility for all the deaths of their countrymen?

Perhaps if the Japanese came to grips with their past and their true part in the war they would hold those Japanese military leaders accountable. The Japanese people deserve an answer from those that brought such misery to the nations of the Far East and ultimately to their own people. Of course this can never happen of we collaborate with the Japanese in wiping away the truth.

How can Japan ever reconcile with itself and the United States if they do not demand and accept the truth?

My crew and I flew these missions with the belief that they would bring the war to an end. There was no sense of joy. There was a sense of duty and commitment that we wanted to get back to our families and loved ones.

Today millions of people in America an in southeast Asia are alive because the war ended when it did.

I do not stand here celebrating the use of nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary.

I hope that my mission is the last such mission ever flown.

We as a nation can abhor the existence of nuclear weapons.

I certainly do.

But that does not then mean that, back in August of 1945, given the events of the war and the recalcitrance of our enemy, President Truman was not obliged to use all the weapons at his disposal to end the war.

I agreed with Harry Truman then, and I still do today.

Years after the war Truman was asked if he had any second thoughts. He said emphatically, "No." He then asked the questioner to remember the men who died at Pearl Harbor who did not have the benefit of second thoughts.

In war the stakes are high. As Robert E. Lee said, "it is good that war is so horrible, or we might grow to like it."

I thank God that it was we who had this weapon and not the Japanese or the Germans. The science was there. Eventually someone would have developed this weapon. Science can never be denied. It finds a way to self-fulfillment.

The question of whether it was wise to develop such a weapon would have eventually been overcome by the fact that it could be done. The Soviets would have certainly proceeded to develop their own bomb. Let us not forget that Joseph Stalin was no less evil than Tokyo or his former ally Adolf Hitler. At last count, Stalin committed genocide on at least 20 million of his own citizens.

The world is a better place because German and Japanese fascism failed to conquer the world.

Japan and Germany are better places because we were benevolent in our victory.

The youth of Japan and the United States, spared from further needless slaughter, went on to live and have families and grow old.

As the father of ten children and the grandfather of 21, I can state that I am certainly grateful that the war ended when it did.

I do not speak for all veterans of that war. But I believe that my sense of pride in having served my country in that great conflict is shared by all veterans. This is why the truth about that war must be preserved. We veterans are not shrinking violets. Our sensibilities will not be shattered in intelligent and controversial debate. We can handle ourselves.
But we will not, we cannot allow armchair second guessers to frame the debate by hiding facts from the American public and the world.

I have great faith in the good sense and fairness of the American people to consider all of the facts and make an informed judgment about the war’s end.

This is an important debate. The soul of our nation, its essence, its history, is at stake.

2013-09-08

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