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May 27 2016 6 27 /05 /May /2016 14:45

Hiroshima was horrible. The aftermath was awful. There is peace today with Japan, which is an integral part of the democratic world. We should cherish and celebrate that peace and welcome the contribution Japan makes to the world’s economy and technology. One should never forget that the Japanese regime of the time was savage and fascist. A pacifist approach of let’s sit down and sing songs around the campfire was never going to work with the Imperial regime. They were allied with Hitler. Their massacres in China tend to be obscured by the horrors of the gas chambers.

They gave the world suicide bombers. Kamikaze flyers targeted military ships and not civilians, but the tactic has been adapted and developed far more effectively by today’s fascists. Willingness to wear the suicide belt does not merely kill many non-believers, it also emphasises how awful your enemy must be if you are willing to blow yourself up. Japan fought the War aiming to fight to the death. The Imperial Fascists, like today’s Islamists, did not know compromise. It was you or us: one has to die.

Like today’s Islamists the Japanese of World War Two had no respect for human rights or human life. Prisoners of war were to be tortured and humiliated. My Jewish uncle, captured by the Germans in North Africa, was accorded the privileges and protection of the Geneva Conventions. While the Japanese did not attempt a wholesale destruction of any group, they certainly used starvation, torture and wanton cruelty on prisoners. They were not giving up. They would fight until the last one was dead.

One hopes that no government uses nuclear weapons again. One hopes that no government or leader needs to utilise military solutions again.

The leadership of that time understood the enemy. The enemy, in the guise of Japan, was determined to fight until utter destruction of either themselves or their foes, the Allies. We should mourn the victims of war. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the civilians, were not the perpetrators of the megalomaniac war and its cruelties. We should cry for them. But President Truman understood that his enemy was never going to seek an understanding. Conventional defeat would take years of relentless fighting and more destruction of Allied lives. A homicidally determined enemy will not surrender. Such an enemy must be defeated. That is painful and ugly in the extreme. Soldiers do not emerge from war stable, kind and sensitive. Brutal enemies who hide behind civilians must be pursued and defeated. The war against those who would dominate the world with terror is a long battle. Elusive enemies hiding and obscured are difficult to fight. Countless others are inspired to join their nihilistic war. More combatants emerge yet they must be defeated.

If Harry Truman had not bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki it can be argued that Barak Obama would not be visiting Hiroshima today. He might never have been born, let alone been able to become the president of a great democracy. The Japanese Imperialists sought world conquest and showed ruthlessness in their quest. Had they not been defeated, albeit in a brutal and tragic way, what would have become of our world, let alone Japanese society? Japan today is not run by cruel and murderous militants. Japan is a peaceful and successful country.

Harry Truman understood this. Winston Churchill understood this. Barak Obama does not.

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