As I read the Sunday New York Times special section on the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, I felt that the newspaper was trying to make me feel sorry for the March 10, 1945 firebombing of Tokyo by our B-29 bombers from the Marianas Islands.
One of the sub-headlines said how sorry some of the crewmen felt that about killing people who had nothing to do with the war.
But those people did. They had allowed themselves to be ruled by leaders who wanted war with America. It’s true that we had crimped Japan’s style by limiting its naval buildup and imported fuels. But that was all negotiable. The U.S. and China have a tariff fight now but neither considers nuking the other. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor without even bothering to declare war. They deserved what they got back.
This is frequently disputed, but there’s evidence to support the contention that unless we had really dumped munitions on Japan proper, its troops in faraway islands and the population on the homeland would have kept fighting us for at least another two years. They had not been in a surrender mode.
I don’t relish killing women, children, and old men without guns. But war begets war. We were not going to allow Japan access to all the Pacific islands as a base for attacks on the American mainland.
Consciences bothered air crews on the Tokyo firebombing and the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear drops. I’ve never had the slightest regret for us doing that. I’d hope nobody would ever have to do that in the future.
Others may feel differently. That’s fair, too. We each need to follow our conscience.
Mine is fine. Comments?