Letter To The Editor: Regarding Atomic Heritage Foundation Meeting With Japanese Mayors

By DAVID CARROLL
Los Alamos

So just why did members of the Atomic Heritage Foundation meet with the Japanese mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? 

Unless they apologized for the mass murder of 10 million Chinese, Indo-Chinese, Filipinos, and Indonesians (called by historians “the Asian Holocaust”), the Japanese have no position to tell us how to interpret the dropping of the atomic bombs; likewise, the AHF has no right or position to represent Los Alamos and the National Park Service and their effort to do so is inappropriate. 

Anyone remember the rape of Nanjing, the Bataan Death March, and Pearl Harbor?

The Japanese focus on the 135,000 fatalities at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is ill-placed. Jacob Beser, Radar Countermeasures Officer, was the only crewman to fly both of the atomic bomb missions. In his book, Hiroshima and Nagasaki Revisited, 1988, he says, “I don’t want to hear any discussion of morality. War by its very nature is immoral. Are you any more dead from an Atomic Bomb than from a conventional Bomb?” Incendiary bombing raids on Japanese cities killed an estimated 900,000 people – 40 percent of Tokyo alone was burned resulting in 100,000 deaths. Any request for us to properly interpret these raids?” 

Beser continues: “I repeat, being sorry is crazy. What we need to do is examine ourselves as human beings and look at how far we have come along the road to potential self destruction and how inhumane we are one to the other and analyze why we have allowed this to develop over the millennia. The solution to the problem is not being sorry for what has already happened, but individually and collectively dedicate ourselves to the eradication of the causes of wars and of war itself.”

In 1985, Beser was interviewed by the Washington Post. He was asked if he would drop the atomic bomb again. His reply: “Given the circumstances in the same kind of context, the answer is yes.  However, you have to admit that the circumstances don’t exist now. They probably never will again. I have no regrets, no remorse about it. As far as our country was concerned, we were three years downstream in a war, going on four. The world had been at war, really, from the ’30’s in China, continuously, and millions and millions of people had been killed. Add to that the deliberate killing that went on in Europe, [and] it’s kind of ludicrous to say well, geez, look at all those people who were instantly murdered.

“In November of 1945, there was an invasion of Japan planned. Three million men were gonna be thrown against Japan. There were about three million Japanese digging for the defense of their homeland, and there was a casualty potential of over a million. That’s what was avoided. If you take the highest figures of casualties of both cities, say, 300,000, combined casualties in Hiroshima [and] Nagasaki, versus a million, I’m sorry to say, it’s a good tradeoff. It’s a very cold way to look at it, but it’s the only way to look at it.”  

And so, Atomic Heritage Foundation, next time you receive an invitation from the Japanese, please share Beser’s thoughts with them or, better yet, stay home and spend your money on his book.

One last thought from Mr. Beser to share with the Japanese: “I for one, to this day, cannot forget the impressions the Japanese made on me as a youth and at Pearl Harbor and Bataan and Shanghai.  I felt then as I do today, in the context of 1945, that the Japanese, like the Germans, earned everything they received.”

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