Originally Posted by Xracer
Actually PS.....I believe the use of the Atomic bombs can be defended on humanitarian grounds.
At the cost of approximately 160,000 combined deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, measure the hundreds of thousands and perhaps a million, or more, casualities, both American and Japanese, that would've occured if we had to invade Japan.
For that reason, Harry Truman said he never lost a wink of sleep at night over his decision to use the atomic bombs.
I don't disagree with your reasoning at all, X. In the cold calculations of war, there is no doubt at all that using the bombs actually saved hundreds of thousands of lives--both American and Japanese--in the long run. Yet it might be logically argued, using the same sort of reasoning, that using gas in the island campaigns might have had a similar life-saving effect, at least on the American side. I think it is interesting to note as well that we could easily have accomplished the same amount of destruction--if not far more-- as the nukes produced, using conventional incendiary weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What made the nuclear devices a far better choice was, I think, the sheer magnitude of destruction created by a single weapon in such a short space of time. It gave the Japanese something of a face-saving way of finally accepting the inevitability of their defeat. All but the most fanatic Japanese were forced to realize that the jig was up and the Rising Sun was about to set, like it or not!
Nonetheless, you are very likely correct in your overall argument concerning the use of gas, at least from a geoplitical perspective. It is a tempting thought though, you must admit, for it would have saved so many fine young American lives. I know that when I was in Vietnam, if we had been ordered to dump mustard gas or phosgene into some of Charlie's hidy holes, I wouldn't have thought twice about it . . . or lost any sleep over it either. On the other hand, from an overall perspective, doing so would likely have made that conflict even worse than it already was.