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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

On Memorial Day Remember: We Do Not Owe Japan An Apology For Using The Atomic Bomb

Here's the Nonsense:  Dropping the atomic bombs on Japan was a terrible thing and the devastating consequences should cause us to rethink that decision and ever using those types of weapons again.  We do owe Japan an apology for the destruction we brought upon them.

Here's the Horse Sense:  No apology is needed for using the atomic bombs against Japan in World War II.  Not only did we stop a regime that was committing unspeakable atrocities, but we saved millions of lives in doing so.  It would be an insult to those who have served our country to make an apology for that decision.

Most people are aware that President Obama is visiting Hiroshima, Japan on May 27, the site where America dropped the first atomic bomb in World War II.  The NY Times reports that while he will be the first sitting U. S. President to visit Hiroshima, the White House says that he will not be apologizing for America's action to end the war over 7 decades ago.  Yet Yahoo is reporting that there are those in Japan who are insisting that he should apologize for what America did.

Obama is anti-nuclear weapons and has worked hard to eliminate as many of our nuclear stockpile as possible during his presidency.  So, it is somewhat surprising that the American president who has apologized for America all around the world will not be apologizing to Japan for our use of atomic bombs to end World War II.

Last year Charles Pellegrino's highly acclaimed book, To Hell and Back: The Last Train From Hiroshima, was released.  It will overwhelm the reader with the most detailed and what are said to be the most accurate descriptions of what happened when the atomic bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It will unsettle you and make even the most ardent supporter of nuclear weapons hope and pray they never have to be used again.

But with all the devastation caused by those bombs used against Japan, those believing America should apologize miss the most basic logic why America owes no apologies and should never entertain such an idea.

Between the lack of accurate teaching of history in American schools, along with an overriding view of the majority of American educators that America is an evil nation guilty of war crimes and evil deeds beyond those of any other nation, the truth has been buried.  

So, in an effort to remind those who may have forgotten and to educate those who never learned about it, I'd like to share some of the atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II that were, in part, reasons why America's use of the atomic bomb was required to put an end to the horrors. 

Nanking, China:  

  • More than 200,000 Chinese men were used as targets in bayonet practice or machine gunned or set on fire.  
  • 20,000 Chinese women and girls were raped, mutilated and/or murdered.  
  • The massacre of more than 250,000 people was an unsuccessful Japanese policy to force China to make peace.  
  • To brainwash them into what was expected of them, new Japanese officers had to behead Chinese prisoners. 
  • Training of combat troops was completed by having them bayonet living human prisoners.  
  • Combat medical units were trained by sending them to China where they could practice on the live bodies of prisoners.  From shooting Chinese prisoners to amputating their limbs, these living humans were used for medical training instead of using cadavers.  It also helped the medical trainee to get used to flowing blood, restraining patients, and hearing the screams as they used them.  
  • Bacterial warfare experiments were also conducted on the Chinese.  
  • Chinese cities were also bombed with anthrax and plague as experiments.  

Korean Comfort Women:

  • Between 80,000 and 200,000 women and young girls were forced by the Imperial Japanese Army to repeatedly provide sex for Japanese soldiers throughout Asia.  The estimates of the total number varies widely because many died from health complications and others hid in shame.


  • In his book, Horror in the East, Laurence Rees tells of Japanese atrocities during World War II including numerous times the Japanese resorted to cannibalism of prisoners.  For example, in August 1942 as Australian forces pursued Japanese retreating along the Kokoda Track, they found evidence that the Japanese had been eating captured Australian soldiers.  At one point the Australians battled with the Japanese at Templeton's Crossing, but had to withdraw and leave behind 6 Australian dead and 4 wounded.  The next day reinforcements arrived and the Australians attacked again and captured the Japanese position. Australian troops were horrified when they found the Japanese had been eating both the wounded and dead Australians who had been left behind the previous day.  Corporal Bill Hedges described the horrific scene:  "The Japanese had cannibalised our wounded and dead soldiers...We found them with meat stripped off their legs and half-cooked meat in the Japanese dishes (pots).  I was heartily disgusted and disappointed to see my good friend lying there, with the flesh stripped off his arms and legs; his uniform torn off him.  We found dumps with rice and a lot of tinned food. So they weren't starving and having to eat flesh because they were hungry."

Japanese soldier Yasuno Chikao prepares to behead Australian Sgt. Leonard G. Siffleet at Aitape in New Guinea in 1943.  The Australian commando was captured while his patrol was operating deep behind enemy lines.  The Japanese claimed he was a spy, but he was in uniform when captured.  The Japanese were extremely brutal to Allied prisoners of war, often killing them through forced labor, beatings, beheading and starvation.


  • Japanese troops beheaded 200 wounded Australians and Indians left behind when Australian troops withdrew through the jungle from Muar.


  • 300 patients and staff of Alexandra Military Hospital were bayoneted by Japanese soldiers on Feb. 9, 1942.  
  • British women had their hands tied behind their backs and were repeatedly raped. 
  • 5000 Chinese residents were, after being interviewed, selected for execution.

Wake Island:  

  • 1,200 youths, mostly from Idaho, were working as a construction crew on Wake Island, and were captured and shipped to Japanese prison camps.  Five were decapitated to intimidate the remaining into good behavior.  
  • 100 civilian contractors on the island were kept there by the Japanese to complete the airbase. When U.S. warplanes attacked the island, the Japanese commander had the civilians executed.  

Dutch East Indies:  

  • Dutch citizens who were accused of resisting Japan or involved in the destruction of the oil refineries had limbs chopped off.   
  • 20,000 men were forced into the ocean and machine gunned.  
  • 20,000 women and children were repeatedly raped, followed by many being killed.

Ambon Island: 

  • After the surrender, the Japanese chose over 300 Australian and Dutch prisoners of war at random and executed them.

Dutch Borneo:  

  • The entire white population of Balikpapan was executed.


  • The entire white male population of Tjepu was executed and women were raped.  
  • Survivors of USS Edsall were beheaded. 


  • All soldiers captured before the Philippines surrendered were executed.
  • The Bataan Death March - American and Filipino prisoners were marched 63 miles from the south end of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines on April 9, 1942.  The march started with 72,000 prisoners and between 7,000 and 10,000 died during the march as those that could not keep up the pace were stabbed, shot, beheaded, clubbed, or buried alive.  Once the prison camp was reached up to 400 prisoners died each day due to disease, brutality, and malnutrition.


  • 15,000 military prisoners and 75,000 native laborers died building a railroad between Bangkok and Rangoon.

Doolittle Raid on Japan - the flyers landed in China:  

  • Japanese executed 3 of the 8 U.S. airmen that were captured.
  • 25,000 Chinese from the villages through which the U.S. flyers escaped were slaughtered.  


  • Japanese troops captured medical aid station, killed the doctors, and bayoneted the wounded.

Makin Atoll:  

  • 9 Marines were left behind and hid for two weeks before surrendering.  They were beheaded when a ship was not available to take them to a prisoner of war camp.  

Milne Bay:  

  • In their few days at Milne Bay the Japanese murdered 59 local people, often being bayoneted while being held prisoner.  Many were tortured and/or mutilated. 
  • 36 Australians were captured by the Japanese and killed, and some were badly mutilated.  

USS Sculpin:  

  • 42 of submarine Sculpin's crew were picked up by the Japanese navy.  The Japanese threw one severely wounded sailor overboard. Survivors became forced laborers in the copper mines at Ashio until they were released at the end of the war.  

Indian Ocean:  

  • Capt. Ariisumi, commanded submarine I-8 in the Indian Ocean.  On March 26, 1944, he sank the Dutch merchantman Tjisalak and picked up 98 unarmed merchantmen from that ship.  He then had them murdered. 
  • Capt. Ariisumi repeated this action with 96 prisoners from the American Jean Nicolet in the Maldives on July 2, 1944.   He destroyed the lifeboats and dived, leaving 35 bound survivors on deck.  23 managed to untie their bonds before drowning.  The survivors swam all night and were rescued by the Royal Indian Navy.  
  • Sub I-26 is known to have rammed merchant lifeboats from SS Richard Hovey and machine-gunned survivors in the water.
  • March 9, 1944 - Commerce raider Tone sank the British freighter SS Behar.  They took aboard 108 survivors. Two days after arrival in the Netherlands East Indies, Rear Admiral Sakonjo ordered the prisoners taken out to sea and beheaded.

These are some of the horrendous atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II.  They were not dissimilar to things we hear of ISIS doing today.

While the Japanese government has expressed some apologies for acts committed by their military in World War II, it seems that there is a split among the Japanese as to how bad their actions really were.  Their schools teach revised historical accounts of World War II that do not tell of the horrors and the government supports those false teachings. 

As a result it is hard for the Japanese people to fully accept the destruction caused by America's atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  America's use of atomic weapons is seen as extreme aggression, even a war crime by many.  Without accurate teaching of Japan's aggression against America in their surprise Pear Harbor attack and the actions of their military throughout the war, the people of Japan have no ability to face their responsibility for causing America to resort to using those weapons.

Military experts estimated it would cost 1 million American lives to defeat Japan because their culture believed it was better to die than surrender.  Their entire population planned to fight to the end and, if necessary, commit suicide instead of surrender.  

The destruction and loss of life due to the atomic bombs was minor by any measure compared to what would have happened had America used traditional warfare to finish the war.  Even for the Japanese, far fewer lives were lost than would have been if America had handled it any other way.

President Harry Truman's decision to drop the bomb was, in reality, a merciful decision both for Japan and the U.S.  No apology is due for the results of that decision.  Yes, it should cause introspection to think about the consequences of such an action.  But it would be an insult to those Americans who have served our country to apologize for that courageous and wise decision that ultimately saved millions of lives from many nations.