Re "Voices from Hiroshima," Opinion, Aug. 9
As one of the first scientists on the Manhattan Project, I must write that this collection of stories completely ignores the American military reasons to drop the atomic bomb.
I was privileged to be among those briefed by the first Americans going into Hiroshima, and I will always remember the photos taken of the terrible destruction. But the decision to use the bomb was based on military estimates that more than 1 million American soldiers and sailors would die if they'd been forced to storm the Japanese homeland; also, 2 million Japanese would die. If the bomb were dropped, about 200,000 Japanese would be killed. The bomb was dropped, and the war ended in days.
Herman H. Rappaport
Thank you for printing these heart-rending stories. They are hard to read but remind us of what we did at a time of war to so many innocent children and adults. Couldn't we have picked a less-populated site where the destructive power of our atomic bomb would still have been evident to the Japanese military and government?
In war, governments may issue words of regret for collateral damage, but their zeal for "victory" leads to the killing, wounding and displacement of great numbers of civilians. Whether in Hiroshima or Iraq, the victims of war are mainly the innocent civilians whose lives are destroyed.
Helen and Eli Comay
The victims of Hiroshima were the victims of a racist, militaristic, brutal regime that had unleashed a war that killed more than 20 million people, overwhelmingly civilians and overwhelmingly their fellow Asians. The only purpose of the bombing attacks was to get that regime to stop the war.
The regime was willing to suffer practically unlimited casualties of its own people, as evidenced at Saipan, Okinawa, Tokyo and Hiroshima. Only after the second atomic bomb did the regime face the inevitable. Strategic bombing is a complicated subject, and as such should always be presented in perspective.
Thank you for printing the heartbreaking stories of survivors of Hiroshima. As a 93-year-old American, I made myself read these stories, and one survivor's story compelled me to write this letter. Isao Kita said, "The atomic bomb does not discriminate. It kills everyone from little babies to old people. And it's not an easy death. ... This cannot be allowed to happen again anywhere in the world."
America must stop the proliferation of nuclear bombs. We can start by disarming ourselves.
If the Japanese hadn't wanted to get bombed by nukes in World War II, they shouldn't have bombed Pearl Harbor and started the war in the first place.