History's Greatest Terrorist: Harry Truman (Was ANYTHING I learned in school, True?)Submitted by go213mph on Sat, 08/11/2012 - 00:14
The motives for dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were political, the targets civilian -- a textbook case of terrorism
Terrorism, despite continual abuse, is a word like any other. It has an actual definition: violence against a civilian target undertaken to send a political message. It is not merely a slur to be affixed willy-nilly to whomever, as geopolitical needs dictate.
On August 6th 1945 Washington dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. One hundred fifty thousand civilians were incinerated or condemned to slow and terrible deaths by radiation exposure (as immortalized in the Japanese manga and animated film Barefoot Gen). On August 9th, the Truman Administration released a plutonium core atomic bomb over Nagasaki, killing an additional 75,000 people.
A justifying mythology was immediately crafted and remains firmly lodged in popular understanding -- at least in the U.S. The bombs were dropped, reluctantly, to save the lives of U.S. servicemen fighting Japan. Perhaps a half million (Truman’s claim) would have died before Japan would have unconditionally surrendered had the U.S. not deployed the bombs. The story has long been debunked, but with little popularization.
If fact, Japan was already prepared to surrender, having only a few (trivial next to hundreds of thousands of lives) conditions. The actual reasons the bomb was dropped, included, as Gar Alperovitz has long argued, intimidating Russia and to demonstrate U.S. power on the world stage. Any street gangster would recognize the dynamic. There was also a concern to forestall any further Soviet influence in Asia. Thus the motive was political and the target was civilian. It is a textbook case of terrorism. Perhaps the preeminent example.