The Nagasaki Principle

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    An editorial over at The Boston Globe is explores a historical event that occured 61 years ago today: the decision to proceed with the dropping of a second atomic bomb in the wake of Hiroshima’s destruction. The author, James Carrol, writes of something he calls the “Nagasaki principle”, which is basically an unstoppable destructive force that wars create:

    Historians debate the justification of the Hiroshima attack, but there is consensus that Nagasaki, coming less than three days later, was tragically unnecessary. President Harry Truman’s one order to use the atomic bomb, given on July 25, established a momentum that was not stopped.

    Carrol goes on to describe a kind of “amnesia” on the part of many Americans, who continually refuse to examine the morality of the atomic bombings. While this point is pretty valid, he damages it by going on to drawing a foggy link to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and declaring that the use of the term “ground zero” is an expression of unconscious American shame. Why couldn’t he have just stuck to a discussion of the Pacific War?

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