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This story was standard apologia for our mass murder of innocent civilians. There was, and is, no justification for using the atomic bomb.

You are standing at a railroad switch. You see a train coming down the track, but there is a group of teenagers partying on the track who do not see it. They are too far away and too loud to hear you; the train is too heavy to stop in time. You can throw the switch, but on the other track is a mother and child. Do you save the 10 teenagers and kill the innocent mother and child or not? All are innocent but some number of humans are going to die. Do you choose more? Or fewer? That was the gamble Truman took; he threw the switch and ended the war saving millions of lives (including Japanese), at the cost of a couple hundred thousand.

But I have a different argument for this one use of the bomb. Bear with me for a paragraph or three:

In all human history there has never been a weapon invented that has not been used. Spears, rocks, bow & arrow, gunpowder, bullets, bombs, machine guns, missiles, biological, chemical, mustard gas, and finally, the atomic bomb. Some of those weapons were so horrific that sane people decided they should not be used again, and for the most part those conventions have held. We see international outrage now at the mere suggestion of chemical weapons in Syria, for example. Dr. Richard Gatling invented the machine gun because he thought it would make war so appalling that no one would ever fight again. His theory was wrong, apparently.

In 1945 we developed the atomic bomb. We were producing them at the rate of about one a month. Had we *not* used them to end the World War, we surely would have kept producing them, and by the time Korea came around, some 60 months later we would have had a nice stockpile of them. The Soviet Union, which thanks to adroit spying, got the bomb in 1949 would have had about a dozen. Now I remind you that MacArthur was fired *specifically* for advocating the use of the bomb after being pushed around in the late stages of the Korean conflict.

But ... because Truman (and the rest of the world) now understood the ghastly nature of atomic weaponry (like mustard gas and chemical weapons before it) nuclear weapons were not used, and have not been since. They may be someday, and that will surely be a tragedy, but it has been almost 75 years without. I submit that if the world had not seen the awesome power of atomic weapons in 1945 (including the terrible "good" they did), leaders would have been far more likely to "try them" in 1953 perhaps to the tune of dozens of the things, and then you would have something to complain about.

As it is, the use of Fat Man and Little Boy unequivocably saved a million lives and, in my fantasy construction, saved many multiples of millions more just a few years later. Humans have never been smart enough to invent a weapon but never use it. If it had to be used to learn a lesson, then it was used in the right place and at the right time.
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