Polemics & Exchanges

On Viable Alternatives

I usually find Roger D. McGrath’s Sins of Omission to be the most interesting column in Chronicles, and “Hiroshima and Nagasaki” (July) was no exception.  However, I wonder why defenders of our use of the A-bomb seem always to present us with a false dilemma: Either we use the bomb or suffer hundreds of thousands of casualties in conquering the Japanese homeland.  Why invade Japan at all?  Her empire was gone, and she was no longer a threat to us.  She could not supply her remaining armies, and they would have withered.  Why not keep Japan blockaded and isolated indefinitely, or until such time as the Japanese sued for peace, while using their factories, airports, harbors, etc., as training targets for our bombers?  I’m not saying that this would have been better than dropping the A-bombs, only that there was another viable alternative to invasion.

—Charles Hayes
Tyler, TX

Throughout the 25 or so years that I have devoured every article in Chronicles, I have never been more saddened than I was in reading Roger McGrath’s “Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”  Terrorism is the term that we use to describe the bombing of 15 civilians in a shopping center or the tragic events of September 11, but...

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