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Letter: The morality of dropping atomic bombs

I have watched with great interest how the president has spent the last couple of months globe-hopping, talking about his view of the United States and her history. It is a stark contrast from the nationalistic rhetoric of the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. From advocating for the sale of weapons to Vietnam as a transparent attempt to rattle China, to his visit to Hiroshima, the president is attempting to play diplomacy chess in Asia.

I personally have an issue with the visit to Hiroshima.

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As news broke of his eventual visit, a slew of pundits had one question on their minds: Would the president apologize for the use of atomic bombs in World War II?

To his credit President Obama said he will not apologize.

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The use of the atomic bomb is not only something that should not be apologized for, but it was also the morally correct thing to do.

First and foremost, the firebombing raid of Tokyo killed more people than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

While the devastation of atomic weapons was severe, the death count was less than the firebombing raids conducted during World War II.

Second, a full-scale invasion would have cost even more lives — Japanese and Americans.

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Finally, Imperial Japan practiced the concept of "Total War," which advocated for any number of horrific practices including the appallingly named "Comfort Women" (rape), slavery and suicide bombings — kamikazes — in order to achieve victory.

The use of atomic weapons ended the Pacific theater of World War II and resulted in the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan.

The irony is that atomic weapons actually saved lives and in the process, they ended the reign of one of the most appalling leaders in the history of the world.

If the morality — as anyone familiar with the concept of morality would say — includes preserving lives, ending the reign of an appalling empire, and ensuring that fewer women are raped, and fewer people are enslaved, the use of the atomic bomb to end the war was absolutely and unequivocally the moral thing to do.

On a personal note: I shook the hand of Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. He was the pilot of the Enola Gay. He personally never had any regrets for dropping the bomb. Apologizing for the actions of a man that ended the reign of Imperial Japan thus saving lives is morally reprehensible.

Keith Smith

Sykesville

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