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The kind of numbers that count

A premise often assumed by Truman apologists looking to justify the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that American lives were more valuable and important than Japanese lives. Instapundit links to this Austin Bay Blog post:
Twenty years ago a World War 2 vet I know told me what the A-bombs meant to him. In August 1945 he was as an 18 year-old Army private assigned to a unit earmarked for the first-wave of the invasion of Kyushu.

“Those of us in my platoon knew many of us would die in that attack,” he said. “Okinawa was in our minds. We weren’t sure how close we would get to the beaches. Despite our air superiority, the Navy had no effective answer for the kamikazes. And if we did make it onto Kyushu we expected the worst of bunker to bunker fighting. For me and my friends, all of us 18 and 19, the atom bomb meant we would go home alive.”

...The 18 year old private was my father, Tom Bay. He offers some speculative numbers, the kind that count: “Hundreds of thousands of Americans of your generation, Austin, are alive because of the bomb.”
Instapundit adds:
My grandfather, who walked across Europe only to be shipped to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan, was deeply relieved by the atomic bombs.
Well, as long as Instapundit's Paw-Paw felt good about it.

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