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U.S. Decisions in WWII Must Be Seen in Context

August 07, 2003

Re "Keep 1945 Seared in Our Hearts," by Johann Christoph Arnold, Commentary, Aug. 4: By all means, keep 1945 seared in your heart, but don't pass over its context with a mere nod. Unfortunately, Arnold does just that when he mentions in passing "all the arguments defending the United States' use of the A-bomb." Japanese soldiers had been committing mass murder since Japan's invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and were still committing atrocities as the atomic bombs were being dropped.

Arnold quotes a friend "who was in the vanguard of Marines to land at Nagasaki" to emphasize the horrible devastation caused by the atomic bomb, but leaves out of consideration the suffering of the millions of Chinese (and others) who died horrible deaths at the hands of Japanese soldiers. Selective outrage amounts to no more than self-indulgent moral posturing.

Barry Freedman

Los Angeles

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Is it ironic that "Japan Ventures Out" (editorial, Aug. 4) and Arnold's commentary would face each other? The editorial includes comparisons and contrasts of recent actions of Japan with Germany, both bombed during World War II. The commentary evokes much emotion nearly 60 years after the events in Hiroshima, an emotion that is still (albeit often quietly) shared by many Japanese. That Japan's public wants to remain peace-oriented with its own citizens shouldn't be derided or decided by those outside of its borders.

M.M. Endo

Mission Hills

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