I'm working on a longer piece for tomorrow, so today, I just have this small thought inspired by a bumper sticker I see all the time. It's on the back of a truck parked two doors down from us and says:
"If There Wasn't a Pearl Harbor, There Wouldn't Have Been A Hiroshima."
This bumper sticker drives me up a wall, so much so that I just want to find the owner of that truck and start yelling at him.
The debate over whether it was a good idea to drop the bomb rages to this day, and I don't think I really have much to add to that debate. Some say it saved us from a long and bloody invasion. Others claim it was an unwarranted, illegal, and cruel attack on a largely civilian target.
I see both sides of the argument and I don't really think I have a deep enough base of knowledge to make a forceful case one way or the other. But it's clear that the attack on Pearl Harbor and dropping an atomic bomb on Japan really aren't equivalent actions. Pearl Harbor was a military target. Hiroshima was, well, a city.
What annoys me about this bumper sticker is that it asks you to view both of these events as equal in the severity, the latter being the equal payment for former, perhaps with a few interest payments thrown in. It makes about as much sense to have a bumper sticker that says:
"If You Hadn't Run Over My Dog, I Wouldn't Have Had To Murder Your Family"
I'm deeply troubled by the fact that we dropped nuclear bombs on Japan all those years ago. I recognize there may have been some sound military reasoning for it at the time, so I'm hesitant to judge the people who made that decision based on what we know about the incident now.
One day, I'd like to have better idea of why we did what we did and if it was the right thing to do. Bumper stickers like my neighbor's take me further from that ideal.