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Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in US

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By KATE BRUMBACK

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Japan started terror bombing in Asia in Chongqing, in 1938, lasting til 1943.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a7/ChongqingBombing.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Chongqing

Chongqing was the first world capital to be systematically bombed. Between February 1938 and August 1943, the city was bombed over 200 times, on virtually everyday that the skies were clear. The city was an easy target, a fairly short flight from Wuhan, where Japanese bomber bases were installed after the city was captured. A conservative estimate places the number of bombing runs at more than 5,000, with more than 11,500 bombs dropped, mainly incendiary bombs. The targets were usually residential areas, businesses, schools, and hospitals. These bombings were probably aimed at cowing the Chinese government, or as part of the planned Sichuan invasion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Do you really and truly not get this? Do you or do you not understand why your question is a complete non-sequitor? I don't see anyone here sad that the old Japan is gone. What I see is people disputing why its gone

It is not a non-sequitor. Japan was not on the verge of surrender. It was on the verge of ketsu go, 決号.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now.....now.......fellow readers. With all due respect.......don't be hypocritical.

We all know that if Emperor Hirohito had Atomic Bombs he would have done EXACTLY the same and maybe more. He would have dropped on China and the United States.

Yes, you can nod your head......"that's true" If Japan had an atomic bomb in those days they would have saved fuel and dropped one right smack dab in the middle of Pearl Harbor. In Japan they would have been celebrating and renaming the Pacific Ocean.

Any military commander or soldier would agree. Drop that sucker.....twice....so we can end the madness that is WAR.

I respect Americans very much. If it was about revenge they would have used a bomb on Tokyo.

Like Fukushima....we can see that is willing to amputee any part of the country so that Tokyo lives on. After all, that's where these guys live.

You had better believe that there was a third A-bomb and we can pretty much guess where that one was going to land.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@stranger

I don't know whether it's a fault of Obama or not...but Iraq, Lybia, Afganistan turned to be real terrorists' camps nowadays.

There's plenty to blame on both sides of the political spectrum, including Maliki.

Some of them were killed, indeed. But dozen others are coming to power right now. Not sure if you have enough drones for them....

But the factories can build more, insurgents are good for the drone business.

@crush

Fascinating that you should bring up drones, because the entire concept of how they are being used seems to be acceptable to Americans thanks to their brainwashed belief that the A bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acceptable.

They were.

You have no idea how many children and first responders have been murdered with drones do you? You probably just pass them off as "collateral damage" as if that makes it any better that houses where children were known to live were blown up in an attempt to get one militant, in his home, rather than say, when he was out doing his militant activities.

Sad, but that's the ugly reality face of war, what happened prior could have been avoided.

And yes, we know that a Taliban drone blew up the White House, killing Obama's family but not Obama, you would scream blue murder. But if a Taliban leader's family were killed in the same way while the leader was not at home, you would declare that its all fair play.

Yes

Same if Washington D.C. were flattened with a A-bomb as we war with the Taliban, who were never a threat to America.

But they are.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

And we'll just keep building more and more drones.

@Bass4funk Fascinating that you should bring up drones, because the entire concept of how they are being used seems to be acceptable to Americans thanks to their brainwashed belief that the A bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acceptable.

You have no idea how many children and first responders have been murdered with drones do you? You probably just pass them off as "collateral damage" as if that makes it any better that houses where children were known to live were blown up in an attempt to get one militant, in his home, rather than say, when he was out doing his militant activities.

And yes, we know that a Taliban drone blew up the White House, killing Obama's family but not Obama, you would scream blue murder. But if a Taliban leader's family were killed in the same way while the leader was not at home, you would declare that its all fair play.

Same if Washington D.C. were flattened with a A-bomb as we war with the Taliban, who were never a threat to America.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

True and look what happened after that, most of the top senior Al Qaeda leaders killed and in large part the central structure was destroyed, likewise with the Taliban and as the saying goes, you get one shot and then, it's my turn. Now since Obama has been in office, the idiot allowed the terrorists to regroup and he has shown that he is a weak leader

I don't know whether it's a fault of Obama or not...but Iraq, Lybia, Afganistan turned to be real terrorists' camps nowadays.

Tell that to the dozens of top leaders that were obliterated by them. :-)

Some of them were killed, indeed. But dozen others are coming to power right now. Not sure if you have enough drones for them....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So your beginning "giving the circumstances" really shouldn't be there to begin with because ANYBODY can come up with one.

Nigel, My point being, the argument is irrelevant basically, if Japan had won, the shoe would have been on the other foot, I'm not to say, if and but, it's not important. And if you think dropping the bomb was a war crime, I have zero objections if you think so, I do not. Nigel, I'm a very simple man and no matter how you want to dissect the issue of the war, No one told Japan to do what it did in attacking Pearl Harbor, in doing so, Japan sealed its own fate. We went to war, Japan lost, that's it. If you come to my house and try to hurt me or my family, I'm going to hurt you or worse and I'm going to do it by any means necessary, legal or not. My obligation is to my family, that's it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Oh, absolutely, I have No doubt about that. I was just saying, we could drag it out and create other possible scenarios knowing what the possible outcome might be, therefore, we really don't need to at least on this thread elaborate more on the issue, my point being. But yes, you are right.

So, in essense, criminality in 'war' simply doesn't apply for whomever that party is " given the circumstances and the deescalate the war and to finally put an end to the (fill in the blank) in that context, you use ANY means necessary to gain, subdue and to neutralize your enemy"

That's all bass4funk. So your beginning "giving the circumstances" really shouldn't be there to begin with because ANYBODY can come up with one.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@sidekick

Maybe, you're too young and not aware of 9/11 ? At that time many politicians and multi-stars US generals were sitting with eyes wide open, mumbling something like :"wow..how could it take place at all?"

True and look what happened after that, most of the top senior Al Qaeda leaders killed and in large part the central structure was destroyed, likewise with the Taliban and as the saying goes, you get one shot and then, it's my turn. Now since Obama has been in office, the idiot allowed the terrorists to regroup and he has shown that he is a weak leader, so until we get someone that has the courage and the fortitude to deal with the terrorists, we'll just have to deal with this nut job for the next two years.

ROTFL. Drones, you said? So what? Are you believe in "wonderful weapon" concept ?

Tell that to the dozens of top leaders that were obliterated by them. :-)

@nigel

And yet.

"don't think for a second, if the situation was reversed that the Japanese wouldn't have done the same thing. Of course they would have."

Oh, absolutely, I have No doubt about that. I was just saying, we could drag it out and create other possible scenarios knowing what the possible outcome might be, therefore, we really don't need to at least on this thread elaborate more on the issue, my point being. But yes, you are right.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sorry, I would prefer to deal with reality and not likely hypotheticals.

And yet.

"don't think for a second, if the situation was reversed that the Japanese wouldn't have done the same thing. Of course they would have."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That will never happen. Sorry, I would prefer to deal with reality and not likely hypotheticals.

Maybe, you're too young and not aware of 9/11 ? At that time many politicians and multi-stars US generals were sitting with eyes wide open, mumbling something like :"wow..how could it take place at all?"

And we'll just keep building more and more drones.

ROTFL. Drones, you said? So what? Are you believe in "wonderful weapon" concept ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can assure you that if the surrender terms for Japan consisted of Japanese being moved out of Tokyo and more than half of Japan, and being moved to concentration camps so that Americans could live in Tokyo and elsewhere in comfort, Japanese would be firing rockets from the cover of proximity to buildings too. If Japan won the war and the same was done to America, Americans would do the same.

So you're saying that most of the Japanese willingly decided to leave and then become refugees and the Americans were to repatriate to the Island of Japan, if there were such a thing as a US 3,000 years ago as the first original people residing there, we try to re-establish our birthright, then essentially the Japanese truly could never claim the land originally as theirs, but they would be allowed to live with us together side by side in harmony in what is now and what was the US.

Sorry, I feel bad for the Israelis that have to deal with the nightmares and the lack and respect for life the of the Palestinians the same people that have live under the thumb and brutality of Hamas.

But I don't think the accusation of double standards will faze you any more than pointing out that you have no concept of numbers or proportionality.

Right back at you

@sidekick

Well, well, well. Will it be okay for some small Middle East country to seize and crash an American civil jet or sea liner then? Just to stop a war in their country, to stop American invasion?

That will never happen. Sorry, I would prefer to deal with reality and not likely hypotheticals.

@crush

Exactly Sidekick. People who think like that give the Taliban carte blanche to do whatever. But then of course they whine and complain when they do.

And we'll just keep building more and more drones.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Exactly Sidekick. People who think like that give the Taliban carte blanche to do whatever. But then of course they whine and complain when they do.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm saying, given the circumstances and the deescalate the war and to finally put an end to the Japanese aggression in that context, you use ANY means necessary to gain, subdue and to neutralize your enemy.

Well, well, well. Will it be okay for some small Middle East country to seize and crash an American civil jet or sea liner then? Just to stop a war in their country, to stop American invasion?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That doesn't make Hamas LESS lethal.

Bass4funk, math is not your strong point, is it? You seem to have no concept of numbers or proportionality, much less justice.

In 13 years of Palistinian rocket and mortar attacks, with about ten thousand rockets and 5,000 mortars launched, 28 Israelis have died. One single bomb from the Enola Gay, dropped in broad daylight with no escort, about 100, 000 Japanese civilians were killed.

I can assure you that if the surrender terms for Japan consisted of Japanese being moved out of Tokyo and more than half of Japan, and being moved to concentration camps so that Americans could live in Tokyo and elsewhere in comfort, Japanese would be firing rockets from the cover of proximity to buildings too. If Japan won the war and the same was done to America, Americans would do the same.

For that matter, if two nukes were dropped on American cities, the chant of "war crime" would be 100 times louder than the little peeps we hear in Japan.

But I don't think the accusation of double standards will faze you any more than pointing out that you have no concept of numbers or proportionality.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'm saying, given the circumstances and the deescalate the war and to finally put an end to the Japanese aggression in that context, you use ANY means necessary to gain, subdue and to neutralize your enemy. In that sense, war criminality shouldn't be applied here and don't think for a second, if the situation was reversed that the Japanese wouldn't have done the same thing. Of course they would have.

You were doing so well but you disappointed me by giving your own personal criteria. C'mon now.

I'm basically agreeing with you but let's try to avoid the double standards, shall we?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@nigel

I'm saying, given the circumstances and the deescalate the war and to finally put an end to the Japanese aggression in that context, you use ANY means necessary to gain, subdue and to neutralize your enemy. In that sense, war criminality shouldn't be applied here and don't think for a second, if the situation was reversed that the Japanese wouldn't have done the same thing. Of course they would have.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Bass4funk,

In other words, criminality in war simply doesn't apply.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yes

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Yup, it was war. The difference was, the US was trying to end the war and get Japan's unconditional surrender,

To end war, one must therefore inflict maximum civilian death. Doesn't matter how you fo it. Is that how it goes?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Neither Hamas nor the IJA ever placed children anywhere.

Oh, sorry, I meant to say, Hamas place their weapons near and among the women and children, my bad.

I don't like anybody targeting civilians.

We both agree on that, then you also should have condemnation of how Hamas uses children and women as human shields which is totally abhorrent.

But, there is much more risk setting up a rocket in Gaza than there is flying over Japan in a bomber in 1945. Also, there is far less accuracy with a Qassam rocket than with an A-bomb dropped from a bomber. Hamas could not target the broad side of barn.

All the more reason as to why Hamas is insane! An out of control rocket means, unpredictability, which means it's a high risk danger of it hitting anywhere. People have been killed as a result and therefore, the Qassam rockets are NO joke!

The U.S. military targeted the city centers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for maximum civilian death.

Yup, it was war. The difference was, the US was trying to end the war and get Japan's unconditional surrender, whereas Hamas just wants to kill and drive out EVERY Israeli from the Jewish state by ANY means necessary.

Further, Hamas has no tanks, jets or helicopters and has very seriously limited choice in resistance OPTIONS.

That doesn't make Hamas LESS lethal. Israel is NOT stupid that they would ever underestimate the power, sheer will and tenacity that Hamas posses and for that, they don't need tanks or helicopters to make them a very formidable adversary.

American had every advantage in 1945 yet still chose to massacre civilians.

Yes, I agree and Japan had every opportunity to not have started the war.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Then please tell the cowardly Hamas, to stop putting their children purposely in harms way from being butchered.

Neither Hamas nor the IJA ever placed children anywhere.

I don't like anybody targeting civilians. But, there is much more risk setting up a rocket in Gaza than there is flying over Japan in a bomber in 1945. Also, there is far less accuracy with a Qassam rocket than with an A-bomb dropped from a bomber. Hamas could not target the broad side of barn. The U.S. military targeted the city centers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for maximum civilian death.

Further, Hamas has no tanks, jets or helicopters and has very seriously limited choice in resistance options. American had every advantage in 1945 yet still chose to massacre civilians.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Butchering children to get at adults never makes sense bass4funk. Ever.

Then please tell the cowardly Hamas, to stop putting their children purposely in harms way from being butchered.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This man is directly responsible for the killing of 140,000 people, the vast majority of them innocent civilians. Anyone who claims Theodore VanKirk is not a war criminal, simply do not understand the meaning of the term 'war criminal'.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Let me share a story about Japan and America that might get you thinking. After Pearl Harbor there was an attempted attack on the USS Missouri. A kamikaze pilot attempted to ram the ship with hus aircraft but failed. The U.S. Sailors pulled his body out of the burning plane by the Commanding Officer's orders. When asked why by the sailors the Commanding Officer said, "He is in the military just like you, fighting for his country just like you all are. He died for his country just like you all would." So the young sailors decided to give him a proper burial. Except there was one small problem. The sailors dudnt have a Japanese Flag. So the sailors spent all night making a Japanese flag by hand for this Japanese Pilot. They had a proper Military Funeral for him. Later on one of the sailors tracked down this 19 year old pilot's family in Japan and told them what had happened to their son. He presented the handmade Japanese flag to them and left. He did this so the pilot would be able to rest in peace. This story is all 100% fact. Look it up yourself the young pilot's name was Setsuo Ishino. Anyway what I'm trying to say is if we can let a man rest in pierce during a time of war. Than why can't we let a man this man rest in peace? Seriously stop being selfish. Put your pride aside. This goes for American and Japanese. May this man rest in peace

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Butchering children to get at adults never makes sense bass4funk. Ever.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I don't think that is a far fetched thought, that might also be another huge reason, perhaps killing two birds with one stone with a hostile Japan unwilling to surrender and an ever growing threat from the Soviets, it makes a lot of sense.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I still think they used Japan as a testing ground, and also to send a warning to Stalin of what could happen if he tried to expand on the areas under Soviet control after VE Day.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Do you honestly believe the world is not a better place with the defeat of Imperial Japan?

Yes.

So no, the bombs were not necessary IMHO.

Now in hindsight looking at it, that may be, but you are talking from a historical POV and at that time of war, there was really no way of fully knowing AT THE time that Japan was going to surrender, it's all simplistic and it's all sad, but any innocent life lost is bad, I make no distinction between a child and an adult, both are humans and both are deserving of life, liberty and happiness, I feel the bombs were an absolute necessity in order to get Japan to surrender, now it depends on which side of the argument accept, from the Japanese POV, they were going to surrender, from the US, they were not. I believe the Japanese weren't going to based on documents, letters, living and knowing Japanese culture and thinking. I do NOT think it was a war crime as more of a deterrent, warning and forcing one side to stop, you can point the finger at anyone in Japan, bottom line is, the Japanese soldiers were fighting on until those bombs were dropped, that's a fact.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Do you honestly believe the world is not a better place with the defeat of Imperial Japan?

@JTDanMan Do you really and truly not get this? Do you or do you not understand why your question is a complete non-sequitor? I don't see anyone here sad that the old Japan is gone. What I see is people disputing why its gone.

My view is that it was doomed long before the A-bombs fell. American planes firebombed Tokyo, Kobe and other places with complete impunity in MARCH, fully five months before.

Since the Japanese leadership did not give a damn then, when even more people were burned alive, and did not give a damn in the inter-rim, when people were suffering from hunger, I find it rather hard to believe they gave a damn about the people when the A-bombs fell. But somehow, I guess you do. I know others do. Okay.

But I think it was almost all about the emperor. And I don't think killing innocent women and children and babies did anything but make it clear the emperor was in danger. That combined with the Soviet entry into the war against Japan. But I don't think the A-bombs were actually necessary to get Japan to surrender. That clock was already ticking. Japan was so finished and just holding out.

So no, the bombs were not necessary IMHO. General MacArthur and Admiral Leahy were of the same opinion. So not necessary and yes, a war crime.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Both Germany and Japan would have collapsed by 1948/49, even if the USA hadn't entered the war.

Let's also not forget that Russia taking over Europe and Asia was a given and that is the real reason why the USA entered the war and dropped those 2 bombs.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

And again:

To those who think either 1. War is bad, Full stop, or 2. Any variety of the Victor's Justice line of thinking, I ask you:

Do you honestly believe the world is not a better place with the defeat of Imperial Japan?

Hint: a thumbs down with is not an argument.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Good riddance! bye bye!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Some say he was only following orders (an excuse that did not fly at Nuremburg) and that he didn't know what would happen. But he had 59 years after the fact to condemn the intentional bombing of civilians. I have not read that he did that.

Of course the civilians in those two cities "would not have dropped A-bombs". So what? Their leaders certainly would have.

@jerseyboy Thanks for letting the world know that you are okay with being killed for what your president or prime minister "might" do. I am sure al-Qaeda and other groups are very happy to have the information.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Got a couple of comments I'd like to add. I come from a military family but I find the use of atomic weapons on civilians to be disgusting. As for giving a warning beforehand... sounds familiar. By all means military military or terrorists, but never innocent civilians. Comparing the bombings to Pearl Harbour is a joke. Attacking a military base is entirely different than attacking a city. Yes the RAF Bomber Command and the USAAF bombers flattened German cities, and I'm not proud of that. Carpet bombing of cities is never right. If the A bombs were designed to end the war tgem why did they use two different types? They needed a testing ground to ascertain what the effects would be using two different weapons. Finally, I see some people are using the old "I vas only following orders" line. interesting.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@jerseyboy No, I don't think the unborn Japanese babies killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were capable of dropping A-bombs on anybody. Is that really the best excuse you got for supporting their murders?

In fact, I feel confident a majority of the women and children of those cities would not have dropped A-bombs on anybody. I don't think they knew enough about airplanes and nuclear bombs to do it.

Crush -- absolute rubbish. Of course the civilians in those two cities "would not have dropped A-bombs". So what? Their leaders certainly would have. The fact is that on July 26th, the tree Allied countries issued the Pottsdam Declaration stating that Japan needed to accept unconditional surrender immediately, or face "prompt and utter destruction". The fact that the military rulers in Tokyo thought they could stall and negotiate a conditional surrender with Russia was, as I said, rolling the dice with Japanese civilian lives. IMO those are the folks who are responsible for the deaths of the "unborn Japanese babies" we all mourn.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I think it was THE best thing to do. Had the bomb NOT been dropped Truman was preparing as an alternate contingency plan to invade Japan with massive ground forces, do you know what that would have meant?

Or simply accept the counter offer by the Japanese government.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The atomic bombs were beside the point. Had LeMay's aerial incendiary campaign continued for any number of months, Japan would have surrendered. The country was in absolute ruins. The firebombing killed more civilians that both atomic bombs combined.

In any event, both the atomic bombs and the aerial incendiary campaign averted the need for Operation Olympic, which would have resulted in an ungodly amount of U.S. and Japanese casualties, a prolongation of the war, and very likely a division of occupied Japan between the U.S. and the USSR.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@stranger

This is a mindset of a typical terrorist.

I think quite the opposite.

@5petals

Yes, it was the mind of the kamikaze and bonzai charges. defeat by any means necessary. Its why the A bombs were dropped.

Exactly!

Please don't make like the Japanese were the victims for no reason, ask yourself why were they targeted in the first place. What was the underlining catalyst?

@maple

I totally disagree that someone sitting in an airplane dropping bombs on civilians is a "war hero".

I think it was THE best thing to do. Had the bomb NOT been dropped Truman was preparing as an alternate contingency plan to invade Japan with massive ground forces, do you know what that would have meant? There would have been enormous casualities on both sides, so the decision was made to use the experimental bomb, either way, the war needed to end and the Japanese weren't going to surrender. Take the emotion out of it and as sad as it generally was, the bomb was the best thing to have happened it essentially saved more lives, imagine if there would have been a ground invasion, that meant, everyone would have armed themselves, even the women and children, I shutter to think of that frightening scenario. No one ever thinks about that or put some thoughtful contemplation on that part of the war issue.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

War hero-no War criminal-no War celebrity-yes He was just following orders. Paybacks are a bitch. If you don't want the chickens coming home, don't start it. Someone should tell that to Obama.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So much passion expressed about the Atomic bombing of Japan. More people died from the fire bombing of Tokyo or Dresden, than died from both Atomic bombs. Yet you all use passion to direct your arguments. If one is unable to argue succinctly, shut up!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The guy was just executing orders but I'd consider it a stretch to call him a hero when as someone said, all he did was drop a weapon of mass destruction on a lot of civilians.

Part of what we believe makes us better than terrorists or otherwise "savages" is that even when using war as a means of resolving conflicts, we have rules of engagement:

CONVENTION RESPECTING THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND The Hague, October 18, 1907 [Ratified by the U.S. Senate on March 10, 1908] ARTICLE XXV The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.

Protection of Civilian Populations Against Bombing From the Air in Case of War, League of Nations, September 30, 1938 [The Assembly] Recognizes the following principles as a necessary basis for any subsequent regulations: 1) The intentional bombing of civilian populations is illegal; 2) Objectives aimed at from the air must be legitimate military objectives and must be identifiable; 3) Any attack on legitimate military objectives must be carried out in such a way that civilian populations in the neighbourhood are not bombed through negligence;

One may argue that the Imperial Japanese Army never followed those rules of engagement. The easy way is to go tit-for-tat (what we did with the A-bomb I guess). Then who are we to go and judge them using those principles of Human Rights after the war? And don't even get me started with Communist China talking about Human Rights...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I do not see him as a hero or a villain.

He was part of the crew on the Enola Gay. Doubt he asked to be assigned for that mission, just another service man following orders if it wasn't the enola gay it would have been another B-29 with its assigned crew.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm sorry but I can only regard this man as the messenger of evil. Whether he was a pawn or not is beside the point. What he contributed to was/is the most evil act ever perpertrated by the human race on the human race and all lifeforms. No sympathy from me and certainly no honour. He was certainly no hero! I will never forgive the US for this act. I don't believe they were not aware of exactly what their actions would result in. In my opinion this is far worse than the atrocities Hitler commited. Good ridance to the last survivor of Enola Gay.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

@side kick Your reply is very laughable Pearl Harbor was a naval base. Besides, Japanese did not use a weapon of mass destruction there.

As I said there is no love in time of war you use what you have and the country with the most potent means will try end game. Are you saying because Pearl Harbor was a Naval base it was ok to bomb! That just like asking a deranged person why he killed everyone in his family. His reply is because they were at home!! That means there's no love!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why do people still continue to insist the atomic bombing was about ending the war when we now know different?

But we do not agree on this, as you know full well.

This is a very controversial topic. I think that this shortened the war, even if only marginally and it therefore saved Allied lives. How many Allied troops needed to die to justify the dropping of a bomb? You can argue that an American general could consider the minimum could be a single US soldier. Realistically it could have been several thousand before Japan sought peace.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I totally disagree that someone sitting in an airplane dropping bombs on civilians is a "war hero".

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The tit-for-tat "war criminal" or not baloney is just that: BALONEY! Rest in Peace, Sir, and thank you for your service to the USA and for your contributions to the Second World War. Having studied a LOT of the Second World War, having lived in Japan and been to Ukraine and Holland, I can state that the Second World War is summed up best by General William Tecumseh Sherman, who stated , "War is #%!@". The A-bomb drops on 8/6 and 8/9 or 45 didn't have to happen. Too bad the Japanese didn't know what American Public Sentiment was Concerning War on and up to December 7th of45.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Everything I've read about this bloke shows him to be a deeply thoughtful, intelligent man who did what he had to do without a moment of malice.

The idea that he is a "war criminal" is ridiculous.

@lucabrasi A cold, calculation killer is no better than an emotional, raging one.

The bombardment of civilian cities is a war crime. One who does so is a war criminal. Its very simple. But nationalist, friendship and familial passions cloud people's ability to reason out even the simplest of truths.

And anyone who thinks the Japanese would not have used the A-bomb if they had the capability is simply delusional.

@jerseyboy No, I don't think the unborn Japanese babies killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were capable of dropping A-bombs on anybody. Is that really the best excuse you got for supporting their murders?

In fact, I feel confident a majority of the women and children of those cities would not have dropped A-bombs on anybody. I don't think they knew enough about airplanes and nuclear bombs to do it.

That said, I am all good with killing the soldiers who took the job to perform such duties. But not their womenfolk and little children.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Everything I've read about this bloke shows him to be a deeply thoughtful, intelligent man who did what he had to do without a moment of malice.

The idea that he is a "war criminal" is ridiculous.

His status as "hero" probably depends on your point of view. I very much doubt he'd have called himself a hero.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The atomic bombing of civilians in two cities isn't just about the numbers who died but also the way those people died and the agony of those who survived the blast.

Why do people still continue to insist the atomic bombing was about ending the war when we now know different?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I salute the aviator and yes I'm a proud American he did what he was supposed to do serving his country. Do you salute those who bomber Pearl Harbor? The old saying is the man with the most toys win, don't hate the players hate the game I. this case the system!!!!!

Spot on. And anyone who thinks the Japanese would not have used the A-bomb if they had the capability is simply delusional. Calling this man a "war criminal" is simply more of the victim mentality. The war criminals were the military machine in Tokyo that refused to accept unconditional surrender until this act was necessary. They rolled the dice with the citizens of Japan and lost.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Many of the holy men of Imperial Japan were also guilty of war crimes, but never prosecuted. I do not include this man in the war crimes catagory, as he carried out an act that ended a never ending fanatical ideology. If it was up to Hirohito and his holy men, the fun and games would of continued until he had his cake and ate it. The US was sick of playing this childish game with them and ended it. It took these weapons, developed by superior US technology, to end that. Had the Japanese stolen this technology through the local spy network in the U.S., you can be assured that they would of used it.

I know next month there will be the usual August memorial to all things Hiroshima, with little said about Hirohitos role etc. but I know the real version of events.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I'm not pro or anti nuke, but for anyone who says these men are war criminals or commited genocide... are you really putting the bombing of two cities, however tragic, on the same level as the Nazi's campaign against Jews? Or the Rowanda situation?

This was an act of war between two countries. Innocents will die. That's the tragedy of war and hopefully will be a firm reminder how foolish war is in the first place. Furthermore, leaflets were dropped telling VERY specifically to evacuate the cities because hell is coming. Why they chose not to leave, and/or why the Japanese in a position of power didn't try to save their own citizens is mind boggling.

[http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/truman-leaflets/]

I'm not saying it was the right or wrong decision, but this was clearly not some cowboy-guns-blazing decision by Truman.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The atomic bombing may have ended the war, but the dropping of two huge atomic weapons on civilian populations and the killings of tens of thousands in such a horrific and savage manner can never be considered anything more than a very serious war crime alongside the fire bombing of cities including the British-American fire bombing of Dresden in Germany.

We also know the dropping of the cruel and inhumane atomic bombs was more about sending a message to the Soviet Union with its intentions in the Far East and China.

As for the crews of the bombers which dropped those evil weapons, they probably weren't informed totally about what would happen?

The dropping of atomic weapons on civilians, men, women, children, young babies and even pregnant mothers who had their unborn burnt into the tarmac or concrete will forever remain one of the darkest marks in the history of humanity.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Truman made the best decision to end the war

VanKirk and the bomb he helped guide ended the war? That is a myth that in America, is practically a religion. Its helps people accept their history of baby killing.

Indeed. Soviets fought the IJA in China almost till the end of August. The end of war takes place when the last soldier drops his weapon.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The US wasnt avenging Pearl Harbor with the Hiroshima attack. They had already avenged that wrong with the sinking of the Yamamoto and other recent victories in the pacific. Germany had fell, and the US and allies were tired of war. They wanted an end to it and Hirohito and his holy men would not budge. It had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor. Japan had killed millions throughout the pacific in its dreams of empire and its holy men at the top. An allied invasion of Japan would of meant the deaths of millions of japanese. Nobody in America equates Hiroshima with Pearl Harbor; they are taught that it was Trumans best option to end the war.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The ends does not justify the means.

Even if it did, I do not believe that the Japanese leadership gave a fig about the populace. They were prepared to throw them away like garbage. They did so during the Battle of Okinawa. They actually increased Kamikaze attacks even after it was clear the surprise wore off and the allies had developed tactics to reduce their effectiveness to weak at best. They armed the populace with bamboo spears as if that was any match for machine gun fire.

So no, the leadership did not care. And that is why they did not flinch at bomb number one. But when the Soviets entered the war, they knew the emperor was in jeopardy and so did the emperor himself. And they got bomb two at the same time as they got the Soviets. Yet it still took six days for the emperor to go on the radio and announce surrender!

The Japanese leadership were fanatics. There was actually a coup to attempt to keep the war going AFTER both bombs. Many committed suicide rather than accept defeat, which was imminent even without the bombs.

VanKirk and the bomb he helped guide ended the war? That is a myth that in America, is practically a religion. Its helps people accept their history of baby killing. And one of the most ridiculous parts of it is the attempted equating of Pearl Harbor with Hiroshima. Whatever your feelings about sneak attacks without a declaration of war, Pearl Harbor was a military base full of military personnel and only 2,403 people died. Hiroshima was a city full of unarmed civilians and estimates are that over 100,000 were killed. It takes a brain asleep to believe the two can be fairly equated.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@sidekick

Yes, it was the mind of the kamikaze and bonzai charges. defeat by any means necessary. Its why the A bombs were dropped.

-3 ( +5 / -7 )

It's war and to defeat the enemy you will use any means necessary to meet that objective.

This is a mindset of a typical terrorist. Kill any representative (tourists, for instance) of a certain nation by all means.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

The Japanese didnt have a weapon of mass destruction like the A bomb at the time of Pearl Harbor. If they would of had it, you can be assured they would of used it.

The discovery channel has some great original documentaries on the REAL events of WW2 and the Asia Pacific war. Truman made the best decision to end the war

Some of you always seem to forget to add that the US asked for Japan to end the war. They refused. As I remember, the terms werent that bad either. It was only after the 2nd bomb that genius Hirohito san decided that his own dreams of empire were not that important and risk total destruction.The Imperial holy men then went about blaming each other for their misadventures. Only a few saw the rope, and Hirohito was saved at Tojos expense.

Japan got a good deal. Had it been Russia, they would be a soviet state.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

So that's makes it legit? No, it does not! It's war and to defeat the enemy you will use any means necessary to meet that objective.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Do you salute those who bomber Pearl Harbor?

Pearl Harbor was a naval base. Besides, Japanese did not use a weapon of mass destruction there.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

He wasnt a war criminal; he was putting an end to the criminal regime that would of liked for all of us non human (I mean non japanese) to bow and pay tribute to holy hirohito. There should be a memorial for him and the rest of the crew put up to show gratitude for their great service, otherwise many of us would be singing Japanese praises while suffering under the sham known as the greater east asian coprosperity sphere.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

But if anyone has one,” he added, “I want to have one more than my enemy.”

VanKirk stayed on with the military for a year after the war ended. Then he went to school, earned degrees in chemical engineering and signed on with DuPont, where he stayed until he retired in 1985. He later moved from California to the Atlanta area to be near his daughter.

Like many second world war veterans VanKirk didn’t talk much about his service until much later in his life when he spoke to school groups, his son said.

“I didn’t even find out that he was on that mission until I was 10 years old and read some old news clippings in my grandmother’s attic,” Tom VanKirk said.

VanKirk’s military career was chronicled in a 2012 book, My True Course, by Suzanne Dietz. VanKirk was energetic, very bright and had a terrific sense of humor, Dietz recalled on Tuesday.

Interviewing VanKirk for the book, she said, “was like sitting with your father at the kitchen table listening to him tell stories”.

A funeral service was scheduled for VanKirk on 5 August in his hometown of Northumberland, Pennsylvania. He will be buried in Northumberland next to his wife, who died in 1975. The burial will be private.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/29/enola-gay-atomic-bomb-crew-van-kirk-dies-93#start-of-comments

I am sure he is alive hidden somewhere to have his final say

tsuduku

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@lucabrasi

we'd do well to give a thought to those, possibly millions, who would have lost their loved ones if the allies had been forced to invade

The completely unknowable potential deaths, versus the totally known 100s of thousands - largely civilians - who were actually murdered? Come on now, what sort of moral calculus is that?

Mass murder on that scale is never, ever justified. I don't really fault this man for following his orders but certainly the men who gave him those orders with full knowledge of the consequences are war criminals, same as all the other mass murderers in history. Their lack of regret spoke volumes.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@CrushThem Well said. I couldn't agree more.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@kaimycahl @FPSRussia

@Sidekick there is no love in war! I salute the aviator and yes I'm a proud American he did what he was supposed to do serving his country. Do you salute those who bomber Pearl Harbor? The old saying is the man with the most toys win, don't hate the players hate the game I. this case the system!!!!!

I couldn't agree more.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A true war hero can be generally recognized as such even by the former enemy.

For example, Manfred von Richthofen (aka The Red Baron). Sure he shot down a lot of allied planes and fought for the wrong side. But he refused orders to strafe ground troops. That makes him honorable twice over. One because he knew even armed soldiers on the ground were helpless against his plane and guns and two and most important HE HAD THE GUTS TO SAY NO.

I can imagine the spirit of von Richthofen meeting the spirit of Vankirk. Someone who refused orders to strafe ground troops faced with someone who helped bomb civilians. I imagine the spirit of von Richtofen needing the throw up at the sight of such a person...or beating him senseless.

There is also Shunsaku Kudo who ordered the rescue of 442 allied sailors from the sea, at great risk to his ship and himself.

Those calling VanKirk a hero probably also call baseball players heroes. In short, they don't know what heroes are.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

JTDanMan

The world is a safer place. I hate to imagine what the world would have been like if Japan had won. All the beauty the world has today would have been lost in the furnace that was Japan:s hatred towards other races. The rest of the world was labelled inferior. We were referred to as demons that had to be Emperor's words: "Cleansed from this planet".

Americans are compassionate and honorable in victory.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@globalwatcher

Sometime we are too arrogant and insensitive to others who lost their love ones.

While this is true, we'd do well to give a thought to those, possibly millions, who would have lost their loved ones if the allies had been forced to invade.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I know he was recognized as a war hero

It is very regrettable that the history is beautifying this guy to a war hero too much. He was not a war hero. He was just following the orders. He did not know anything about the Atomic bomb. He was a there for a wrong time and a wrong reason.

America has committed the worst crime and genocide in humanity. Sometime we are too arrogant and insensitive to others who lost their love ones. Be compassionate. In my book, I do not value inhumanity, period.

-2 ( +9 / -12 )

First, I am sad to see the last of an era fade fully into history. The past is never really dead; indeed it is not even the past.

To those who think either 1. War is bad, Full stop, or 2. Any variety of the Victor's Justice line of thinking, I ask you:

Do you honestly believe the world is not a better place with the defeat of Imperial Japan?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@Sidekick there is no love in war! I salute the aviator and yes I'm a proud American he did what he was supposed to do serving his country. Do you salute those who bomber Pearl Harbor? The old saying is the man with the most toys win, don't hate the players hate the game I. this case the system!!!!!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

“I know he was recognized as a war hero, but we just knew him as a great father,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday.

And I have no problem with this for in war, he's a hero in his home land but maybe considered war criminal in another.

"I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. ". Curtis LeMay

1 ( +7 / -6 )

WWII was a miserable time in world history to be sure. Atrocities were committed by all sides, whether Japanese enslaving and murdering many of their fellow Asians, Germans murdering and raping innocent Russians and then the Russian's taking their turn for some sweet revenge and doing the exact same thing to the Germans. It was a crazy, messed up time which saw the deaths of tens of millions of people around the globe. And it begs the question, can war in any of its hideous forms ever be justifiable? Body counts and methods of cruelty and destruction matter little to the victims.

11 ( +10 / -0 )

You followed orders and the actions did end the war. For that you should be proud.

@MarkG The only way to be proud of following orders to help bomb a city of women and children civilians is to live in near complete denial of reality and honor both. You have to reside in a mental la-la land where up is down and black is white, and where the good guys wear red hats with demon horns on them.

About the only excuse I could offer is if he was unaware that the bomb was not targeting a military facility or be limited to a military facility and would just flatten the entire city center.

I am very happy that no one in my family ever participated in a such a war crime to my knowledge.

There is no way I can give him so much as an RIP until I hear that clearly repented of his sin in life. Sounds like he didn't.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

As an American I salute this fine aviator. You served your country well. Hopefully the President will pay his respects to Tom VanKirk and the rest of the Enola Gay crew as he laid to rest in Yasukuni......opps......I mean Arlington....like all other war heroes. War heroes, not criminals.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

I don't think that the dropping of the bomb "end[ed] the war", so there is no need to feel proud. He was a soldier who followed orders and nothing more or less than that.

It did end the war, Japan gave their unconditional surrender, that's a fact. Whether he felt proud or not, is not my concern, none of us were there, we cannot understand what these men went through and felt, emotionally given the war circumstances at that time.

2 ( +13 / -10 )

Without nukes there would have been far more global conflicts in the last 70 years. WWII would have ended less decisively, probably with the USSR seizing more land in the Japanese archipelago, if not all of it. Additionally, as MarkG suggested, the Cold War would have been far less "cold", likely leading to progressive land grabbing by the USA and USSR.

I must disagree on one point in MarkG's comment: I don't think that the dropping of the bomb "end[ed] the war", so there is no need to feel proud. He was a soldier who followed orders and nothing more or less than that.

Regarding the article, I am reminded everyday that fewer people are alive today who experienced the last World War first hand...and as such we have fewer people alive to remind us of the folly of war.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

RIP

1 ( +5 / -4 )

A sad time when a nuke was used almost 70 years ago. I am not sure how I would feel if I were a crew member. Certainly not proud.

If only we had no nukes in the world. Fairy tail land, but I wish. But, would we have a better world? Would the 'cold war' have been more tense or worse w/o nukes?

RIP T. VanKirk. You followed orders and the actions did end the war. For that you should be proud.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

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