Before war starts: get the facts straightIn chiding...

the Forum

January 14, 1991

Before war starts: get the facts straight

In chiding Americans for their reluctance to use weapons of mass destruction on the eve of our president's war with Iraq, one of your pro-war columnists repeats some common lies alleging the virtue of nuclear holocausts and nuclear brinksmanship.

Paul Greenberg states that the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, "spared [the lives] of thousands of young Americans [and] millions of Japanese who would have perished in bloody invasion of the home islands (planned to commence Nov. 1, 1945)."

This quote fairly states Harry Truman's claim about the good effects of the atomic massacres at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but it is contradicted by the official U.S. government investigation of the effects of the atomic bombings.

The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Summary (Pacific Theater) reported in 1946: "Based on a detailed investigation of the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the survey's opinion that certainly prior to Dec. 31, 1945, and in all probability prior to Nov. 1, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."

Greenberg also ignores contradictory facts in his claim that Dwight Eisenhower brought peace to Korea in 1953 by threatening nuclear war. Ike's administration did repeatedly warn of "massive retaliation" against "communist aggression," but President Eisenhower rejected hawkish advice to actually use nuclear weapons both in Korea (1953) and Vietnam (1954).

The Korean peace was a bitter stalemate, hardly the model of victory for massive force that Greenberg would like to see applied to Saddam Hussein. Greenberg's ignorance of past wars makes him a sorry guide for jumping into a new one.

Carleton W. Sterling



I find it incredible that President Bush would seriously consider a shooting war in the gulf. If he actually does institute hostilities, he is as insane and as inhumane as Saddam Hussein.

Diane Homberg

Glen Burnie

Not just Christians

No, this is not a Christian nation. Sentiment aside, it is a nation largely of Christian people who, along with others who are not, are the citizens of this country ` an American nation. This conforms with the egalitarian spirit of Americanism itself.

Incidentally, why is it that some Christians cite the "Judeo-Christian ethic," in which national morality is supposed to be grounded? Then should it not be called a Judeo-Christian nation? Maybe theology matters just a bit more.

R. D. Reese


Missing father

What an involving story about Sonya Jones (Dec. 31), who lives with her four children in a Towson motel room, struggling to survive on a meager salary from temporary work! Ms. Jones is to be commended and encouraged for her determination and resolve.

But surely these four children were not miraculously conceived. Surely each of them has a father. Many people who read Ms. Jones' story must have wondered, as I did: Why must this mother support her children all alone? How can the father simply walk away from his responsibility in these children's lives?

This is, of course, a question larger than just this little family. It is a question central to many of our social problems, and it needs to be more seriously addressed.

Elizabeth Toland


Enough already!

Doubling up on the already overburdened working-class taxpayer is more than the average person can take.

I do not believe in protest without suggesting solutions. So I hereby submit both my protest against all of the additional taxes and at least a partial solution.

First, the governor froze state hiring, then hired defeated local politicians to lucrative state positions. Why?

The governor should now freeze all increases in salary, beginning with his own. Instead of laying off state employees, who would be an extra burden on the state unemployment fund, he should ask them to take a 1 percent reduction in pay, including those at the top. The unions would probably agree to this, since they proposed a one-day-per-month furlough.

Next, the governor should forget hiring special commissions (such as the Linowes panel) at some fabulous amount to study ways to enhance state revenues. There are already employees in government who are supposed to know the inner workings. Most of the Linowes proposals hit hardest at the persons who are trying to save a penny.

If we are going to be fair, and have everyone pay his or her fair share, we should initiate a sales tax on everything except prescription medicines. It works in Nevada; why not here?

George W. Baldwin

Ellicott City

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