On this 64th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, I saw a chilling post at the LA Times about poll results showing that a majority of Americans, 61%, believe dropping the bomb was the right thing to do. For the record, I think it was definitely the wrong thing to do.
Here are some quotes (see Wikipedia for sources) from the past about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ....
"Mechanized civilization has just reached the ultimate stage of barbarism. In a near future, we will have to choose between mass suicide and intelligent use of scientific conquests[...] This can no longer be simply a prayer; it must become an order which goes upward from the peoples to the governments, an order to make a definitive choice between hell and reason."
- Albert Camus, from an Aug. 8, 1945 editorial in a French newspaper
"Let me say only this much to the moral issue involved: Suppose Germany had developed two bombs before we had any bombs. And suppose Germany had dropped one bomb, say, on Rochester and the other on Buffalo, and then having run out of bombs she would have lost the war. Can anyone doubt that we would then have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and that we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them?"
- Leo Szilard, from a U.S. News & World Report interview
"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons... The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion , and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children."
- Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman
"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan."
- Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
"Combatant and noncombatant men and women, old and young, are massacred without discrimination by the atmospheric pressure of the explosion, as well as by the radiating heat which result therefrom. Consequently there is involved a bomb having the most cruel effects humanity has ever known. . . . The bombs in question, used by the Americans, by their cruelty and by their terrorizing effects, surpass by far gas or any other arm, the use of which is prohibited. Japanese protests against U.S. desecration of international principles of war paired the use of the atomic bomb with the earlier firebombing, which massacred old people, women and children, destroying and burning down Shinto and Buddhist temples, schools, hospitals, living quarters, etc. . . . They now use this new bomb, having an uncontrollable and cruel effect much greater than any other arms or projectiles ever used to date. This constitutes a new crime against humanity and civilization."
- an official protest over the atomic bombing to the U.S. State Department filed through the Swiss Legation in Tokyo, Aug. 11, 1945, and suppressed for 25 years by the US government
The bombing of non-combatant populations violated international and humanitarian laws."
- from the US government in 1938 to Japan, for its bombing of Chinese cities