Unbroken--and the Bomb
By David Henderson
Like co-blogger Arnold, I’m a big fan of Lauren Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken. I highly recommend it. I was shocked and disappointed, though, by the following statement from Arnold:
When the inevitable movie arrives, it will be interesting to see whether the screenwriters seek to tone down the Japanese abuses of prisoners or to dilute them by reaching for some sort of moral equivalence. If not, then by the time the atomic bomb makes its appearance, your only second thought will be to wish that the U.S. had dropped more of them.
Yes, it will be interesting to see if they tone it down or reach for some sort of moral equivalence. That’s not where I take issue. It’s with Arnold’s second sentence above. I did not find myself at all wishing that the U.S. government had dropped more bombs on Japanese people. I think it’s very important to hold people accountable for their actions and not the actions of others. I would have loved to see a certain Japanese prison guard in the movie executed: you’ll know which one when you read the book. But killing hundreds of thousands of other Japanese people? No way.
I’ve written on this elsewhere, an article titled “Remembering Hiroshima.” Since then, I’ve learned from my friend Jeff Hummel that there’s a whole literature that I hadn’t known about when I wrote and that I leaned too heavily on Gar Alperowitz. Still, I stand by much of which is in this article.