Retired Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets, Jr., who piloted the aircraft Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb used in war, died last week at the age of 92. The life story of Tibbets, Jr. ends with a bit of what I consider a tragedy that should never again befall an American hero.
When somebody says “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” these days, they could be referring to Michael Moore and Dennis Kucinich, but 60 years ago, devices sporting those seemingly innocuous monikers caused historically unmatched destruction, and ended a long war.
There are many who believe this makes the United States the bad guy (more than usual). Example: In a special to the Los Angeles Times on the death of Tibbets, the writer could barely wait until the third paragraph before saying this:
- The pilot never apologized for unleashing the devastating explosive force and insidious nuclear radiation that leveled more than two-thirds of the buildings in Hiroshima and immediately killed at least 80,000 people.
It’s implied almost immediately that Tibbets should have apologized. He never did. He never even came close. Why can’t Congress step in to make Enola Gay-bashing a hate crime and start a fund to give those seeking apologies for the war a free plane ticket to Tokyo where they can sit and wait for a post-mortem “I’m sorry” to emanate from the shrine of Tojo?
In 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, I read many stories and polls, some asking the eternal question of the Monday morning quarterback: “Was it necessary?”
Isn’t it strange that we don’t often see polls on whether or not it was “necessary” to attack Pearl Harbor in 1941?
As you would expect, many of the critics of Truman’s decision and Tibbets’ action are right here in the United States. It’s due to fears of anti-nuclear activists and other assorted fluttering moonbats that Paul Tibbets, Jr. requested no funeral service and no headstone. Tibbets didn’t want his funeral or gravesite to become a gathering place for protesters.
That an American hero feels he shouldn’t have a headstone in the very nation he helped save due to threats from the very people he helped save is a travesty, and this should add to our already increasingly uneasy feeling about the sorry state of political and historical education in this country.
There are no more tiny islands in the South Pacific that are inhabited by Japanese soldiers who don’t know the war’s over, but there are still not-so-remote corners of academia where you can find leftist professors who don’t think their world views have been completely discredited, and they gladly pass these views along to their students.
With the exception of 9/11, civilian deaths on the mainland America due to enemy action have been minimal. The geographic location of the United States made it tough for enemies of America to stage strikes on its soil. This was never due to lack of desire, but rather lack of ability.
Criticism of America’s bombing of civilians in other nations, while our enemies were unable to return the favor on the U.S. mainland, can be used to imply that these enemies focused intentionally on military rather than civilian targets (don’t tell that to the victims of the rape of Nanking or the other millions of Chinese civilians killed in the second Sino-Japanese War, or British victims of Germany’s Blitzkrieg) and the mean old United States didn’t return the nicety.
Because of this, some on the left find it easy to view the incendiary attacks on Dresden, carpet bombings on German and Japanese cities, and the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – millions of civilian casualties in all – and assume the United States was unfairly advantaged because Japan and Germany were unable to return the favor to Joe Sixpack and Rosie the Riveter in New York, Los Angeles and Paducah.
The American victory over Japan violated the tenet of leftist philosophy: fairness. They’ve read and seen “Failsafe” so much that the only acceptable final ending to the war would have been for Henry Fonda to order American planes to nuke New York – just as soon as all the professors at Columbia University were safely evacuated.
If the outcome of World War II wasn’t “fair,” then we should thank God for cheaters like Paul Tibbets, Jr., and may he rest in a peace as solemn as the one he and his comrades helped bring to the rest of the world.