HAMAS AND HIROSHIMA

Sixty nine years ago this week, two atomic bombs were dropped on the nation of Japan. These were the first and only such bombs to be exploded on this planet. The bombs dropped on the empire of Japan. For over a dozen years the Japanese armed forces had murdered millions of innocent people. They had raped their way through cities such as Nanking, and Japanese officers regarded as normal taking photos of US airmen having their heads chopped off. The American people had not forgotten when thousands of US soldiers who surrendered in the Philippines were marched to their death. By 1945, the Japanese Navy was resting at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, its air force was down to a few hundred planes, and thousands of soldiers were attempting to flee for their lives in the jungles of Burma or on scattered areas of Asia. The people of Japan had been fire bombed by the US air force resulting in the death of over 80,000 in Tokyo and hundreds of thousands elsewhere.

After the initial atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, General Anami told the Cabinet his men were ready to fight on. Most Navy officers who were in the Cabinet said it was time to end the slaughter. But, Anami and his companions wanted to fight on and on. After the second bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Anami announced to the Cabinet, “there is life in Death.” He wanted to continue fighting. Even after the Emperor said it was time for peace, General Anami and his Army followers were not ready to end the war. Over a million Japanese civilians were dead. Anami said, “we can still eat grass, we must continue.” Thousands of children had been melted to death, but for Japanese military leaders, the only path was to fight in order to have a noble death.

There is remarkable similarity among Hamas leaders to this attitude of Death before Life. About 1900 were killed by the Israel army in Gaza. Most probably about 400-500 of these dead Palestinians were members of Hamas. The remainder were innocent civilians. Hamas leaders deliberately had their men mingle among civilians, a ploy that resulted in the death of innocent people. Inherent among Hamas followers is there is “Life in Death.” Unfortunately, as in Japan, those arguing for “life in death”invariably means civilians must die. There is something arrogant about deciding that someone else must die in order for you to maintain the “dignity” of fighting and killing.

An issue confronting American leaders in August, 1945 was whether or not they had options to avoid future bombing. Fortunately, Emperor Hirohito stepped in to end the fighting. If not for him, millions more would have died. The same issue confronts Israel leaders. Are there options to avoid further fighting with Hamas?