Friday, November 2, 2007

Paul Tibbets, 92, Pilot of Enola Gay

Paul Tibbets, the pilot who ushered in the nuclear era, helping to end World War II, is dead at age 92. USA Today has a brief obituary:

Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the B-29 bomber Enola Gay, died today. He was 92.

Tibbets dropped an atomic bomb known as "Little Boy" over Hiroshima, Japan, at 8:16 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945. As many as 200,000 people may have been killed within five years by the blast and its aftereffects, according to the Energy Department. This website has photographs of the devastation the bombs wrought before they forced the Japanese government to surrender to Allied forces led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

The Associated Press reports that Tibbets, who retired from the Air Force as a brigadier general in 1966, had no regrets about his role in the world's first atomic airstrike. "You've got to take stock and assess the situation at that time. We were at war. ... You use anything at your disposal," he was quoted as saying in 1975. "I sleep clearly every night," he added.

Tibbets wanted to be cremated, with no funeral or grave marker left to inspire protests.

It's a sad commentary on the state of our politics that the man who helped save countless lives - and whose work hastened the end of the war - is today vilified as a mass murderer by the postmodernist America-bashers of the multiculturalist left. The Jawa Report cites this nasty attack on Tibbets, from White Noise Insanity:

Paul Tibbetts [sic] did not die a hero to America. I’m sorry, but it does not take a brave person to strap a bomb to a plane, fly high above a sleeping city, and then drop an atomic bomb on it! Only a coward could be proud of himself after doing something like that....

Not only was a he a typical reich winger throughout his life, meaning he had zero compassion for the people of our planet, but he managed to be the typical reich winger upon his death by being a coward. Why? He told his loved ones that he didn’t want a stone or a marker for his grave. Why? Well, apparently this “big brave reich winger” didn’t want Americans to stand around his grave protesting what he had done in WWII!

Tibbets is also attacked at The Progressive:

I’m making a partial exception to my self-imposed rule of not speaking ill of the dead.
Paul Tibbets, the pilot who dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima, died Nov. 1, unrepentant till the very end.

“I wanted to do everything that I could to subdue Japan. I wanted to kill the bastards. That was the attitude of the United States in those years,” he told an interviewer in 1995. “I have been convinced that we saved more lives than we took. It would have been morally wrong if we’d have had that weapon and not used it and let a million more people die.”

There was only one problem with his analysis: He was just plain wrong. In the last few decades, there has been a whole slew of studies showing that the dropping of the bomb was—militarily and strategically—completely unnecessary.

The Progressive piece cites revisionist historians who have criticized President Truman's decision to use nuclear weapons on Japan.

Other historians get the story right, however. In an essay published July 2005, on the eve of Hiroshima's 60th anniversary, Richard Frank, the author of a respected history of the Guadalcanal campaign, published a commentary piece in the San Fancisco Chronicle defending the decision to drop the bomb on Japan:

What if the United States had chosen not to use atomic weapons against Japan in 1945?

Americans typically believe that an invasion of Japan would have been the consequence, but four other possibilities have been raised: a diplomatic settlement; Soviet intervention in the Pacific theater; continuing war with dire effects on millions of Asians trapped in Japan's empire; and a new strategic bombing directive.

Contrary to wishful theories, no realistic prospect existed for a diplomatic settlement. The American aim of unconditional surrender was not just a slogan. It constituted the keystone to the enduring peace that followed. It provided the legal authority for the occupation of Japan and the ensuing fundamental renovation of Japanese society.

Japan's leaders opposed unconditional surrender precisely because they understood it meant the extinction of the old order dominated by the militarists and their consorts. That old order had started a war that killed more than 17 million people -- most of them Asian noncombatants. The strongest evidence that compromise remained out of reach is that even when the Japanese government finally issued its first real surrender offer on Aug. 10, 1945, it still demanded that the United States guarantee that substantial power would remain in the hands of the emperor.

Frank continues:

Had the war continued for two weeks or perhaps only a few days, the destruction of the rail system would have brought about the mass famine that probably would have prompted the Japanese to capitulate. But this also means that Japanese would have died by the millions.

What history without Hiroshima illustrates is that there was no alternative happy ending to the Pacific War. When realistic consideration is given to the alternatives, atomic bombs stand as the worst way to have ended the war - except all the others.

This is the context in which we should remember Tibbets. Also note these heartfelt words from the Flag Gazer:

Thank you, Paul Tibbets. Thank you for what you did for our country, thank you for ending the war, thank you for all of the lives you saved and all of us you allowed to be born. You will always be my hero. Farewell, and Walk with God.

Walk with God, yes...that's a much more appropriate eulogy.


Unknown said...

He not wanting a headstone tells it all about him. If he thought he did the right thing, that he did the will of God, that he saved lives by killing innocent people, then he should have insisted on a headstone that read Here lies the man who did the will of God by killing those for whom Christ died.
He did not want a headstone because he knew he is more hated than appreciated.
My peace about is is that when he died, God knew exactly what to do with him.