> Perhaps you're right, but I still fail to see how the United
> States maintained the moral high ground by bombing civilians.

Like Jim, I don't know what constitutes "moral high ground" in a war. 
Note that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both industrial cities, and thus 
legitimate targets, just like Dresden. If the US was going for 
demoralizing civilian casualties, why didn't they nuke Tokyo?

Since 1945, there has been a moratorium in usage of nuclear weapons 
during war, one which the US has scrupulously observed, and in fact has 
even taken a lead role in carving out such "international law". In 1945, 
no such law existed. It's anachronistic (and worse) to try to hold the 
US of 1945 to a code of conduct that didn't exist at the time.

> I think a "demonstration" about 5 miles offshore might have
> accomplished the same purpose.

Maybe, or maybe not. In either case, I think this suggestion is naive at 
best. Developing nuclear weapons was hugely expensive -- so now the US 
is supposed to give up its advantage of surprise by openly announcing to 
the enemy its secret weapon, giving them a demonstration, no less? 
That's simply not how it's done. I doubt any intelligent and honest 
military commander would have done any such thing.

To repeat: Japan was the aggressor. They killed many of our men and 
women in battle, and tortured and killed many other POWs. They committed 
atrocities that are even now being discovered, disclosed, and rued. At 
any time, they could have openly surrendered and been spared the further 
consequences of war. They chose not to. That is not the US' fault, no 
matter how you slice it.


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