GOD FORBID THAT I should defend the Washington Post‘s veracity, but Elliott Negin’s piece was way off base (“How the Bomb Was Spun,” 8/18). Negin evidently believes that historian Kai Bird, Enola Gay exhibit adviser Stanley Goldberg, and others have the facts on their side and that these revisionists are the “mainstream” of historical interpretation of these events. Negin is thus led to speculate about how the Post could end up taking a “right-wing” stance. This is totally wrong.
The revisionists are really coming from not a historical but a moral judgment: The bomb should never have been developed or used, and should be banned at once. This is perhaps a defensible moral stand, but it leads them to distort history and make villains out of all who had anything to do with developing or using the bomb. Read Stanley Weintraub’s recent The Last Great Victory: The End of World War II, July-August 1945 and the extensive literature cited there. Truman used the bomb to end the war as quickly as possible for many reasons, all of which made sense then and still do today for most of us. Truman was fully aware of the moral issue involved and accepted complete responsibility. Case closed.
The Post probably changed its opinion because someone in the editorial page section actually read a few of the sources and drew a correct conclusion. Hey, even the Post gets thing right once in a while.