60th anniversary of Hiroshima
Rob has an excellent post about the the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, the Red Army's August Storm, and the moral case against the nuclear attacks. Rob is a military historian, the guy who puts the "guns" in Lawyers Guns and Money.
He argues that the nuclear attack on Hiroshima was not necessary to expedite Japanese surrender:
I do think it's important to note, however, that forcing a Japanese surrender DOES NOT justify the bombing of Hiroshima. By August of 1945, Japan had no capacity to hurt the United States. The IJN was largely destroyed, and the air force was grounded. The United States could do with Japan what it would. Moreover, it was clear to us then and is clear to us now that the Japanese had been talking and thinking about surrender since April, and indeed would probably have accepted the terms that we later imposed upon them (maintenance of the Imperial institution, minimal war crime prosecution, continuance of most of the bureaucracy). The best that can be said of the Hiroshima attack is that it catalyzed the Japanese decision to surrender in August, rather than in October or December. It's remarkable, given the debate in the United States about the use of the atomic weapons, how uncontroversial this conclusion was in 1945. Neither the Navy nor the Army Air Force expected that an invasion would be necessary, even without the atomic bomb. The Army and Marines prepared for an invasion, but in 1945 expected far fewer casualties than the numbers that were later used to justify the atomic attacks. [Read the whole thing, of course.]
Steve Gilliard forcefully argues the opposite case at The NewsBlog.
Update: Orac reflects on the Hiroshima anniversary.