Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Nagasaki Controversy

No, not the usual "should we have - shouldn't we have" nonsense (dispensed with here). A military historian who has done extensive research into the atomic bomb program and the conduct of the atomic missions over Japan contacted me with a bombshell of his own: The Nagasaki mission almost went south due to incompetence of command.

John Coster-Mullen, author of "Atom Bombs: The Top Secret Inside Story of Little Boy and Fat Man," emailed me in late August 2006 to compliment me on my documentary, "Nagasaki: The Commander's Voice." He also had some interesting information about the late Charles Sweeney, commander of the mission, who apparently was not held in very high regard by some of his comrades at the 509th Composite Group, mostly due to the content and tone of Sweeney's book, War's End, published in 1997.

I'm not sure that I agree with the assessment. Not so much that things weren't a little rough on the way to the target. But in my book, if you get there, deliver your ordnance, and get your people back in one piece, then you've done your job. Examine any military operation, particularly those involving new and difficult equipment and tactics, and you are going to find many, many flaws.

But go here to have a look for yourself.