A small historical irony about the recent weird effort to enlist the bombing of Hiroshima in defense of torture (torture begins with T, Truman begins with T—don’t you see it?): Whatever role the bombings played in hastening Japan’s unconditional surrender, it was probably enhanced by the testimony of captured Air Force First Lieutenant Marcus McDilda. Though he initially professed to know nothing about the Manhattan Project or the atomic bomb that had been dropped on Hiroshima—because he didn’t—under torture he “confessed” that, contrary to Japanese hopes that the Americans could not possibly have produced more than a few, the United States had hundreds ready for deployment, with Tokyo and Kyoto next on the list of targets. In this case, of course, that was best for all concerned but it’s one more reminder that information obtained under duress is not always the most reliable.
How Torture Helped the Allies in WWII
May 5th, 2009 · 66 Comments