The 60th Anniversary of V-J Day

by Timothy Horrigan
August 19, 2005

This is a letter I wrote for my local paper— Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, NH)— about Bush II's actions at the time of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II (i.e., VJ Day.) I wrote it on August 18, 2005, and sadly it never got published. The letter was in large part inspired by Bush II's August 11 Israel TV interview, where he threatened to invade Iran.

The 60th anniversary of one of the greatest events in American history is passing by almost unnoticed: this is the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

World War II is still the bloodiest conflict in history, and the Pacific War climaxed with acts of violence which are still unsurpassed: in August 1945, American planes dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and we also fire-bombed Tokyo and other cities.)

Given what has happened in Iraq during the past few years, it is understandable why President Bush does not want to draw too much attention to what happened 60 years ago. For starters, President Roosevelt had five adult children who all joined in the war effort. Jenna and Barbara Bush have very conspicuously chosen not to serve.

Presidents Roosevelt and Truman did not declare victory until the war was in fact over. Bush unfurled his “Mission Accomplished” banner in May 2003. However, most of our casualties in Iraq have happened after his victory dance on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.

President Truman showed a willingness to declare peace when the opportunity finally arose. The Americans wanted Japan to surrender “unconditionally.” Truman was willing to compromise at the end of the war by allowing the emperor to stay in place, along with most of the existing power structure in both the public and private sectors--- while still calling the peace agreement an “unconditional surrender”

It is time for Bush to declare peace in Iraq.

Ironically, Bush recently tried to do the opposite. On August 11, 2005, exactly 60 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Bush gave a little-noticed interview with Israeli TV where he proposed a joint Israeli-American attack on Iran (ostensibly because of Iran's nuclear weapons program.) Understandably, the Israelis did not take Bush up on his offer.

Timothy Horrigan; Durham NH

Read The Forgotten Liars, the novel by Timothy Horrigan