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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/2/13

Army Teaches Wrong Lesson in Nation's High Schools

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Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet echoed the sentiments of his colleagues, "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace" The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan."

"Truman appointed a committee to evaluate using the atomic bomb. The committee examined many options, including a demonstration in Tokyo Bay, but Los Alamos was uncertain the device would detonate. Rather than lose a valuable war asset, and to emphasize its destructive power, the committee recommended dropping the atomic bomb on a city."

Secretary of State James Byrnes, Truman's personal representative on the Interim Committee, was the most influential member of the committee and steered policy in the direction of using the new weapon without warning on a Japanese city.  It was Byrnes who saw the bomb as a promising way to keep the Soviets in line in the post-war era.

Impressionable high school juniors are on the receiving end of this despicable propaganda. It is astonishing how easily the Army's authors dismiss a quarter-million lives.

The discussion of the decision to drop the bomb in the JROTC text ends with the following:

"When thinking of ethical decisions that affected U.S. and world history, try to imagine how history would have been changed if the Atomic bomb had not been dropped on Japan during World War II. Would the war have continued much longer?  Would the U.S. have been attacked again by the Japanese, as they had been at Pearl Harbor the year before?  Because the Soviet Union had declared war on Japan on August 8th, do you think that thousands of Soviet and U.S. soldiers would have lost their lives?"

Based on the information contained in the JROTC text, it is "clear" to American high school students that the war would have dragged on indefinitely if we hadn't dropped the bomb. We had to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki to keep the Japanese from attacking America as they did in 1944, and we had to do this to save American and Soviet lives!

JROTC lessons are developed and taught by Senior Army Instructors (SAIs) and Assistant Instructors (IAs). Although SAI's have college degrees, they are typically not state-certified teachers.  AIs must be retired from the Army and may be hired with a high school diploma provided they earn an associate's degree within five years. AIs are the only unsupervised non-professionals allowed to instruct students in classrooms in most states across the country.

Public school officials rarely exercise control over the curricular content of the JROTC program or the professional qualifications of its instructors. It's time they did.

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Pat Elder is the Director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy, www.studentprivacy.org  an organization that works to prohibit the automatic release of student information to military recruiting services gathered through the administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) in high schools across the country. 

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Pat Elder is the Director of the National Coaliton to Protect Student Privacy, www.studentprivacy.org, NNOMY

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