From those who were there
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay:
"Ask me to do it again under the same circumstances, I wouldn't hesitate," he said during a stopover in Hawaii on Thursday. "I think I did the right thing."
[...] his stance has been backed by many retired Japanese servicemen, including Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Tibbets, 89, said he had the chance to meet Fuchida, who died in 1976, at a military reception some years after the war.
"The man ... walked up to me, stuck out his hand and he said, 'I'm Fuchida, shall we talk about it,"' Tibbets recalled. "I looked at him, he saw I didn't understand, he said, 'Man, I led the attack on Pearl Harbor.' I said to him, 'You sure did surprise us,' and he said, 'What the hell do you think you did to us?'
Many people, including myself, have wondered whether it was really necessary to drop a second bomb on Japan, this seems like one more reason to do just that:
"We talked for 30 to 40 minutes and he said, 'You did exactly the right thing because Japan would've resisted an invasion using every man, woman and child, using sticks and stones if necessary.' That would've been an awful slaughter."
There still is a lot of discussion as to the necessity of a second bomb, but given the morale of the Japanese at the time --they still hadn't officialy surrendered-- Nagasaki is more understandable in the face of history.
Speaking of which, Paul Tibbets on Iraq, bodycounts and the present media:
Since his retirement from the Air Force in 1966, Tibbets has remained an outspoken advocate of U.S. air power. But he said he can't evaluate U.S. air strikes in Iraq because he refuses to watch media coverage of the war.
"Do I watch it? No," Tibbets said. "Vietnam cured me, this business ... about body count. Oh, Lord, when they used to sum up that stuff and their success was measured by body count, I used to think, 'What a lousy way to judge anything that you're doing.'
Taking into consideration how many more sacrifices they made (on both sides!) ... .