Update: a couple of nights ago, Jon Stewart said on The Daily Show:
The other night we had on Cliff May. He was on, we were discussing torture, back and forth, very spirited discussion, very enjoyable. And I may have mentioned during the discussion we were having that Harry Truman was a war criminal. And right after saying it, I thought to myself that was dumb. And it was dumb. Stupid in fact. So I shouldn’t have said that, and I did. So I say right now, no, I don’t believe that to be the case. The atomic bomb, a very complicated decision in the context of a horrific war, and I walk that back because it was in my estimation a stupid thing to say.
Me: I give the man great credit for saying that. Like most people in the media (news and entertainment alike and the line between the two grows fuzzier every day) Jon Stewart is a liberal defender of the NY/LA Establishment conventional wisdom. But he also is a smart guy, an extraordinarily funny and talented guy and, by the way, a gentleman — which is not so common nowadays.
That said, over on Hot Air’s Allahpundit has this to say about Stewart’s change of heart:
He’s sorry, he’s just not sure why he’s sorry. The closest we get to an explanation is that the decision to drop the bomb was “complicated,” but of course that’s why Cliff May brought it up — to draw a parallel with the decision to waterboard terrorists.The moral calculus about how far to go in roughing up jihadis to save how many lives is difficult, as was the calculus about how many lives would be saved in the long run by incinerating Japanese kids in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war. The fact that Stewart is a hard no on the former yet considers the latter iffy suggests a mentality I simply can’t fathom. Is it just a matter of Truman having been a Democrat, whose motives were therefore pure, as opposed to Bush supposedly getting his Republican rocks off by torturing terrorists? Or is it that Truman’s already been vindicated by history and isn’t safe to criticize the way Bush still is?
Also Bill Whittle at PJ Media provides a history lesson on the use of atomic weapons to end WW2e.