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How noble. How altruistic. How naive. I refer to the Aug. 9 Viewpoints article by Leo Maley III and Uday Mohan, in which they cautiously criticize Harry Truman's decision to end World War II as quickly and humanely as possible by using the atom bomb.

As a 20-year-old aerial photographer, flying regularly scheduled missions from Palawan Island over the Pacific Ocean to our primary objective, the Island of Borneo, I fairly jumped for joy when I learned of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- and peace.

It meant I wouldn't have to go to Japan and be shot at and possibly wounded or killed. It meant I would eventually be going home.

Maley and Mohan should check the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War posts and hear the opinions of the sailors, soldiers, marines and airmen who put their flesh and blood on the line day after day, month after month, in the Pacific Theater campaign.

The invasions of the Japanese homeland islands were expected to result in one million American casualties, of which 300,000 were expected to be killed in action. During World War II, there were no innocent victims in Germany or Japan. There were the Axis Powers and us -- their opponents -- the Allies. All Germans and all Japanese were our enemies.

The British made no hypocritical pretense at pinpoint bombing. They pattern-bombed Germany at night, when it was safer for their air crews. The British, bless them, wanted to inflict pain, suffering and terror on the Nazis, their enemy. The British simply wanted to obliterate Germany.

To Maley and Mohan I say: Wake up and grow up! It was war, total war, and the sole objective in war is to win, by fair means or foul. About 55 million souls perished during World War II, and they want the Marquess of Queensbury rules?

GEORGE D. POE Cheektowaga