Ok, we were going to gas the Japanese if they didn't surrender, even after we dropped the nukes.
Just another pointer to the evils of America, right? How can we be claiming to be "saving lives" while plotting to murder people in a horrid way?
I think it's a very important point that preventing "our" casualties is probably more important to a government than preventing "theirs." That's how it should be. I mean optimally no one would die, but I think it's unreasonable to expect a government to risk casualties on its own side to prevent death on the other (which is why, for example, the US bombed the dust out of any Afghan resistance (occasionally hitting people's homes) before the first soldier ever set foot on the ground.) I can see how humanitarians can have a problem with that, but as a government, your priority (and your responsibility, by the way) is taking care of your own. And in a war, you have the responsibility to win, too.
Whether an extreme measure such as demonstrating our instane atomic power was really necessary to make the Japanese surrender is a question I am not qualified to answer - but it seems that it's not often disputed that they would have kept on fighting otherwise. The news of the plans to use gas doesn't shock me - if these people kept up the war even after having been nuked, how do we frighten them into stoping? If the use of the gas occurred, it would be only because the Japanese have decided to fight a losing war to the last of them. We couldn't be blamed for that, if it came to it - the selfdestructive decision would have been made on their side, and they would have forced our next move.
That's the rub, too. War is ugly, war is not fair. And most importantly, war is not simple to judge. Just because something we did was horrible and ugly, doesn't necessarily make it wrong. Sometimes you have to do fucked up things in a war. Or are these those among us here who'd claim that our tactics deprived us of our moral right in that conflict?
Is there a modern conflict in which we try to judge right and wrong based on bodycounts? One where we seem unable to see moral right behind the for of war? We want everything to fit into nice little packages like individually wrapped Twinkies for easy consumption. Stories like this confront us with the uglyness of war, and the occasional necessity to resort to it to prevent a greater evil.