The Hoover Institution has published a set of photographs discovered in 1945 by Robert Capp, an American serving in the US occupation force. The photos, taken by an unknown Japanese photographer, show the remains of victims of the bombing of Hiroshima. As Wenran Jiang, professor of political science at the University of Alberta noted at NBR’s Japan Forum, “Unlike most photos of the Hiroshima bombing, these dramatically convey the human as well as material destruction unleashed by the atomic bomb.”
These photos do not in and of themselves settle the argument on the justness of the bombing of Hiroshima, but they serve as a reminder that no matter how just we think our ends are, we must never allow the pursuit of justice to blind us to the consequences of the means. The death of human beings — of individuals — is an end too, which must not be written off as “collateral damage,” an unfortunate byproduct of our pursuit of justice.