Once unleashed, wars tend to create their own necessities and rules.

William Rees

In his 7/31/14 article Gary Kohls pontificates about “The Hiroshima Myth and the Glorification of American Militarism.”  As usual, he is mostly regurgitating old conventional wisdom from the far Left, (usually exaggerated, often manipulated by its leaders and often completely wrong)..
He is recycling old arguments of people who had little idea of what they were talking about.
The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were undeniably horrendous acts, as is all war.  The person or group that starts a war (the aggressor) is responsible for all its consequences, because the defender is forced to do whatever is necessary to protect himself and discourage the same horror from happening again.  Once unleashed, wars tend to create their own necessities and rules. As an aside, I must note that many things FAR worse than Hiroshima and
Nagasaki have actually happened.  The Stalin dictatorship in the Soviet
Union cost something like 20 to 40 million mostly innocent lives.
The Mao dictatorship in China cost perhaps twice that many innocent lives.
In Rwanda in 1994, about 800,000 innocent people (7% of population) were murdered by machetes (Supposedly bought by a political faction from China for $0.75 each).  This slaughter could not have been even contemplated had gun ownership been common.
The first sentence in Kohls’ article contains the phrase “...the whole truth of which...”  The “Whole Truth” can NEVER be found in conventional wisdom. It is well known among professional historians that the best studies of any war usually begin to appear more than 20 years after the war.  There is a 1991 book that I think is the definitive study of the end of our war against Japan.
The book is titled “Downfall - The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire,” by Richard B. Frank.  It made much use of both U.S. and Japanese archives, none of which were available to  those who created the “conventional wisdom.  It has 14 pages of bibliographic notes and 23 pages of index.  No one can intelligently comment on the atom bombing of Japan without first reading this book with care and citing it.
At the front of the book, J. Robert Oppenheimer (A brilliant Leftist
scientist later suspected of disloyalty) , Scientific Director, Los Alamos
Laboratory, is quoted as follows:
“The Supreme War Council (Japan) ...was making every possible
preparation to meet an American landing.  They proceeded with that plan until the Atomic Bomb was dropped, after which they believed ...that the United States need not land when it had such a weapon; so at that point they decided that it would be best to sue for peace.”
But some Japanese leaders did not agree even after the Hiroshima bombing. One argued that if Japan was willing to sacrifice 20 million lives the U.S. invasion could be deterred or repelled.  Author Frank writes: “An extraordinarily select circle of men maintained a stranglehold over Japan’s political structure in 1945.  In the final accounting. those who exercised any say whatsoever numbered no more than a few score; those who wielded actual power of decision numbered no more than eight: the six members of an inner cabinet titled the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, the Emperor, and his principle advisor, Lord Keeper of the Privy
Seal Marquis Koichi Kido.”
And these VERY select people also had serious personal concerns.
Assassination of political leaders had become fairly common in Japan even before the war.  In these extremely tense times this was a larger threat than ever.
The Emperor, normally non-political but always held in reverence, finally made the surrender decision.  He recorded a message to the Japanese people (a VERY rare action) to be broadcast the next day.  A young Army staff officer immediately organized an effort to invade the Palace that night and destroy the recording.  They failed, and the leader shot himself. The surrender proceeded and there were very important side-effects.  Japan’s food supply was quite inadequate and what there was could not be adequately distributed.  Large parts of the population faced actual famine in months if not weeks.  The Emperor wrote his son after the surrender that had the war continued, he would not have been able to safeguard the “three holy regalia,” and most of his subjects would have perished.
“Immediately after the defeat, some estimated that 10 million people were likely to starve to death,” wrote a Japanese historian.  Gen. MacArthur had 80,000 tons of food shipped into Japan from Pacific stockpiles.  The U.S. shipped 600,000 tons of food to Japan in 1946 and 800,000 tons in 1947.
Japanese Premier Suzuki explained in December 1945 that the Supreme War Council was proceeding with the single plan of fighting a decisive battle at the invasion landing point, until the Nagasaki bomb.  At that point they decided that the U.S. did not need to land and thus there was no way to fight them.  The bomb also made it possibile for the top leaders to save some face by claiming that it was the atom bomb that defeated them, not the enemy military.
Interestingly, even with all the U.S. bombing, the war cost Japan only 3.6% of its population, far less than Germany (10.8 %) or the Soviet Union (13.8%).  Two territories that never even fought but were occupied by Japan suffered worse losses than she, Indochina (4.1%) and Indonesia (5.8%).  One might call this a cost of “Peace through weakness.”

(NOTE: The numbers in the last paragraph are from “World War II casualties” - Wikipedia.)

The author grew up on a family farm in KY and worked as an adult farm laborer from age 12 to 22 when not in school.  In college, he earned a BS in Agriculture and an Air Force commission, then served as an Air Force pilot for more than 25 years as an Air Defense fighter pilot in the Cold War. He also flew 850 hours during 185 combat missions as a Forward Air Controller over Vietnam.  He also served as Air Force Representative at the U.S. Army Infantry School and as advisor to the Air National Guard in Maine. The Air Force transferred him to Duluth in 1976 and his children were born and grew up here.