Any "point" the United States government sought to make about its newly devised military power, whether to the Japanese or to the Soviets, had already been made all too well by its devastating explosion of an atomic bomb over Hiroshima three days earlier. The decision to drop the second bomb must be condemned by every decent person as a gratuitous criminal act. The U.S. armed forces had already killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians by fire-bombing the highly flammable houses and other structures in which the people lived and worked. To kill another huge number of people -- men, women, and children, prisoners of war, foreigners, and other innocent persons in the city -- was a war crime, plain and simple. That many Americans continue, even today, to defend this senseless and flagrantly brutal act is shameful.Though you probably never learned it in school, Nagasaki was the center of Christianity in Japan at the time, and home to the largest Roman Catholic cathedral in the country. The city was, ironically, a haven for Christians who had escaped persecution in other parts of Japan over the centuries.