Hi Ken, no worries. I'd spend more time off the 'net if my job wasn't related. Maybe some day...
It's a very tricky subject and hindsight - although not in this case - is often 20/20. Here in the US, the history books teach us that we've done no wrong, we've bailed out all of our allies and have pushed civilization forward singlehandedly. Reading Chomsky and Zinn put me straight, a shock very similar to discovering that our parents indeed are not Santa's helpers as there is no Santa.
War is a foul and ugly thing. I couldn't tell you how necessary an evil it is because humanity seems to have known war for as long it has known food, shelter and sex. From what I've gathered, the only 'true' reasons for war are economical, the idealism is created for the citizens and for the troops. In the case of WWII, the US seemed like they had something to prove, and since the war wasn't on/near home soil, many innovations were attempted. Your statement of the bomb being a display to Stalin isn't something I've considered, and it's a great thought. Within the context of everything that immediately followed the war, it makes sense. I'd agree to the idea of cutting off vital resources, but there would have been many casualties going that route, a la Iraq in the 90s.
Never having been in the military or having a position of much authority, I don't know what I would have done. But holding the values that I do, and viewing human and all lives as something very special, dropping a weapon of that magnitude on civilian areas is unconscionable. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear the US had learned much after WWII, Vietnam, etc. Pearl Harbor is brought up from time to time this day, which is basically the precursor to 9/11 and the grudge-holding that my home country unfortunately obsesses over (including the Alamo in some parts).