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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

August 6, 1945, A Day of Shame

Today is the anniversary of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. This war crime was to the shame of us all. Three days later, the Allies did it again by dropping the bomb on Nagasaki.

Throughout most of my life I accepted the explanation that it was a necessary act to shorten the war with Japan and save possibly 100's of thousands of lives, particularly American lives.

Like most explanations for military actions. this was a lie, a big lie. We now know that the Japanese were trying to negotiate a surrender. They knew they had lost the war. Their navy and air force were destroyed . Their cities were suffering terrible damage through conventional bombing. The necessity of the A bomb cannot be justified.

The military leadership of the United States was almost to a man opposed to using this new and dreadful weapon.

Why then, was the Atomic Bomb used? President Harry Truman made the decision. It most likely was used because the US had it and it needed to be tested in action. This decision was made easier because the "Japs" had been demonized as little yellow fanatical men whose lives were less valuable than Westerners. In short, racism made it an easier decision.

The bomb worked even "better" than expected. The cold war race to have this technology in military arsenals began. I have lived most of my life under the threat and fear of the Atomic bomb. It continues with even more nations playing the dangerous threatening game..

We have become somewhat used to living with the bomb. So much so, with limited protest we find the US using depeted uranium on bombs and they talk of using small nuclear weapons. The question is not if the Atomic Bomb will be used again but when it will be used. The time has long passed when the nuclear weapons should be destroyed. They are the only true weapons of mass destruction.

Today is a day to remember and think what threat we live under.


At 5:17 p.m., Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

Excellent Post Philip... 101% behind your sentiments and thoughts of on this.

At 12:11 p.m., Blogger Alyssa said...

A number of years back I saw a British documentary about the dropping of the bomb and how it wasn't needed. I don't know if there would be any circumstance that could warrant the horror and total, long-lasting destruction that an atomic bomb brings. Yes, it is another shameful time in our history. Very good post!

At 8:20 p.m., Blogger sandegaye said...

I have been brought to your blog thru Juliepoolie.
This is an EXCELLENT post.. as a child of the '50's I bought that old song & dance about 'ending of the war' as well.. what a crock 'o crap!
I'm enjoying your site..

At 10:40 p.m., Blogger Navigator said...

I read expose in the link you provided. If one takes it at face value, it was entirely coincidental that Japan surrendered immediately after Nagasaki.

The author does not say much about the internal power struggle in Japan between the politicians and the military leaders. There was a reason why a decision taken by the Emperor in April to try to stop the war made no progress until after Nagasaki. At one point, the military discussed a coup d'etat to remove the Emperor from the influence of the politicians. None of that is to say that the atom bombings were necessary. However, they certainly destroyed any lingering moral authority that the Bushido code-infused military leaders could muster in opposition to surrender.

A similar problem occurred during the Cuban missle crisis when the American government was not completely sure who was in charge of the Soviet Union and whether it could get a satisfactory solution short of war.

What is clear is that it was only a matter of time before some nation cracked the atom and turned it into a weapon. If it hadn't been the U.S., it could have been Britain, France or the Soviet Union.

It is significant that despite there being thousands of these things and much more powerful than the Japanese bombs, and in the hands of many nations, no nation has ever dared use them again after seeing what happened in Japan.

Truman subsequently fired the most popular general in the United States, Douglas MacArthur, who despite his jumping on the - "shouldn't have nuked Japan bandwagon" - wanted to use the bomb on China during the Korean War. If Truman had not had the hindsight brought by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he likely would have used it on China.

No nation has a greater cause to consider a nuclear option that Israel, yet it has stayed its hand. Likewise, despite the ongoing emnity between Pakistan and India, they too have refrained from nuclear exchange.

I don't think you will see an A- bomb used as a result of a decision by a nation, including Iran if it ever gets one. But that doesn't mean some non-state actor might not be tempted to try one on.

What completely baffles me is why no serious effort is made to get a comprehensive treaty to put these things away forever. If I were running the world that would be my first order of business.


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