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63 years since Hiroshima Atom Bomb


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Decent article in the Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/06/secondworldwar.warcrimes

When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then walked down to the river and met a man called Yukio, whose chest was still etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

 

He and his family still lived in a shack thrown up in the dust of an atomic desert. He described a huge flash over the city, "a bluish light, something like an electrical short", after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. "I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead." Nine years later, when I returned to look for him, he was dead from leukaemia.

 

In the immediate aftermath of the bomb, the allied occupation authorities banned all mention of radiation poisoning and insisted that people had been killed or injured only by the bomb's blast. It was the first big lie. "No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin" said the front page of the New York Times, a classic of disinformation and journalistic abdication, which the Australian reporter Wilfred Burchett put right with his scoop of the century. "I write this as a warning to the world," reported Burchett in the Daily Express, having reached Hiroshima after a perilous journey, the first correspondent to dare. He described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries but who were dying from what he called "an atomic plague". For telling this truth, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared - and vindicated.

 

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a criminal act on an epic scale. It was premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. For this reason its apologists have sought refuge in the mythology of the ultimate "good war", whose "ethical bath", as Richard Drayton called it, has allowed the west not only to expiate its bloody imperial past but to promote 60 years of rapacious war, always beneath the shadow of The Bomb.

 

The most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and save lives. "Even without the atomic bombing attacks," concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, "air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that ... Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."

 

The National Archives in Washington contain US government documents that chart Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the US dispels any doubt that the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including "capitulation even if the terms were hard". Instead, the US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was "fearful" that the US air force would have Japan so "bombed out" that the new weapon would not be able "to show its strength". He later admitted that "no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb". His foreign policy colleagues were eager "to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip". General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the bomb, testified: "There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis." The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the "overwhelming success" of "the experiment".

 

Since 1945, the United States is believed to have been on the brink of using nuclear weapons at least three times. In waging their bogus "war on terror", the present governments in Washington and London have declared they are prepared to make "pre-emptive" nuclear strikes against non-nuclear states. With each stroke toward the midnight of a nuclear Armageddon, the lies of justification grow more outrageous. Iran is the current "threat". But Iran has no nuclear weapons and the disinformation that it is planning a nuclear arsenal comes largely from a discredited CIA-sponsored Iranian opposition group, the MEK - just as the lies about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction originated with the Iraqi National Congress, set up by Washington.

 

The role of western journalism in erecting this straw man is critical. That America's Defence Intelligence Estimate says "with high confidence" that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 has been consigned to the memory hole. That Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never threatened to "wipe Israel off the map" is of no interest. But such has been the mantra of this media "fact" that in his recent, obsequious performance before the Israeli parliament, Gordon Brown alluded to it as he threatened Iran, yet again.

 

This progression of lies has brought us to one of the most dangerous nuclear crises since 1945, because the real threat remains almost unmentionable in western establishment circles and therefore in the media. There is only one rampant nuclear power in the Middle East and that is Israel. The heroic Mordechai Vanunu tried to warn the world in 1986 when he smuggled out evidence that Israel was building as many as 200 nuclear warheads. In defiance of UN resolutions, Israel is today clearly itching to attack Iran, fearful that a new American administration might, just might, conduct genuine negotiations with a nation the west has defiled since Britain and America overthrew Iranian democracy in 1953.

 

In the New York Times on July 18, the Israeli historian Benny Morris, once considered a liberal and now a consultant to his country's political and military establishment, threatened "an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland". This would be mass murder. For a Jew, the irony cries out.

 

The question begs: are the rest of us to be mere bystanders, claiming, as good Germans did, that "we did not know"? Do we hide ever more behind what Richard Falk has called "a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted violence"? Catching war criminals is fashionable again. Radovan Karadzic stands in the dock, but Sharon and Olmert, Bush and Blair do not. Why not? The memory of Hiroshima requires an answer.

 

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Guest elbee909

Imagine if the US had invaded, millions more would of died. Lesser of two evils.

 

Yeah, I'm sure that's exactly how they see it.

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Guest shearer_united

Lots of images and displays of the post-atomic bomb in Japan are heart breaking. I remember going to a museum and they had a display of a young schoolboy that got melted to his bicycle due the high heat of the bomb.

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Class post GypsyKing, spot on, though I'm not so sure about the nukes bit.

 

As for the A-bomb, why do we have to blame someone ? Do we blame the pilots or the RAF for all the bombs they dropped on germany ?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favour of people going out and killing each other, and use of weapons than can kill thousands even millions is awful. The A-bomb was used to end a war, whether it was right or wrong it ended WWII and any further loss of life that would of resulted from an invasion of Japan.

 

As for the aim of this thread, are you after a NUKES ARE BAD response from people as I think everyone agrees on that. The death toll from both A-bombs is awful, though if that is the main point of this, how come no one mentions the millions of Russians that died in WWII ?

 

 

 

 

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"Even without the atomic bombing attacks," concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, "air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender"

 

Of course they'd say that - they were the bloody AIRFORCE weren't they? 

 

The Japanese died to the man in places like Okinawa - who would gamble on continuing to fight them still taking casualties months/years after the war in Yurop was over

 

If I'd been fighting in Burma or New Guinea or the Philippines I'd have dropped the bloody thing on Tokyo TBH

 

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It's rather interesting how a thread about such a serious subject gets so little response.

 

Does it reflect a general disbelief, that it would never happen? I doubt there has ever been a time when a part of the world was not at war, the theatre of bloodshed and mayhem migrates across the surface of the globe like a wayward storm, difficult to predict the changes in course but always guaranteeing death and destruction whilst the peripheral players that influence its journey make money hand over fist from the continuing bedlam.

 

The average person in the street may pause for thought but a moment and then go on their way. Even if they felt moved to protest the  urge is fleeting, for consciously or unconsciously they doubt they could do anything about it. Apathy is the general response to anything  vaguely unsettling but percieved of as outside the individuals sphere of influence.

 

The majority of the western world believe they live in a democracy, they tell themselves that their vote counts and makes a difference. Such are the mantras replayed again and again by the various government spin doctors and media lackeys that everyone is near brain-washed. The system works, there is no alternative, what else could we do? As long as the general populace can be kept embroiled in pointless debates about which party should or shouldn't get the next term of power. Vote for this man or that due to their mundane promises that might vaguely impact your way of life for a year or two.

 

Detracting voices are quickly shouted down and the general consensus is that they're troublemakers. Labelled with the buzzword of the moment, whichever will have the most effect in ostracising the outspoken, terrorist sympathiser, fundamentalist. It used to be 'Commie' or 'Red'. The free press died in the mid sixties, though the means to kill it was instigated at least a decade earlier. What you read in, or hear, from the media is a carefully sanitised and scripted set of permitted stories.

 

People in the west can get upset and even suffer mild cases of righteous indignation in their belief that downtrodden masses in some far flung communist country are used and abused, the human rights trodden upon and freedoms curtailed on pain of death or lifelong incarceration. This is the real triumph of the West, they've dressed it up so prettily and covered it in ribbons so that the rank and file are completely unaware they are in exactly the same boat, cast adrift from self-determination or equal voice. Like sheep in a field, or worse, cattle in an abbatoir awaiting their fate.

 

Little wonder Clinical Depression is one of the fastest growing malaises of the new millenium. Whilst people go about telling each other everything is alright the spirit of humanity is being crushed. I'm no soothsayer, the gifts or curse of a seer bypassed me, but mark my words the vast majority who read this will witness nuclear attacks in more than one region. I give it twenty-five years maximum but it could be a lot sooner.

 

That's a great post GK and I agree with what you are saying there. The points you are making have been preying on my mind for a while, especially more so as I have been getting older and opening my eyes to this. But like you say, I doubt I can do anything about it.

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"The majority of the western world believe they live in a democracy, they tell themselves that their vote counts and makes a difference. Such are the mantras replayed again and again by the various government spin doctors and media lackeys that everyone is near brain-washed. The system works, there is no alternative, what else could we do? As long as the general populace can be kept embroiled in pointless debates about which party should or shouldn't get the next term of power. Vote for this man or that due to their mundane promises that might vaguely impact your way of life for a year or two."

 

So what do you suggest?

 

Leadership by the Party??

 

The Big Man option???

 

Soemone on a WHite Horse???

 

 

 

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Thinking about the reality of the Hiroshima bomb chills me to the bone TBH... that human beings would be capable of ignoring the immensity of what they were doing to the point that there was a nuclear bomb in a plane above a city, and it was actually dropped. Fucking scary.

 

To say it could never happen again I think is naive, especially when we see what is happening now in Russia/Georgia - a conflict out of nothing escalating over relatively minor disputes.

 

That's why all we can opt for is complete nuclear disarmament. I'm continually disappointed at politicians (especially in the Liberal Democrats who I'd expect to be with me on this) that refuse to come out and say "we want an end to nuclear weapons, and we'll start by getting rid of ours".

 

I mean the deterrent argument makes no sense, it doesn't matter whether it's Tehran that's getting nuked or London, nobody wins anyway.

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The deterrent has worked for over 60 years - and you hear less about Pakistan and India blasting off now they BOTH have a bomb

 

the problem with COMPLETE disarmament is what happens after 5 years when someone (lets say N Korea) suddenly says - "we lied - we kept bakc a dozen....."

 

what is needed is a progressive reduction in numbers, a strengthening of controls over their testing and who can actually launch them and better regional discussions to reduce tensions

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I know what you're saying, but I ultimately think the aim has to be complete disarmament.

 

In my opinion it wouldn't make the situation any worse if we had got rid of our nukes and N Korea had kept some. As I said, even if they nuked us I wouldn't want us to nuke them in retaliation... all that happens then is another country obliterated, nobody wins.

 

I'm not sure if the deterrent has worked as well as some people think, I imagine it's mainly because the bomb was used and we saw the horrible effects that people have now decided there is never a situation in which they'd be deployed again. I think the only people who might use them are lunatic terrorist organisations, in which case we're better off trying to get rid of them.

 

They're a legacy of more barbaric times past, and we need to move on IMO.

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but they wouldn't nuke us - they'd threaten to nuke us unless we do things their way ..............  that's how balckmailers work

 

If we could get it down to 50-100 or so each things would be a lot better

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Guest optimistic nit

i think 1984 was actually a book on 1948 (when he wrote it), not on how the country was going, but how it was already. thats what my history teacher said mind, she may have been talking out of her arse.

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i think 1984 was actually a book on 1948 (when he wrote it), not on how the country was going, but how it was already. thats what my history teacher said mind, she may have been talking out of her arse.

 

afraid to say you teacher was talking out her arse !

 

it's a book that is based on a vision of the future and apart from the obvious east vs west overtones is much more relevant to life in 2008 than 1948.

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I'm not a Historian so please forgive me if my facts aren't quite right, but i believed that Japan was deeply worried about a Soviet invasion. The Soviets had already taken Sakhalin island and were very close to invading Hokkaido. The Japanese knew this would be disatrous and wanted to sue for peace to avoid this.

I think it's a fair assumption that the Americans wanted to try out the bomb, what it did to Japans stance is, of course, a matter purely of debate and not fact.

All i can say is, having been to Hiroshima, it's a very unnerving a difficult place to visit. To see the monuments to the dead, the museum with peoples outline burnt onto stone, childrens charred school uniforms with skin and blood still on them, a massive mound under which lie the ashes of the evaporated......i could go on. A chilling experience to be amongst the remains and proof of such a tremendous degree of instant and wide spread human suffering. Unforgettable, sadly.

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There's an argument for the nuclear deterrent preventing large scale wars, but there's also strong argument that the main "benefit" of nuclear weapons is that it keeps power in the hands of the rich developed nations, over the developing and poorer nations. If the only reason for having nuclear weapons is that it prevents their use then it wouldn't matter who pressed the button, so a solution would be to hand their control over to an independent and impartial world body. They could be placed under the control of the UN and its constitution could be rewritten to say that if any country used nuclear weapons that country would suffer retaliation, unless 95% of the general assembly voted against it. That would keep the deterrent, but remove all the other issues associated with the subject. It'd never happen because those "other issues" are the main reason why nations continue to keep and work towards having nuclear weapons.

 

For what it's worth, the main reason that there have been no large scale wars is that the area in which those wars used to start, namely Europe has been at peace and has worked steadily towards mutual interdependence for the last 60 years, or in other words: the EU.

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