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REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA August 7, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth, Modern History, Peace.
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Today marked the 67th anniversary of  the bombing of Hiroshima., the first use of nuclear weapons.  Three days later, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Civilization did not end, neither did the still continuing export of uranium, and other countries have acquired nuclear weapons so increasing the possibility of nuclear war.

Some have argued that the bombing was morally justified at that time, and presumably at other times:

The BBC recorded the banality of evil, or war as usual, on a “beautiful, beautiful morning”:

Today BBC News recorded:

Tens of thousands of people attended the event, amid growing anti-nuclear sentiment and protests in the country.

A bell marked the start of a one-minute silence at 08:15 local time (23:15 GMT) when the US bomber Enola Gay dropped the bomb that killed 140,000 people.

Mayor Kazumi Matsui called for a nuclear-free world at the event at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

“I call on the Japanese government to establish without any delay an energy policy that guards the safety and security of the people,” he said.

Mr Matsui also called for more support for aging survivors of the WW II attack who are battling health issues caused by radiation from the bomb.

Chris Hedges, from seminary school, but not wearing a collar, takes a radically different view:

The 17th century Enlightenment myth of human advancement through science, reason and rationality should have been obliterated forever by the slaughter of World War I. Europeans watched the collective suicide of a generation. The darker visions of human nature embodied in the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad and Frederick Nietzsche before the war found modern expression in the work of Sigmund Freud, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann and Samuel Beckett, along with atonal and dissonant composers such as Igor Stravinsky and painters such as Otto Dix, George Grosz, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Human progress, these artists and writers understood, was a joke. But there were many more who enthusiastically embraced new utopian visions of progress and glory peddled by fascists and communists. These belief systems defied reality. They fetishized death. They sought unattainable utopias through violence. And empowered by science and technology, they killed millions.

. . .All attempts to control the universe, to play God, to become the arbiters of life and death, have been carried out by moral idiots. They will relentlessly push forward, exploiting and pillaging, perfecting their terrible tools of technology and science, until their creation destroys them and us. They make the nuclear bombs. They extract oil from the tar sands. They turn the Appalachians into a wasteland to extract coal. They serve the evils of globalism and finance. They run the fossil fuel industry. They flood the atmosphere with carbon emissions, doom the seas, melt the polar ice caps, unleash the droughts and floods, the heat waves, the freak storms and hurricanes.
Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

Since the repeated bombing of the Japanese cities, nuclear weapons on that scale have not been used, but as Noam Chomsky remembers the threat of their use could force an opponent to look into the nuclear abyss. He writes:

August 6, the anniversary of Hiroshima, should be a day of somber reflection, not only on the terrible events of that day in 1945, but also on what they revealed: that humans, in their dedicated quest to extend their capacities for destruction, had finally found a way to approach the ultimate limit.

This year‚ August 6 memorials have special significance. They take place shortly before the 50th anniversary of “the most dangerous moment in human history,” in the words of the historian and John F. Kennedy adviser Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., referring to the Cuban missile crisis.

Graham Allison writes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs that Kennedy “ordered actions that he knew would increase the risk not only of conventional war but also nuclear war,” with a likelihood of perhaps 50 percent, he believed, an estimate that Allison regards as realistic.

Kennedy declared a high-level nuclear alert that authorized “NATO aircraft with Turkish pilots … (or others) … to take off, fly to Moscow, and drop a bomb.”

None were more shocked by the discovery of missiles in Cuba than the men in charge of the similar missiles that the U.S. had secretly deployed in Okinawa six months earlier, surely aimed at China, at a moment of elevated regional tensions.

Kennedy took Chairman Nikita Khrushchev “right to the brink of nuclear war and he looked over the edge and had no stomach for it,” according to Gen. David Burchinal, then a high-ranking official in the Pentagon planning staff. One can hardly count on such sanity forever.

Perhaps nuclear technology can be now used more locally, with horrible consequences and their perpetrators, in a lawless international world can walk away and leave without consequences, without memory except those directly involved, and no moral angst, much like the bomber crew of Enola Gay. Shihab Rattansi reported originally for Al Jazeera:

New research is underway on the alarming increase in birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
In November 2004, the US led an assault on Fallujah – a stronghold of opposition against the US occupation, west of Baghdad. Intense bombardment left many of its buildings destroyed and displaced much of the 300,000-strong population.
Eventually, the US was forced to admit that amongst its arsenal was white phosphorus – a substance the Pentagon described as a ‘chemical weapon’ when it was used by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds.
In addition, eyewitnesses claimed the US military used “unusual weapons”.
Subsequent investigations have focused on the possible use of depleted uranium by the US for its armour-piercing qualities. The US, however, denies using such weaponry.
Research has shown elevated levels of radioactivity in Fallujah and across Iraq.
Iraqi physicians have also long reported a spike in cases involving severe birth defects in Fallujah since 2004. They have reported children born with multiple heads, serious brain damage, missing limbs and with extra fingers and toes.
A report published in 2011 on the level of uranium and other contaminants in hair from the parents of children with congenital anomalies in Fallujah partly concluded that: “Whilst caution must be exercised about ruling out other possibilities, because none of the elements found in excess are reported to cause congenital diseases and cancer except uranium, these findings suggest the enriched uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases. Questions are thus raised about the characteristics and composition of weapons now being deployed in modern battlefields.”

Morality has to begin with a simple questions: Could these wars have been avoided? Is nonviolence a practical alternative?

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