Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Shop the Truthdig Gift Guide 2014
December 21, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!


Loss of Rainforests Is Double Whammy Threat to Climate






Truthdig Bazaar
The Mitfords

The Mitfords

By Charlotte Mosley
$26.37

more items

 
Report

Hiroshima Day: America Has Been Asleep at the Wheel for 64 Years

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Aug 5, 2009
Willow Run factory
U.S. Army Signal Corps

B-24 Liberators under construction at the Willow Run factory during World War II.

By Daniel Ellsberg

(Page 2)

My father had been a highway engineer in Nebraska. He said that highway walls should never have been flush with the road like that, and later laws tended to ban that placement. This one took off the side of the car where my mother and sister were sitting, my sister looking forward and my mother facing left with her back to the side of the car. My brother, who came to the scene from Detroit, said later that when he saw what was left of the car in a junkyard, the right side looked like steel wool. It was amazing that anyone had survived.

My understanding of how that event came about—it wasn’t entirely an accident, as I heard from my father, that he had kept driving when he was exhausted—and how it affected my life is a story for another time. But looking back now, at what I drew from reading the Pentagon Papers later and on my citizen’s activism since then, I think I saw in the events of August 1945 and July 1946, unconsciously, a common message. I loved my father, and I respected Truman. But you couldn’t rely entirely on a trusted authority—no matter how well-intentioned he was, however much you admired him—to protect you, and your family, from disaster. You couldn’t safely leave events entirely to the care of authorities. Some vigilance was called for, to awaken them if need be or warn others. They could be asleep at the wheel, heading for a wall or a cliff. I saw that later in Lyndon Johnson and in his successor, and I’ve seen it since.

But I sensed almost right away, in August 1945 as Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incinerated, that such feelings—about our president, and our Bomb—separated me from nearly everyone around me, from my parents and friends and from most other Americans. They were not to be mentioned. They could only sound unpatriotic. And in World War II, that was about the last way one wanted to sound. These were thoughts to be kept to myself. 

Unlikely thoughts for a 14-year-old American boy to have had the week the war ended? Yes, if he hadn’t been in Mr. Patterson’s social studies class the previous fall. Every member of that class must have had the same flash of recognition of the Bomb, as they read the August headlines during our summer vacation. Beyond that, I don’t know whether they responded as I did, in the terms of our earlier discussion. 

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
But neither our conclusions then or reactions like mine on Aug. 6 stamped us as gifted prophets. Before that day perhaps no one in the public outside our class—no one else outside the Manhattan Project (and very few inside it)—had spent a week, as we had, or even a day thinking about the impact of such a weapon on the long-run prospects for humanity. 

And we were set apart from our fellow Americans in another important way. Perhaps no others outside the project or our class ever had occasion to think about the Bomb without the strongly biasing positive associations that accompanied their first awareness in August 1945 of its very possibility: that it was “our” weapon, an instrument of American democracy developed to deter a Nazi Bomb, pursued by two presidents, a war-winning weapon and a necessary one—so it was claimed and almost universally believed—to end the war without a costly invasion of Japan. 

Unlike nearly all the others who started thinking about the new nuclear era after Aug. 6, our attitudes of the previous fall had not been shaped, or warped, by the claim and appearance that such a weapon had just won a war for the forces of justice, a feat that supposedly would otherwise have cost a million American lives (and as many or more Japanese).

For nearly all other Americans, whatever dread they may have felt about the long-run future of the Bomb (and there was more expression of this in elite media than most people remembered later) was offset at the time and ever afterward by a powerful aura of its legitimacy, and its almost miraculous potential for good which had already been realized. For a great many Americans still, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs are regarded above all with gratitude, for having saved their own lives or the lives of their husbands, brothers, fathers or grandfathers, which would otherwise have been at risk in the invasion of Japan. For these Americans and many others, the Bomb was not so much an instrument of massacre as a kind of savior, a protector of precious lives. 

Most Americans ever since have seen the destruction of the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as necessary and effective—as constituting just means, in effect just terrorism, under the supposed circumstances—thus legitimating, in their eyes, the second and third largest single-day massacres in history. (The largest, also by the U.S. Army Air Corps, was the firebombing of Tokyo five months before on the night of March 9, which burned alive or suffocated 80,000 to 120,000 civilians. Most of the very few Americans who are aware of this event at all accept it, too, as appropriate in wartime.

To regard those acts as definitely other than criminal and immoral—as most Americans do—is to believe that anything—anythingcan be legitimate means: at worst, a necessary, lesser, evil. At least, if done by Americans, on the order of a president, during wartime. Indeed, we are the only country in the world that believes it won a war by bombing—specifically by bombing cities with weapons of mass destruction—and believes that it was fully rightful in doing so. It is a dangerous state of mind. 

Even if the premises of these justifications had been realistic (after years of study I’m convinced, along with many scholars, that they were not; but I’m not addressing that here), the consequences of such beliefs for subsequent policymaking were bound to be fateful. They underlie the American government and public’s ready acceptance ever since of basing our security on readiness to carry out threats of mass annihilation by nuclear weapons, and the belief by many officials and elites still today that abolition of these weapons is not only infeasible but undesirable.

By contrast, given a few days’ reflection in the summer of 1945 before a presidential fait accompli was framed in that fashion, you didn’t have to be a moral prodigy to arrive at the sense of foreboding we all had in Mr. Patterson’s class. It was as easily available to 13-year-old ninth-graders as it was to many Manhattan Project scientists, who also had the opportunity to form their judgments before the Bomb was used. 

But the scientists knew something else that was unknown to the public and even to most high-level decision-makers. They knew that the atomic bombs, the uranium and plutonium fission bombs they were preparing, were only the precursors to far more powerful explosives, almost surely including a thermonuclear fusion bomb, later called the hydrogen bomb, or H-bomb. That weapon—of which we eventually came to have tens of thousands—could have an explosive yield much greater than the fission bombs needed to trigger it. A thousand times greater.

Moreover, most of the scientists who focused on the long-run implications of nuclear weapons, belatedly, after the surrender of Germany in May 1945 believed that using the Bomb against Japan would make international control of the weapon very unlikely. In turn that would make inevitable a desperate arms race, which would soon expose the United States to adversaries’ uncontrolled possession of thermonuclear weapons, so that, as the scientists said in a pre-attack petition to the president, “the cities of the United States as well as the cities of other nations will be in continuous danger of sudden annihilation.” (In this they were proved correct.) They cautioned the president—on both moral grounds and considerations of long-run survival of civilization—against beginning this process by using the Bomb against Japan even if its use might shorten the war.


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By erichwwk, August 11, 2009 at 7:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nice comment, Rama Ratnam.

I totally agree that this is a “thoughtful and moving article”. Extremely so. It is also important to realize that not only was the Nagaski weapon essentially the core (pit) of today’s thermonuclear weapons (and 1,000 times as powerful), but that the Nagaski weapon itself was an even larger magnitude at the time over the next best destroyer known at the time.

I hope Dr. Ellsberg will consider speaking at next year’s (the 65th) anniversary of Hiroshima at our annual event at Pond Lake at Los Alamos. His theme of “real history of the nuclear age” fits in quite nicely with the thoughts of some of us to focus on this 65th anniversary as the retirement age of nuclear weapons and find a site for Ed Grothus’s obelisks as a tribute to him.

http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/hugh-gusterson/the-legacy-of-ed-grothus-and-the-black-hole

or
http://www.democracyfornewmexico.com/democracy_for_new_mexico/2009/02/edward-grothus-19232009.html

Also, the task of untangling the history will not be easy. As you note, Power’s must be read with some skepticism (is that not the way to do all reading).  See eg:

http://www.math.ru.nl/~landsman/heisenberg.pdf

or

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14065

Report this

By Rama Ratnam, August 10, 2009 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a thoughtful and moving article. I thought Ellsberg’s point about the fission weapon (horrific enough) being used as a detonator in a fusion (thermonuclear) weapon said it all. As if we were not mad enough, we became even madder.

Some posters asked for more information on Germany’s development of the nuclear bomb. An excellent book is Thomas Power’s “Heisenberg’s War”. But it may be helpful to read it with some skepticism.

Excellent references for the development of the fission and fusion weapons are Richard Rhodes twin books “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” and “Dark Sun”.

One of the many things to note is the readiness by US governments, over the last sixty five years, to use massive force. Having nuclear bombed two cities in quick succession, and brought about a quick surrender, the US grasped the importance of this lesson. That massive bombing, nuclear or otherwise, is the quickest way to bring entire nations to their collective knees. Ellsberg alludes to this. Such thinking persists, and is now venerated. It has become dogma.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

Paolo:

I didn’t say that all home-schoolers are more likely than public-schooled kids to say the nuking of Japan was justified. I said I thought it likely (but didn’t claim to know as fact) that the average private-schooled or home-schooled person was more likely. The reason I say that is because hyper-patriotism, glorification of cruelty by the strong against the weak, religious self-righteousness, and romantic militarism are generally found on the right end of the political spectrum, and in general, parents who private-school or home-school their kids in the US have reasons for doing so which generally place them politically to the right of the population at large. Of course I know there are exceptions, but I’m talking about the average and the typical, not exceptional. Can you really not have understood that, or were you being deliberately obtuse?

Anyway, I think your attempt to blame the general American approval of the
Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings on public schooling is strained and unconvincing. It gives me the impression that your compassion for the Japanese victims is feigned and opportunistic. You deplore it merely merely as a convenient pretext for banging on your tin can and griping that public schools are bad, for the real reason that you simply don’t want to pay taxes, which is about all there really is to “libertarianism” when you scratch the surface. You’re hoping to drum up some sympathy for your position from us liberals. But you see, liberals actually think that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been no less evil if it had been committed by a private entrepreneur instead of by a government. Liberals, unlike “libertarians”, actually hold compassion for human suffering as a primary value, not something to be pretended when convenient.

Report this

By cognitis1, August 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Erich defines correctly US’ crude oil prohibition as a blockade, since Japan depended on imports for all its oil; US expected a Japanese assault but estimated inaccurately Japan’s naval capacity especially for naval airstrikes. Other commenters here continue to estimate inaccurately Japan’s capacity for military operations in 1945; Japan killed or wounded over 100,000 US soldiers on just Iwo Jima and Okinawa, even though these islands’ Japanese defenders had been prohibited from supplies by US Navy for many months; so had not USSR joined the US and invaded Manchuria, doubtful and tenuous would have been any US invasion and occupation of Japan.

Report this

By erichwwk, August 10, 2009 at 6:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am still amazed at the extent to which many Americans finds it necessary to justify it’s war crimes by creating myths.

Take Pearl Harbor , for example. The US had ALREADY de facto declared war on Japan by its naval embargo of the island to prevent petroleum, which japan does not produce, from reaching the nation.

Also, so many believe that it was “good” that Winston Churchill, rather than Neville Chamberlain, had is views prevail.  Yet Churchill himself writes, on p iv of the preface to my 1948 copy of “The Gathering Storm”:


“One day President Roosevelt told me he was asking publicly for suggestions what the war should be called. I sais at once ‘The Unnecessary War.’  There was never a war more easy to stop than that which just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle.”

*******

“War—every war—is the realm of lies. Whether called propaganda or psychological warfare, everybody accepts that it is right to lie for one’s country. Anyone who speaks the truth runs the risk of being branded a traitor.
The trouble is that propaganda is most convincing for the propagandist himself. And after you convince yourself that a lie is the truth and falsification reality, you can no longer make rational decisions.”

  —-Uri Avnery

“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”  - Hermann Goering

Report this

By youmayberight, August 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

To JonesHenry and those who may agree: If Japan, convinced the United States would never surrender, had dropped an A-bomb on New York City, is there any doubt that the U.S. would have included that as a War Crime or a Crime Against Humanity in the Tokyo War Crimes Trials?

Report this

By youmayberight, August 9, 2009 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To JonesHenry and others who may agree: Consider what would have happened if Japan, convinced the United States would never surrender, had dropped the A-bomb on New York City. Do you think the U.S. would have included that act in the list of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in the Tokyo War Crimes Trials?

Report this

By radson, August 9, 2009 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

Cognitis1
Are you cognizant to the possibility that America has been maintaing the million casualty argument ,because some day they may have to drop another bomb.

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, August 9, 2009 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

to Paulo:

“Actually, I do think public-school brainwashing makes one more likely, not less likely, to swallow the argument that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified. My own home-schooled children look on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as crimes”

Dear Paulo, I am pleased to announce your TD “proud to be a home-school parent” certificate will be arriving soon in the mail.

look for it coming any day now.

Report this

By cognitis1, August 9, 2009 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

Paolo in his comment demonstrates some defects in “home-schooling”: public school teachers adhere to some standard however low, but the State requires of parents no such standard. Paulo evidently defines “killed and wounded” to be synonymous with “killed”; but even an eight-year-old child educated only in public schools defines “killed” as 12,513 killed, while “killed and wounded” includes 12,513 killed 38,916 wounded 33,096 non-combat losses. Further Paolo evidently estimates an enemy ready and willing to fight to the death in numbers of 100,000 rather than surrender as an enemy “ready and willing to surrender”; even an eight-year-old-child educated only in public schools estimates enemies who fight to the death even in unimaginable large numbers to be enemies unwilling to surrender, since enemies who surrender rather than fight to the death indicate their willingness to surrender. Japan killed or wounded over 26,000 on Iwo Jima March 1945 and killed or wounded over 85,000 April 1945—about when Germany surrendered: Japan not only was “ready and willing” to fight to the death and kill unimaginably large numbers of Americans—Japan did it. Perhaps Latinos and Italians—tribes who comprehend nothing of fighting and war, since they’ve no experience—are defective in capacity to comprehend concepts such as “ready and willing to fight to the death”. Paolo, don’t debilitate your child and immediately remit it to a public school, if you should be desirous of it scoring highly on SAT verbal.

Report this

By octopus, August 9, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

Some Day we Americans will suffer the Karmic consequences of this amoral act. We think, for some delusional reason, that war will never come to our shores. Think again. We WILL suffer the same pain that we have perpetrated on others. It is the way of things. Who will it be? Pakistan? The Chinese? Israel? We WILL be nuked at some point. Why? Because what goes around DOES come around, sooner or later. I,of course, do not wish this on us, but one cannot escape the punishment one has earned.
The Chickens are in Flight. Where will they Roost?

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, August 9, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Regarding the claim that the Japanese killed or wounded a hundred thousand US soldiers on Okinawa, that struck me as odd, considering total US casualties for the entire war, all theatres, was under 300,000.

According to Wikipedia (sources are cited), 12,000 allies were killed in the battle for Okinawa. About a hundred thousand JAPANESE were killed.

Also according to Wikipedia (well-referenced sources), Japanese surrender proposals were offered to Roosevelt in February of 1945, but were dismissed out of hand, because our war criminals wanted “unconditional surrender” from their war criminals. The main Japanese condition was to allow Emperor Hirohito to keep his post, even if that meant him being a puppet ruler. Interestingly, despite the alleged “unconditional” nature of their surrender, the Japanese got to keep the Emperor anyway.

So, I stand by the assertion that the Japanese were willing and ready to surrender, on very reasonable terms, in early 1945.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, August 9, 2009 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Actually, I do think public-school brainwashing makes one more likely, not less likely, to swallow the argument that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified. My own home-schooled children look on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as crimes.

Public schools are creatures of, and are funded by, the government. These days, a lot of funding comes, directly or indirectly, from the central government in Washington. He who pays the piper, as it were, names the tune.

Home-schooled children are much more likely to question the government line. Regarding private schools, I would have to say it all depends. If those schools are religion based, it is likely they would follow the Hiroshima-was-justified line just as ardently as government schools. I say this, because church-attending Christians in recent polls are more likely to support foreign wars and torture than are citizens as a whole.

It is a mistake to assume that home-schooled children are a homogeneous mass of like-thinking automatons. The exact opposite is true.

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, August 9, 2009 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

to cognitis1:

Oh forgive me for not properly honoring your proud citizen journalism here on TD,

(it was the content I disagreed with)

Report this

By oldhip, August 9, 2009 at 3:13 am Link to this comment

“We Do Deserve What Is Coming…”

It’s only a partial list, but it does have some enlightening memories.

Enjoy your reality…

Report this

By cognitis1, August 8, 2009 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

Risible and delusional are Paolo’s and Scheer’s assertion of Japan being defeated or on “verge of collapse”: Japan killed or wounded 26,000 US soldiers on Iwo Jima in March 1945, and it killed or wounded 100,000 US soldiers on Okinawa in April 1945. Perhaps US generals estimated the atom bomb to be necessary for Japan but not Germany, because Germans surrender much more easily than Japanese: remember, until 1945 Japan had never surrendered to anyone and had never lost a war, while Germans have continuously surrendered to everyone and have never won a war.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

Paolo writes:

“As an example of how difficult it is to counteract public school brainwashing, you can take a look at polls that show a solid majority of Americans still think the deliberate targeting and mass killing of civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified…

Paolo, your libertarian-right prejudice is showing. Does anyone imagine that private schools or home-schoolers are any less inclined to preach that America’s nuking of Japan was justified?  In fact, I have no doubt that the average product of private schooling or home-schooling in this country is even more inclined to say that America was justified in dropping atom bombs on Japan.

Please, Paolo, don’t turn this very serious moral issue into a mere excuse for pushing your right-wing libertarian crap. Americans are wrong to approve of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but this cannot be blamed on the existence of public schools! I understand, Paolo, that you don’t want to pay taxes; but that has nothing to do with this issue.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, August 8, 2009 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

As an example of how difficult it is to counteract public school brainwashing, you can take a look at polls that show a solid majority of Americans still think the deliberate targeting and mass killing of civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified.

Had the allies lost the war, it is they who would have been put up in international trials for war crimes, not only for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but for Dresden as well.

Japan, by early 1945, was clearly beaten. All that had to be done was to negotiate reasonable terms of surrender. Our leaders, hyped up on testosterone and hubris, demanded so-called “unconditional surrender”—a stupid and impossible “negotiating” position.

Report this

By Sen.Schumer's attack on Progressives, August 8, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just as this fine article decries excesses which led to group-government insanity, the New York sharpie, US Senator Charles Schumer, is attempting to sneak-through legislation which will require all Americans to carry a national ID card which will contain your vital private information/property: your biosignatures, starting with retina-scan and fingerprints. Later, if acct’s I’ve read are to be believed, he will phase-in your DNA profile. This vile individual, set on the destruction of this country’s freedoms, can only be stopped by vigorous efforts on the part of aware individuals of every political bent or religion. See epic.org or ACLU sites for info on this low-man’s efforts.

Report this

By cognitis1, August 8, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Difficult is responding coherently to an incoherent and illiterate commenter, who uses vague phrases such as “running around all over the place” or “film loop”; for those who do not accept diction from MTV, such ambiguous and defective phrases obscure and impede coherent disputation. Virginia evidently did not peruse my arguments, in which I demonstrated the US’ mea culpa as implicit to its liberating from pride: “should Americans be desirous of liberating themselves from these chains of pride, they must concede their culpability for the war and then forgive the Japanese and Germans…” Virginia’s diction though indicates an ignorance of the similar meaning of “culpability” and “blame”. Virginia’s assertion that “this [sic] (noun to which this pronoun refers is not clear)” does not pertain to my “forgiveness” but to her “blame” is wrong, since Ellsberg doesn’t even use “blame” in his incoherent rambling (essay? memoir? diary entry?). I don’t respond here to a peer, but rather to slap a rude commenter who carelessly dismisses my arguments having not even read them.

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, August 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

ok cognitis1, you got everyone running all over the place forgiving each other here,

but this is nothing about forgiveness, this is about accepting Blame. That is what America (and yourself) cannot do with regards to Hiroshima.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 8, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Cincolators writes:

“The only positive aspect of the bomb - is that the US used it first - ...”

Oh please, cincolator.

First of all, please note that the US didn’t just use it “first”. The US used it SECOND, only three days later!

And did the moral idiots who planned this really say to each other, “Gee, we’d better nuke not one but two cities right away - because, whereas we’re really nice, kind, and compassionate,  those other guys are really HEARTLESS and MEAN and would surely do something REALLY EVIL if we didn’t nuke two entire cities in close succession…”?

Psychologists have a word for it, when somebody projects his own malevolent intentions and cruelty onto other people, in order to justify his own immoral actions: projection.

Report this

By cognitis1, August 8, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Such blather here. Citizens who contribute to war preparations such as arms makers or conscripts or farmers are by definition not “innocent”, since their contributions are noxious to the enemy; should Japanese and Germans be desirous of liberating themselves from the chains of self-pity, they must first concede their culpability and then forgive Americans. Americans citizens for the same reason are also not innocent, but Americans as victors suffer chains of pride not pity; should Americans be desirous of liberating themselves from chains of pride, they must concede their culpability and also forgive both Japanese and Germans; should they not do so, they will continue to send their sons and daughters to meaningless slaughter.

Report this

By cognitis1, August 8, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Such blather here. Citizens who contribute to war preparations such as arms makers or conscripts or farmers are by definition not “innocent”, since their contributions are noxious to the enemy; so these citizens injured in war could define themselves as “innocent victims”, only if they themselves negate their own culpability for their contributions; should these Japanese and Germans be desirous of liberating themselves from chains of self-pity, they must then first concede their own culpability and then forgive Americans. American citizens for the same reason were not innocent, but as Americans were victors not victims Americans suffer the chains of pride not self-pity; should Americans be desirous of liberating themselves from these chains of pride, they must concede their culpability for the war and then forgive the Japanese and Germans; how long Americans exculpate themselves for the war and castigate the Japanese and Germans, so long they will be chained by pride and thus continue to send their sons and daughters to meaningless slaughter in foreign wars.

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, August 7, 2009 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

you really got that right, Lost Hills! (thanks for calling that out, Ed Harges)

we are stuck in a “film-loop”,

with an inability to move away from (or keep trying to cover up) our extreme violence, by sheer refusal to admit our guilt in Hiroshima.

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, August 7, 2009 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Ed Harges!! this innane - its ok if it “works” - logic for severe violence,

is pure evil justification! (how much worse the incorrect justification than even the evil itself)

Report this

By SteveL, August 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

Ever since the Civil War and probably before there has always been that element that promotes all wars and what happens in them as something good.

Report this

By radson, August 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

America asleep for 64 years sums it up accurately.The United States of America guilty of crimes against humanity also sums it up ,survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki my prayers are with you.

Report this

By HF101, August 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No apology needed..just keep buying their awesome f*****g cars.

Report this

By cincolaters, August 7, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There was a race to build the bomb.

We all know that X-Day would have been a disaster.

Many also concede that neither X-Day nor an atom bomb was needed to end the war. The firebombing that Hap Arnold asked for killed more than the atomic bomb did.

By and large, the people of Japan were becoming disillusioned with the war and the demands made on them.

The Emperor was virtually powerless by 1945 - replaced by a zealot military complex. He showed up in glasses and on a horse - to show his people he was human. But he couldn’t convince the military establishment to concede.

The sad truth (and I have done more research than most people) is that the bomb wasn’t to end the war in Japan - it was to start a new kind of war - by racing to first place in a nuclear age.

I have seen the destruction first hand in Japan. I have spoken, face-to-face, with survivors. I wept while they did not. I hate the bomb. But I also know in my heart - that an atomic bomb would have been created and would have been used on other innocent people - regardless. The US just won the race to be first. The Soviets would have made one, the Germans were rather close, and the Japanese were hunting it too. The only positive aspect of the bomb - is that the US used it first - and taught the rest of the world to never use it again. We have no need for these weapons anymore - and we should apologize as a nation to Japan. I know I did when I spoke to the survivors.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 7, 2009 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

re: By LostHills, August 7 at 3:16 am #

This post by Losthills so completely speaks for me that I can only repeat the entire post in response, with boldface emphasis on what I consider the key passages, concerning America’s mass psychological self-delusion, our dangerous need to keep doing violence, like a madman who screams to drown out the voices in his head:

“There’s a lot of sadness in the responses to this post and the other Hiroshima post. It’s sad that a majority of Americans, according to a recent poll, are still trying to justify these despicable war crimes to themselves. Our country is crippled, and will continue to be crippled, until we take responsibility for our actions 64 years ago, admit our guilt, and apologize to the world. Germany and Japan have managed to move beyond the attrocities they committed in that era and become healthy and productive societies, because they took responsibility for their actions and atoned for their wrong-doing. As the victor, America has never had to confront itself. We committed the two worst war crimes in human history, and we got away with it, but it still haunts us. We have not learned a damn thing, and we are still blowing up innocent civilians overseas and still making pathetic excuses for our actions. This anniversary will be over tomorrow, but we will still be blowing up innocent people and sweeping it under our psychological rugs. We are not the good guys. As long as we continue to bully the world with our military might and point nuclear weapons at people we are a terrorist nation. We can heal ourselves. It has to start with admitting what we did wrong 64 years ago, and it has to include withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan. Join every national and international peace organization out there, donate your money and your time, talk to your friends, attend every march, rally and peace vigil you can find, start your own local group, put up signs along the freeways and roadsides, and do one thing every day to help our country get itself back on track.”

Report this

By hippie4ever, August 7, 2009 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

“the second country in human history that will use a nuclear device will be Israel.

When this happens it will complete the cycle of parallelism between the USA and Israel about two settler societies whose inhabitants came from troubled lands around the world and whose foundations were based on terrorizing and stealing the lands of the native inhabitants, destroying their cultures and annihilating them.”—Fadel

I agree with your observation, and expect to hear more saber rattling about Iran until Israel decides to act. I suspect the U.S. will be involved, naturally, and note the Pentagon is going ahead with the development of a bomb that can penetrate deeply located caves and bunkers. I imagine Israel will be the first purchaser, although the U.S. undoubtedly will use these against the people in Afghanistan too.

Empire wants to keep the nuclear arsenal out of the hands of Islamic nations, for secular and non-secular reasons, and I imagine the results will horrify even the jaded American public. Blowing up nuclear reactors in Iran will possibly expose our atmosphere to fallout and will certainly begin a “semi-conventional” land war. The U.S. rarely wins these fights, but may achieve some measure of victory thanks to its drones piloted remotely yet effectively. The Afghanis have noted an enormous improvement in their accuracy, an advance not well described in the media.

Fadel, the Palestinian people have been subjected to untold horrors, and Gaza is the worst example of a concentration camp in our post-WWII world. It is disgraceful, as is American imperialism, and this terrible future seems inexorable. Who will stop it? Americans are so controlled by inferior public education and the media, and the Israelis do echo American settlers in their attitudes towards their semitic cousins.

I hope for change and remember John Lennon’s comment that if people really want peace, they will have it. How do we accomplish this? Winning hearts and minds? There are so many hard hearts in the world, and badly educated minds, easily susceptible to propaganda.

I hate to think this way, Fadel, but I fear it will take a horrific act to shock the consciences of Americans and Israelis; and by then it may be too late. Let’s hope I’m wrong, and enough people rise up and demand their governments stop this madness in the name of “democracy” and “freedom.”

Report this

By Fadel Abdallah, August 7, 2009 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

If my instincts and analogical deductions don’t fail me, I predict that the second country in human history that will use a nuclear device will be Israel.

When this happens it will complete the cycle of parallelism between the USA and Israel about two settler societies whose inhabitants came from troubled lands around the world and whose foundations were based on terrorizing and stealing the lands of the native inhabitants, destroying their cultures and annihilating them.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 7, 2009 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

So, what are you all doing to stop the next war?  Or, rather, the current war?  What’s the plan?  I think we all agree that Hiroshima was not very nice.

Report this
godistwaddle's avatar

By godistwaddle, August 7, 2009 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

We all know that brave American heroes fly thousands of feet above those whom the immolate, and cowardly suicide bombers die with their victims.

Report this
Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, August 7, 2009 at 1:33 am Link to this comment

After reading the many comments, I wonder still…. are we missing the point?  I repost a portion of my earlier comment.

“I would love to say “Why?”.... why do we disregard the sufferings of these civilians, ..... what was or is our point?  But I feel I know “why”, and this thought jars my conscience repeatedly.  I decide that possibly the question is more one of “How”.  How do we disregard this reality?  Still, I sense that this too, renders itself meaningless.  Is it okay for one to kill his neighbor’s innocent children because theirs will then be able to purchase “name-brand” clothing or other wares, in a “safe” country…... a country LOADED WITH WEAPONS LETHAL TO ALL OF HUMANITY? and now… we are not the only ones.  Weapons, which very concretely could devastate ALL of life on the one and only planet, as we so far know, which supports our existence?”

Report this

By estebanfolsom, August 7, 2009 at 12:34 am Link to this comment

the void is not empty
it’s filled with light
of this i am sure of
with all of my might
the world is troubled
as i rest tonight
half in darkness
something’s not right
the day will break
the sun will rise
and i’ll see things
through different eyes
i hope that my visions
not clouded by doubt
peace among all of us
is the only way out

Report this
LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, August 7, 2009 at 12:16 am Link to this comment

There’s a lot of sadness in the responses to this post and the other Hiroshima post. It’s sad that a majority of Americans, according to a recent poll, are still trying to justify these despicable war crimes to themselves. Our country is crippled, and will continue to be crippled, until we take responsibility for our actions 64 years ago, admit our guilt, and apologize to the world. Germany and Japan have managed to move beyond the attrocities they committed in that era and become healthy and productive societies, because they took responsibility for their actions and atoned for their wrong-doing. As the victor, America has never had to confront itself. We committed the two worst war crimes in human history, and we got away with it, but it still haunts us. We have not learned a damn thing, and we are still blowing up innocent civilians overseas and still making pathetic excuses for our actions. This aniversary will be over tomorrow, but we will still be blowing up inocent people and sweeping it under our psychological rugs. We are not the good guys. As long as we continue to bully the world with our military might and point nuclear weapons at people we are a terrorist nation. We can heal ourselves. It has to start with admitting what we did wrong 64 years ago, and it has to include withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan. Join every national and international peace organization out there, donate your money and your time, talk to your friends, attend every march, rally and peace vigil you can find, start your own local group, put up signs along the freeways and roadsides, and do one thing every day to help our country get itself back on track.

Report this

By ChaoticGood, August 7, 2009 at 12:02 am Link to this comment

There is really no difference between a person wearing a burka (sp?) loaded with C4 and a cruise missle loaded with a “Fat Man”, heading for a town, is there?  Both accomplish the same thing. I wonder if Muslim fundamentalists had cruise missles and their own “little boys”, do you really think they would still use teenage bombers?  I bet they would use the missles instead.

Report this

By barefootblogger, August 6, 2009 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

When we (as humans) split the atom, and when we (as humans) took the physical, technological power of nuclear fission and fusion, power which was once attributed only to god or gods, then we (as humans) created the evolutionary imperative to develop the consciousness, ethics and morality of gods and buddhas. 

We must match our technological progress with ethical, conscious progress.

This is the positive lesson of the atomic age.

Thanks to Dan Ellsberg for presenting the history and facts.  I will look forward to your contributions for the 65th anniversary.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 6, 2009 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

Re:By JonesHenry, August 7 at 12:06 am #

JH writes: “Japanese were warcriminals who got whay they deserved! They will NEVER get my sympathy!!!”

The only thing stupider than that statement is that statement followed by three exclamation marks.

Report this

By Kesey Seven, August 6, 2009 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

To JonesHenry,

Mr. Ellsberg is not asking for your sympathy. He’s appealing to your sanity. 

There’s a difference, one hopes. 

Kesey Seven

Report this

By cognitis1, August 6, 2009 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

Japan had designed both an atom bomb and rockets by 1945 but had been deficient in resources, which resources Japan had been acquiring. Since those such as Harges castigate now US for both destroying Japan’s industrial faculties and also its civilian workforce, they would have permitted Japan faculties for later constructing ICBMs with atomic warheads; with which weapons Japan would have certainly annihilated US cities and thereby compelled US to concede as slaves sovereignty to Japan. Banzai!

Report this

By Kesey Seven, August 6, 2009 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

“The idea was that the development of technology regularly moved much further and faster in human social-historical evolution than other aspects of culture: our institutions of government, our values, habits, our understanding of society and ourselves. Indeed, the very notion of “progress” referred mainly to technology. What “lagged” behind, what developed more slowly or not at all in social adaptation to new technology was everything that bore on our ability to control and direct technology and the use of technology to dominate other humans. “

Put another way:

We are cavemen
with nuclear tridents
slung over shoulders.

Monkeys with nuclear warheads.

We took Einstien’s ideas
about physics and nuclear bombs
and ignored his teachings about god
which he believed was the universe itself.

He did not believe in heaven or hell.
He did not believe in life after death.
He did not believe in a personified deity—
the infamous old vengeful man with a beard—
he simply believed the universe is god. 

As such
seems like
the first law
of Einstein’s god
would be: 

Though shalt not
recreate the sun
on the earth. 

“Einstein’s God” is the name of a chapter in Walter Walter Isaacson’s book:

Einstein:  His Life and Universe. 


Kesey Seven

Report this

By JonesHenry, August 6, 2009 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

Japanese were warcriminals who got whay they deserved! They will NEVER get my sympathy!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le7SCVNA7Z8&feature=channel_page

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 6, 2009 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges
‘I believe that, no matter what Americans say, we all know in our hearts that the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski were not justified and were in fact pure, sadistic, racist terrorism on a par with any of the worst crimes ever committed by any nation or government. ...’

I don’t see much difference between killing people one way and killing them another, actually.

Report this

By lisa lebowski, August 6, 2009 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

several points - the only atomic secret was that it would work. hiroshima blast was official test nr 2, the first test was of course the trinity test. while not a trivial matter, any industrial establishment of moderate size can build a small number of gadgets today - Ted Taylor said that a single man could do it - and he ottaknow! the big undertaking is the mass production of niftykeen packaged hydrogen bombs or “boosted” types that fit on missiles and are lightweight. the need to destroy hiroshima was driven by domestic politics - not by military strategy or need. this is generally the case when it comes to violence - it externalizes an internal problem, childish and dangerous

Report this

By Gibby, August 6, 2009 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Coggy,
Only in the mind of a warped, sadistic madman (or the military - but I repeat myself), could obliterating entire cities of civilians be sloughed off as “self-defense.”

Report this

By cognitis1, August 6, 2009 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

Jones:

Evidently the Japanese scientists of Unit 731 weren’t as racist as you, since they injected Americans African-Americans Jewish-Americans British Australian Dutch Russian POWs equally as Chinese with biological poisons for cause of weapons testing.

Report this

By estebanfolsom, August 6, 2009 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

six days in the making
and i thought i could rest
biding my time
judging damned from the blest
when all of my children
get put through this test
the poison’s been swallowed
no antidote known
now i’m so sorry
now i’m alone

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 6, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

re: By Virginia777, August 6 at 8:52 pm:

Gawd, Virginia, can you believe this person’s “reasoning”? It’s OK to incinerate whole cities with nuclear weapons, if your purpose is to “deter hostile citizens from obeying hostile orders”? That would be so very much in contrast with Al Qaeda’s reasons for obliterating the World Trade Center, would it not? Or was Al Qaeda’s mass killing of civilians immoral only because it wasn’t “successful” in compelling surrender, whereas ours nuking of two entire cities was moral because it was “successful”? That is, Al Qaeda’s attack was immoral only because they didn’t kill enough people, or kill them horribly enough, for it to “work”??

Report this

By JonesHenry, August 6, 2009 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

I wish there would have been a THIRD bomb! Too bad it had to be used for testing! The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki got off EASY! They were burned to death! Millions of Chinese were slowly injected with biological poisons for weapons tests. They died a much more slow and horrible death!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAp8bSdE5MQ

Report this

By shadow7, August 6, 2009 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, the HBO film that came out last year was“White Light/Black Rain,”  - Robert Sheer’s article talks about it as well.  You won’t forget it.  More than 600 school children dead in one school…

Report this

By Grasshopper Kaplan, August 6, 2009 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Look a little further down the road
past the storm for war we weather
plant a seed of peace, in love be sown
hey, this sure is one such so beautiful world to behold
let us behold in love together
i know we can all live well together
stop the war let the world get better

(my song, “mine land, ”  first verse
)

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, August 6, 2009 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

you got that right, Ed Harges!!!

Report this

By cognitis1, August 6, 2009 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

Harges:

Describe my arguments accurately or not at all: my arguments do not pertain to your justification or your “rationale [sic] (Harges wanted to say ‘rhetoric’)”; instead my arguments presumed both destroying enemies’ capacity for prosecuting war and also deterring citizenry from obeying hostile prosecutors to have been causes for repelling enemy assaults; do you estimate either destroying capacity or deterring the obeying of hostile orders to not repel enemy assaults? Your example of the mugger demonstrates your superficial comprehension of my arguments: since you concede yourself the mugger to assault the victim for cause of greed, how could you compare such gesture to the right of repelling enemy assaults? Did US and UK generals assault cities for their plunder or some weird delight? Certainly not. US exercised its universally approved right to self-defense, and you’ve provided no arguments demonstrating US generals to have not acted consistently with this right to self-defense; so, US generals acted rightly both in defending US by destroying enemies’ capacity for war and also in deterring hostile citizens from obeying hostile orders.

Report this

By trf, August 6, 2009 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry to say, but it will not change.  These evil, warped people are not going to wake up tomorrow morning and feel this wonderful surge of humanity and brotherhood in the heart.  They will continue to plan destruction, carry out wars, and build their bombs.  But as anyone with excess hubris, they will continue to push and push and push until they commit that ultimate, extraordinarily stupid move which will cause a well-deserved, massive, exponential blowback to punish their pass transgressions.  And the innocent will be condemned with the guilty because they did nothing.  The physical and psychic landscape of the United States will be forever altered.  We can already see it looming.  It is the way of history.

Report this

By hippie4ever, August 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

Another suggestion: form urban cells with people you know and trust.

Report this

By Jean Gerard, August 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just to add a suggestion or two:  Write or call Obama and the Pentagon (Sec. Gates) to stop wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Write or call any defense contractor CEO and ask him to stop making weapons and put the money and effort into things that benefit people.  Call your senatora and tell them to vote for adequate affordable health care for all.  Call your local mayor or city council and ask them to find a way to help local homeless people with food, shelter and drug therapy.  Call your nearby prison authority and ask him to install a regular counselling program to help cut back on violence inside and to educate and train people for jobs outside. Don’t let your kids join the Army. Give some money to Oxfam or the Quakers.  There are so many things to do—enough for everybody.

Report this

By Jean Gerard, August 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In honor of the people who died on this dishonorable day, I make a plea to all commenters above, to please devote as many words and as much time and thought to suggesting practical ways to stop wars and weapons-profits, turn them into businesses that sustain life, to learn how understand those who are “different”, stop exploiting people and resources, and stop polluting.
We need wise action rather than endless arguments about who was/is right or wrong.  Most of us know what needs to be done, but we don’t do it.  Talking about the past every year for one day in August is a way to avoid acting.

Report this

By shadow7, August 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

HBO is showing a documentary called ‘WHITE’ - featuring the survivors of the bombings.  They are, believe it or not, human beings, whose flesh burns just as the flesh of Americans might.  Watch it and think.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 6, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Re:By cognitis1, August 6 at 4:22 pm:

Cognitis (which sounds, appropriately, like a disease of cognition) writes:

“US and British generals didn‘t annihilate German or Japanese cities for some weird delight, but rather both to destroy enemies’ media and to deter their citizenry.”

Um, coggy, dear: do you not understand that this is ALWAYS the rationale for deliberately attacking civilians, for leveling cities and that sort of thing? Do you not realize that this is also EXACTLY the rationale for terrorism? And do you not understand that even if it could be shown that it “worked” - i.e., that it “deterred the citizenry”, for example - that it would still be morally indefensible?

You make a cretinous argument from motivation. Your argument is that such an immense cruelty is justifiable as long as the motivation is purely utilitarian, involving no sadistic delight or racism. It is exactly like saying, “I was justified in cutting your throat, because I didn’t do it for some weird delight. I simply wanted your money. And it worked; I got your money.”

Report this

By cognitis1, August 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

US and British generals didn\‘t annihilate German or Japanese cities for some weird delight, but rather both to destroy enemies\’ media and to deter their citizenry; even though many generals out of compassion for other humans reluctantly ordered others or obeyed others\’ orders, virtue and not vice moved the generals.

Report this

By Charles Platt, August 6, 2009 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clearly Mr. Ellsberg has an ethical position in his feelings about nuclear weapons, yet equally clearly the “forebodings” he refers to have turned out to be wrong. Since 1945, the weapons have not been used, and there have been no more world wars. National leaders have experienced an overall loss of power (compare today’s figures with Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt dividing up Europe as if they were sharing sandwiches at a picnic). The world is generally a safer place. On 9/11 we were shocked and horrified by the destruction of two buildings; in my childhood we were concerned about the annihilation of the entire country.

Therefore, I think it might be more appropriate for Mr. Ellsberg to begin by asking: “Was I wrong?”

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 6, 2009 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

re:By cognitis1, August 6 at 3:24 pm:

Cognitis, in fact I do not consider the question of racism terribly important here. It does not affect the moral balance at all decisively.

If the US nuclear bombing of Japan could be shown to be absolutely free of any racist motivation, it would still be a grossly immoral act, as I have well explained in my posts taken together. I do not know why you are so fixated on the racism question. I did bring it up, by I regard it as in no way essential. Sorry if I gave that impression.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s say there was no racism involved, OK? So effing what. It doesn’t get the US off the ethical hook — not by a very, very, very long shot.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 6, 2009 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

re: By Mike, August 6 at 12:18 pm #


“If you were fighting in the Pacific at the time, you would not have thought dropping the bomb to end the war was wrong.”

The implicit reasoning behind this is as follows: “The continued risk of loss of American soldiers’ lives in war is to be avoided at all costs, including the mass killing of foreign non-combatants. It is always better to kill or severely mutilate and disable a non-American, even a child, even thousands of children, even hundreds of thousands of women, children, and other non-combatants, if it will result in fewer American soldiers being killed, or simply fewer American soldiers having to endure fighting a longer war. It is better to commit a deliberate, premeditated mass murder of foreign noncombatants, and consign many thousands more survivors to a shortened life of living hell, with their bodies severely mangled and monstrously disfigured, riddled with weird cancers, blinded and hairless, their skin sloughing off like smelly old rags. It is better to do this — TWICE, IN JUST THREE DAYS — if it means that I and my soldier buddies can go home sooner.”

Mike, do I really need to explain to you that this is not a sound ethical position?

Report this

By heavyrunner, August 6, 2009 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

The Willow Run plant, like everything else at General Motors is 70% owned by the U.S. and its citizens.  It should be converted to producing streetcars.  Then a goal should be set that no one living in a city larger than 400,000 people in the U.S. should live farther than 4 blocks from a streetcar line.

We should attack that goal with the urgency we approached being able to bomb Germany and Japan.  Then we wouldn’t need all that oil we import, which is bankrupting the country and leading to increasingly deadly wars.

Report this

By cognitis1, August 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Harges and Jones demonstrate respectively the liberal and “Red-State” modes or racism: Harges, like the idiot and shill Noam Chomsky, humiliates “non whites” and patronizes them; Jones, like the idiot and shill O’Reilly, insults “non-whites” with name-calling such as “Jap” or “Chink”; both racists, though, never expose any independent cogitation but instead just regurgitate inane trite well-known party lines. Both Harges and Jones here seem to contend for the status of most superior white person.

Report this

By heavyrunner, August 6, 2009 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

The “practical reasons” that stopped the Germans were the Red Army and the inevitable invasion from the west across the channel.  Germany did not have the resources to create the nuclear reactors and centrifuges necessary to create bomb making materials, and they did not have a secure location like Los Alamos or Hanford to build such facilities.  Hitler was fanatical but not wise, obviously, and his wild, fanatical ideas about Teutonic superiority, etc., led him to crawl out on a limb that had no room for construction of a nuclear weapon.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 6, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

Leaving aside for the moment whether there was or was not any racist component to the US’s nuclear bombing of Japan, it was still a most spectacularly, visciously cruel and unjustifiable act of state terrorism, reflecting a depraved indifference to human death and suffering, a depraved indifference to the distinction between civilians and combatants in war, and a depraved indifference to the global consequences of introducing such weaponry in warfare. So please, please, you moral idiots such as JonesHenry, do try to comprehend that there is much, much more here to condemn than racism, even if you discount that.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

re: By JonesHenry, August 6 at 1:01 pm:

You are a moral cretin, JH. Accounts of Japanese atrocities, true or not, have no bearing whatsoever on the morality of the US’s nuclear bombing of Japan.

Report this

By cognitis1, August 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, another racist such as Jones, detects itself for all. Even had Germany not conceded before Almogordo, why would any rational Human presume “racism” to have been the cause of using the atom bomb against Japan but not Germany? America deployed cruise missiles in England but not France; does America estimate the English to be inferior to the French? Of course not. Racists perceive—by definition—all human values through a racial meter. Jones below cited dubious Japanese “atrocities” committed against Chinese, but he neglects to cite both documented atrocities committed by Americans against Filipinos and also documented atrocities committed by Japanese against Americans, British, and Dutch: However atrociously Japanese enslaved and abused Chinese, the Japanese at least equally did to Americans and Europeans. How facilely omissions and weird logic detect the racist.

Report this

By Rontruth, August 6, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

The correct web address for Peter, Paul and Mary’s powerful version of If I Had A Hammer is at:
YouTube Peter, Paul and Mary, Live(6)If I Had A Hammer. It was videotaped in Japan in 1990. It is at:
YouTube Peter, Paul and Mary, Live(6) If I Had A Hammer. I made a slight mistake in the web address the first time.

Report this

By ardee, August 6, 2009 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

cognitis1, August 6 at 1:44 pm #


Risible and delusional are some here bloggers’ descriptions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings as “racist” gestures. All Major Powers possessing the necessary technology attempted to construct an atom bomb including Japan, and these same Powers including Japan certainly would have used the bomb against their enemies;
...................................

Woulda,coulda, shoulda. They didnt , we did. We dropped those two bombs on Japan, not Germany..wonder why?

Report this

By doublestandards/glasshoues, August 6, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

JonesHenry,
No one doubts that the Japanese attack on China was brutal, but most of the people here do not believe that it justified the nuclear attack on Japan by the US.  You don’t seem to be able to look at the actions of your own country or its government objectively.  We will never have peace in the world until people can do that.

Report this

By Rontruth, August 6, 2009 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

For all those who love peace because they have seen the utter uselessness of war on all sides of the oceans of the world, here are two powerful songs that address the need for especially the wealthy corporate masters of America, and the world, to understand that the masses will not stand idly by much longer.

There is still a chance for peaceful resolution of the differences between the advocates of war as a first economic choice, and those Kennedy-esque people who have a new, Kennedyesque vision. We have to educate ourselves in the ways of peace. Peaceful purposes. Outreach to others who DISAGREE with us, for peaceful coexistence.

This purpose needs every decent-minded human voice!

See http://www.YouTube Peter, Paul and Mary Live (6) If I Had A Hammer. Folk music prophet and singer, Pete Seeger’s 1930s song, popularized by the most popular folk and folk-rock music group in US history, Peter, Paul and Mary, is as meaningful for our time, today, as it was when they sang it for President John F. Kennedy, who became so convinced of it’s meaning, and P,P&M’s popularity, that he decided that young America wanted a withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam.

He stood against New York City’s Cardinal Spellman, of his own Catholic Church who wanted more, not less US military involvement in the Vietnam conflict. He issued NSAM 263, the withdrawal of ALL US forces from Vietnam. His collective detractors took action on Friday, November 22, 1963. That was the day they killed President Kennedy.

When Americans unite, there is little, short of an absolute police-state, that can stop what they demand.In this case, an end to nuclear weapons, and peaceful purposes to take the place of what we all went through during the oil wars of the two Bush administrations.

Report this

By shadow7, August 6, 2009 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Somehow, we dismiss history to irrelevance.  That’s really not who we are, or - at least - who we should be.

Please read this article, as a gesture of remembrance. - The Bombs of August

http://tvnewslies.org/tvnl/index.php/editorial/reggies-commentary/3241-the-bombs-of-august-in-remembrance-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki.html

Report this

By cognitis1, August 6, 2009 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Risible and delusional are some here bloggers’ descriptions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings as “racist” gestures. All Major Powers possessing the necessary technology attempted to construct an atom bomb including Japan, and these same Powers including Japan certainly would have used the bomb against their enemies; that Japan would have conceded defeat to America only by suffering the bomb neglects the fact of Japan’s concession only after Soviet invasion, and Japan was cognizant of America’s very few bombs and would have voluntarily suffered had not USSR invaded Manchuria; so using the bomb on unpopulated area would have both exhausted America’s atom bomb supply and also not have deterred Japan anyway.

Report this

By Richard Oxman, August 6, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

We have a way to try to put an end to the madness following a new paradigm. Please, all readers, including Daniel Ellsberg… please contact me ASAP at 831-688-8038 in Aptos, California or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We are in the process of legally, non-violently taking over the state of California (TOSCA) for many purposes, including, of course, putting an end to nuclear madness and all unnecessarily destructive military matters. Howard Zinn and Michael Parenti and Bill Blum are all on board as per http://oxtogrind.org/archive/353. In solidarity, Richard Oxman

Report this

By C. Curtis Dillon, August 6, 2009 at 9:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

(continuation of previous post)

Now some thoughts:

1) Although I agree with DE about not wanting the bomb developed, it might have been a geopolitical imperative to do just that.  Although the project had daunting technical challenges (see 4 above), the physics of nuclear weapons is not all that difficult.  The basics were known for quite some time and only technical hurdles needed to be crossed.  The Soviets certainly had the brains to solve the problems and Stalin was willing to throw massive resources at creating a Soviet bomb.  It didn’t take them all that long to catch up once the gauntlet was thrown.  So, would it have been politically wise to destroy our nuclear investment and let the Soviets gain the upper hand?  Hard to say but I’m sure that was the thinking in Washington after the war.

2) If you look at any technical development, there is a diffusion that takes place over time.  The first country (or company) invests significant resources into developing a new device.  Consider the integrated circuit.  The first examples were very crude and expensive to create.  The entire infrastructure for their development had to be created from scratch.  But, as time passed and more competitors entered the arena, the complexity was reduced, controlled and expanded.  Where the first IC chips contained hundreds of transistors, today we routinely produce 10s of millions of transistors/chip.  Although the technology is still very expensive, it is no longer confined to one company or even one country.  The knowledge diffused over time until everyone had it.

Now, consider the same with nuclear technology.  We invented it at the cost of billions of 1945 dollars.  It was a massive undertaking and commanded the finest minds of the time to find an acceptable solution.  The list of scientists reads like who’s who in nuclear physics.  Then the Soviets got it (by stealing some from us), then the English and French.  I’m sure they didn’t invest nearly as much as we did but achieved the same result.  Then we added Israel, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and India.  They certainly didn’t spend as much as we did nor did they have to reinvent the wheel.  Each time the task got easier and cheaper.  You can now send a few good scientists to a top Western university and they will return with the knowledge needed.  They certainly don’t need to be Einstein or Fermi.

The bottom line on this ... the genie, once out of the bottle, cannot be returned and technology, once developed, naturally diffuses to more and more places while becoming easier to master with time.  Nuclear technology was unleashed once scientists understood how fission and fusion worked.  It was only a matter of time until someone figured out how to make it into a weapon and then only a matter of time until it started to diffuse to other countries.  Putting the genie back in the bottle is impossible ... it is too attractive a weapon to ever be completely eliminated.  If this were not true, why would North Korea and Iran be so intent on acquiring them?

Report this

By C. Curtis Dillon, August 6, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A few facts:

1) Two bombs were created.  One was a U-235 fission bomb while the other was made from Plutonium.  Basically the same physics but different enough that both had to be “tested”.  I’m sure there was a lot of interest among both the military and scientists about which was better.

2) General Grove requested that the air corp not destroy all Japanese cities so there would be some pristine places to test the new weapon.  It would not be scientifically useful to drop a bomb on a destroyed city since the full effect could not be measured.  After the war, we sent medical teams to both cities to evaluate the results ... still the most complete information on the effects of radiation on living beings.

3) I don’t know the emotional state of Truman or anyone else but the Japanese were known for their brutality toward captured populations and POWs plus we were still deeply angry at the savagery of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  You have to remember the state of our country which interred Japanese Americans as being potential enemies of the US.  We truly hated the Japanese and dropping those bombs may have been emotional payback for those feelings.  Not justification but maybe at least a way to understand.  Also, someone suggested “Papa Joe” Stalin.  The Soviets had just entered the Japanese theater and I’m sure no one wanted them to get a nice piece of the Japanese pie just for showing up.  They wanted the war over fast so Stalin couldn’t ask for part of Japan.  And, I’m also convinced the bombs were a warning to the Soviets about getting too aggressive anywhere else.  There were a lot of geopolitical issues behind those explosions.

4) It takes a massive amount of infrastructure to make nuclear bombs.  During the war, we had several major facilities devoted to this effort.  Separation facilities at Oak Ridge (TN) enriched uranium for the U-235 weapon, weapon’s components (plutonium) were manufactured at the Hanford Reservation (WA) and assembled into weapons at Los Alamos (NM).  The K25 uranium enrichment plant at Oak Ridge was over a mile long with several thousand stages.  Tons of natural uranium were pumped into the front end and ounces of enriched product came out the other.  It took several months for the material to travel through the entire process. 

The allies were aggressively targeting German nuclear facilities at it might have just been too difficult to create the infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon given this unwanted attention.

(More to come)

Report this

By jh34flynn, August 6, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

This is a great report and one that I will follow as the text is presented. One comment I would make is that the Savannah River Site is generally identified as in South Carolina (not Georgia). At least that was the information I was given when I spoke to a group there some years ago.

Report this
Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, August 6, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

I believe that, no matter what Americans say, we all know in our hearts that the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski were not justified and were in fact pure, sadistic, racist terrorism on a par with any of the worst crimes ever committed by any nation or government. The shared, suppressed guilt about this has a lot to do with the strident, delusional exceptionalism of our foreign policy. We simply cannot allow ourselves to accept the truth about what was done in our name at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Report this

By Mike, August 6, 2009 at 9:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s so easy to look back, away from the horror of WWII (50 million killed), and make these judgments.  If you were fighting in the Pacific at the time, you would not have thought dropping the bomb to end the war was wrong. 

Yes, utterly, utterly tragic that the innocent died, as many other millions of other innocents did during that war, but sorry, the Japs started it, murdered millions, had to be stopped as soon as possible, and had to understand they could never think about doing this again.  Also tragic that it took the Dresden bombing and millions lost in the Soviet gulags for the Germans to understand they could never try to take over the world again.

The U.S. did not then drop the bomb all over the world, as it could have, and was careful to avoid its use later in Korea, Vietnam, etc. so claims of fundamental American immorality are not justified (the Vietnam War was wrong).

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, August 6, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

As to Japanese peace feelers, the Japanese were undecided about talking peace even after Nagasaki.  The Emperor took it upon himself—in effect, carried out a coup against his own government—in order to end the war.  A counter-coup was attempted by military people who wanted to continue the war.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrender_of_Japan

Report this

By Raymond Comeau, August 6, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In relation to Jones Henry`s posted comments of Aug 6/09, I would like to suggest the following:

Since the birth of many children in the ‘Western World’ is followed by a litany of lies and myths starting with the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and leading up to the Jesus Christ (or saviour of the day) WHY Do WE Not Just hypothetically look at history and take Religion, and Jesus Christ, out of the equation ?

The Divine Right of Kings was a dictum used to justify Dictators, who lived in opulence while their subjects lived in destitude.

“This is a just war ” is the excuse the Spanish Priests used to approve the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples in Latin America ! And, the list goes on.

G.W.Bush and his Right Wing Evangelical followers used each other to perpetrate the rape and pillaging of Iraq.

These same evangelicals believe that the Iraq war was/is necessary (as interpretated from the holy scriptures)as precusors to the ‘Rapture’ and the second coming of Jersus Christ.

It is time that these religious warriors were hauled before a secular court to prove their case, and if they fail, they should be sentenced for war crimes.

It is unbelievable that nuclear power is in the hands of these insane people, while the dumbed down and terrified people of the world follow as the ‘sheeple’ they have become.

Strangely, most people can read about Zeus and Hera and scoff about that mythology ; however the modern day mythology of Jesus Christ is gobbled up like manna!

We need more leaders like Daniel Ellsburg, and Mordechai !

Wake up people.

Report this

By smitty8, August 6, 2009 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Daniel Ellsberg, for your powerful statement on the immorality of nuclear weapons.

  It is important to try to disabuse the public of the notion that the use of atomic bombs in Japan was necessary to shorten the war, saving many American lives. The clearly established fact of the matter is that Japan was trying to surrender with the only condition that the life of the emperor be spared.

  The US insistence on “unconditional surrender” EXTENDED the war, costing MORE American lives. In other words, waiting and using the atomic bomb did not save lives -it cost more (to say nothing of the great many Japanese civilian lives lost and subsequent suffering).

  Although it was probably true that “Truman… wanted to demonstrate the new weapon in order to threaten Stalin to deter him from directing the Russian forces to occupy all of Western Europe.” the main reason we used the weapons was because we had it and the main reason for using the second bomb was because that was all we had.

Steve Juniper

Report this

By Old Geezer Pilot, August 6, 2009 at 8:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I noticed this quote lifted from outraged’s comment:

”Actually the Nazis had rejected the pursuit of the atomic bomb on practical grounds in June 1942, just as the Manhattan Project was beginning. Similarly, I was one of many in the late ’50s who were misled and recruited into the nuclear arms race by exaggerated, and in this case deliberately manipulated, fears of Soviet intentions and crash efforts.”


This is really quite startling, but seems to be confirmed on wikipedia:

“...The zenith of the effort came when it was realized that nuclear fission would not contribute significantly to ending the war. In January 1942, the Army Ordnance Office turned the program over to the Reich Research Council, but continued to fund the program. At this time, the program split up between nine major institutes where the directors dominated the research and set their own objectives. At that time, the number of scientists working on applied nuclear fission began to diminish, with many applying their talents to more pressing war-time demands…”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_nuclear_energy_project

Report this
Peacedragon's avatar

By Peacedragon, August 6, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

Every year around this time I am reminded of this:

I met Chester Anderson in Greenwich Village in the early sixties, half past beat and a quarter to hippie. He was a brilliant poet, musician, and novelist. He had married a Japanese woman who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, the place being either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. He fathered children with her and watched them die of radioactive poisoning.

From knowing Chester, I know that the world lost a lot when they murdered Chester’s kids.

Report this

By eileen fleming, August 6, 2009 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

There is also a You Tube from the Whistle Blower of Israel’s WMD facility: “VANUNU MORDECHAI -EAST JERUSALEM, HIROSHIMA MESSAGE”


To this day, the USA and Israel claim to be peace seekers and democracies.

“Israel is a not a democracy but is an Ethnocracy, meaning a country run and controlled by a national group with some democratic elements but set up with Jews in control and structured to keep them in control.”-Jeff Halper, American Israeli, Founder and Coordinator of ICAHD/Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and a Noble Peace Prize Nominee for 2006.

To this day Vanunu remains an open air prisoner captive in occupied east Jerusalem denied the right to leave the Jewish State.

What Vanunu’s Freedom of Speech trial exposed since it began on January 25, 2006 is that the Israeli SECURITY System controls the Israeli Ministry of Justice. [Learn more: Vanunu Archives @ WeAreWideAwake.org]

To this day, Tel Aviv persists to attempt to deflect its egregious transgressions of international law and human rights abuses aided and abetted by well funded publicity campaigns, an AIPAC beholden Congress and an American media that has failed at its commission to seek and report all sides of a story when in comes to the now 42 years of military occupation of Palestine.

In April 1999, thirty-six members of the House of Representatives signed a letter calling for Vanunu’s release from prison because they believed “we have a duty to stand up for men and women like Mordechai Vanunu who dare to articulate a brighter vision for humanity.”

President Clinton responded with a public statement expressing concern for Vanunu and the need for Israel and other non-parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to adhere to it and accept IAEA safeguards.


However, ever since the silence had been deafening, until hope resurrected in Prague:

“Words must mean something [and] violence and injustice must be confronted by standing together as free nations, as free people…Human destiny will be what we make of it.”-President Obama

“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased…to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946

“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends…I believe that as soon as people want peace in the world they can have it. The only trouble is they are not aware they can get it…You’re just left with yourself all the time, whatever you do anyway. You’ve got to get down to your own God in your own temple. It’s all down to you, mate…All we are saying is give peace a chance…All you need is love…Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one…Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”-John Lennon

“If you are not apart of the solution; you are apart of the problem.”-Eldridge Cleaver

Excerpted from “The 64th Anniversary Of USA Terrorism Enlightened By The Wisdom of Nonviolence” 


By Eileen Fleming, A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com and Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org

Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”

Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”

Report this

By prgill, August 6, 2009 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

The issue is not so much the “enormity” of any attrocity that may have been committed in the name of war, but the nature of war itself.

How might we as humans conceivably take our (collective) destiny in hand without some form of violence? How might we direct our own evolution? or promote sustainable population growth? or equal (fair) access to eco-resources?

The extinction of the human species may not be so far fetched. What would be tragic is that the beautiful blue globe we call home should cease to sustain life in any form. But then, scientists would have us believe this is a matter of physics and a function of the planet’s distance from the sun and the presence of oxygen.

On another, more mundane level, the question may be simply one of recognizing the truth and avoiding manipulations. These tasks are of themselves incredibly complex.

Report this

By bogi666, August 6, 2009 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

There is a video with Robert Oppenheimer who describes nuclear weapons as Shiva, the Hindu Deity, that creates and destroys worlds and universes and that mankind has elevated itself to God like status with nuclear weaponry. Shiva is E=[MCsquared].

Report this

By everynobody, August 6, 2009 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A truly monumental piece by Ellsberg; it speaks to truth. Where are the Ellsbergs of today in our hour of dire need?

Report this

By heavyrunner, August 6, 2009 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

Hi Dan,

I was camped with you on the tracks at Rocky Flats for a week or so in the summer of 1978.  Bonnie Rait and Jackson Brown were also there for concert, perhaps on Hiroshima day.  You and I were both going through marital difficulties at the time and became quite close after filling the long evenings on the tracks with conversations commiserating our circumstances.  I had come down to Denver in an old school bus with a group of demonstrators from the University of Montana and the Flathead Indian Reservation, where I had settled from Michigan when underground from the draft during Viet Nam. 

Racism facilitated many of the atrocities you mention in your essay.  I’m sure you have read Gar Alparovitz’a “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.”  Alprovitz quotes from both Truman and Senator Byrnes’ diaries many of their discussions about the war and the bomb.  Truman referred to the Japanese as “those slant-eyed bastards.”  He didn’t consider them fully human, it seems, so it was not as difficult as it should have been to commit mass murder against them.  The motive for using the bomb appears to have been at least as much to intimidate “Old Joe” (Stalin) as it was to defeat the Japanese, who had been sending out feelers to sue for peace not long after the fire bombing raids of early spring 1945. 

Truman and Byrnes appear to have extended the war so that they would have an opportunity to demonstrate the new weapon in order to threaten Stalin to deter him from directing the Russian forces to occupy all of Western Europe.

These are explosive charges, but they are well documented in Alparovitz’s book.

Paul Fretheim

Report this

By eileen fleming, August 6, 2009 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

On Armistice Day, 1948 General Omar Nelson Bradley warned, “We live in a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants, in a world that has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. We have solved the mystery of the atom and forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on The Mount. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about dying than we know about living.”

On May 17, 2009, Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire prevailed on 17 other Nobel laureates to sign a letter called the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Declaration:


“Released in Hiroshima, it calls upon world leaders, and all people, to eliminate nuclear weapons. And it warns that unless humanity fails in that endeavor, ‘the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’ will be repeated.

“Such weapons, [Mairead] says, belong to the tragic past. They belong to a time when the world lacked the wisdom to realize that each culture needs the other to survive.

“Governments which still hold such weapons violate the prohibition of war in the UN charter. But more than that, she says, they’re operating anachronistically. They’re out of touch with the insights of the times. Nowadays our enemies aren’t across the border. The enemies of humanity today are poverty, environmental destruction, militarism, and war.

“Our security nowadays lies in nonviolence and love. She insists that we all need to heed the wisdom of nonviolence and apply it institutionally, internationally, globally and concluded in The Vision of Peace, ‘Everyone of us has a role to play in the creation of a new culture of nonviolence.’”

2009 is the final year in the United Nations Decade of Creating a Culture of Nonviolence for All the Children of the World. America is on the record in the UN as abstaining from voting because to support such an initiative would make it “too hard for us to go to war.”


n 1995, from Ashkelon Prison, the whistle blower of Israel’s WMD Program, Mordechai Vanunu noted:

“A radioactive cloud consumed rubbed out Hiroshima…A live nuclear test sentenced you. A nuclear laboratory…children women trees animals in and under a nuclear mushroom…burning… burned…flattened to ground radioactive ash-Hiroshima…Nuclear weapons gamblers win against you…Hollywood doesn’t know you - you are not a Jewish Holocaust.”

excerpted from “The 64th Anniversary Of USA Terrorism Enlightened By The Wisdom of Nonviolence”
By Eileen Fleming

Report this

By ardee, August 6, 2009 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

JonesHenry, August 6 at 1:49 am #

doublestandards/glasshoues, August 6 at 5:21 am has made an eloquent response to your horrific post and I would not repeat what has laready been said.

I would add , however, that even if your suppositions were correct, even if the Japanese were prepared to fight to the last man , woman and child we should not have used those bombs.

All that was necessary was to remain offshore and await the coming surrender. Instead we chose to blemish our reputation and brand ourselves as guilty of war crimes as was the Axis.

Report this

By doublestandards/glasshoues, August 6, 2009 at 2:21 am Link to this comment

JonesHenry,
You know more propaganda than history.  The fact is that Japan had already been devastated by the saturation bombing conducted by general Curtis LeMay for months prior to the bombing of Hiroshima.  They were ready to surrender but Truman wanted to drop the bomb in order to justify the expense of the Manhattan project.  Certainly they would have surrendered after the incineration of Hiroshima so what was the purpose of the Nagasaki bombing?  Now that the WW11 generation is dying off maybe the country will be able to face what we did there and realize that we committed an horrendous crime against humanity.

Report this
prole's avatar

By prole, August 6, 2009 at 1:12 am Link to this comment

Dan Ellsberg is a true American hero for releasing the Pentagon Papers, a landmark event in the history of democratic disclosure and governmental transparency (albeit unofficial) for which he should have received a Nobel Peace Prize. If he can do for nuclear weapons what he did previously in exposing the pre-meditated criminality of the American political class in Vietnam he will perform another invaluable service in the pursuit of truth and accountability on the most urgent - and overlooked - issue of the day. Perhaps he’ll get a second chance to win that long overdue Nobel.

Report this
Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, August 6, 2009 at 1:08 am Link to this comment

Re: Mr. Ellsberg

An excellent, engaging and moving article.  Your quote:

“I had a sense of dread, a feeling that something very ominous for humanity had just happened. A feeling, new to me as an American, at 14, that my country might have made a terrible mistake. I was glad when the war ended nine days later, but it didn’t make me think that my first reaction on Aug. 6 was wrong.”

And why would it?  Some things… whether we have the power or control are inexplicably wrong, and we sense it, we know it and we feel it.  All propaganda and supposed theory aside, the REASONABLE among us “see it”, whether we wish to or not.

Quote: “Most Americans ever since have seen the destruction of the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as necessary and effective—as constituting just means, in effect just terrorism, under the supposed circumstances—thus legitimating, in their eyes, the second and third largest single-day massacres in history. (The largest, also by the U.S. Army Air Corps, was the firebombing of Tokyo five months before on the night of March 9, which burned alive or suffocated 80,000 to 120,000 civilians. Most of the very few Americans who are aware of this event at all accept it, too, as appropriate in wartime.”

I would love to say “Why?”.... why do we disregard the sufferings of these civilians, ..... what was or is our point?  But I feel I know “why”, and this thought jars my conscience repeatedly.  I decide that possibly the question is more one of “How”.  How do we disregard this reality?  Still, I sense that this too, renders itself meaningless.  Is it okay for one to kill his neighbor’s innocent children because theirs will then be able to purchase “name-brand” clothing or other wares, in a “safe” country…... a country LOADED WITH WEAPONS LETHAL TO ALL OF HUMANITY? and now… we are not the only ones.  Weapons, which very concretely could devastate ALL of life on the one and only planet, as we so far know, which supports our existence?

Quote: Actually the Nazis had rejected the pursuit of the atomic bomb on practical grounds in June 1942, just as the Manhattan Project was beginning. Similarly, I was one of many in the late ’50s who were misled and recruited into the nuclear arms race by exaggerated, and in this case deliberately manipulated, fears of Soviet intentions and crash efforts.”

Is this TRUE….?  The NAZI’S on “practical grounds” rejected the pursuit of the atomic bomb?  I’ve never heard this before.  Is this accurate…?  What was the reason…. by this I mean is it because we recruited these same “higher ups” into America?  What is the crux of this matter?  The realization that “they” gave it up as we begun it….. certainly, gives one pause for alarm, especially given the fact that WE KNOW we recruited Nazis into the U.S., under very questionable circumstances to “help” us.

What’s wrong with this picture?  What is not being said…...

Report this

By prgill, August 6, 2009 at 12:40 am Link to this comment

More thoughtless commentary: God, satan, crimes against humanity… Bullshit. This is the stuff that keeps us “asleep at the wheel”.

The point in Daniel Elsberg’s article is that a good man, descendant of a line of just men, laboring for the common good was manipulated—as we all were then (I was born in 1952 and achieved Elsberg’s, Oppenheimer’s or Ginsberg’s consciousness a little late to be directly concerned with the “morality” of the Hydrogen bomb) and today—by a military-industrial complex that defines survival in terms of pre-emptive strikes while taking no prisoners.

What price must we pay before we understand that survival depends not only on preserving what we know from the past while daring to try something new? Conservatism is necessary but insufficient.

The human and moral issues raised by this article more than justify the hour it took to read the 6700+ words AND look at the photographs of the Willow Run Plant in Detroit.

Report this

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

 
Monsters of Our Own Creation? Get tickets for this Truthdig discussion of America's role in the Middle East.
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Zuade Kaufman, Publisher   Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.