Thursday, August 04, 2005

Remembering Hiroshima

It is often said of the Nazi Holocaust, that we must never forget it, to ensure that it never happens again. It does, again and again, but that it beside the point of this post.

We must always remember the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for several reasons. One, to remember the horrors of nuclear war. Two, to remember the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims. Three, to be ever mindful that the distinction between good and evil is not always as clear as we might like to think.

I watched a BBC documentary on CBC about Hiroshima tonight. It involved re-enactments of events from both a Japanese civilian and US military perspective, and recollections of both. The Japanese stories were truly horrifying: burnt bodies, incinerations, rescues, and radiation poisoning, and one very painful recollection, of a mother who tried in vain to rescue her trapped child from fire before fleeing.

What absolutely astounded me were the Americans who maintained that it had to be done. I have to wonder, what were the soldiers thinking and feeling, as they prepared to wipe out a city? The reasoning given is that it saved lives in the end by shortening the war. Saved more lives than were taken by the bomb? I doubt it. Another interviewed soldier said that the Japanese is responsible for it by not backing down. That's crap. The hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians weren't responsible. Actions of a much smaller scale could have gotten the attention of the Japanese. The applause of soldiers in response Truman's announcement of the successful bomb drop was sickening.

My feeling is that the US wanted to maximize civilian casualties. No warning was given of any kind, be they leaflets dropped, or a lower pass which would trigger an air raid siren in Hiroshima immediately preceding the bomb drop.

The solidiers aboard the Enola Gay, Harry S. Truman, and everyone in between in the chain of command could have and should have been tried for war crimes under the Nuremburg rules.

Check out this story from Common Dreams.
See Wikipedia on Hiroshima/Nagasaki
And this.

This Saturday is the 60th Anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. There are probably anti-war events in your community observing it. Regardless, I would encourage you this Saturday to take a moment to remember.