Fog/drizzle this morning up here on California’s northern coast, a mighty contrast to the rest of the US, and most-likely, a huge chunk of the planet.
Bad news continues with another mass killing in Wisconsin, this time apparently with religious/racial overtones, and the bizarre link in the shooting deaths of two Brooklyn, NY, shopkeepers, both Egyptian immigrants.
War crimes war zone?
And speaking/writing of war crimes — today is the 67th anniversary of the atomic bomb horror of Hiroshima.
This morning, more than 50,000 people observed the event during ceremonies in Hiroshima’s peace park — representatives from 70 countries were in attendance as the famed bell was rung at the exact, historical moment (8:15 a.m.), and after a time of silence, flowers placed before the park’s eternal flame.
(Illustration found here).
The single, “Little Boy” atomic bomb directly and immediately killed an estimated 80,000 people, with total casualties thought to be above 160,000.
Not content with that, a second atomic bomb was dropped three days later on Nagasaki, killing another 80,000 people.
Among those in attendance this morning in Hiroshima was Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of Harry Truman, the guy who okayed the bomb.
In a news conference after the memorial, Daniel declined to comment on whether his grandfather’s decision was the right one.
“I’m two generations down the line.
“It’s now my responsibility to do all I can to make sure we never use nuclear weapons again,” he said, according to Japan’s Kyodo news service.
No matter young Clifton’s opinion, Hiroshima was a war crime — a horrible one in which the US was playing games with the Russkies at the expense of a shitload of lives.
Another relation to the act penned a piece yesterday in the UK’s Independent on the lie of Hiroshima with a different approach.
A few snips:
Apologists for these events have used two arguments.
These attacks were necessary because Japan wouldn’t surrender without them, and because a land invasion against Japan’s disciplined troops would have caused 300,000 US casualties or more.
The bombing also kept the Soviets out of Japan and helped speed the end of the war.
This thought now dominates – anyone disagreeing is “a soft peacenik”.
No one objected to the A-Bomb’s use in 1945, we are told.
No one who knew the score amongst the military high-ups. There was no alternative.
But the argument that no one in the know objected is a fallacy.
General Eisenhower opposed it, “Japan was already defeated… dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary.”
The Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Nimitz agreed: “The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in their defeat.”
Admiral Leahy, President Truman’s Chief of Staff, concurred: the atomic attacks were “of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already ready to surrender…”
These feelers were rebuffed by the US demand for unconditional surrender.
But this was unacceptable to Japan, for it could mean that Hirohito –seen as semi-divine – could be put on trial.
In mid-1945 The Washington Post kept asking why Truman was demanding unconditional surrender while granting that a condition could swiftly end hostilities.
In July, Time wondered whether the answer was some “deep secret” while the United States News confirmed, days after Hiroshima, that “competent testimony exists to prove that Japan was seeking to surrender many weeks before the atomic bomb…”
My father-in-law – a nissi healer called Kiekazu Higashikawa – was in nearby Kokura on 9 August 1945.
He was then 15, a shy Japanese teenager anxiously awaiting his father.
A bank of cloud saved him from being vaporised.
It also, indirectly, saved my future wife – and our children.
The children of the next target, Nagasaki, were not so lucky, and they became the first victims of a Cold War crime against humanity.
Why is it so difficult for some people, even now, to admit this fact?
One chilling aspect still remains — the ashes of death.
From Greg Mitchell at The Nation on the remains still remaining on site:
They are a chilling sight.
The cans are bright white, like the flash in the sky over Hiroshima at 8:15 am on August 6, 1945.
From all corners of the city the ashes were collected: the remains of soldiers, physicians, housewives, infants. Unclaimed, they at least have the dignity of a private urn, an identity, a life (if one were able to look into it) before death.
But what of the seventy thousand behind the curtains?
The pine crates are marked with names of sites where the human dust and bits of bone were found—a factory or a school, perhaps, or a neighborhood crematory.
But beyond that, the ashes are anonymous.
Thousands may still grieve for these victims but there is no dignity here.
“They are all mixed together,” said Ohara, “and will never be separated or identified.”
Under a mound, behind two curtains, inside a few pine boxes: This is what became of one-quarter of the city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
The problem is the US thinks no American can be guilty of war crimes — take George Jr. and Tony, please!