Happy Hiroshima Day!

August 6, 2008

Sixty-three years ago today Sueko Hada was then seven-years-old:

  • “I managed to claw my way out from under the rubble. By now, our house was on fire and the cries of my sisters were getting fainter.
    I left to look for help. When I went outside I saw that everything had totally changed. Although it had been a beautiful morning, it looked like twilight now.
    Everyone was injured, badly injured. No-one was helping other people, they just looked after themselves. I myself was bleeding from a neck wound. There was blood all over the white clothes I was wearing.

    I didn’t recognize anyone, so all I could do was follow the others. I saw terrible things. There were people with their eyeballs hanging out of their sockets.
    There were others whose cheeks had been ripped open from the corners of their mouths to their ears. I saw a young mother running with a headless baby on her back.
    I saw someone else with his belly ripped open and intestines spilling out.
    Most of these people looked like ghosts — it truly was a vision of Hell.
    But pretty soon, I got used to seeing these things. Everyone did.”

The “hibakusha” account of then-14-year-old Akihiro Takahashi:

  • “That was the moment when the blast came.
    And then the tremendous noise came and we were left in the dark. I couldn’t see anything at the moment of explosion just like in this picture.
    We had been blown by the blast. Of course, I couldn’t realize this until the darkness disappeared.
    I was actually blown about 10 m.
    My friends were all marked down on the ground by the blast just like this. Everything collapsed for as far as I could see.
    I felt the city of Hiroshima had disappeared all of a sudden.
    Then I looked at myself and found my clothes had turned into rags due to the heat.
    I was probably burned at the back of the head, on my back, on both arms and both legs. My skin was peeling and hanging like this.
    Automatically I began to walk heading west because that was the direction of my home.
    After a while, I noticed somebody calling my name. I looked around and found a friend of mine who lived in my town and was studying at the same school. His name was Yamamoto.
    He was badly burnt just like myself. We walked toward the river.
    And on the way we saw many victims. I saw a man whose skin was completely peeled off the upper half of his body and a woman whose eye balls were sticking out. Her whole baby was bleeding.
    A mother and her baby were lying with a skin completely peeled off.

    When we were resting because we were so exhausted, I found my grandfather’s brother and his wife, in other words, great uncle and great aunt, coming toward us.
    That was quite coincidence.
    As you know, we have a proverb about meeting Buddha in Hell. My encounter with my relatives at that time was just like that. They seem to be the Buddha to me wandering in the living hell.”

Watch a horrifying, though well-executed “hibakusha”/CGI YouTube film of Hiroshima here.

Mankind’s most-awful contraption off a luridly-long list of awful contraptions was the nuclear weapon, “the bomb.”
The Hiroshima bomb killed 200,000 people, although the count is most-likely much higher.
And a horror unleashed for no real military reason.
Ike Eisenhower knew it in his gut when Secretary of War Hank Stimson told him:

  • During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.
    It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude…”

Ike was right — Stimson was most likely ‘deeply perturbed,’ he looked at the bomb as a way to shape history, not end the war.
A 2005 article from the science and technology news service, Newscientist.

  • The US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was meant to kick-start the Cold War rather than end the Second World War, according to two nuclear historians who say they have new evidence backing the controversial theory.
    Causing a fission reaction in several kilograms of uranium and plutonium and killing over 200,000 people 60 years ago was done more to impress the Soviet Union than to cow Japan, they say.
    And the US President who took the decision, Harry Truman, was culpable, they add.
    “He knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species,” says Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington DC, US. “It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity.”

And speaking of a crime against humanity — just seven years ago today, according to Ron Suskind‘s 2006 The One Percent Doctrine and a Washington Post review of the book:

  • The book’s opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush’s Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president’s attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.”
    Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”
    Three months later, with bin Laden holed up in the Afghan mountain redoubt of Tora Bora, the CIA official managing the Afghanistan campaign, Henry A. Crumpton (now the State Department’s counterterrorism chief), brought a detailed map to Bush and Cheney.
    White House accounts have long insisted that Bush had every reason to believe that Pakistan’s army and pro-U.S. Afghan militias had bin Laden cornered and that there was no reason to commit large numbers of U.S. troops to get him.
    But Crumpton’s message in the Oval Office, as told through Suskind, was blunt: The surrogate forces were “definitely not” up to the job, and “we’re going to lose our prey if we’re not careful.”

Decider George has now created his own kind of Hiroshima, one that will flame for years.

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