Sixty-four Years and Counting

August 6, 2009

Just a reminder, 64 years ago today Hiroshima was tagged.

And Frida Berrigan at tomdispatch has a view this week on the Hiroshima legacy in today’s world:

Keep in mind as well that the bombs which annihilated two Japanese cities and ended so many lives 64 years ago this week were puny when compared to today’s typical nuclear weapon.
Little Boy was a 15 kiloton warhead.
Most of the warheads in the U.S. arsenal today are 100 or 300 kilotons — capable of taking out not a Japanese city of 1945 but a modern megalopolis.
Bruce Blair, president of the World Security Institute and a former launch-control officer in charge of Minutemen Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles armed with 170, 300, and 335 kiloton warheads, pointed out a few years ago that, within 12 minutes, the United States and Russia could launch the equivalent of 100,000 Hiroshimas.
It is unthinkable.
It seems unimaginable.
It sounds like hyperbole, but consider it an uncomfortable and necessary truth.
The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the children of our future need us to understand this and act upon it — 64 years too late… and not a minute too soon.

And despite the horror, and despite the history (Truman didn’t need to okay the bomb — all to impress the Russkies), a new poll reveals an ugly, asshole underbelly in the US:

Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the United States did the right thing by dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago…
Older voters, men and Republicans favored the attacks more than younger people, women and Democrats, the survey of 2,409 registered voters by Quinnipiac University showed.

Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame, had this to say about nuclear weapons:

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.

And this on Harry Truman’s lie:

On August 9, 1945, he stated: “The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.”

(h/t to

Read my ‘Happy Hiroshima Day’ post from last year here.

Bombs away!

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