Thursday, August 6, 2009

An almost unmentioned anniversary

I was just under a month old on August 6, 1945. On that day, a US bomber dropped the bizarrely named nuclear bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima, Japan, killing up to 140,000 people, 80,000 of them instantly. Three days later, US forces dropped a second bomb, "Fat Man," on Nagasaki, killing another 80,000. Besides those who died, many survivors lived with terrible injuries, and for many years babies were born deformed by the lingering effects of the radiation.


So, in less than a week 64 years ago, the United States of America committed the two most destructive uses of weapons of mass destruction in the history of humankind. The usual defense is that it was necessary to end the war, but this is subject to debate. There is also evidence that the real purpose was to show the Soviet Union that we had the Bomb and we were crazy enough to use it, needed or not. I don't know which is true, perhaps both are. What I do know is that possession of nuclear weapons by the US makes me just as nervous as their possession by any other nation. And why shouldn't it, given that we are the only ones who, so far, who have actually used them?

So far, watching the news today, I've seen no mention of this anniversary. Perhaps there will be some later in the evening. Meanwhile, peace activist Daniel Ellsberg, who was a bit older at the time, has a good essay here.

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