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We need to tell that story of people still affected by radiation poisoning.  There may have been

many who did not want to drop this bomb on a civilian population but someone

wanted to "see what it would be like" and they did



Nuking Nagasaki  & Hiroshima, Our Nuking Nevada

Incinerating Pretty Girls, Atmospheric Radiation, Our Callousness

Americans Remember & Speak Out


Not Everyone Wanted to Bomb Hiroshima—Contrary to conventional opinion today, many military leaders of the time—including six out of seven wartime five-star officers—criticized the use of the atomic bomb. Take, for example,

Adm. William Leahy, White House chief of staff and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the war. Leahy wrote in his 1950 memoirs that "the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." Moreover, Leahy continued, "[I]n being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children."

President Eisenhower, the Allied commander in Europe during World War II, recalled in 1963, as he did on several other occasions, that he had opposed using the atomic bomb on Japan during a July 1945 meeting with Secretary of War Henry Stimson: "I told him I was against it on two counts. First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon."

Adm. William "Bull" Halsey, the tough and outspoken commander of the U.S. Third Fleet, which participated in the American offensive against the Japanese home islands in the final months of the war, publicly stated in 1946 that "the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment." The Japanese, he noted, had "put out a lot of peace feelers through Russia long before" the bomb was used.—Leo Maley III and Uday Mohan. H-Net

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I was move by the knowledge contained in the article "Not Everyone Wanted to Bomb Hiroshima" by Leo Maley III and Uday Mohan that the  top military echelon of the U.S. military contrary to popular opinion thought that the dropping of atomic bombing on Nagasaki and Hiroshima was entirely unnecessary. So it seemed that the Japanese civilian population suffered needlessly from a militarily point of view, but rather victims from an American experiment, ordered by Harry S. Truman, President of the United States. I thus solicited responses from a few friends. I received some poignant replies. I learned much, so may you: Read on—Rudy

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I do not have time to talk about this at length but feel that I must say this.  First, I have a friend named Hisako.  She was nine at the time of the bomb and she and her diplomat family were vacationing in Nagasaki Bay when the bomb was dropped.  What was a peaceful vacation on a large yacht turned into a horrific nightmare.  Hisako remembers the huge flash of light but they were far enough from the epicenter not to be burned to a crisp.  Instead they saw the light but did not hear the roar. 

What they did see and experience for the rest of their lives was the manner in which the Bay turned into a living hell of scorched and burning bodies  oozing past their yacht.  In one case Hisako remembers a boy about her age gazing up from the water begging for help and asking to come aboard.  Her nine year old brain was changed forever.  When they reached land, they were horrified to see that all that they remembered was but a cinder. 

The Japanese have a social culture where their long black hair is a center piece.  The effects of the bomb was to "scald" and "burn" leaving the skin including the scalp bare.  Those who did not lose their hair in this way lost if from radiation, some immediately, some years later.  The loss of hair in this society that prided itself on the adornment of hair and its role in its culture was devastating.  Some of the most advanced hair research in the world takes place in Japan even today. 

Hisako also remembers the smell of death, the sight of the dying and the calls of the near dead. And that was only in Nagasaki.  Hiroshima was every worse.   Everyone begging for help.  I do not recall all that she told me but I was profoundly affected to hear her story.  What I am trying to say is that while I saw the story of the Jewish "holocaust" on TV all of my life, at least three times a week on a program called, "The World At War,"  I had never heard of what happened to the civilian population of Japan. 

We need to tell that story of people still affected by radiation poisoning.  There may have been many who did not want to drop this bomb on a civilian population but someone wanted to "see what it would be like" and they did. 

Let us tell this story about what happened to those people at the hands of the uncivilized. I have always felt ill about what happened to  Hiroshima and Nagasaki but am always struck on colleage campuses that students do not even know what we are talking about. Peggy Brooks-Bertram


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Thanks Rudy for sending this on. Do you imagine the mind set of people who would go to such lengths to develop a weapon to destroy the hair of other human beings—to tamper with their spirit and unleash psychological warfare. God have mercy on their souls.Claire. Peace Begins With Me


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Nuking Nagasaki, Our Callousness

What's key for me in Peggy's response is that we have seen plenty of footage on what the German Nazis and Hitler did to the Jews of Germany, Poland, France, and Hungary but very little, if any, on  what Americans and Truman did to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, at least, not the graphic human outcome of the murdered and the sufferers from the dropping of the atomic bomb, and no serious questioning of its necessity of this inhumanity to our fellow human beings, civilians (noncombatants).

This "total war," at any human cost, on specious reasoning, on propagandistic lies to cover sheer curiosity and terrorize the people of the entire globe that the US military will brook no opposition set the tenor of the era of my childhood. Of course, the Soviets got their bomb, and then France and Britain, and the Chinese, and India and Pakistan, and Israel.

Yes, I have seen some of the human images of the impact of the atomic bomb in TV specials and films.  But mostly what we see is the plane high view and the mushroom cloud and hear the commentary of the necessity of dropping the bomb in order to save American lives. Nor do we see footage (seldom) of the responses of ordinary Japanese people to their own holocaust. They must be a highly tolerant and forgiving people.

In that we are not so aware of what happened (the human cost in deaths and sufferings) in dropping atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima (except in numerical terms, "acceptable losses"), it makes me think this attitude is the cause of the present blasé and callous responses of presidential candidates, especially Republicans, in enthusiastically advocating the nuclear option for Iran to bring them politically in line with American imperial aims.

If we had been more attuned to the horror we created in Japan and other places, like the German people to the horror their leaders created with the murder of millions of European Jews, we would not sit idly by while our presidential candidates debate over their willingness to create such horrors for Iran as if they were considering calmly what to order for a future banquet. You'd think that American voters en masse would be calling (emailing) their representatives that such talk of producing such horrors on civilians, anywhere, is inappropriate for civilized conversation. That it is a million times worse than using the N-word.

I have speculated on the kind of mindset that contemplates such horrific acts in public forums: Nuking, Westerns, and White Manliness.Rudy


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Dear Rudy,

It is not nice to incinerate people.  Certainly not pretty little Japanese girls with lovely almond-shaped eyes.  Well, actually, it isn't nice to butcher pretty little Somali girls with beautifully sad white eyes.   Well actually it isn't very nice to incinerate pretty little German girls with innocent gentle blue eyes.  It isn't nice to nuke anybody, but I am politically incorrect enough to express a special horror at the idea of killing little girls.

Had I been Harry S. Truman, would I have fire-bombed Dresden , where more people were fried than in Nagasaki?  Would I have ordered the fire-bombing of Tokyo on March 9, 1945, where it is said that there were more Japanese fatalities than at Hiroshima.

We nuked America too with atmospheric testing in Nevada.  According to Wikipedia, "During the 1950s, the mushroom cloud from these tests could be seen for almost 100 miles in either direction, including the city of Las Vegas, where the tests became tourist attractions. Americans headed for Las Vegas to witness the distant mushroom clouds that could be seen from the downtown hotels."  

America radio-active poisoned American citizens on American soil and this was called a "cold war." We constantly hear the filthy stinking lie that war brings out the best in people. What rot! War does not bring out the best in anybody. It brings out the very worst!Wilson

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Allied decisions, led by the US, UK, and USSR led to massive, evil atrocities. There is no "good" side in war! . . . The recent death of the captain of the Enola Gay Bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was reported without mentioning that every other crew member and all the crew members of the Bomber that dropped the A Bomb on Nagasaki had committed suicide. Will we have to wait for more suicides before we end torture?Clingan,


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Wilson, You have made clear  my ignorance of what America achieved in human brutality in World War II, that which seems to rival the callous human devastation of the Nazis:

machine-gunned the fleeing population of Dresden  as they ran to escape the flames and explosions (Meredith);

the fire-bombing of Tokyo "wrought devastation comparable to that caused by the two atomic attacks, Saotome said. Historians estimate that 140,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki" (Common Dreams). 

I might have seen reports of these war crimes on TV—both Dresden and Tokyo, but they did not sink in. They were not cast in terms of war crimes, but rather necessities of war. Maybe it was because they did not mount into the millions, as with the Jewish Holocaust. I suspect that these war crimes of WWII have not reached the consciences of most Americans, or maybe they have found adequate justifications so as to render them rather ethically minor incidents. I am sure they are not discussed in the classrooms of high schools or colleges, instructors now fearing openly threats of dismissal.

And as you recall we spoke before about our teflon sense of history. The point I'm trying to make here is that our lack of sensitivity to our own war crimes (incinerating little girls with pretty eyes) sets the stage for even greater war crimes even now, especially in these times of greed for oil and high profits at any cost.

Americans on the whole are a good people, I'd like to think. But the British too were involved in Dresden. Both wanted to show off their new technologies, play geopolitics with the Soviets. I am afraid history is now repeating itself. But soon we will not have Bush as a whipping boy, or the bad boy Republicans to blame for war-making. I suspect our war-making around the globe will continue at least at the same pace under the Democrats in that we have both feet now squarely set in the Mid-East. Withdrawal would be cowardice in the face of a weaker enemy. We will not, as they say, want to lose face, and let it appear that the "terrorists" have won.

Maybe Alexander Crummell was right, as you summarized, "without the guidance of the Mosaic law, the rule of conscience could be a prescription for anarchy. Without the guidance of the Gospels, law could become a mockery for justice" (A Study of Civilization and Discontent, 277). Or as he suggested "knowing Jesus" is not sufficient [we have plenty of that boosting the present war policy] but very little of "imitating Christ."

Well, it seems we have global anarchy, not initiated by the democratic mob on the streets, that Crummell feared, but rather an authoritarian small clique who peeks from behind polished doors within governments, whose military is armed to the teeth. They rally the so-called Christian evangelical mobs with radio and TV broadcasts to support the favorite fascist, supported by wealthy corporate sponsors.

After 4 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I'm afraid that the American middle class, who will have to pay for these wars, on the whole. have become rather inured to the inhumanity of modern mechanized and computerized wars with their private and professional armies, its human devastation (incineration of little girls with pretty eyes, and little boys as well)—"We don't do body count." If there is a concern it is more on the financial end at the gas pump. This is serious ethical damage to the American conscience, if indeed such a thing ever existed, that only a handful seem to make their concerns.

Maybe I moralize too much here.—Rudy

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My my my, what did I spark with that first hand  remembrance of Nagasaki Bay!   It has started me to thinking about it all over again.Peggy Brooks-Bertram


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More than one WW2 vet recalls capturing German soldiers by the hundreds and having them killed and bulldozed. We must also stop being "Good Germans" while overlooking our Immigration Officers' Gestapo like tactics, breaking into undocumented immigrants' residences in the middle of the night and snatching them away from their spouses and families, and an incoming Attorney General who will not say torture is wrong.Clingan


posted 7 November 2007 

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela's rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela's regime deems Wilderson's public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson's observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid's last days.—Publishers Weekly

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Forged: Writing in the Name of God

Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

By Bart D. Ehrman

The evocative title tells it all and hints at the tone of sensationalism that pervades this book. Those familiar with the earlier work of Ehrman, a distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and author of more than 20 books including Misquoting Jesus, will not be surprised at the content of this one. Written in a manner accessible to nonspecialists, Ehrman argues that many books of the New Testament are not simply written by people other than the ones to whom they are attributed, but that they are deliberate forgeries. The word itself connotes scandal and crime, and it appears on nearly every page. Indeed, this book takes on an idea widely accepted by biblical scholars: that writing in someone else's name was common practice and perfectly okay in ancient times. Ehrman argues that it was not even then considered acceptable—hence, a forgery. While many readers may wish for more evidence of the charge, Ehrman's introduction to the arguments and debates among different religious communities during the first few centuries and among the early Christians themselves, though not the book's main point, is especially valuable.—Publishers Weekly  / Forged Bart Ehrman’s New Salvo (Witherington)

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Hopes and Prospects

By Noam Chomsky

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest "real progress toward freedom and justice." Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. "This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him." —John Pilger

In dissecting the rhetoric and logic of American empire and class domination, at home and abroad, Chomsky continues a longstanding and crucial work of elucidation and activism . . .the writing remains unswervingly rational and principled throughout, and lends bracing impetus to the real alternatives before us.—
Publisher's Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Related files: Nuking Westerns and White Manliness   Teflon Sense of History   The Dark Side of Obedience   Nuclear Theatre