August 06, 2007

62 Years After the Horror

We must always remember:
That fateful summer, 8:15. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast — silence — hell on Earth.

The eyes of young girls watching the parachute were melted. Their faces became giant charred blisters. The skin of people seeking help dangled from their fingernails. Their hair stood on end. Their clothes were ripped to shreds. People trapped in houses toppled by the blast were burned alive. Others died when their eyeballs and internal organs burst from their bodies — Hiroshima was a hell where those who somehow survived envied the dead.

Within the year, 140,000 had died. Many who escaped death initially are still suffering from leukemia, thyroid cancer, and a vast array of other afflictions.

But there was more. Sneered at for their keloid scars, discriminated against in employment and marriage, unable to find understanding for profound emotional wounds, survivors suffered and struggled day after day, questioning the meaning of life.

And yet, the message born of that agony is a beam of light now shining the way for the human family. To ensure that "no one else ever suffers as we did," the hibakusha have continuously spoken of experiences they would rather forget, and we must never forget their accomplishments in preventing a third use of nuclear weapons.
There is more.

The United States government immediately began a comprehensive, entirely mendacious propaganda campaign about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That onslaught of lies has never ended. Today, many Americans accept every element of that propaganda as the truth. In fact, the bombings represented a war crime of ungraspable and unforgivable magnitude. I documented some aspects of that propaganda campaign in an essay from last year, "The Loathsome Lies in the Service of the Horrors of War."

Events today conclusively establish that we have learned nothing from the unjustifiable nightmares we unleashed in the past. Nothing. I would be remiss if I failed to mention that, as unspeakably horrible as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were, the fire bombings of Tokyo and other Japanese cities, as well as the similar bombings of European cities, killed even more people. As monstrous as these actions were, at least we were actually at war with the targeted nations. Today, our president and the leading presidential candidates of both parties believe it is entirely moral and just to contemplate unleashing nuclear weapons on a nation that does not even threaten us, and which will not seriously threaten us for years to come, if then. It is terrible enough to contemplate the fact that the United States is the only nation ever to have used atomic weapons, when no legitimate reason concerning the defense of our country compelled us to. What are we to say about the fact that our most prominent national leaders today believe we would be justified in using nuclear weapons against a non-existent threat?

Can there ever be forgiveness for what the United States did, or what its government seriously considers doing today? No. There cannot.

Remember -- and do not forgive.