UPDATED: Hiroshima Revisited

My post on "Original Child Bomb" has thankfully inspired some good debate...

However one views this event, these debates are highly valuable. After all, we can't change the past, but maybe we can change our minds about it, and then try to change our future.

I could be wrong, but I think there's actually two debates going on at once here. One is whether Hiroshima & Nagasaki were justified, particularly given the knowledge people had at the time. Again, I wouldn't presume to insist people feel one way or another about this, but I would insist that everybody has the responsibility to be as educated as possible regarding all the conditions of this decision. A
good introduction is available at The Week Magazine (which is not exactly a bastion of radical left-wing opinion!)

At the same time, there is the underlying debate about whether it was atrocious. I think that answer's pretty clear. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that people didn't think it was justified at the time, or even now. A lot of atrocious things have been done throughout history, and folks have even had what seemed like good reasons for a lot of them (as you can see in the leaflet apparently dropped by the Americans over Japan on August 8). But even if we insist that it was justifiable and/or necessary, we still need to own up to the fact that it can't be described as anything less than horrific. The very least we can do, considering that it's ultimately a very, very small thing in comparison, is to have the courage to watch "
Original Child Bomb," look photos of the devastation in the face, and read accounts, not only from proponents and critics, but also from the eyewitnesses, available here and many more here.

Perhaps even more than the almost incomprehensible enormity of 80,000 people killed in just that very first instant alone, or the additional 60,000 that were dead within 5 months, or the hundreds of thousands who've died since from the effects of radiation poisoning, I've personally found the simple, few words of the survivors immediate and moving.

In the July 23rd issue of the Italian magazine La Repubblica delle Donne, Tsuyo Kataoka, a devout Catholic from Nagasaki, tells:
"I lost my eyesight for a month, and then one day I said to my mother, 'I see a light.' My mother was happy. But it also meant that I could see my body. My fingers were like they'd been glued together. I asked my mother, 'How is my face?' And she said to me, 'Only a little burned, but you're alive and that's what's important.' One day, I saw my reflection in a piece of a mirror. My face! I threw away the mirror. I was twenty-four years-old, and I wished I was dead."
It would be enormously cowardly of us indeed to insist that it was necessary, but then refuse to confront the aftermath of that decision.

That doesn't mean that necessarily everybody will automatically change their minds about the A-bomb's inevitability. But it does mean that everybody should then have a first-hand reason (and responsibility!) to commit to making certain that this is something that should certainly never, ever be repeated ever again.


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