Friday, August 8, 2014
Between the Bombs
August 6 was Hiroshima Day, tomorrow, August 9, is Nagasaki Day. Two atomic bombings at the end of World War II, authorized by the new president Harry S Truman, bombings which instantly incinerated some 130,000 to 200,000 people and led to the radiation poisoning of hundreds of thousands more. Also the obliteration of large portions of two cities, neither of which was particularly active in the War. Oh well. So it goes.
It's also the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, The War to End Wars...
We have an image of what the atom bombings were like that may not align with the testimony of survivors, in part because atomic weapons were and are intended as terror weapons. Their potentials for wholesale destruction and misery are highlighted in order to inspire fear and terror in domestic and "enemy" populations alike. Those of us of a certain age have been conditioned to believe that no survival is possible from a nuclear attack; it would not just be the End of the World As We Know It, it would be the end of everything forever and ever amen. There would be and could be no survivors, at all, for all time to come. Well, maybe a few...
This Democracy Now! episode from 2011 links the atomic bombings of Japan with the Fukushima disaster -- which seems to be getting worse, not better.
Those who survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, perhaps 30% to 50% of the populations of those cities, can testify to how awful the bombings were. Many of those in positions of authority and power at the time have testified that the atom bombings were not necessary from a military point of view. They were egregious terror bombings meant more to cow the Japanese population and government and to put The Fear into the Soviets than anything else. Japan surrendered shortly after the atom bombings. The Soviet Union and the United States never got into a hot war with one another -- though there were many through proxies during the so called Cold War -- in part thanks to the fear of what a hot war with nuclear weapons would do to human kind.
Now, though, there is what looks like a growing contingent of folks who believe that not only would a nuclear war be survivable for a significant number of people, it might be desirable to have an all out nuclear war, in order to 1) reduce global populations by a substantial degree -- but not eliminate the species; 2) demonstrate that the fear of nuclear war was exaggerated during the Cold War; 3) assert dominance over the globe by whoever survives and "wins" a nuclear war, and 4) prove once and for all that as bad as nuclear war is, it's not as bad as extinction due to global warming or an asteroid hit or something like that.
Fewer people overall and dominance by a select group who survive because they protect themselves from nuclear weapons and their consequences seem to be the objectives of those who believe a nuclear war is survivable. As I recall, the madman Donald Rumsfeld pursued the idea back in the day. He seemed to become convinced that nuclear war was survivable when he was a young man in the 1950s.
As this Blood Summer continues to careen into the abyss, more and more voices are raised against the madness. Even some of the elites who have made such a mess of things seem to realize that there are catastrophic, indeed apocalyptic, consequences inherent in continuing on the path of bloodshed on so many fronts in so many lands.
The Gaza conflict has resumed as talks broke down in Cairo. Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and large parts of sub-Saharan Africa are enveloped in chaos and bloodshed.
Is this a prelude to something worse? Many people can't help but think so.
And if it is?