Sunday, August 7, 2005

An interesting opposition view to the U.S. nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

As I write this, the U.S. has invaded Iraq in a boondoggle of a war that supposedly was meant to remove "Weapons of Mass Destruction" from Iraqi hands. This weekend is also the 60th anniversary of the only use of nuclear weapons in wartime, done by U.S. hands supposedly to hasten the end of WWII.

I suppose the power of official propoganda is shown by: Why was the atomic bomb dropped in 1945? A Greenpeace background briefing summarising the American debate on the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (by Bill Totten) For his blog posting, he is referencing the following Grean Peace report:

What Bill Totten reports is that the official story we were told concerning the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not quite truthful. If you recall, the justification we, the populace of the U.S., were given is that there were several choices to finish the defeat of Japan. One choice would be to invade the Japanese mainland to deliver the final blows which would cause the Japanese surrender. Such an invasion, you can expect, would cost many more lives.

The other choice was to use this new weapon. To demonstrate American might and cause the immediate surrender of the Japanese forces, that was the goal.

However, Bill Totten relates that many in the Truman administration openly opposed using this weapon. For example:

A few years after Hiroshima in 1950 Admiral William Leahy, US Chief of Staff under both Roosevelt and Truman, publicly declared his opposition to the dropping of the atomic bomb:

"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarious weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender ...

"My own feeling was that in 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."

Further he tells of Trumans actual thinking, revealed in recently declassified documents. Namely, the global geopolitical position with Russia was in Trumans mind. He wanted a way to contain Russia's rise to superpower status. Of particular importance was the meeting at Potsdam, and Truman especially wanted to demonstrate to the Russians the nuclear weaponry developed by the U.S. to have the upper hand in the Potsdam negotiations.

It's very enlightening to think of the current lies we've been told about Iraq, and put them in light of the previous near-lies about Hiroshima.

As background material, he references these books:

Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman and the Surrender of Japan

The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb

A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and Its Legacies

The Atomic Bomb: The Critical Issues

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J Robert Oppenheimer

Living With the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age

Rethinking Cold War Culture

Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial

Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb

Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of the Atomic Bombs Against Japan