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HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI AND NOW TEHRAN ON MY MIND

Deyan Ranko Brashich

August 6, the anniversary of the day Little Boy, the atomic bomb, exploded always brings Hiroshima to mind. Last Thursday was no different except that I walked downstairs rather than using the elevator – they had just painted the floor of elevator landing in my office building. Walking down the little used stairwell I came across a faded yellow sign – “Fallout Shelter” in block letters bordered in black – a remnant of time past.

The dimly lit stairs tricked me into going on to the basement. The building was built before WWII and in the basement were still more civil defense signs with one reading “Survival Supplies – Drinking Water”. I had stumbled upon the remnants of a cold war, a fallout shelter.

That brought back memories of the 1950’s when as kids we would have monthly civil defense drills. We would sit at our desks and be ordered to “duck and cover”. The shelter of our wooden desks was supposed to shield us from the blast of an atomic bomb. But I remember photographs of the mushroom cloud, the destruction, the wasted bodies, the rubble, the men with white masks picking up what looked like extra-large barbecued spare ribs. How delusional we were back then.

I often wondered what ever happened to that city, the Hiroshima Mon Amour of the film with the unforgettable “You are not endowed with memory” line. After seeing On the Beach, Mad Max and Planet of the Apes I thought Hiroshima a vast arid plain doted by twisted steel girders, a manmade radioactive desert devoid of human life.

Is that the Hiroshima of today? No, judging by the photographs Hiroshima is a modern, all bright, shiny vibrant city pulsing with life. The images of the explosion and its aftermath are as faded and forgotten as that “Fallout Shelter”. And no one speaks much of Nagasaki and the Fat Man atomic bomb that exploded three days later on August 9, 1945. The second atomic bomb was unnecessary, overkill and as, some claim was the first, because Russia with one million soldiers attacked Japan in Manchuria on August 8.

The stark reality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was kept from public view and remained classified for years on national security grounds – the full extent of destruction that Little Boy and Fat Man wrought is still not fully acknowledged.

The United States never used the bomb again but force continues to trump diplomacy and has become America’s national foreign policy weapon of choice.

There was enough destruction to be had by conventional means without having to resort to atomic weapons. Korea was the first failure in this new approach to shape the world to our image by force – North Korea is still there after 60 years.  We tried to bomb the shit out of North Vietnam and when that didn’t work we defoliated the place with Agent Orange. We admitted defeat and left with “Peace and Honor”. After 15 years we are still mired in Afghanistan and once liberated Iraq is now a battleground for the newly minted war against ISIS.

Economic sanctions are another exercise of foreign policy by means of brute force. Do not be fooled in believing that economic sanctions do not cause physical harm. The United Nations reported that 576,000 Iraqi children died because of sanctions in the period 1990-1995.

Harsh economic sanctions did not deter Iran’s nuclear program for civilian ends, as the Mullahs claim, or military goals, as Israel and her allies claim. This state of precarious affairs seems to have been resolved after years of negotiations and diplomatic wrangling in a proposed multilateral treaty. This treaty appears to be a nearly unanimous expression of world opinion with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council [United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France and China] participating together with Germany and the European Union.

Yet there are some in Congress including New York’s Senator Chuck Shummer who oppose the treaty, notwithstanding near universal support and seek to derail it.

I have tried to read the 159 page long “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” and the many annexes, which is probably more than most members of Congress. I do not have the knowledge and expertise to voice an opinion on the efficacy of the treaty. I must rely that the nations and men and women involved have used their best efforts to prevent another Hiroshima, another Nagasaki. It is without question better than the present dangerous status quo.

On Saturday twenty nine leading American scientists “including Nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms and former White House science advisers” wrote an open letter in support of the treaty. The authors are “some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in the field of nuclear weapons and arms control … [who] have advised Congress, the White House [and] federal agencies over decades” include six Nobel laureates, Philip W. Anderson of Princeton University; Leon N. Cooper of Brown University; Sheldon L. Glashow of Boston University; David Gross of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Burton Richter of Stanford University; and Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I doubt that this will make a difference. I predict that the Congressional debate will go into an “I am not a scientist” mode. This allows those that oppose to concede the legitimacy of the scientists’ expert opinion “while simultaneously allowing [them] to ignore that expertise altogether”. As for me I will heed the advice of the experts. I do not want to see another Hiroshima, another Nagasaki in my lifetime.

 

Deyan Ranko Brashich is a frequent contributor. He is the author of Letters from America and Contrary Views. His contact and website “Contrary Views” is at www.deyanbrashich.com

2 коментара

  1. I agree with most of what is said in this article but tend to differ in a few aspects such as being focused so much on the potential nuclear war. Yes those two A bombs in a flesh destroyed so much and killed so many innocent lives. On the other hand we tend to overlook that USAF bombed Tokyo in the closing stages of the WW2 with much more conventional weapons such as phosphorous ordinance. Over 3 days they burned to the ground the whole City, killing more then 100.000 innocent civilians. Ever since US Government is the single most responsible for the loss of millions of innocent lives beginning with Korean war, Vietnam war and so many more that followed. I wonder is the whole World just paralyzed with their false marketing when claiming that they bring along peace, stability, prosperity, human rights and so much more. For years they were harassing people of Iran just because they wouldn’t succumb to the orders of Five Sisters. If Iran had a goal of becoming nuclear weapon State they had a far less to travel in order to obtain such a weapon instead of creating it’s own. But there is a trump card up the sleeve of the US Congress and Presidency that they often like to use. No longer they have to use A bombs to destroy whole nations but instead their soft social fiber spots, eager seizing the power, so called „democratic“ opposition. They played that card many times over, in Warsaw Pact States, SFRJ, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Latin America, etc. This is their new weapon of choice, far more devastating and less costly in shaping and controlling the so called „free“ World.

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  2. US/NATO foreign policy was always somewhat disrespectfulness “looking down” on every possible country in the world including EU states which they consider allay. What is then left for the foes. Their war crimes that were committed starting in Japan by indiscriminately killing hundreds of thousands of civilians are unparalleled in the modern history of the War. Despite that we have Iran finally out of the famous US cage Pentagon never mentioned that now there is no longer alleged treat to European Security therefore they will remove that ballistic defense missile umbrella from EU States. Quite the contrary under the pretext of a spin, fabricated public fear, they are actually enlarging even their striking capabilities. In the mean time they are telling public that US policies are peaceful and in sync with all signed documents since WW2.
    Moscow and President Putin are correct for not trusting Washington any more therefore developing it’s own advanced military system capabilities in order to neutralize Western air, sea and ground superiority which proved over and over to be clearly a useful tool in twisting arm of the lesser opponents. Latest incident in The South China Sea is one of the many examples of how Pentagon bullies see the World.

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