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Strange Remembrance: From Hiroshima to Baghdad - What Have We Learned?

18 August 2015

By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

"We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark…. This weapon is to be used against Japan … [We] will use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new. … The target will be a purely military one… It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful." (Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), 33rd U.S. President, (Diary, July 25, 1945)

Towards Understanding the Global Complacency in Aggression

Truth is suppressed and political interpretations disguise the real consequences of nuclear detonation. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were planned targets to inflict maximum human casualties. Those who plan egoistic wars fully understand the ultimate consequences in human terms and on-going impacts on the natural environment. More so, of the atomic bombing and continuing human sufferings. General MacRuther denied access to verifiable information as to the human costs of the nuclear attacks on Japan. It is a fatal underestimation that anyone could quote 297,000 human lives were burnt by radiation instantly in Hiroshima, whereas, the actual casualties were much higher in millions. Was the use of atomic bomb on Japan necessary to end the war? Why did America not use this option against Nazi Germany? Were there any ethnic, cultural and religious factors involved in the final decision making? History speaks loud and clear that aggressors surpassing transgression kept the legal definition of "aggression" open to discussion in international law and conveniently undefined within the UNO's global system of governance. Insane egoism persists to this day that caused downfall of many societies during the WW2 diminishing any possibility of global peace and conflict management through peaceful dialogue and diplomacy. The European allies, the US, former USSR, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan are all listed names to be called for committing aggression against the mankind. Never mind Geneva Conventions and Hague Conventions are merely paper-based historic academic exercises in utter futility. Who should regulate the implementation of international law if there is a law of accountability in global affairs? Why should the aggressors not be held accountable for the crimes against humanity? What have we learned from the historic fault lines? Japanese politicians claim to have reborn for a new Japan after the atomic experience. Could the US make the same claim after dropping the first atomic bomb on Japan? Could a victim identify its interests with the oppressor? Understandably, after being incapacitated and dehumanized, Japanese politicians and intellectuals remain captive of the US military dictum. The same is happening across the Arab world as the war on terror, ISIL ravages and Shia-Sunnis sectarian warfare is dehumanizing the entire region. Real issues of political change are subsided; political fantasy is carved up and imposed by the US. Transitory phenomenon of "power" leads to pride, vanity and militarization of nations, a sickening but frightening trend enforced for disastrous consequences in-waiting for the rest of the mankind.

Calls for Global Rethinking

Temples ring bells every year across Japan and hands are raised in prayers for peace and condemnation of the atomic bombs. But all are missing the real issues facing the future of global mankind. All wars are aimed at destruction of people, the habitats and the Nature of Things. The symbolic annual remembrance will not undo the infinite darkness shrouding the use of destructive atomic bombs to which large parts of the humanity are subjected. After 70 years, of the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki, there is no will and defined system to question the aggressors for destroying the lives of millions. Symbolic remembrances of the imposed tragedies on Japan signal a clear failure of the global political systems and are devoid of insight to tackle the crux of the problem. All wars have ripple effects as Japanese continued to face the unraveling impacts of the first nuclear bomb. Those who witnessed the horrible crime against humanity can just talk of peace and share an individual vision of the future. The victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki know it firsthand what is like to be living in man-made hell. Japan's PM Shinzo Abe talks of nuclear disarmament that is nowhere visible in the 21st century. Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima ("Legacy of the Atomic Bomb: 70 Years after it fell on Hiroshima") explains his concerns and noted:

"Our world still bristles with more than 15,000 nuclear weapons, and policymakers in the nuclear-armed states remain trapped in provincial thinking, repeating by word and deed their nuclear intimidation" …."To coexist we must abolish the absolute evil and ultimate inhumanity that are nuclear weapons. Now is the time to start taking action."

Ms. Thurlow was just 13 years old when she saw the atomic bomb falling on Hiroshima. Now, she is a peace activist across the globe but who will listen to her? So is Keiko Ogura, just 8 years old at the time witnessing the pieces of her mother's body with her own eyes on August 6, 1945 at 8.15a.m. Aftermath of the nuclear detonation on Japan, all the encompassing facts were curtailed by the General Douglas MacRuther – the occupying ruler of Japan. The global community failed to come to grapple the real issues of war and peace. Who will assess the humanitarian cost of nuclear warfare? After 70 years, the global politicians failed miserably to agree to systematic elimination of nuclear weapons from Earth. The Hiroshima remembrance is staged but opportunity is missed to address the prevalent issues of war and peace. Instead, war commemoration are held throughout the world to mark the unending tragedy as if it did not happen and will not happen again from Hiroshima- Nagasaki onward to Kabul and Baghdad and more. The sadistic wars are continuing without an end insight. There is nothing to commemorate plausibly except remorse and unthinking of the use of nuclear warfare. Remembrance should be a moment of honest reflection - how ignorant the politicians are and how global wickedness continues to undermine the large segment of mankind in war theatres like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and across the Arab world. Fullogah was no threat to the US or Britain. But they used uranium enriched weapons to massacre the Iraqis and to subjugate the future generations. The contemporary global politicians defy logic and try to enforce egoistic vision of conflict-making and conflict-keeping to ensure marketability of new weapons. Who will tell the horrific impacts of the nuclear warfare? There is no hope and no optimism that contemporary so called five superpowers will ever give-in to law and justice for the interest of mankind. The International Red Cross ("Remembering Hiroshima" ICRC) questions the lawfulness of atomic weapons and reminds the powerful super States that:

" War - which remains an anomaly in a civilized world - has undoubtedly become so devastating and universal, amidst the web of conflicting interests on the various continents, that every thought and every effort ought to be directed first and foremost at making it impossible…… The development of means of warfare and, therefore, of war itself, has been rendered all the more lethal by the use of discoveries in atomic physics as a weapon of war of unprecedented effectiveness…….Let us remember this fact of a period which has seen so many violations of the law and so many reprisals."

Historic Checks and Balances

What was destroyed by atomic bombs, could it be rebuild by human rethinking, peaceful dialogue and continuous harmony? Those who wage wars are often indifferent to common human values of peace, harmony and solidarity. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were selected targets to demonstrate unthinkable power of the atomic weapons and to inflict maximum human casualties to enforce immediate surrender of the Japanese imperial government. President Harry Truman denied allegations of the civilians targets as if Hiroshima was the epic center of Japanese armed forces. But in an interview with Newsweek in 1963 ( "Legacy of the Atomic Bomb: 70 Years after it Fell on Hiroshima") President Eisenhower successor to Harry Truman revealed that even he had reservations about using the atomic weapon: "The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing." Military experts agree, arguing that Japan had already been defeated by July 1945 and they just wanted to know about the Emperor place of exile.

The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also changed the course of history by launching the global race for nuclear proliferation. At this time, there are more than 23 countries known to have the capability of nuclear weapons production or possession of ready made nuclear weapons including the US, the UK, France, Israel, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Most nuclear powers would argue for nuclear deterrence that having advanced nuclear weaponry would prevent opposing states from threatening nuclear option or attacking for the fear of immediate retaliation and for sure, "mutually assured destruction"

"No Comments" But How to Reflect on the Grieving Sense of Humanity

Professor Rodrigue Tremblay ( "The Moral Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" Global Research: 8/06/2013), narrates the following historic comments on the ethical standing of the US atomic bombing of Japan:

It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude." (General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe and 34th U.S. President from 1952 to 1960, (Mandate for Change, p. 380)

"Mechanized civilization has just reached the ultimate stage of barbarism. In a near future, we will have to choose between mass suicide and intelligent use of scientific conquests [...] This can no longer be simply a prayer; it must become an order which goes upward from the peoples to the governments, an order to make a definitive choice between hell and reason." (Albert Camus (1913-1960), French philosopher and author, August 8, 1945)

"As American Christians, we are deeply penitent for the irresponsible use already made of the atomic bomb. We are agreed that, whatever be one's judgment of the war in principle, the surprise bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are morally indefensible."(The American Federal Council of Churches‘Report on Atomic Warfare and the Christian Faith, 1946).

"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. " – "The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. 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." (William Leahy, Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman ("I Was There", p. 441) .

The 21st century politics is a game of vindictiveness, mutual fear and hatred – more so, amongst the competing superpowers including the United States, West Europeans, Russia and economically influential China. Japanese politicians cannot dare to question American rulers against the occupation and intellectual subservience. Most oil exporting Arab leaders enjoy the same deficient status. They are morally and intellectual conquered and dehumanized. Across the global culture of embittered animosities and mistrust - mass media dominated culture, a combination of pretension, willful deception, institutionalized manufactured lies and individualistic propaganda and fear mongering suspicion of the disbelief to manipulate the common folks to manage the informed herd and exploit their patriotism to serve the multiple interests of the 1% ruling elite. Despite its claims, the liberal democracy seemed at loss to provide any sense of moral or intellectual security to the 99% masses – the political engine of the democratic legitimacy. The well paid corporate news media networks boost the self-crafted fear of wars – the priority aims of the major weapon manufacturers - the agenda for continuous struggle as if peace is an endangered specie even in utopian configuration. The mankind lives in One World on One Planet. War waged by aggressors in one part of the planet, is a war against the whole of the mankind.

We live on One Earth and indeed embody One Humanity, shall we not ask for immediate Rethinking to what cruelty is happening in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and most of the Arabian peninsula engulfed with tragic warfare and increased weapon sales by the US and West European nations. Arab leaders are incapacitated on their own by greed and fear to think intelligently. There are reportedly 3500 US marines stationed in Iraq supporting the Shiite-led government of PM Al-Abaidi but 6,300 defense contractors are operating in Iraq. Are we perpetuating peacemaking or warmongering to besiege the humanity? Who is lying under international law that cannot be defined? Have the transgressors learned anything useful from the living history? Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence framed it logically:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments arc instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government............ (American Declaration of Independence: 07/04/1776)

(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international relations - global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, May 2012). 

 

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