Legacies of War: American Barbarism in Hiroshima and Fallujah


 

 

It was 65 years ago today that the United States first used a nuclear weapon (“little boy”) on the battlefield. That was in Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later in Nagasaki another nuke (“fat boy”) was dropped.

Nagasaki, before and after
Apologists for the US claim it was to "end the war early" and to "save American lives." This ignores the fact that we had known for at least half a year that Japan was ready to surrender. They had just one condition: let the Emperor stay in power. We demanded their surrender be "unconditional." You see, we didn’t really care about ending the war early or saving American lives. For six more months the war went on and “our troops” died in battle (not to mention considerably more Japanese who perished in our firebombing that preceded the nuclear attacks which claimed more than 200,000 lives). And after we nuked Japan and they accepted an unconditional surrender, what did we do? We showed cruelty in about the only way we could: we left the Emperor in power. The message was clear: we had no problems with their condition but we did have a problem with them feeling they could ask for one. We wanted them to be so thoroughly degraded that they would do anything for us to stop inflicting pain on them and once they were we were happy to oblige their conditions.
Hiroshima, before
Hiroshima, after

Of course, how we got into the war in the first place is still of importance. We were attacked at Pearl Harbor, a military base in the Pacific. But it’s not as if it came out of the blue. And if the McCollum memo influenced FDR’s policies, which considering how all of the “eight points” were implemented makes it very likely that it was, then our provocations to get Japan to carry out an “overt act of war” just so the American public would shed their opposition is very troubling. FDR was saying to the public that we wouldn’t get involved unless attacked and the historical record gives some reason to believe he was secretly trying to get just that.

Regardless, we joined the war, we “defeated” Japan and even after we knew they were “defeated” we nuked them. In Mandate for Change, former US General and President, Dwight Eisenhower, wrote that,

…in [July] 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.


During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. 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…

Admiral William Leahy, who was Chief of Staff to both FDR and Truman, wrote that,

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 Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender…

Even Herbert Hoover pointed out to Truman that, "I am convinced that if you, as President, will make a shortwave broadcast to the people of Japan – tell them they can have their Emperor if they surrender, that it will not mean unconditional surrender except for the militarists – you’ll get a peace in Japan – you’ll have both wars over."

According to General MacArthur’s own biographer, William Manchester, he was opposed too:

When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.

This barely touches the surface. Many within the state apparatus knew that it was unnecessary and repugnant. This is probably one of the most criminal and shameful legacies we have created for ourselves - it’s up there with the American Holocaust, neatly packed in a dark closet with all the other skeletons (i.e. slavery, Monroe Doctrine, gunboat diplomacy, Ludlow, Red Scare, support for dictators, Dresden, My Lai, Kent State, COINTELPRO, Operation Gladio, the Contras, mujahideen, Grenada, Panama, Libya, Haiti, Kosovo, Afpak, Haiti again, Iraq, Honduras, Cuba, Colombia, Palestine, NPT, etc.).

Fallujah, Iraq

Which brings us to today: a medical report was recently released which shows the effects of our November 2004 attack on Fallujah is worse than what we did to Hiroshima (you can google "fallujah, cancer, birth defects" and find some really grisly images, especially of children, but Zeus the Almighty, I don’t have the stomach to share them).

We are also in the middle of a shit storm about the Wikileaks regarding the Afpak War. That uproar is centered mostly on the criminality of the leaks and not the war itself. It turns my stomach when warmongers from both sides of the narrow political divide say those who leaked the “war logs” have “blood on their hands” as if bloody hands really bother them. If these pieces of excrement really cared about saving human lives they would be for ending the wars and not conveniently accusing those who leak documents showing the futility of the war as killers. But these leaks are pale in comparison to the study on Fallujah, which is getting a predictable silent  treatment.

Early on, in our illegal war of aggression, when we “liberated” Iraq we set up a base near a school in Fallujah. Naturally the residents, who were no lovers of Saddam, protested. And the protests swelled and the US soldiers, realizing they weren’t being greeted with applause, opened fire on them, killing 17 and wounding 70. Tensions increased and escalated when the locals got their hands on four Blackwater mercenaries, hung them from a bridge and set fire to their hanging bodies. The US responded in a heavy-handed and disproportionately manner as usual and Fallujah became a symbol of resistance to US troops. That was Spring 2004.

After Presidential elections in November 2004, and as the resistance grew like wildfire, the US carried out another massive assault that resulted in numerous war crimes. We literally destroyed the town but before we did we refused to let “men of fighting age” to leave despite it being widely known that the resistance fighters had already left. What followed was an orgy of destruction involving conventional and chemical weapons (white phosphorus/Whiskey Pete). Some apologists will say WP is not a chemical weapon. That’s pure bullshit because we relied on the chemical properties of WP as a weapon and used them against people. Furthermore, back in 1991 Saddam used WP against Kurdish rebels and the DIA referred to his use as being a chemical weapon.

Fallujah may never recover from the physical damages of our aggression, and the health effects will probably go on for years and years to come. Like Japan, who still struggles with the atomic fallout and a US military presence where the population is expected to foot much of the bill for our destructive presence (Okinawa’s residents are still trying to evict us), the people of Fallujah have a hard life ahead of them and there is no reason to believe the US has any intentions on making it easier for them. In fact, about the only time President Obama has referred to Fallujah has been in the context of the suffering we endured.

 

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