Rad Geek People's Daily

official state media for a secessionist republic of one

8:15am. 73 years, 140,000 souls.

Here is a pocket watch, stopped at 8:15am.

Donated by Kazuo Nikawa
1,600m from the hypocenter
Kan-on Bridge

Kengo Nikawa (then, 59) was exposed to the bomb crossing the Kan-on Bridge by bike going from his home to his assigned building demolition site in the center of the city. He suffered major burns on his right shoulder, back, and head and took refuge in Kochi-mura Saiki-gun. He died on August 22. Kengo was never without this precious watch given him by his son, Kazuo.

— Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Seventy-three years ago today, on August 6, 1945, between 8:15 and 8:16 in the morning, the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. The government of the United States chose Hiroshima as their target because it was still standing. For half a year, the U.S. government had waged a war of unrelenting, devastating low-altitude firebombing of cities throughout the Japanese home island. Within six months, the firebombing had killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians. The firebombing had destroyed over 60 Japanese cities. Hiroshima was still mostly undamaged. So they believed that would make it a good place to test the effects of the new atom bomb. And Hiroshima became the first city ever attacked with nuclear weapons in the history of the world.

It would not be the last.

On a bright morning in August, without warning, the B-29 dropped its atom bomb over the densely-populated center of the city. The bomb exploded about 2,000 feet above ground. And it created a 13 kiloton explosion, a fireball, a shock-wave, and a burst of radiation. On the day that the bomb was dropped, there were somewhere around 255,000-300,000 people living in Hiroshima.

There was a sudden flash, brighter than the sun, and then sky went dark, buildings were thrown to the ground, and everything began to burn. People were burned alive and nothing left but a shadow on the wall. People staggered through the ruins, their eyes blinded, their clothing burned off their bodies, skin burned off in the heat.

Everyone was desperate for water, everything was unbearably hot. They begged soldiers for water from their canteens; they drowned themselves in cisterns. Later, black rain began to fall from the darkened sky. And the people escaping from the city center thought it was a miracle. They tried to catch the rain on their tongues, or they caught it and drank it out of cups. They didn’t know that the rain was fallout. They didn’t know that it was full of radiation and as they drank it it was burning them away from the inside. There was no refuge, no sanctuary. There was nobody to help. The city was burning. The doctors and nurses were almost all downtown when the bomb hit. The atom bomb exploded directly over one of the major clinics, and over 90% of the doctors, and over 90% of the nurses, were killed or injured in the bombing.

Because the U.S. bomber targeted the city center, about 85% of the people killed in Hiroshima were civilians.

The explosion completely incinerated everything within a one mile radius of the city center. The shock-wave and the fires ignited by the explosion damaged or completely destroyed about nine-tenths of the buildings in the city. Somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 people–or, about one quarter to one third of the entire population of the city–died immediately. The heat of the explosion vaporized or carbonized the children and adults who were nearest to Ground Zero when the bomb went off.

Thousands more were further away from the center, and they died when they were crushed to death by the force of the shock-wave, when they were burned by the blast or by the fires raging throughout the ruined city, when they were trapped underneath collapsing buildings or when they drowned in the river as they tried to escape. They died from dehydration; they were killed quickly or slowly by radiation poisoning and infections and cancers that ate their bodies away from the inside out. Some died suddenly, and some died slow, lingering, painful and unavoidable deaths over days or weeks. It is estimated that in all, the atomic bombing killed about 130,000-140,000 people. It left thousands more with permanent disabilities from their injuries and from the radiation that spread in a burst and spread through the fallout.

Almost all of the people who were maimed and killed in the obliteration of the city were civilians.

Although there were some minor military bases near Hiroshima, the bomb was dropped on the city center, several miles away from the military bases on the edge of town. Hiroshima was chosen as a target, even though it had little military importance, because It is a good radar target and it is such a size that a large part of the city could be extensively damaged. There are adjacent hills which are likely to produce a focussing effect which would considerably increase the blast damage. 1. And it was one of the cities still standing after the American firebombing campaign. U.S. military planners believed it strategically important to demonstrate as much destruction as possible from the blast.

Thomas Ferebee, a bombadier for the United States Army, was the man who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. His commanding officer was the pilot of the Enola Gay, Paul Tibbets. Tibbets and Ferebee were part of the XXI Bomber Command, directed by Curtis LeMay. LeMay planned and executed the atomic bombings at the behest of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and President Harry Truman.

Kengo Nikawa died on August 22nd, 1945 because of the bombing. This is his pocket watch.

We will never know the names of many of the 140,000 other residents of Hiroshima who were killed by the bombing. We have only estimates because the Japanese government was already in a shambles by this point in the war, and countless records, of those that were successfully kept, were consumed by the flames, along with the people whose lives they recorded.

Three days later, on August 9, 1945, CBS broadcast a recorded address by President Harry S. Truman about the atomic bombing. It was broadcast on the same day that the government of the United States sent bombers to Nagasaki to incinerate a second city, with a second atomic bomb. Here is what Truman said:

Here's Harry S. Truman, looking awfully proud of his damn self.

Harry S. Truman, August 9, 1945.

We won the race of discovery against the Germans….

In his radio address on August 9, Truman disingenuously described Hiroshima, a densely populated, industrialized port city of a quarter million souls, as a military base, and then he said, That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians. That was a lie. The bomb was dropped on the city center, over a hospital, far away from military installations.

It is worth remembering that the atomic bombing of the Hiroshima city center — the first use of atomic weapons against human targets in the history of the world — a bombing in which the United States government’s forces deliberately targeted a civilian center — a bombing that the United States government carried out with the explicit intention of obliterating an entire city in seconds, in order to break enemy morale — an attack in which that government’s forces deliberately turned weapons on civilians that destroyed 90% of an industrial metropolis, and killed between a third and a half of all the people living in it — was, and remains, the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of the human world.

And there are other facts, and other stories, also, that you do not need to remind me of today: of course it’s a fact that the government of the Empire of Japan launched a war of aggression against American territory and killed both American military and civilians; and it’s a fact that they conducted brutal wars of conquest against China, Korea, and throughout southeast Asia, in which hundreds of thousands of civilians were mercilessly tortured and killed; and even that down to the very end, some fanatical elements of the military regime wanted to fight the United States down to the last man.

That’s all true, but it’s quite beyond the point. None of these vicious acts by a vicious government justifies doing this to Japanese people, to civilian men, women and children who had no meaningful role in either the decision-making or in the fighting. No crime or atrocity of the Japanese government excuses a half-year campaign of terror against Japanese cities; no political objective could possibly allow the U.S. government to seek victory by burning 140,000 civilians alive in a single day. No strategic necessity justifies turning such weapons on a city of 300,000 human beings; no need or desire or exigency of war justifies treating 140,000 souls like this.

Nothing ever could.

Here are some photos in which...
Paper lanterns float down the Motoyasu River in Hiroshima,
in the annual August 6 memorial event, in memory of the lives lost.

Also.

The audio clip above is from a recording of President Harry S. Truman’s radio report on the Potsdam conference, recorded by CBS on August 9, 1945 in the White House. The song linked to above is a recording of Oppenheimer (1997), by the British composer Jocelyn Pook. The voice that you hear at the beginning is Robert Oppenheimer, in an interview many years after the war, talking about his thoughts at the Trinity test, the first explosion of an atomic bomb in the history of the world, on July 16th, 1945.

What I’m Reading: Barbara Carnevali, “Against ‘Theory'”

Shared Article from The Brooklyn Rail

Against Theory

A simulacrum of philosophy has risen in university departments all over the world: theory, fake philosophy for non-philosophers.

brooklynrail.org


A simulacrum of philosophy has risen in university departments all over the world: theory, fake philosophy for non-philosophers . . . a sort of collective thinking, of a koine, well-known to anyone who teaches in a field of the humanities at a university: a mix of ideas and phrases . . . blended into one melting pot, in varying doses and combinations. . . . Formed in a DIY fashion inside a limited thematic agenda–power, gender, desire, the subject and the multitudes, the dominated-dominating couple–theory is defined and recognized mainly by its pragmatic use. Those who cultivate it, coming from other disciplinary sectors–mostly comparative literature, art theory and criticism, and cultural studies–seek to justify their own research inside a wider and more “committed” framework, that is programmatically turned towards the challenge of the present. . . .

Differently from philosophy, which functions under long, frustrating timings, and very rarely reaches any certainty, theory is quick, voracious, sharp, and superficial: its model is the reader, a book made to help people make quotations from books that are not read. Exactly for that reason, it functions as a common language and a ground for transdisciplinary aggregation. Those who teach risky subjects such as aesthetics and political philosophy have begun to worry a long time ago. . . . The main weakness of theory is the loss of all the specific attributes, which have allowed to define philosophy in its different traditions: it does not have the rigor, the clarity, the solidity of definitions and argumentations, which characterizes the practice from a formal viewpoint; it does not have the ability to raise truly defamiliarizing questions, and, above all, it does not have a taste for a passionate search for truth. Not only does theory not exceed the doxa, but it produces a second level thereof. Therefrom comes the paradox of a radical gesture, which becomes a habitus, conformist and predictable.

–Barbara Carnevali, Against Theory,
The Brooklyn Rail, 1-Sep-2016

Dialectico-Political Semantic Drift (or: I Learned It From YOU, Dad…)

Shared Article from Reason.com

Let's Be Clear About Who Drained the Meaning from the Phrase 'Fa…

Don't scapegoat the right for this. You can spread the blame a lot more widely than that.

Jesse Walker @ reason.com


Let’s be clear about the chain of events here. A year ago, “fake news” had a pretty specific meaning: clickbait sites that publish hoaxes[1]. The hoax of the hour might be political, but it could as easily be a fraudulent report of a celebrity death or a weird-news story that’s too good to be true. Over time the term was also applied[2] to aggregation sites that don’t specialize in hoaxes so much as they simply don’t care whether the stories they’re promoting are hoaxes. Not exactly the same thing, but you still had that basic model of a click-driven indifference to truth.

But when the opinion-spouting class grabbed the phrase en masse right after the election, they used it much more broadly. . . . Once you’ve started slapping the fake news label on anything that looks like sloppy reporting or ideological bias in the alternative press, you’ve pretty much guaranteed that people will start flinging it when they think they’ve spotted sloppy reporting or ideological bias in the mainstream….

–Jesse Walker, Let’s Be Clear About Who Drained the Meaning from the Phrase Fake News
Reason.com, Jan. 9, 2017

  1. [1]Instance from Snopes.com, January 2016. -RG
  2. [2]Instance from Buzzfeed, November 2016. -RG

Rad Geek, to-day:

Reading: The Website Obesity Crisis

Shared Article from idlewords.com

The Website Obesity Crisis

idlewords.com


Almost three years later, this is still one of the funniest and best things that has ever been written about the web, web publishing and web design.

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