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Posts tagged Atom bomb

8:15 AM, August 6th, 1945. Hiroshima, Japan.

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

This pocket watch belonged to Kengo Nikawa, a 59-year-old civilian worker living in Hiroshima, Japan. A gift from his son, Kazuo Nikawa, the watch was one of his most precious belongings. It is stopped at 8:15 A.M., the time at which an atomic bomb exploded about 200 yards over his home-town, Hiroshima, Japan.

This is one of the artifacts featured today at Dulce Et Decorum Est: 2007-08-06, in memory of the American government’s deliberate massacre of about 140,000 civilians in Hiroshima 62 years ago today. As far as I am aware, the atomic bombing of the Hiroshima city center, which deliberately targeted a civilian center and killed over half of the people living in the city, remains the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of the world.

Further reading:

Cry havoc! and let slip the pronouns of war…

Here’s the New York Times’s report on Hordak‘s latest battle-cry:

BRUSSELS, May 11 ?? Vice President Dick Cheney used the deck of an American aircraft carrier just 150 miles off Iran??s coast as the backdrop today to warn the country that the United States was prepared to use its naval power to keep Tehran from disrupting off oil routes or gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region.

… Mr. Cheney??s sharp warnings appeared to be part of a two-track administration campaign to push back at Iran, while leaving the door open to negotiations. It was almost exactly a year ago that the United States offered to negotiate with Iran as long as it first agreed to halt enriching uranium, a decision in which Mr. Cheney, participants said, was not a major player. Similarly, the speech today was not circulated broadly in the government before it was delivered, a senior American diplomat said. He kind of runs by his own rules, the official said.

With two carrier strike groups in the Gulf, we??re sending clear messages to friends and adversaries alike, he said. We??ll keep the sea lanes open. We??ll stand with our friends in opposing extremism and strategic threats. We??ll disrupt attacks on our own forces. We??ll continue bringing relief to those who suffer, and delivering justice to the enemies of freedom. And we??ll stand with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region.

I want you to know that the American people will not support a policy of retreat, Mr. Cheney said. We want to complete the mission, we want to get it done right, and then we want to return home with honor.

— David E. Sanger, New York Times (2006-05-11): On Carrier in Gulf, Cheney Warns Iran

According to the story, after Dick Cheney completes his Middle East mission of sending clear messages, he will return home, sometime next week. No word yet on when American soldiers will complete their mission of opposing, disrupting, relieving, delivering military justice, occupying, keeping the sea lanes open, etc., or when he and his buddies will allow them to return home. Nor is there any word yet on when he and his buddies will stop forcing the American people, i.e. the rest of us, to foot the bill for his plans against our will.

Further reading:

National Resolve

You know, I hear people say, Well, civil war this, civil war that. The Iraqi people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box. And a unity government is working to respond to the will of the people.

— George W. Bush, August 7, 2006

Well, then, good to hear that’s been cleared up.

Maybe next we can all have a vote on the nuclear arms race, or perhaps the Second Coming of Jesus.

(Via Reason November 2006, and Crooks and Liars 2006-08-07.)

Two and a half wars

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday a North Korean nuclear test would be a very provocative act and the United States would have to assess its options should it be carried out.

Rice’s warning, at a news conference in Cairo, reflected widespread concern within the Bush administration. She stressed, however, that a North Korean test was an issue for the neighborhood and not just for the United States.

It would be a very provocative act, she said. Still, she said, they have not yet done it.

Rice did not elaborate on the options she said the United States would consider if North Korea followed through on it threat.

— Ann Gearan, Forbes.com (2006-10-03): U.S.: N. Korea Nuclear Test Unacceptable

Now, I reject, root and branch, the whole terror-empire geopolitics that are so proudly endorsed by both the ruling Right and the Cold War liberals who dominate the Loyal Opposition. But suppose that you take those ideas on their own terms for a second. The strategic question that Rice’s blustering raises is this. Even granting the legitimacy of the enterprise, given the way the United States is hopelessly mired in ever-worsening civil wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention whatever the endgame for the increasingly bellicose diplomatic confrontation with Iran may be, just what options does the United States realistically have left at this point?

Everything has limits, even global superpowers. The War Party, especially in its more bellicose factions, fantasizes that the United States has the muscle, resources, know-how, and will to sustain itself as the head of a geopolitical power structure which amounts to world empire in everything but name; and it is precisely these people who are most fond of passing themselves off as hard-nosed policy realists against the saccharine dreams of hippies, pacifist zealots, moonbats, the terminally clueless, and countless other denizens of whatever La-La Land they imagine you have to be from to possibly have doubts about the latest march to war. But they are wrong, dead wrong, and their pose is growing more evidently absurd every day. Unfortunately, we, not they, will be forced to deal with the human consequences of the colossal disasters they are pulling us into.

Moral standards

Here’s part of a recent reply to my post on the use of the phrase moral relativism. The original post discussed a controversy over whether or not Harry Truman should be called a terrorist for knowingly and willingly slaughtering civilians — orders of magnitude more civilians than Osama bin Laden (et al.) slaughtered in the attack on the World Trade Center — for the sake of military and political strategy. Here’s how Jamie DeVries tried to make the case that we cannot draw any moral parallels between the two figures:

Here is the question we ought to ask ourselves: )Did Truman have the ability and power to incinerate each and every Japanese citizen, even after a surrender was declared? The answer is: yes. Did he or the U.S have the WILL to do so? The answer: of course not.

Well, that was mighty white of him.

In all seriousness, how much lower could the bar possibly be set for rulers of the Allied governments in World War II? Is there absolutely any atrocity in the name of unconditional surrender that the Court Intellectuals and their countless acolytes would not rush to defend, or at least to excuse? I wish this were merely a bit of pointed rhetoric. But actually I’m asking it as a serious, open question.

Further reading:

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