Hiroshima

By Daniel Holz | July 11, 2010 10:14 pm

Last week I found myself on a tram in Hiroshima, heading to the stop “A-bomb dome”. I was surrounded by Japanese passengers, and for the first time in Japan I felt self-conscious and uncomfortable. I am an American working at Los Alamos, the literal and figurative birthplace of the atomic bomb. Memories of my visit to Trinity Site are still fresh. The weight of history is unavoidable. As in a classic Bruegel painting, however, nobody seems to pay particular notice. Everyone moves forward with their lives. A few days after the bomb, they restored streetcar service to parts of the city. There is no evidence of that terrible instant. None, that is, until you get off the tram stop and confront the dome. You’ve seen images of it countless times. But standing in front of it, surrounded by the bustling city of Hiroshima, is an altogether different experience.

hiroshimaThere is a museum near the dome, with the impossible task of presenting the bomb to the residents of Hiroshima, the inhabitants of Japan, and the rest of the world. The museum is split into two parts. The first focuses on the history of Hiroshima, and the build-up to war. It dwells on the extended decision-making process through which Hiroshima was selected as the first target. The city had strategic significance. The city hadn’t been (conventionally) bombed, which meant that the full effect of the new device could be estimated. It didn’t have significance for the post-war reconstruction plans (in the way that Kyoto did [and the US Secretary of War apparently honeymooned in Kyoto, and had a sentimental attachment]). It didn’t contain American prisoners-of-war. Hiroshima ended up at the top of the list. One thing I found surprising: the museum implies that the timetable for the bombings was heavily influenced by the Russians. The US wanted to pre-empt Russian participation in the Pacific, and were hoping to elicit a Japanese surrender before the Russians could formally enter the war. The other half of the museum focuses on the immediate aftermath of the bomb. It contains artifacts from the day, including stopped watches and bits of clothing and hair. And countless stories, almost entirely of children returning home to their parents in horrific condition, and dying in the subsequent hours or days. There is a focus, both in the museum and in the memorial peace park which surrounds it, on the youngest casualties.

Sixty-five years ago the first atomic bombs were used in war. There is something depressing that humanity finds it necessary to develop such terrible weapons. But perhaps there is something hopeful in that, in the ensuing half century, we’ve had enough sense not to use them again.

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  • http://lablemming.blogspot.com/ Lab Lemming

    Did you see any of the ginkgo trees?

  • Katharine

    I have to confess the only time I did anything like that was standing in front of the 9/11 World Trade Center site and thinking ‘That’s funny, I feel rather neutral about looking at this stuff’. Of course, when I was a teenager, I saw the smoke from the Pentagon, and all I recall about that is thinking it looked really odd.

    It’s hilarious how there’s an idea, fueled by media exposure, that you’re going to burst into tears when you see these things, but for example, when I meet a VIP (I once stood in front of the daughters of the deposed Shah of Iran without having any idea who they were – they were a bit ditzy, actually – and even saw the dude in person – he was just some regular person who a lot of Iranians were fawning over. You would have no idea he was the Shah in exile unless someone told you), honestly, I just see that they’re another person and that quite frankly the media seems to manufacture a lot of the public’s reactions.

    I’ve met other well-known people, such as Richard Dawkins. You would have no idea he was he unless you knew who Richard Dawkins was. Very nice, personable dude. But he was just a dude.

    Though I was never in the position of being affiliated with, say, Los Alamos and going to the atomic bomb sites. I’d probably feel guilt.

  • Don in Ohio

    I just got back from Japan myself. I got married to my Japanese GF this last week. We talked about going to Hiroshima, but time constraints kept us from going. We are planing to go next time I am in Japan. I am looking forward to seeing the memorial. I think every world leader (such as the leaders of Iran and N Korea) should be required to visit them memorial. They should see the cost of the kind of war they want to wage.

  • RA

    @Don:
    Why singling out the ‘crazy’ ones only?
    I think that EVERY world leader, including the U. S. President should be made aware of the terrible consequences of using such weapons.
    It was not very long ago (a couple of years, maybe) that some people in the U. S.’ military establishment were talking about the need to develop nuclear bunker busters to go after ‘evil doers’. These tactical nuclear weapons are much more dangerous than strategic ones since they are more likely to be used. After you have used a tactical nw on a bunker, what is to stop you from using it on softer targets?

  • alexander

    Being able to read copies of letters written by military leaders and scientists urging then President Truman to use the bomb to “justify it’s cost” left me with a feeling of sickness in my stomach. While visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum I couldn’t help shedding a few tears at the horrible atrocities humanity is capable of exacting on itself; some of the displays are graphic, but necessarily so. The Museum and surrounding park are a testament that some mistakes bear far to high a cost to risk being repeated.

    Not to mention anything of modern Hiroshima itself — for it’s many “lighter” attractions too, of course — the city is a place I wish more people had the opportunity to visit.

  • ToneDeF

    I had an uncle lost in Guadalcanal (Jasper DeFusco) and another who served in the south pacific (Charlie). He fought in Okaniwa and was one of the lucky ones that made it through. We lost 50,000 troops, Japan lost 1000,000 and close to 100,000 civilians were killed. These numbers top Hiroshima’s death toll by at least 50,000.

    It is easy to condemn these acts without understanding the mindset at the time. The Japanese worshipped their emporer as a god, and would have continued to fight to the bitter end if they thought they had a chance to inflict some death in return. I do believe those nukes, by forcing their surrender, saved countless more Japaneese lives, not to mention our troops including my uncle Charlie.

    I also do hope that nukes are never needed or used again.

  • Metre

    I remember visiting the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor some years ago. I’d say about half the tourists were Japanese. It seems that they have as much interest in the event that started the War in the Pacific as Americans have in the event that ended it. Coincidentally, not one of the Japanese tourists seemed the least bit self-conscious. We do not inherit the sins of our fathers.

    I concur with ToneDeF; terrible as the atomic bombs were and are, they probably saved many more lives than they took. That is the unfortunate and terrible calculus of war.

  • http://sarajdavis.net/ Non-Believer

    But perhaps there is something hopeful in that, in the ensuing half century, we’ve had enough sense not to use them again.

    Soon no one who was alive at that time will be around. They are already no longer the decision makers. As each generation gets farther from the experience it will become just an historical event, and as Katharine confession suggests, they are going to be numbed to its impact, even if they go to the museum.
    When you see so many pictures that are fictional – that are as horrific or worse – it lessens the impact of seeing pictures of reality. I don’t know if that is actually how it works but it is how I explained it to myself when I felt so numb watching the 9/11 attacks. It really felt like I was watching a movie and not see real people dying horrible terrible deaths. And that was real time. Add in the distance of time and I think it gets worse.
    I worry that we won’t always have enough sense.

  • Albert Bakker

    Iran is complying to it’s obligations under the NPT as verified time and again by the IAEA. There is not a single shred of evidence Iran has even the intention to build nuclear weapons, which would be of no military use to them anyway. And as we can see even being accused of having them is not exactly advantageous. Like every other nuclear power knows, it is a huge drain on the military budget. A useless waste of money and resources.

    Likewise, despite already having the dubious honour to be the only nation to ever have used nuclear weapons, on totally defenseless civilian targets, twice, there is not a single shred of evidence the US government has learned anything. It seems to be utterly incapable of this ability even found in amphibians.

    Only in such a country can revered and experienced politicians sing merry tunes about nuking other countries (and ahh.. bomb bomb bomb Iran) and not only not be immediately committed to mental hospital, but still nearly win a presidential election. The other candidate who did win sings the same song but cleverly uses different lyrics that makes him sound less mad. His song is about how he doesn’t take the (first strike) nuclear option off the table. Among wise an experienced commentators, that is considered a position of extreme moderation. Perhaps even a little appeasing.

    While saying something like:

    “I think it is the acceptance just recently that we now promote preemptive war. I do not believe that’s part of the American tradition…And now, tonight, we hear that we’re not even willing to remove from the table a preemptive nuclear strike against a country that has done no harm to us directly and is no threat to our national security!”

    At least in politically respectable circles, is considered the extremist position. Granted it is totally irrelevant, but some more main stream folk seem still troubled having this sort of irresponsible madness lingering around in public.

    It seems to me there is indeed a rather successful effort by at least the USAF to conventionalize low yield nuclear weapons, “mini nukes” and the like to be used in “pre-emptive” (meaning preventive) attacks as laid out in US first strike policy.

    In the grander scheme of things that would fit the long standing US objective of nuclear dominance, at least one of the considerations for the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki then, now preparing to explore new ground in the vast universe of human stupidity. At best.

  • http://www.reallymagazine.com Martin g

    Imagine a car from 65 years ago and compare it to a modern-day one. Or a camera, or a TV. Now imagine what 65 years of full-on research has done for modern N-weaponry. It’s my guess that the currently available ‘gadgets’ make Little Boy andFat Man look like quaint toys.

    In the last six decades or so, the majority of the world’s scientists have been working (one way or another – aware of it or not) on weapons development for the military. As they always have done.

    That’s not just ‘depressing’ – it’s a sign that humans are hard-wired as fundamentally unbalanced territorial paranoid psychopaths.

    Oh, and in regards to the hopefulness induced by the lack of nuke-weapon use – have a look at this.

    http://www.reallymagazine.com/month_archive_78.htm#24MAY10

  • http://msteger.com Mark

    Read “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb” by Gar Alperovitz. He exhaustively documents that American war leaders knew at the time (although the American public did not know then and most still do not know today) that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were not necessary either militarily or diplomatically to achieve Japanese surrender. The plausible rationale? There’s evidence, if no smoking gun, to indicate American war leaders were interested in intimidating the Soviet Union to help achieve America’s post-war aims.

  • Gary

    Daniel said: “Last week I found myself on a tram in Hiroshima, heading to the stop “A-bomb dome”. I was surrounded by Japanese passengers, and for the first time in Japan I felt self-conscious and uncomfortable.

    What do you feel when you visit Pearl Harbor?

    I can guess.

  • Gary

    Weak-kneed.

  • Mark P

    I suggest that people read a book called “So Sad to Fall in Battle” and then contemplate an invasion of the Japanese home island.

  • http://secularcafe.org/ Ray Moscow

    Yes, I’ve been to the Hiroshima museum, too. It is very sobering, and it changed my attitude toward nuclear weapons.

    I was pleased that the last time I visited Las Alamos (OK, this was about 15 years ago) they had an exhibtion showing many of the same horrors put on by an antiwar group, with a note saying that it was their policy to allow dissenting opinions.

  • http://www.whereisyvette.com Yvette

    I was there last year on my round the world trip- very sobering, particularly as a physics student when you know the people you idolize for inventing quantum mechanics also gave us the power to destroy the world. Linky- http://ow.ly/2aRU8

  • thomas

    okay, I’m seeing several comments here suggesting that nuking would have been preferable to an invasion, and regardless of whether that’s true, the simple fact is an invasion would not have been necessary, as Japan was already prepared to surrender. Everyone knew the war was essentially over by then and the nukes were used to vie for position in the Cold War that strategists were already preparing for.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled arguments about how many people would have died during an invasion of Japan.

  • Mark P

    thomas, hindsight is pretty good, isn’t it? It can make you feel like a god. But I doubt seriously that Japan was ready to surrender or that everyone knew the war was over. I suspect that almost everyone knew that the US would eventually win, but consider what happened on Iwo Jima. A Japanese force commanded by a humane, rational man who knew the eventual outcome fought extremely effectively against overwhelming odds virtually to the last man, causing huge casualties to the invading force. I don’t see how anyone today could possibly claim with a straight face that anyone could responsibly have assumed that Japan would not have fought an invasion.

  • straits

    Mark P., “I doubt seriously” is not a very convincing argument for why the other side of the discussion should be dismissed out of hand as hindsight. In fact the it helped end the war quickly and hence was justified claims were also manufactured after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.

    Fine, let us assume for a moment that Hiroshima was necessary. What exactly was the point of Nagasaki? One demonstration should have been more than enough. There are credible claims that Nagasaki was going to happen no matter what the reaction of the Japanese which weakens all the usual justifications significantly. Actually if there was such a compelling military or political reason why stop at two? Have two must test two?

  • Albert Bakker

    Must test two? Well, it were different types of bombs, the Hiroshima one was a simple gun type one, pretty much failsafe, but Fat Man was quite a bit more sophisticated. The Soviets didn’t have the technology as far as the US knew at the time. They had to resort to spies to get theirs. Pretty cool demonstration if you happen to have total disregard for human life. But then again they were Japanese and didn’t really count as human. Much like Arabs now, or Iranians for the cosmopolitans who can tell the difference.

  • Janne

    Why did these war crimes go unpunished?

  • http://wavefunction.fieldofscience.com Wavefunction

    Well, I think there is good evidence that Japan would have surrendered if they had been allowed to keep their emperor. At the time the bombs were dropped, the Japanese ambassador to the Soviet Union was trying to get a message across to Washington indicating this fact. But as others have mentioned before, American politicians were quite intent on trumping Soviet entry into Japan.

    At the very least, I think many people agree that the second bomb was too soon and unnecessary.

    It’s also worth noting that the moral watershed did not suddenly emerge with the dropping of the bombs. It had emerged much before, with the firebombing of Hamburg, Dresden and especially Tokyo which killed many more than the atomic bombings.

  • steeleweed

    People have been slaughtering others for as far back as we can trace our lineage – and probably further. What makes anyone think that humans are different from any other animals? The hubris is not that some politician feels entitled to kill massively – it’s that we believe humans are something special, different.

  • Mark P

    As I said earlier, I suggest you read “So Sad to Fall in Battle” to get an idea of the Japanese mindset during WW II. As I said, the Japanese commander at Iwo Jima appeared to be a humane, rational man with no illusions about the final outcome of his battle, but he fought tenaciously and effectively to kill a large number of American invaders. Given the experiences of the Allies in the Pacific, I find it hard to fault them for using the resources at hand to end the war without an invasion of the Japanese home island. I don’t think anyone who is unfamiliar with histories of frontline combat during WW II can imagine what that might have been like, and I doubt anyone who did not directly experience it can truly appreciate what it would have meant, both for the Allies and the Japanese.

  • straits

    Mark P. @25 your argument can be summed up as, “if our guy does it he is a hero, if their’s does it he is an illogical fool with a strange mindset”. If an American kept fighting in similar circumstances I have no doubt you would be labelling him a gallant hero and not pointing to selected books that diagnose a defective mindset.

    steelweed@24 humans are different from other animals. Animals aren’t exactly known for fighting wars for vague reasons. Humans are undoubtedly worse in this department.

  • Gary

    “Mark P. @25 your argument can be summed up as, “if our guy does it he is a hero, if their’s does it he is an illogical fool with a strange mindset”.”

    As your own argument can be summed up as “Your foolish mindset makes you prey to opportunistic predators, of which you aren’t.”

    Life feeds on life. Your easy.

  • http://www.sportsdoctorradio.com John Stanton

    Hopefully the thousands we have stockpiled will never be used..

  • Mark P

    Strait, I truly do not understand how you get your interpretation of what I said. Did you actually read it? You seem to be unfamiliar with the history of WW II, or you have as much trouble understanding that as you have understanding what I wrote. There were distinct differences in cultural attitudes between the Japanese and the US, and even between the Japanese and the Germans. The Germans fought the Western Allies until the bitter end, but as individuals they understood that when they had done their duty as they saw it, they could surrender honorably to them (not to the Russians, not after what the Germans did to them). But the Japanese did not share that attitude. They fought until they had done their duty as they saw it, and that meant until they died, taking as many of the invaders as they could with them. There was no honorable surrender. Even the commander at Iwo Jima (who I have twice called humane and rational) shared that cultural attitude. He fully intended to die defending Iwo Jima, despite his knowledge that the war was lost. And he died there, leaving behind a family that he very obviously loved very much and regretted leaving.

    Try reading some, and try to read what’s actually there instead of what you think is there.

  • Albert Bakker

    It is a very basic propaganda technique to paint the enemy as too alien, incapable of reason and fundamentally irreconcilable in order to legitimize any sort of violence against them. That one has been in use since about forever. Once this meme can be firmly implanted in public debate, any crime, even genocide can be dressed up in more sophisticated propaganda as self defense.

    Usually the enemy in this scheme is not fully human at all (as was the Jap – meaning all Japanese people as counter to the distinction between Nazi’s and the German people – in US wartime propaganda) or if still human than so extremely backward, mentally, physically and culturally as to be completely unintelligible – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSIZanyY1mk&feature=channel – and can only be dealt with by their complete submission, unconditional surrender as Truman put it. But if this lack of concern with political correctness during wartime is over and the aftereffects of propaganda keep lingering as they often do, the more obvious racist aspects can be replaced with revised attributes that are better admissible in civilized conversation to keep the basic message (they cannot be reasoned with) intact.

    The decision to drop nuclear weapons on Japanese cities had nothing to do at all with the nature of the Jap and their incomprehensible cultural inclination to fight until death in pointless battles or whatever.

    It had to do with the cold, calculated logic of American postwar geopolitical interests. http://www.doug-long.com/debate.htm

  • bhm1t

    @30
    “It is a very basic propaganda technique to paint the enemy as too alien, incapable of reason and fundamentally irreconcilable in order to legitimize any sort of violence against them. That one has been in use since about forever. ”

    It is also interesting that when one reacts rationally to a given threat, characterizing the aggressor in a way that accurately describes him and his intentions, and then takes steps to neutralize or eradicate said aggressor, he, or those who support him, immediately cry “racist.” A rabid dog is dangerous and must be put to death. The Japanese first attacked the US, not the other way around. They had demonstrated repeatedly their intentions to kill Americans or die trying. You don’t have to look much farther than their treatment of prisoners of war to get an understanding of how they approach and treat “aliens.”

    @21
    “But then again they were Japanese and didn’t really count as human. Much like Arabs now, or Iranians for the cosmopolitans who can tell the difference.”

    Speaking of disregard for human life, the eastern cultures value life much less than their western counterparts. This is an outcome of both cultural and religious beliefs. Very few countries have done more to help others throughout the world than has the U.S. There are, of course, times when the leaders of this country have made grave mistakes. The current isolation of Iran and the ending of WWII are not examples of those times, regardless of the debate regarding the reasons for the actions.

    Oh, as for the distinction between Iranians and Arabs, or you referring to the original Persians or the current populace that is more of a mingling of several Mideastern cultures?

  • Mark P

    Oh, well. If you don’t like historical truth, then just revise it.

  • Tim

    I recall John Wheeler mentioning in his autobiography that if the US had developed the bomb a few years sooner, we could have strategically used it to save millions of lives in the years leading up to the height of the war, 1943-1944. Presumably many of those would have been Jewish lives. Do you know if Wheeler had in mind a different outcome, in terms of which country to bomb or how to effectively use the weapons for this purpose?

  • Casamurphy

    Whenever I read an account of a visit to Hiroshima I like to share a snapshot I took while visiting there in 1985. I simply put my cheap little camera that came loaded with film on the top of one the “melted” granite walls and shot up towards the dome. The results are haunting:

    http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae223/casamurphy/dKos/Hiroshima.jpg

  • Albert Bakker

    32 – Historical truth that is immune to evidence is neither true nor historical.

    31- Am I to understand that equating Japanese with rabid dogs that should be put to death is your accurate description of the enemy that provides a rational explanation of the logic behind the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japanese cities? Because if so then you proved me wrong about a difference in political correctness in propaganda during and after the war. Congratulations I suppose.

    33 – “What if” histories are mostly futile exercises. If nuclear weapons were used against German cities instead of sticking up a white flag it might have convinced Hitler that nuclear weapons were militarily useful after all and who knows we might all be speaking German now in a few enclaves in the Gobi desert.

  • Mike

    > Sixty-five years ago the first atomic bombs were used in war. There is something
    > depressing that humanity finds it necessary to develop such
    > terrible weapons. But perhaps there is something hopeful in that, in the ensuing half
    > century, we’ve had enough sense not to use them again.

    In my opinion the fission bomb was not intended to be used as a weapon.
    I believe a more positive use for it would be as an initiator to produce a gamma ray burst (GRB)

    This is part of an intuitive concept I’m trying to develop into a theory that if proves true, should get anyone that wants to go safely to the nearest star.

  • Brian Too

    You know, I totally get that nuclear weapons are horrific. It was a terrible thing that they were used in war. And yet there was a context, and that context is not mere window dressing.

    Japanese popular culture is good at portraying themselves as victims of nuclear aggression. Sounds good if you completely ignore the rest of the context. It’s victim politics played for a postwar audience.

    Personally I’ve always found the conventional US story on the use of atomic weapons to be convincing. The alternative and unconventional theories, and in particular the Japanese take on the bombing (we were innocent!) just don’t have the sound of authenticity.

    War is terrible and that’s a true statement. I have no doubt at all that wars will continue to be fought, both good and bad. I also have no problem in stating that even more destructive weapons than nuclear will be constructed and used at some point in the future.

    There’s a lot to be gained by examining the socio-political reasons for conflict and war. There’s precious little to be gained by examining the current boogeyman of weapons. All claims that “weapon X is too terrible to be used and will end war on that basis alone” are vapid and specious.

    You can add as a corollary that every nation inventing the new generations of weaponry, will eventually become a victim of that same weaponry at some point. Hopefully that will prompt humanity to change, but probably not.

  • http://danielholz.com daniel

    @33 Tim, John Wheeler’s younger brother died fighting in Italy during WWII. Had the weapon been developed sooner, it is conceivable that the war would have ended sooner, and his brother’s life might have been spared.

  • Mark P

    @Albert Bakker:

    ” Am I to understand that equating Japanese with rabid dogs that should be put to death is your accurate description of the enemy that provides a rational explanation of the logic behind the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japanese cities?”

    No.

    I never said anything even remotely like that. Are you and I reading the same comments?

  • Albert Bakker

    #39- @ Mark P -I was responding to bhm1t as indicated by the corresponding number put in front of each (deliberately) short response. Your quote there is from a response to post 31 as you can see and post 31 reads:

    [..when one reacts rationally to a given threat, characterizing the aggressor in a way that accurately describes him and his intentions, and then takes steps to neutralize or eradicate said aggressor, he, or those who support him, immediately cry “racist.” A rabid dog is dangerous and must be put to death.]

    As I said […in order to legitimize any sort of violence against them.] QED.

    I assumed and still do he or she and you are two different persons. It would be so disappointing if I were wrong about that.

  • Mark P

    Oops. Sorry about that. I simply read through the first sentence, which was an obvious reference to my comment.

  • SLC

    The argument as to whether Japan would have given up if the bombs had not been used has been going on for 65 years and will probably go on forever.

    There were two factions in the Japanese Government and military, one that wanted to surrender and another that wanted to fight on to the bitter end. The emperor, Hirohito, had come down on the side of surrender faction, but the leadership of the fight on faction, which included most of the military, was planning a coup to remove him from power. Even as the Enola Gay was winging its way to Hiroshima, the plotters were finalizing their coup plans. At this point in time, no one can be sure as to whether the coup would have succeeded or failed. All we know is that the bombs were dropped, the coup died stillborn, and Japan surrendered soon after Nagasaki. Everything else is speculation and counter-factual history.

  • http://msteger.com Mark

    Mark P wrote, “Given the experiences of the Allies in the Pacific, I find it hard to fault them for using the resources at hand to end the war without an invasion of the Japanese home island.”

    The problem with this statement is the assumption that it was the dropping of the atomic bomb that ended the war without an invasion. Your own sources should convince you that the Japanese were prepared to die for their Emperor rather than surrender. In fact, what prompted surrender was not fear of death by either invasion or atomic bomb, but Truman’s belated acceptance of the condition to keep the Emperor. If the atomic bomb alone was enough to force surrender, surrender would have come after Hiroshima. It didn’t. And Nagasaki didn’t do the trick either. What did the trick was Truman agreeing to keep the Emperor.

    Again, I recommend reading “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb” by Gar Alperovitz, which exhaustively documents what war leaders knew at the time, not just what hindsight has led us to believe. And they knew that neither atomic bomb nor invasion was necessary to end the war.

  • SLC

    Re Mark @ #43

    Prof. Alperovitz is a left wing ideologue and former apologist for the former Soviet Union and has no credibility as a source of information. As Prof. Maddox of the Un. of Pennsylvania documents at great length (link below), Prof. Alperovitzs’ book is filled with truncated quote mines and is a pack of lies from beginning to end. Mr. Mark will have to do better then that.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=A2Zv3VD6ptQC&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=“gar+alperovitz”&source=bl&ots=pixijB8HUe&sig=5HKOPnD21Faue_w2WsbH5WpGit8&hl=en&ei=HCxLTOGuCYL78Ab1r_Qy&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=97&ved=0CIUDEOgBMGA#v=onepage&q=”gar alperovitz”&f=false

  • spyder

    But perhaps there is something hopeful in that, in the ensuing half century, we’ve had enough sense not to use them again.

    Well, except we learned to alter them significantly and still use them. Can you say depleted uranium?

  • Albert Bakker

    Maybe someday there will be a museum in Fallujah too to visit and you can wonder how stupid and ethically challenged people could be back then. I guess it will be no longer the picture of Marlboro Man who come to symbolize the US glorious victory over Fallujah. As much as the smiling crew of the Enola Gay in front of a shiny plane with pretty pictures no longer is really put forward as symbolizing this apparently still by some acounts if not wonderful then necessary humanitarian operation.

    The use of DU weapons and armor is a neat way to get rid of a portion of one’s own nuclear waste stockpile. It is cheap and it’s properties (high density, pyroforic) are but a little short of ideal. No respectable army, navy, airforce or loose militia can go without it anymore. It’s a minimal standard and the next best thing to Tony Levin’s carrot cake, except maybe for the health of civilians who these weapons are mostly used against – and the smallest children are again affected disproportionally: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/7/7/2828/ – and for the imperial troops themselves and also their offspring. But who cares? Civilians are by definition collateral and for military personnel after they are no longer of any real use and become a burden, they’re all just liars and cowards and lefties anyway.

  • http://wavefunction.fieldofscience.com Wavefunction

    @44: It’s not just Alperovitz. Objective historians with solid credentials like Richard Rhodes and Martin Sherwin are also of the same opinion. It’s not some liberal viewpoint but is based on a lot of recently uncovered documents. Alperovitz is admittedly an older source. To get an accurate picture based on more recent documents, read Martin Sherwin’s “A World Destroyed”.

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