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Commentary Last Updated: Aug 9th, 2007 - 00:44:36

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Aug 9, 2007, 00:42

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I was a little boy on August 6, 1945, when President Harry Truman decided to drop the first nuclear weapon ever on the ill-fated Hiroshima.

The weapon in fact was nicknamed �Little Boy,� a cruel irony. More so was the dropping three days later of the �Fat Man� nuclear bomb over Nagasaki, which unlike Hiroshima had no military installations. To make matters worse, on my seventh birthday, September 17, 1945, Hiroshima was hit by the Makurazaki Typhoon (Ida), which added 3,000 deaths and injuries to the first two disasters, the dark magic of three�s.

Wikipedia tells us that the �United States Department of Energy estimates that, at Hiroshima, the death toll from the immediate blast was roughly 70,000, with additional deaths occurring in the time soon after the explosion and in the decades that follow. The figures for Nagasaki are slightly less. Other estimates vary widely, and are as low as 74,000 for Nagasaki. In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the deaths were civilians. The role of the bombings in Japan�s surrender, as well as the effects and justification of them, has been subject to much debate.�

Nevertheless, �on August 15, 1945 Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2 which official ended World War II.� And so, the Atomic Age was born. And in my 68th year it continues, thanks in large part to the US continuing to bait Russia by rimming its country and satellites with nuclear missiles. And in turn, Vladimir Putin, no pussycat, has lined up his missiles for action, preemptive or retaliatory. And now we understand that Japan was not the only intended victim for the first two strikes. The object was to strike fear in the heart of our Communist ally, soon to be Cold War enemy, Russia.

One war ends, another begins. And as I wrote in An America I remember, �When August 6 and August 9, 1945 came, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and the second on Nagasaki. And the war was immediately over it seemed. People streamed out of the bungalows and bars of New Dorp (a Staten Island beachfront community we summered in) and embraced each other. Grownups picked me up and whirled me around in the air, laughing. Even the door of that house with the Gold Star (signifying a lost soldier) window opened, and a lovely but sad looking young woman came out and planted a kiss on the top of my head.

�My god, what a thing to throw us into such joy. Yes, the war was over. There were block parties in Brooklyn for homecoming local heroes. People dancing, eating, drinking in the streets, enjoying community. And always dummies of Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini hanging from light poles.�

And always the hope of lasting peace, the bad guys hanged in effigy, even as wheels were turning at the Office of Strategic Services to ferry out more German scientists to America, as the Russians were doing in the Kremlin, to engage in this new mortal combat. And so this time of year, for all the beauty of summer it brings, also brings nostalgia for the lost, an inevitable sadness for the circle of war and death and the nuclear winter we face. Along with it, comes a completely new angst, generated by the so-called "War on Terror," the latest in the manufacture of destruction.

I think of an article by the brilliant Walter Burien called Terrorist caused Deaths v. �Reality. In it, Burien has gone to the trouble to compare numbers of deaths based on various databases from terrorist fatalities. Here are comparisons to four other categories quoted verbatim . . .

1. More fatalities occur "each day" from auto accidents then occur from terrorism for the "whole year." (1.2 million deaths per year Worldwide)

2. More fatalities occur worldwide each year from animal attacks than occur from terrorism. (Stats for US Only 1882 deaths - 79/90)

3. More fatalities occur each year from falling down stairs (falling down) than occur from terrorism. (Just for the Netherlands 1700 deaths in 1999)

4. More fatalities occur "each day" from medical malpractice than occur from terrorism for the "whole year." (US stats Only - 120,000 deaths worldwide 1.4 million)

The above four points bring me to ask these questions of you.

Is it safer to:

1. Walk through the woods?

2. Take a drive on the highway?

3. Run down the stairs in a hurry?

4. Live life without fear of terrorism acts?

5. Visit the hospital for treatment?

Interesting, isn't it? But then they are spending over a trillion dollars and molding policy based on promoted terrorism, or as known by another phrase that more closely describes what they are truly doing; the incremental staging of forced population control and management. They better make it interesting on the nightly news because the numbers just don�t add up to justify the expense and further deaths marketed through the use of the front-line promoted term of terrorism. Not even close!

What Walter has broken down for us is the latest War Marketing Concept (Terrorism). It has come from the Military Industrial Complex, the same that General of the Army and then President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about. That is, first, keeping standing armies; second, the danger of the defense industry getting in bed with the military and the politicians to form an unholy m�lange. This is exactly what we have today. It is largely the reason we find America at war on two fronts, slipping on both, and still rattling sabers at Iran, while financially underwriting the military efforts of Israel to control the Middle East. In short, war begetting war.

And just as in WW II, as Pearl Harbor was used as the inciting incident to pull a recalcitrant America into war, we had the nefarious 9/11, an inside job, to pull a recalcitrant America into a war against Islam. All as propounded in the Project for the New American Century�s (PNAC) position paper. It literally quoted former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book the Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. Brzezinski stated that gaining control of Central Asia�s vast oil reserves would require a kind of �inciting incident� to stir America to war.

He explained that �the pursuit of power was not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public�s sense of domestic well being.� And so, �the external projection of American power� had to be bolstered as it was in World War II, �largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.� And there was the marketing scheme for the "War on Terror," the beginning of the march of the neocon intellectual Mouseketeers to world domination. War begetting war, right Mickey? Even you know that.

And so, 62 years after the birth of the Atomic Age, we find ourselves not signers to any non-nuclear proliferation treaty. In fact, we have become non-signers to any such pact as Junior assumed the presidency. Japan is arming itself again after the same number of years. Uranium depleted weaponry (a form of nuclear arms) has been introduced by the US in the Gulf War, used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo with desultory effects to military and citizen populations. DU attacks the immune system and breaks it down, the way it blasts through tank armor, busts bunkers, and levels cities. War begets war in the name of protecting us from terror via the use of terror-producing weapons. On and on the ship of death sails.

One wonders truly what we learned between 1945 and now, given the tragedies of Korea (33,686 American deaths), Vietnam (58,202 American deaths), the Gulf War (148 American deaths, 100,000 Iraq soldiers killed) The war in Iraq (3,800 American deaths so far) plus the millions of deaths of citizens, innocent people, bystanders of the mayhem, in the past 62 years. I would say that some of us, the Ruling Class in particular, haven�t learned a goddamn thing. Because the killing machine rolls on bigger, better, and sucking up more trillions of dollars needed for life�s purposes than ever. No "War on Terror" or any other war justifies that. No PNAC think tank idiot has a really intelligent thought on war and the peace necessary to survive.

And if I take that little boy once me by the hand as a man and try to explain it to him, walk with him down one of those sunny, half-paved lanes of New Dorp (now thoroughly urbanized thanks to the Verrazano Bridge coupling Staten Island to New York City); if I try to tell him this is �just the way it is,� I can�t buy that myself. Nor will I offer some organic �death wish,� some atavistic drive to dominate, some geopolitical expediency, or any other crap. It�s just our upper crust Elites, who rule above and beyond, who don�t give a damn about others, mostly those poorer than themselves and what happens to them. It is greed and indifference, pure and simple, by people who should but don�t know better.

And no matter how many of their heads you chop off, how many walls you line them up against, how many gulags you ship them to, they have a way like hungry weeds of growing back to choke the grass, the vast fields of men, women and children, humanity. But perhaps it is time once again to scythe the fields of these vipers, to rip them up by the roots. If time and history can�t teach them to stop killing, let�s round up the killing-meisters as the remnants of the Third Reich once were. And before they can be shipped off via the Vatican ratline by the CIA and others to distance places, let�s put them out of their misery and ours. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. In fact, the boy in me can still hear those staticky words rumbling through a radio one icy Sunday morning in December 1941, in the winter of our discontent that brought us somehow to the August of the Atomic Age.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at

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