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Thursday, August 9, 2012

67 Years Ago: The Crime of Nagasaki

From a piece I wrote a year ago (I was in that beautiful city on this day in 1984):  It's the "Forgotten A-Bomb City" but in some way has more to teach us than Hiroshima.  "The rights and wrongs of Hiroshima are debatable,” Telford Taylor, the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, once observed, “but I have never heard a plausible justification of Nagasaki”—which he labeled a war crime.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who experienced the firebombing of Dresden at close hand, said much the same thing. “The most racist, nastiest act by this country, after human slavery, was the bombing of Nagasaki,” he once said. “Not of Hiroshima, which might have had some military significance. But Nagasaki was purely blowing away yellow men, women, and children. I’m glad I’m not a scientist because I’d feel so guilty now.”

Conservative  columnist and U.S. News magazine editor David Lawrence joined famous "hawk" John Foster Dulles in lashing out at the “so-called civilized side” in the war for dropping bombs on cities that kill hundreds of thousands of civilians. However much we rejoice in victory, he wrote, “we shall not soon purge ourselves of the feeling of guilt which prevails among us..."   On the cover-up of the crime, see my book here.

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