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Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Early Critique of Our Atomic Attacks: 67 Years Ago Today

It's often said that the U.S. decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing over 200,000 civilians, was greeted almost universally in this country as a godsend that ended World War II.  But this was not the case.  Many on the left and on the right (such as John Foster Dulles and David Lawrence) immediately questioned the morality and necessity of using the two bombs.  Meanwhile,  on this day in 1945, a leading stage actress in Japan died and would become the first to be officially labeled as the victim of a "radiation disease" by doctors. The U.S. launched a cover-up of the full extent of damage to people (see my book on this subject).

Also on this date, August 24, 1945, the well-regarded U.S. magazine (edited by lay Catholics)  Commonweal published an editorial that confronted the bombings head-on.  Highlights:

--"We will not have to worry any more about keeping our victory clean. It is defiled."

--"The name Pearl Harbor was a name for Japanese guilt and shame. The name Hiroshima, the name Nagasaki are names for American guilt and shame."

--"The war against Japan was nearly won....Then, without warning an American plane dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  Russia entered the war. There was no doubt before or after Russia entered the war that the war against Japan was won. An American plane dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki."

--"After we had brought indescribable death to a few hundred thousand men, women and children, we said that this bomb must remain always in the hands of peace-loving peoples. For our war, for our purposes, to save American lives we have reached the point where we say that anything goes."

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