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Saturday, September 7, 2013

'NYT': Who Used Those Atomic Bombs?

Steven Erlanger in new piece at NYT examines the landscape of chemical and WMD use during the 20th century, listing and excoriating the use of same by numerous nations from World War I on, with the customary downplaying of the by far most killing attack of all--the use of two atomic bombs against Japan in 1945 (and the release of their form of "poison gas" which unlike others kills for years), which took the lives of at least 200,000, the majority of them women and children.  He does make a brief mention of the bomb, but unlike in other cases, fails to mention by name the only country to use it--while exploring Japan's use of evil weapons in World War II.

He might say that he was focusing on chemicals, but this ignores the context of how much of the rest of the world views U.S. lectures on the use of chems, given what it did in 1945.  And the failure to remind readers who used The Bomb is glaring.  Polls show that large numbers of Americans, especially younger people,  don't even know who used it.  (See my most recent post on the use of the atomic bomb in 1945 here.) 

Erlanger also  near the top, and then again (!) near the close,  seems to accept the Obama/Kerry claim of 1,429 killed in the recent attack in Syria--even though all other sources dispute this and no evidence or sourcing has been provided by the administration.  A lower total (most place the number at about one-third of that figure) is bad enough,  but the attempt to promote the attack on Syria by apparently inflating this number has actually backfired and explains in part why, despite what Erlanger calls the global revulsion over chemical attacks, so few nations will join us in our response--and why a strong majority of Americans also oppose it.

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