|Will the "good nuke" please stand up|
A virus that is still within our culture, but a virus that we try to forget and ignore.
Like the currently active Ebola virus indiscriminately attacking civilians as well as doctors, the
On this day in 1945, at 8:16 a.m. Japanese time, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, drops the world's first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured. At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.(History Channel, "Aug 6, 1945: Atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima"). The Gaza Strip terrorism, where Israel committed the indiscriminate killing of civilians, has been condemned recently.
Of the city's 200 doctors before the explosion; only 20 were left alive or capable of working. There were 1,780 nurses before—only 150 remained who were able to tend to the sick and dying.
According to John Hersey's classic work Hiroshima, the Hiroshima city government had put hundreds of schoolgirls to work clearing fire lanes in the event of [conventional] incendiary bomb attacks. They were out in the open when the Enola Gay dropped its load.
What makes a far worse killing that took place in Hiroshima a "good" thing?
We are told that "WW II was a good war" ... so evidently the way a particular war is characterized, by Propaganda Central, makes the killing of civilians either good killing or bad killing?
Evidently everyone thinks "that kind of killing" is ok, because everyone wants a nuke or two.
Which has now brought us to the Doomsday Clock:
If some extraterrestrial species were compiling a history of Homo sapiens, they might well break their calendar into two eras: BNW (before nuclear weapons) and NWE (the nuclear weapons era). The latter era, of course, opened on August 6, 1945, the first day of the countdown to what may be the inglorious end of this strange species, which attained the intelligence to discover the effective means to destroy itself, but -- so the evidence suggests -- not the moral and intellectual capacity to control its worst instincts.(Tomgram, Noam Chomsky, emphasis added). Not many are willing to say that human extinction is good, so will nuclear killing begin or end?
Day one of the NWE was marked by the “success” of Little Boy, a simple atomic bomb. On day four, Nagasaki experienced the technological triumph of Fat Man, a more sophisticated design. Five days later came what the official Air Force history calls the “grand finale,” a 1,000-plane raid -- no mean logistical achievement -- attacking Japan’s cities and killing many thousands of people, with leaflets falling among the bombs reading “Japan has surrendered.” Truman announced that surrender before the last B-29 returned to its base.
Those were the auspicious opening days of the NWE. As we now enter its 70th year, we should be contemplating with wonder that we have survived. We can only guess how many years remain.
Some reflections on these grim prospects were offered by General Lee Butler, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which controls nuclear weapons and strategy. Twenty years ago, he wrote that we had so far survived the NWE “by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.”
And even if nukes were to be banned and removed from the planet, would that remove the spectre of human extinction from before our eyes?
Regular readers know that Dredd Blog posts about civilization being on suicide watch (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2), and a recent paper by a well known ecologist used different words to say the same thing:
“It is prudent not to dismiss the possibility that the Earth System – the biosphere – could die if critical thresholds are crossed … Humanity’s well-being depends upon complex ecosystems that support life on our planet, yet we are consuming the biophysical foundation of civilization … Scientists need to take greater latitude in proposing solutions that lie outside the current political paradigms and sovereign powers …(Collapse of the Global Biosphere, quoting a scientific journal, emphasis added). The war on our environment is not primarily nuclear, but it too can bring human extinction.
There are no good nuclear wars, so WW II was a bad war.
It is way past the time for us to grasp that reality before we become extinct.
The previous post in this series is here.