THE short answer is, ‘yes.’ After all, Americans themselves have done it before, and with the US’ powerful propaganda machine, the world will forget about it.
We are seeing every day in our living rooms the videos of Israeli genocide — what else would you call the nonstop bombing of buildings in Gaza, children and the elderlies’ bodies rushed to the hospital, the cutting off of electricity, fuel, food and even water to the areas, with residents blocked from leaving the place?
The US’ often repeated claim that it is a nation that values human life is a myth, a total lie. Several times in its history, it has had no qualms in sacrificing innocents to advance its military goals.
I call this the “Hiroshima worldview,” since the US’ willingness to kill civilians and innocents — hundreds of thousands of them — had been most demonstrated in its dropping of atomic bombs in 1945 in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which 214,000 mostly innocent lives were snuffed in an instant and many, many more years later, due to radiation and other effects of a nuclear bomb.
Shocked at this claim? The belief that the US had no other option but to bomb these two cities is a myth, another testament to its powerful propaganda machine. Scholars have long unearthed the reasons for the bombing after poring through US government documents — even transcripts of the top-secret committees that deliberated on the decision to use the nuclear bombs. Yet their findings have not yet become mainstream. The only genocide people know of is that of 6 million Jews by the Nazis in World War 2.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not military targets, and less than 10 percent of those killed were soldiers. The two cities were chosen as the fission bombs were designed to explode 600 meters aboveground in order to increase its destructive blast to kill the most number of Japanese.
As a 2020 article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, titled “Why the atomic bombing of Hiroshima would be illegal today,” explained:
“Both the Target Committee (which included Robert Oppenheimer and Maj. Gen. Leslie Groves of the Manhattan Project) and the higher-level Interim Committee (led by Secretary of War Henry Stimson) sought to kill large numbers of Japanese civilians in the attack. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was deliberately detonated above the residential and commercial center of the city, and not directly on legitimate military targets, to magnify the shock effect on the Japanese public and leadership in Tokyo.”
How could civilized, educated Christians agree to kill hundreds of thousands of people? The article reported:
“Intuitive moral concerns and background legal principles were often raised in the secret discussions among American military officers, nuclear laboratory scientists, and high-level political leaders planning the attack. What the archival record makes clear is that such concerns were muted, and when expressed were rejected and then rationalized away.
“The desire to avoid the US military casualties expected in the planned invasion of Japan, combined with a desire for vengeance against Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese, overwhelmed legal concerns and moral qualms about killing civilians on a massive scale. Such a nuclear attack would be illegal today.”
Another myth about these nuclear-bomb-assisted massacres was that it forced Japan to surrender, thus saving hundreds of thousands of American and Japanese lives. However, as Ward Wilson, in his book Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons, wrote:
“Japan surrendered because the Soviet Union entered the war. Japanese leaders said the bomb forced them to surrender because it was less embarrassing to say they had been defeated by a miracle weapon. Americans wanted to believe it, and the myth of nuclear weapons was born.”
Clearly, in terms of the end result, Hiroshima was not exceptional. It was not outside the parameters of attacks that had been going on all summer long. Hiroshima was not militarily decisive.
The Soviet Union’s declaration of war, on the other hand (on Aug. 7, 1945, a day after the Hiroshima bombing), fundamentally altered the strategic situation. Adding another great power to the war created insoluble military problems for Japan’s leaders. It might be possible to fight against one great power attacking from one direction, but anyone could see that Japan couldn’t defend against two great powers attacking from two different directions at once.
After Hiroshima, soldiers were still dug in on the beaches. They were still ready to fight. They wanted to fight. There was one fewer city behind them, but they had been losing cities all summer long, at the rate of one every other day, on average.”
Scholars of different political persuasions have also debunked the myth that the two bombings were intended to save thousands of American and Japanese lives that would have been the result of a US invasion. In a study titled “Hiroshima: Historians Reassess,” historian Gar Alperovitz wrote:
“US military planning documents on this subject indicate that if an initial November 1945 landing on Kyushu had gone forward, estimates of the number of lives that would have been lost (and therefore possibly saved by use of the atomic bombs) were in the range of 20,000 to 26,000. In the unlikely event that a subsequent full-scale invasion had been mounted in 1946, the maximum estimate found in such documents was 46,000.
“Forty-six thousand deaths, though significant, pales in comparison to the estimated 105,000 deaths caused by the two bombings.”
US President Harry Truman (who ordered the carnage), in his press release right after the Hiroshima bombing, said:
“The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many-fold. And the end is not yet… They may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”
Doesn’t that sound like the Israeli prime minister in his speech made a day after the Hamas attack: “Any place Hamas deploys, in this evil city, all the places Hamas is hiding, operating — we will turn it into a ruin.”
But the mass murders at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not rare exceptions to US international behavior. The Europeans who colonized America killed between 1492 and 1900 at least 12 million Indigenous people in what is today the coterminous United States, and a total of 56 million in the colonization of North, South and Central America. We don’t have to go too far: about 200,000 Filipinos were killed when we resisted their colonization at the turn of the century, only 10 percent of that the armed insurgents. Fast forward, the 600,000 Vietnamese civilians who were killed in that country’s epic struggle for independence from the Americans. The US killed another 150,000 Cambodians by B-52 bombings to cut off Vietnam’s supply route.
We don’t have to go too distant in the past. The Americans’ post 9/11 revenge wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Yemen resulted in 4.5 million direct and indirect deaths, mostly civilians, according to a study by a team of scholars at Brown University in Massachusetts.
The irrationality of the mass murders in Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been such that several scholars have claimed racism was a major factor. In Hiroshima: The World’s Bomb, Andrew Rotter suggests that racism explains, at least in part, the decision to drop the bomb for diplomatic reasons — i.e., its possession of the atomic bomb would give the US an edge in negotiations with the USSR over postwar Europe and the Far East — at the expense of Japanese lives.
He wrote: “White American racism caused, or at minimum, enabled the United States to use a devastating weapon on the Japanese, brown people whom they considered inferior to themselves, barbaric in their conduct of war, and finally subhuman — ‘a beast,’ as Truman put it.”
Doesn’t that remind you of Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s recent statement, referring to Hamas: “We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.”
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