Hiroshima, President Obama, Nuclear Hypocrisy

Hiroshima.

Big Red Car here on a nice but cloudy ATX day. Going to rain, y’all. Getting into the Memorial Day flood cycle. Flash flood warning last night. Lakes more than fill and flooding the marina parking lots. Lots of water.

So, the President is in Hiroshima becoming the first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima whereat the United States unleashed the power of a new weapon, a nuclear bomb called “Little Boy” which was delivered by a B-29 bomber on 6 August 1945.

Little Boy bomb

Little Boy nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on 6 August 1945, killing an estimated 145,000 civilians

On 15 August 1945, the Japanese surrendered entering into a formal surrender on the USS Missouri (one of the refloated ships sunk at Pearl Harbor by the Japs) on 2 September 1945.

The war the Japs started was finally over.

Hiroshima the first nuclear bomb attack

Before the bomb on Hiroshima was dropped, the Allies were making final plans for the invasion of the Japanese home islands, anticipating more than 1,000,000 casualties. Having just captured Okinawa, the Allies were expecting similar fierce resistance which, essentially, consumed almost all of the forces committed to the Okinawa battle.

President Truman made the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki (dropped on 15 August 1945) hoping to provide the impetus for the Japanese to give up the war they had started with their unprovoked bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. On that date, there were no nuclear weapons on the face of the world.

Through the Manhattan Project, America’s top secret, crash development program, the US acquired nuclear weapons and made two different types — the Little Boy (Hiroshima) and the Fat Boy (Nagasaki). At that instant, only the US had nuclear weapons.

Immediately after the dropping of the Hiroshima weapon, President Harry S Truman famously called for the Japanese to surrender, warning them the alternative was, “a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”

The Japs did not heed Truman’s warning.

Nagasaki the second nuclear bomb attack

When the Japanese failed to respond, Truman authorized the 15 August 1945 bombing of Nagasaki which finally motivated the Japs to surrender.

Nuclear bomb cloud

Casualties

Numbers on the total casualties at Hiroshima and Nagasaki are a little vague but many folks will consider that 250,000 were killed including 20 British, Dutch, and US POWs.

It would not be unfair to suggest the Hiroshima and Nagasaki casualties were the final repayment for the Jap’s bombing of Pearl Harbor which launched the Pacific War with the United States.

The peaceful, sleeping American tiger was blasted out of its lethargy and ended the war by unleashing its might in two flashes that changed the world forever.

Japan may rightfully claim its role as the instigator of the war which led to the creation of nuclear weapons and its own destruction.

What did we learn?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were an effective alternative to the Allies incurring 1,000,000 casualties to attain the same outcome — unconditional surrender of the Japs.

We also learned the immense power of nuclear weapons and went on a binge of development that continues to this day.

It is a curse on mankind when one considers the sheer financial magnitude of war, in general, and nuclear arsenals, in particular.

It is a waste of money of gargantuan proportions.

President Obama, Nuclear Hypocrite and Nobel Peace Laureate

The Nobel Prize folk have been whispering about how they want their ill-awarded Nobel Peace Prize back. Fair?

President Obama has famously called for the abolition of nuclear weapons in Prague in 2009. Many considered it to be a naive and silly speech. Not much has changed since then. Let me state, unequivocally, the Big Red Car favors a world without nuclear weapons. On that sentiment, we shall agree — me and our President. On most other things, not so much.

Unfortunately, the President has authorized a trillion dollar — $1,000,000,000,000 — spending program to upgrade the American nuclear arsenal.

Yes, our Nobel Peace Prize laureate President is the largest nuclear proliferator on the planet. I am not saying I disagree with this, I am only pointing out the sheer hypocrisy of a man who delivers yet another speech — in times of crisis, what America needs is another professorial speech — touting the elimination of nuclear weapons from the planet.

Mr. President, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot decry the existence of nuclear weapons while simultaneously initiating a $1,000,000,000,000 expenditure to rebuild the American arsenal. Pick a lane and stay in it?

Read about it here:

President Obama commits America to trillion dollar nuclear program

Why is this, Big Red Car?

The Obama administration has never really gotten a grasp on nuclear weapons or the folks who own them. [That Iran treaty that gives the Iranians a clear path to a nuclear weapon — that’s the stupidest thing ever done.]

They famously hit the RESET BUTTON with the Russians.

Reset button

The RESET BUTTON that didn’t work. Note the finger being employed by the Russian resetter. Hillary Clinton’s big triumph.

Yes, that is the same Hillary Rodham Clinton who wants to leverage her failed Secretary of State cabinet post into the White House. In case you are not aware, she is genetically a woman though she had not told us exactly how she “feels” which is way more important these days. [Point of order, the Big Red Car does not and does not anticipate feeling girly. Thought y’all might like to know.]

The message of strength

When America is strong, when American leadership is steady, America is safe. When America leads from the rear, America is exposed and vulnerable.

The message that President Obama should be delivering in Hiroshima is this — “Japan attacked a peaceful United States of America at Pearl Harbor, in one of the greatest feats of cowardly treachery in the history of mankind. Japan’s leaders sentenced their military forces and their citizens to fierce retribution. The Japanese people need to look to their own leaders to account for the 250,000 dead here at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When attacked, America will defend itself. Let this lesson be known to all.”

President Obama is the ultimate hypocrite — a man whose words and actions do not match.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.cropped-LTFD-illust_300.png

 

 

 

 

 

  • Really?

    What Mr. Obama fails to understand about why we are different historically in war is that we are not an imperial nation but the first nation to reject imperialism and separate ourselves. We also the only country in history to Win/End war and not occupy the defeated.
    Seems like we started long ago establishing through our actions a new path! This is why we are great! we have been doing the right thing for centuries. Unlike ay other in history

  • Andrew Cashion

    Great post~ You would think the cost on those weapons would have come down a bit since their birth. Obama looks worse day by day, so does Hilary.

    Strangely, one of my uncle’s fishing buddies was one of the bomb droppers. (lived in Greensboro)

  • I think it is important to read the exact words Obama said. (my thoughts in parenthesis)

    As a member of the National World War Two Museum board, I am vigilant when it comes to revisionist history on the war. We need to learn, and re-learn the lessons that war taught us. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten them. Forgetting the lessons means we forget the sacrifice of that generation.

    Here is exactly what Obama said:

    Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.

    (mankind has always possessed the means to destroy themselves. nuclear bombs are incredibly efficient at it)

    Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past. We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans, a dozen Americans held prisoner.

    Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become.

    (mourning the dead-depends on why you are mourning them. I agree, we should mourn the dead from the nuclear attacks-and at the same time curse the stubbornness and stupidity of the Japanese government/military leaders who caused them to die)

    It is not the fact of war that sets Hiroshima apart. Artifacts tell us that violent conflict appeared with the very first man. Our early ancestors having learned to make blades from flint and spears from wood used these tools not just for hunting but against their own kind. On every continent, the history of civilization is filled with war, whether driven by scarcity of grain or hunger for gold, compelled by nationalist fervor or religious zeal. Empires have risen and fallen. Peoples have been subjugated and liberated. And at each juncture, innocents have suffered, a countless toll, their names forgotten by time.

    The world war that reached its brutal end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was fought among the wealthiest and most powerful of nations. Their civilizations had given the world great cities and magnificent art. Their thinkers had advanced ideas of justice and harmony and truth. And yet the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.

    (wealth had nothing to do with it, ideology had everything to do with it. Power and control had everything to do with the war. Master races. Suppose the Japanese and Germans won. Do you think they would have divided the spoils, or gone against each other for total domination? The Japanese thought they were superior to the Germans, and vice versa.)

    In the span of a few years, some 60 million people would die. Men, women, children, no different than us. Shot, beaten, marched, bombed, jailed, starved, gassed to death. There are many sites around the world that chronicle this war, memorials that tell stories of courage and heroism, graves and empty camps that echo of unspeakable depravity.

    Yet in the image of a mushroom cloud that rose into these skies, we are most starkly reminded of humanity’s core contradiction. How the very spark that marks us as a species, our thoughts, our imagination, our language, our toolmaking, our ability to set ourselves apart from nature and bend it to our will — those very things also give us the capacity for unmatched destruction.

    How often does material advancement or social innovation blind us to this truth? How easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause.

    (Trump protesters, and protesters that stop free speech might be in the same camp as Mao, ISIS etc)

    Every great religion promises a pathway to love and peace and righteousness, and yet no religion has been spared from believers who have claimed their faith as a license to kill.

    (does this mean we should all be atheists? Or does it mean all religions are not blameless?)

    Nations arise telling a story that binds people together in sacrifice and cooperation, allowing for remarkable feats. But those same stories have so often been used to oppress and dehumanize those who are different.

    (I interpret this as a shot across the bow at capitalism and the United States, not Japan in 1932)

    Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines.

    The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.

    (Obama is splitting hairs here. Truman certainly thought it was morally right to drop the atomic bombs-as you say in your piece. Truman not only saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Allies, but probably millions of Japanese as well)

    That is why we come to this place. We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry. We remember all the innocents killed across the arc of that terrible war and the wars that came before and the wars that would follow.

    Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.

    Some day, the voices of the hibakusha will no longer be with us to bear witness. But the memory of the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, must never fade. That memory allows us to fight complacency. It fuels our moral imagination. It allows us to change.

    (as long as the framing is to get rid of despots that seek to use govt power to control us, I would agree that we should listen to those voices. But, defending your country without using the full force at your disposal is a abdication of leadership. I think it’s important to remember, from December 7, 1941 to August 14, 1945, the United States was on defense. We were attacked, not the other way around. We didn’t provoke, or seek out a war.)

    And since that fateful day, we have made choices that give us hope. The United States and Japan have forged not only an alliance but a friendship that has won far more for our people than we could ever claim through war. The nations of Europe built a union that replaced battlefields with bonds of commerce and democracy. Oppressed people and nations won liberation. An international community established institutions and treaties that work to avoid war and aspire to restrict and roll back and ultimately eliminate the existence of nuclear weapons.

    (Ideologically, would be great to get rid of nukes. Not realistic. In a hot war, treaties are worth as much as the paper they are written on. Germany and the USSR had a treaty in 1939 I recall.)

    Still, every act of aggression between nations, every act of terror and corruption and cruelty and oppression that we see around the world shows our work is never done. We may not be able to eliminate man’s capacity to do evil, so nations and the alliances that we form must possess the means to defend ourselves. But among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.

    (Teddy Roosevelt articulated this a lot better)

    We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe. We can chart a course that leads to the destruction of these stockpiles. We can stop the spread to new nations and secure deadly materials from fanatics.

    (This goes against what Obama has done in Iran, and North Korea)

    And yet that is not enough. For we see around the world today how even the crudest rifles and barrel bombs can serve up violence on a terrible scale. We must change our mind-set about war itself. To prevent conflict through diplomacy and strive to end conflicts after they’ve begun. To see our growing interdependence as a cause for peaceful cooperation and not violent competition. To define our nations not by our capacity to destroy but by what we build. And perhaps, above all, we must reimagine our connection to one another as members of one human race.

    For this, too, is what makes our species unique. We’re not bound by genetic code to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can learn. We can choose. We can tell our children a different story, one that describes a common humanity, one that makes war less likely and cruelty less easily accepted.

    We see these stories in the hibakusha. The woman who forgave a pilot who flew the plane that dropped the atomic bomb because she recognized that what she really hated was war itself. The man who sought out families of Americans killed here because he believed their loss was equal to his own.

    My own nation’s story began with simple words: All men are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Realizing that ideal has never been easy, even within our own borders, even among our own citizens. But staying true to that story is worth the effort. It is an ideal to be strived for, an ideal that extends across continents and across oceans. The irreducible worth of every person, the insistence that every life is precious, the radical and necessary notion that we are part of a single human family — that is the story that we all must tell.

    That is why we come to Hiroshima. So that we might think of people we love. The first smile from our children in the morning. The gentle touch from a spouse over the kitchen table. The comforting embrace of a parent. We can think of those things and know that those same precious moments took place here, 71 years ago.

    Those who died, they are like us. Ordinary people understand this, I think. They do not want more war. They would rather that the wonders of science be focused on improving life and not eliminating it. When the choices made by nations, when the choices made by leaders, reflect this simple wisdom, then the lesson of Hiroshima is done.

    The world was forever changed here, but today the children of this city will go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting, and then extending to every child. That is a future we can choose, a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.

    (Does he mean what he said? What meaning does he want us to take from this? As I read this, I find more vapidity. Obama is not believable as a leader. There is no substance to his notions. They are academic school chalkboard drawings.)

    • JLM

      .
      An excellent comment. Very well played.

      Bottom line — a vapid sentiment by a vapid and shallow leader who is currently lording over a $1,000,000,000,000 investment in the American nuclear arsenal.

      Wars are a horror and horrors are visited upon mankind by men who are neither reasonable nor humanitarian.

      The Professor President, absent any real world experience, thinks there are rational reasons why wars are visited upon mankind. Sometimes, most times, it is just evil loosed in the world.

      BRC
      http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com