Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acts of premeditated mass murder unleashing a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of 21st century U.S. war propaganda, casting a new enemy, and target – China.
By John Pilger
First published Aug. 3, 2020
When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open.
At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite.
I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then I walked down to the river where the survivors still lived in shanties.
I met a man called Yukio, whose chest was etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.
He described a huge flash over the city, “a bluish light, something like an electrical short”, after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. “I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead.”
Nine years later, I returned to look for him and he was dead from leukemia.
“No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin” said a New York Times headline on September 13, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. “General Farrell,” reported William H. Lawrence, “denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.”
Only one reporter, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, had braved the perilous journey to Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing, in defiance of the Allied occupation authorities, which controlled the “press pack”.
“I write this as a warning to the world,” reported Burchett in the London Daily Express of September 5,1945. Sitting in the rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter, he described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries who were dying from what he called “an atomic plague”.
For this, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared. His witness to the truth was never forgiven.
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of America’s war propaganda in the 21st century, casting a new enemy, and target – China.
During the 75 years since Hiroshima, the most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and to save lives.
“Even without the atomic bombing attacks,” concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, “air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. “Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war [against Japan] and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”
The National Archives in Washington contains documented Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the U.S. made clear the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including “capitulation even if the terms were hard”. Nothing was done.
The U.S. Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the U.S. Air Force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. Stimson later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the [atomic] bomb”.
Stimson’s foreign policy colleagues — looking ahead to the post-war era they were then shaping “in our image”, as Cold War planner George Kennan famously put it — made clear they were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the [atomic] bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the atomic bomb, testified: “There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”
The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Harry Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.
The “experiment” continued long after the war was over. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States exploded 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the equivalent of more than one Hiroshima every day for 12 years.
The human and environmental consequences were catastrophic. During the filming of my documentary, The Coming War on China, I chartered a small aircraft and flew to Bikini Atoll in the Marshalls. It was here that the United States exploded the world’s first Hydrogen Bomb. It remains poisoned earth. My shoes registered “unsafe” on my Geiger counter. Palm trees stood in unworldly formations. There were no birds.
I trekked through the jungle to the concrete bunker where, at 6.45 on the morning of March 1, 1954, the button was pushed. The sun, which had risen, rose again and vaporised an entire island in the lagoon, leaving a vast black hole, which from the air is a menacing spectacle: a deathly void in a place of beauty.
The radioactive fall-out spread quickly and “unexpectedly”. The official history claims “the wind changed suddenly”. It was the first of many lies, as declassified documents and the victims’ testimony reveal.
Gene Curbow, a meteorologist assigned to monitor the test site, said, “They knew where the radioactive fall-out was going to go. Even on the day of the shot, they still had an opportunity to evacuate people, but [people] were not evacuated; I was not evacuated… The United States needed some guinea pigs to study what the effects of radiation would do.”
Like Hiroshima, the secret of the Marshall Islands was a calculated experiment on the lives of large numbers of people. This was Project 4.1, which began as a scientific study of mice and became an experiment on “human beings exposed to the radiation of a nuclear weapon”.
The Marshall Islanders I met in 2015 — like the survivors of Hiroshima I interviewed in the 1960s and 70s — suffered from a range of cancers, commonly thyroid cancer; thousands had already died. Miscarriages and stillbirths were common; those babies who lived were often deformed horribly.
Unlike Bikini, nearby Rongelap atoll had not been evacuated during the H-Bomb test. Directly downwind of Bikini, Rongelap’s skies darkened and it rained what first appeared to be snowflakes. Food and water were contaminated; and the population fell victim to cancers. That is still true today.
I met Nerje Joseph, who showed me a photograph of herself as a child on Rongelap. She had terrible facial burns and much of her was hair missing. “We were bathing at the well on the day the bomb exploded,” she said. “White dust started falling from the sky. I reached to catch the powder. We used it as soap to wash our hair. A few days later, my hair started falling out.”
Lemoyo Abon said, “Some of us were in agony. Others had diarrhoea. We were terrified. We thought it must be the end of the world.”
U.S. official archive film I included in my film refers to the islanders as “amenable savages”. In the wake of the explosion, a U.S. Atomic Energy Agency official is seen boasting that Rongelap “is by far the most contaminated place on earth”, adding, “it will be interesting to get a measure of human uptake when people live in a contaminated environment.”
American scientists, including medical doctors, built distinguished careers studying the “human uptake”. There they are in flickering film, in their white coats, attentive with their clipboards. When an islander died in his teens, his family received a sympathy card from the scientist who studied him.
I have reported from five nuclear “ground zeros” throughout the world — in Japan, the Marshall Islands, Nevada, Polynesia and Maralinga in Australia. Even more than my experience as a war correspondent, this has taught me about the ruthlessness and immorality of great power: that is, imperial power, whose cynicism is the true enemy of humanity.
This struck me forcibly when I filmed at Taranaki Ground Zero at Maralinga in the Australian desert. In a dish-like crater was an obelisk on which was inscribed: “A British atomic weapon was test exploded here on 9 October 1957”. On the rim of the crater was this sign:
WARNING: RADIATION HAZARD
Radiation levels for a few hundred metres
around this point may be above those considered
safe for permanent occupation.
For as far as the eye could see, and beyond, the ground was irradiated. Raw plutonium lay about, scattered like talcum powder: plutonium is so dangerous to humans that a third of a milligram gives a 50 percent chance of cancer.
The only people who might have seen the sign were Indigenous Australians, for whom there was no warning. According to an official account, if they were lucky “they were shooed off like rabbits”.
The Enduring Menace
Today, an unprecedented campaign of propaganda is shooing us all off like rabbits. We are not meant to question the daily torrent of anti-Chinese rhetoric, which is rapidly overtaking the torrent of anti-Russia rhetoric. Anything Chinese is bad, anathema, a threat: Wuhan …. Huawei. How confusing it is when “our” most reviled leader says so.
The current phase of this campaign began not with Trump but with Barack Obama, who in 2011 flew to Australia to declare the greatest build-up of U.S. naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region since World War Two. Suddenly, China was a “threat”. This was nonsense, of course. What was threatened was America’s unchallenged psychopathic view of itself as the richest, the most successful, the most “indispensable” nation.
What was never in dispute was its prowess as a bully — with more than 30 members of the United Nations suffering American sanctions of some kind and a trail of the blood running through defenceless countries bombed, their governments overthrown, their elections interfered with, their resources plundered.
Obama’s declaration became known as the “pivot to Asia”. One of its principal advocates was his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who, as WikiLeaks revealed, wanted to rename the Pacific Ocean “the American Sea”.
Whereas Clinton never concealed her warmongering, Obama was a maestro of marketing. “I state clearly and with conviction,” said the new president in 2009, “that America’s commitment is to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
Obama increased spending on nuclear warheads faster than any president since the end of the Cold War. A “usable” nuclear weapon was developed. Known as the B61 Model 12, it means, according to General James Cartwright, former vice-chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that “going smaller [makes its use] more thinkable”.
The target is China. Today, more than 400 American military bases almost encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to South-East Asia, Japan and Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, as one U.S. strategist told me, “the perfect noose”.
A study by the RAND Corporation – which, since Vietnam, has planned America’s wars – is entitled War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable. Commissioned by the U.S. Army, the authors evoke the infamous catch cry of its chief Cold War strategist, Herman Kahn – “thinking the unthinkable”. Kahn’s book, On Thermonuclear War, elaborated a plan for a “winnable” nuclear war.
Kahn’s apocalyptic view is shared by Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical fanatic who believes in the “rapture of the End”. He is perhaps the most dangerous man alive. “I was CIA director,” he boasted, “We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses.” Pompeo’s obsession is China.
The endgame of Pompeo’s extremism is rarely if ever discussed in the Anglo-American media, where the myths and fabrications about China are standard fare, as were the lies about Iraq. A virulent racism is the sub-text of this propaganda. Classified “yellow” even though they were white, the Chinese are the only ethnic group to have been banned by an “exclusion act” from entering the United States, because they were Chinese. Popular culture declared them sinister, untrustworthy, “sneaky”, depraved, diseased, immoral.
An Australian magazine, The Bulletin, was devoted to promoting fear of the “yellow peril” as if all of Asia was about to fall down on the whites-only colony by the force of gravity.
As the historian Martin Powers writes, acknowledging China’s modernism, its secular morality and “contributions to liberal thought threatened European face, so it became necessary to suppress China’s role in the Enlightenment debate …. For centuries, China’s threat to the myth of Western superiority has made it an easy target for race-baiting.”
In the Sydney Morning Herald, tireless China-basher Peter Hartcher described those who spread Chinese influence in Australia as “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows”. Hartcher, who favourably quotes the American demagogue Steve Bannon, likes to interpret the “dreams” of the current Chinese elite, to which he is apparently privy. These are inspired by yearnings for the “Mandate of Heaven” of 2,000 years ago. Ad nausea.
To combat this “mandate”, the Australian government of Scott Morrison has committed one of the most secure countries on earth, whose major trading partner is China, to hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American missiles that can be fired at China.
The trickledown is already evident. In a country historically scarred by violent racism towards Asians, Australians of Chinese descent have formed a vigilante group to protect delivery riders. Phone videos show a delivery rider punched in the face and a Chinese couple racially abused in a supermarket. Between April and June, there were almost 400 racist attacks on Asian-Australians.
“We are not your enemy,” a high-ranking strategist in China told me, “but if you [in the West] decide we are, we must prepare without delay.” China’s arsenal is small compared with America’s, but it is growing fast, especially the development of maritime missiles designed to destroy fleets of ships.
“For the first time,” wrote Gregory Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “China is discussing putting its nuclear missiles on high alert so that they can be launched quickly on warning of an attack… This would be a significant and dangerous change in Chinese policy…”
In Washington, I met Amitai Etzioni, distinguished professor of international affairs at George Washington University, who wrote that a “blinding attack on China” was planned, “with strikes that could be mistakenly perceived [by the Chinese] as pre-emptive attempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma [that would] lead to nuclear war.”
In 2019, the U.S. staged its biggest single military exercise since the Cold War, much of it in high secrecy. An armada of ships and long-range bombers rehearsed an “Air-Sea Battle Concept for China” – ASB – blocking sea lanes in the Straits of Malacca and cutting off China’s access to oil, gas and other raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.
It is fear of such a blockade that has seen China develop its Belt and Road Initiative along the old Silk Road to Europe and urgently build strategic airstrips on disputed reefs and islets in the Spratly Islands.
In Shanghai, I met Lijia Zhang, a Beijing journalist and novelist, typical of a new class of outspoken mavericks. Her best-selling book has the ironic title Socialism Is Great! Having grown up in the chaotic, brutal Cultural Revolution, she has travelled and lived in the U.S. and Europe. “Many Americans imagine,” she said, “that Chinese people live a miserable, repressed life with no freedom whatsoever. The [idea of] the yellow peril has never left them… They have no idea there are some 500 million people being lifted out of poverty, and some would say it’s 600 million.”
Modern China’s epic achievements, its defeat of mass poverty, and the pride and contentment of its people (measured forensically by American pollsters such as Pew) are wilfully unknown or misunderstood in the West. This alone is a commentary on the lamentable state of Western journalism and the abandonment of honest reporting.
China’s repressive dark side and what we like to call its “authoritarianism” are the facade we are allowed to see almost exclusively. It is as if we are fed unending tales of the evil super-villain Dr. Fu Manchu. And it is time we asked why: before it is too late to stop the next Hiroshima.
John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist and filmmaker based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. In 2017, the British Library announced a John Pilger Archive of all his written and filmed work. The British Film Institute includes his 1979 film, “Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia,” among the 10 most important documentaries of the 20thcentury. Some of his previous contributions to Consortium News can be found here.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
It’s no wonder Mr. Pilger is banned from the corporate media!
“Ruthless emperialism” is indeed at the root. In Emperialism: A Study by John Hobson, in the section The Parasites of Emperialism, he describes how the most elite financiers drive emperialist policies. They do this to plunder the resources of other countries. They use the militaries of their home countries to subdue their target countries. They control the militaries by controlling the government, which they control by controlling the press, and behind that the financial sector.
They came to power in the West as the financial heart of the British East India Company. They took control of the City of London, then Britain and the British Empire, then the U.S.
They engineered the wars in the Middle East, and there is evidence that they engineered WWI and WWII. So they might be quite willing to engineer WWIII in their quest dominate the world.
According the Heisenberg, the top German nuclear physicist who had remained in Germany, the Nazis asked him how long it would take to develop a nuclear bomb. After an initial study, he advised that it would take more than two years. At that point, the Nazis decided to abandon the nuclear project and concentrate all resources on rocket development, which proved to be a complete flop (for the Nazis). Again, according to Heisenberg, the British and American intelligence services knew that the Nazis didn’t develop a nuclear bomb by 1942. They kept that information confidential to pursue the Manhattan project.
The idea from the very beginning was to gain a weapon that would give the US total control over all humans on this planet.
The bombing of Tokyo killed more than 100,000 civilians during one night. Thus, the devastation caused by the nuclear bomb was nothing new to the Japanese. They were ready to capitulate before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The US dropped the bombs to send a signal to the Soviet Union and to test the nuclear bombs in a real life situation to study the effect on a civil population. They could have tested the bomb on a sparsely populated region or on military or industrial installation to demonstrate its destructiveness to the Japanese. The US deliberately selected the city centers of two cities that had not yet been destroyed by previous bombing in order to observe the effect of the bombs. After the capitulation, the US sent medial teams to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to study the effect of the bombs. The teams did not treat a single person. They just made detailed observations of the effects of the bombs on humans on buildings.
It would have been enough to use one bomb. The US used two bombs of different construction to test which had the better effect.
Even before the Soviets had defeated the Nazis, the British planned Operation Unthinkable to attack the Soviet Union with the remnants of the Nazi army. That plan was abandoned after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The British and Americans instead planned to completely destroy the Soviet Union by dropping 300 nuclear bombs in addition to 20,000 tons of conventional bombs on 200 targets in 100 urban areas, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. Before the carrier systems for these bombs could be developed, German born nuclear physicist Klaus Fuchs had leaked the plans for the atom bomb to the Soviets and Stalin detonated the first Soviet nuclear bomb in 1949.
This article highlights the grim reality that we are heading towards nuclear war.
Failure to act will make such an outcome inevitable.
But there is something we all can do to prevent this unfolding global catastrophe:
Norman Solomon, who sometimes writes for this website, has an article:
“Tell Congress and White House Not to Start WWIII” which appears on his RootsAction website.
It calls for a negotiated settlement to end the war in the Ukraine. This will remove one of the triggers for nuclear war and then we can start working to secure the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Please act now to avoid nuclear catastrophe.
Good data but feels a bit like i hate the USA. Who attacked Pearl Harbor? Who murdered countless Chinese? Im sorry but each country has enough evil to be condemned. I grieve for my grandchildren. War is hell. WMD is not limited to nukes. Chemicals too, and the US is not alone. Man is bent on destroying himself and its not limited to and single race or nation. Life is not sacred. As a result taking it is as easy as pulling a trigger, pushing a button, injecting a fluid, giving an order. God help us.
So Pearl Harbor and/or the attacks on the Chinese justify the slaughter of 250,000 Japanese civilians (not to mention the rape of the environment which continues to this day)? An eye for an eye?
You miss the point. Read some, look at Japan’s history. Then re read how i ended my post.
Mr Pilger details the unspeakable evil of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but omits the incredible stupidity. The Chicago Pile of 60 tonnes of uranium that started a chain reaction in 1942 was public knowledge. Also that it was very expensive and no one knew if it would work. Hiroshima gave the USSR all they needed to know how to build a bomb?and the USSR had the bomb in 1949. France and the PRC followed soon after. The US are convinced they are now destroying Russia and must also destroy the PRC before 2025, while the PRC are still too backward to effectively fight the US. US stupidity knows no bounds.
If it is true that an official delegation of the Japanese government was in Canada during July of 1945 seeking to surrender, but were denied entrance to America by the United States government. If it is true that knowledge of their presence and purpose was transmitted and received by Washington two weeks before the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then it must be true that those who ordered those bombings did so with knowledge aforethought, thereby making them guilty of pre-meditated murder.
Furthermore, if it is true the bomb crosshairs of the Enola Gay were ordered placed over a Christian Cathedral in Hiroshima, the atomic bombing becomes both a racial and religious atrocity. Japan had a large Christian community in 1945.
Japan was defeated… they knew it and we knew it. But a blood sacrifice was required.
Can you say, Golem?
America needs a Party that embraces China, Russia and Iran to lead the world into a co-operative collective that can deal with our mutual problems of a global climate crisis, nuclear weapons and world hunger just to mention a few.
America needs a Party that embraces and celebrates journalists like Julian Assange or whistleblowers like Daniel Hale, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and other who expose crimes committed against their citizens by over reaching, corporate corrupt public institutions rather than persecuting and jailing them.
America needs a Party that guarantees universal and free healthcare to all of its citizens instead of allowing millions of Americans each year to go bankrupt simply because they got sick.
America needs a Party that demands peace instead of war, that implements a “decrease” in the military budget offset by a budget to “increase” social programs, end homelessness and promote a transition to a sustainable economy.
America needs a Party that removes a racist and corrupt voting system that encourages our two corporate funded Party that snubs its nose at the 99%.
America needs a press that does not rely on funding from the architects of American hegemony, but rather rejects sponsorship from the very institutions that have promoted perpetual war for generations.
The failure of Americans to form and support such a Party, only accelerates our chances of another nuclear bomb(s) to be detonated in the name of “peace”.
They are all clones that will forever dance to the beat of the military and it’s foreign policy.
Another brilliant and factual article by the Great John Pilger! My hat off to you, sir!
I’ll contribute two comments to your narrative, John.
First one: Over a half century ago, family members of mine (all deceased) knew and cherished the friendship of Brigadier General Herbert C. Holdridge, a West Point graduate who worked in Planning in Washington, D.C. during World War Two. In 1944, according to what I was told, Holdridge saw one or two communiques from Japan, through neutral intermediaries, that they knew the war was “lost” and were willing to surrender under honorable conditions and asking for the Emperor (Hirohito) remain in place, as a figurehead, similar to the Queen of England. The general was elated, and basically was told to keep quiet, “as we were out of the Great Depression, everybody was working, and we had to keep the war going for one more year.” When his response was, “What about the people being killed and maimed?” he was reprimanded, and eventually resigned his commission in disgust, the only general officer (which includes Navy admirals) to resign during WWII.
Second Item: In late 1975, or maybe early 1976, Norman Cousins, the Editor of the defunct ‘Saturday Review’ magazine, had a bombshell of an article on ‘Why Harry S. Truman dropped the A-Bomb’ and, contrary to the false statements about it “saving a million lives if we attacked mainland Japan” it was to show the Soviets we have this new weapon of mass destruction, and won’t split Japan with them as we did, once the Third Reich was defeated. Truman, not a very bright man, listened to his advisors and the rest is history.
I curse myself to this day for not saving that article in order to show people the real reason, and spent much time on the internet trying to find the article, and had no luck. I offered several librarians a hundred dollars if they could find it but they couldn’t find it. There is some light coming out of the tunnel, as the internet research showed many Army and Marine Corp generals and Navy admirals, testifying before Congress, in 1946, if I remember correctly, that “there was no need to nuke Japan, as they couldn’t stop our bombing attacks of their major cities, plus we blocked their oil supplies from Southeast Asia to fuel the nation and the war machine.” Words to that effect.
The United States thrives on war, as long as it’s somewhere else, and of course justify committing war crimes and crimes against humanity because we’re the “perpetual good guys.” Really?
Nuclear deterrence encouraged American and other nuclear powers’ aggression against non-nuclear nations. Now for the first time, we are at the edge of a nuclear power confrontation of nuclear powers.
Evil is evil, there is no moral difference between Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Hitler’s concentration camps. President Truman and his people were as evil as Hitler. Hitler has lots of company, it is time to admit it.
Right on. Man is broken
It’s always worse than you think it is, or thought it was, or fear it is, or feared it was.
Astonishing is the efficiency with which governments brainwash their peoples. Why aren’t all the facts told by Pilger here common knowledge among citizens, rather than the fact that government’s lies and propaganda are consumed with mothers’ milk?
Thank you, John Pilger, for always being an informative voice of reason in this insane world. I wish your voice could break through to the mainstream, but they won’t touch your truth, hence the deep shit we’re in. I’ve lost hope that America will ever give up its privileged status until it’s bombed away from it. The bully in the global sandbox is as ignorant and arrogant as it gets, and as you say, may be the cause of the of the total annihilation of it.
The world is hurtling toward nuclear conflagration. Our fate is certain unless humanity accepts the motive for war is power. But power is an illusion. Every empire eventually collapses, and everyone eventually faces the war they are trying to avoid – even nuclear Armageddon – unless this truth is accepted.
A free ebook: The Pattern Of History and Fate of Humanity
Thanks John as a Aussie always been proud of you.That famous Australian saying ” A fair go mate ” epitomizes your work.l was born in 1947 and like many have lived under the shadow of the mushroom my entire life.
The apocalypse of Hiroshima & Nagasaki has hung over the world all these years like a harbinger of the Apocalypse.
When will these satanic agents of evil inflict “the final solution” to the human journey ? Planet of the Apes type scenario as human life imitates Art in a final act written by Dr Strangelove.
Maybe this was always our destiny since we ate apon the tree of knowledge.Our primordial instincts never allowed us to move away from our urge to kill and destroy.
Still l feel shame and sorrow that the first nation to release this horror has not learnt a thing as moves very close to causing a worldextinction moment.
I have just watched ,The Coming War On China [John Pilger].
Nearing the end of my life and just discovering how corrupt and evil the US has been, I can only be grateful that I will not die in total ignorance of the abhorrence that we have brought to the world.
And am very grateful to the John Pilger’s of this world.
“There are instruments so dangerous to the rights of the nation, and which place them so totally at the mercy of their governors, that those governors, whether legislative or executive, should be restrained from keeping such instruments on foot, but in well-defined cases. Such an instrument is a standing army.” — Thomas Jefferson, 1789, letter to David Humphreys
When the revolutionaries who had fought and seen other die for the liberty of this nation, one of the things they feared as a threat to the continuance of that liberty was the military, known at that time as a ‘standing army’. This was not unique to Mister Jefferson, as here is James Madison, aka Dolly’s husband, and future President.
“The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” -James Madison, speech to Constitutional Convention, 1787
I have a problem with the headline. The headline assumes that there will only be one more. Another Hiroshima. I find that to be highly unlikely. The odds of this stopping with only one massive crime against humanity are not good. Not with the Americans.
We know this from the history of the Terror Wars. The Americans did not just have one war they wanted to fight, they had a whole list of five or more. The same with nuclear attrocities. The Americans have been threatening to nuke every enemy for decades now. It is now rather standard rhetoric among the American people to talk of ‘nuking’ some pesky city. So, the chances of the Americans only nuking one more city seems very low.
Besides, they didn’t stop at one the last time either.
Agreed. I can’t help wondering also about the two types of bombs either, as if it was simply an experiment. “Little Boy’, and ‘Fat Man’ were different designs, but both created to kill as many civilians as possible. They were not used on military targets, and just like the fire bombing of Dresden they were all war crimes, although one would not know that since the US is so sanctimonious about other countries doing far less than the US has done to this world.
Daniel Ellsberg made the point in his book ‘The Doomsday Machine’ that the purpose of the bombs was intentioned to make a ‘statement’ to the USSR at the time, and China as well. The power players don’t care about humanity, they seem to care only about power and strength, but we knew that. Since Ellsberg wrote the US nuclear position after he graduated Harvard I think he should be listened to as well as Mr Pilger (although he has done very important work). Obviously I’m paraphrasing Ellsberg and hope my reading of his book wasn’t off the mark.
P.S. There are some articles saying Einstein had written to ‘the powers that be’ that if the purpose was to make a statement to Russia and China, it would be just as effective to drop them off shore in the water and not kill all those people. This was long after his ‘39 letter to Roosevelt re the possibility of nuclear bombs and the mineral uranium, and before the bombs were dropped. Obviously, any discussion to that effect was ignored.
Someone here may be able to confirm or deny that story.
Thank you John, that is a powerful and absolutely terrifying essay on the unspeakably evil attempts by people in our government to promote nuclear war. And it’s working! We are putting more and more money into our military when we should be decreasing it by millions.
I was twelve when Truman dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and then on Nagasaki. As young as I was I was horrified by the photos and could not understand why we did that – especially the second one. I never believed the reports that said that Japan would not surrender without this “demonstration” and that we saved many lives by doing that. None of that made any sense to a twelve year old who had followed the news of war for 6 years as my parents and their friends had.
I am truly distressed at the perfidy of our President Obama who lied about his intentions, as has Biden along with so many others in older administrations right up to the present. I have no confidence that either political party in the US or in Europe or sadly in Australia or Canada will stop the madness, and I feel dread for my grandchildren and all the rest of the grandchildren all over this planet whose futures appear to be so grim and so short. I hope many people read this essay and/ or view your film and maybe some miracle will occur that will open the eyes of the public and they will demand (not just hope) for some intelligence in their leaders. We need to stop the militarism!
And John, you like Julian Assange are voices of prophetic
wisdom, that we Americans have ceased to listen to:
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then
the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and elements
will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works
that are upon it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3.10).
Hard to avoid a literalism here as a hydrogen bomb
does “dissolve the elements.
Obviously you have a couple of screws loose up top pal.
We now know from Japanese historians that the only demand Japan had was to keep their Emperor. We also know the head of the Japanese Navy and the Emperor joined the illegal peace movement and began negotiating with Stalin’s people for a surrender. Stalin however, did not tell his allies this, as he was waiting for war with Germany to end so he could seize Japanese islands. Two weeks before Hiroshima, he told Klansman, segregationist and anti-semite Truman, as even Stalin was disturbed by the use of the atomic bombs. Truman made a racist joke.
Nagasaki happened because not all the cameras were working at Hiroshima.
Major Charles Sweeney noticed a slight ongoing fuel leak on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bockscar. He could not call off the mission as time was of the essence.
He had to drop the Fat Man on Kokura because most of the cameras had failed at Hiroshima. Truman had been told 2 weeks earlier from Stalin that the Emperor was trying to surrender, though Stalin didn’t tell Truman he had actually been trying to surrender for a year. A t any moment Japan might surrender and ruin our chance to get footage of the blast.
Truman knew he had to justify the incredible cost of out atomic program and wanted a clean image he could use. We actually did have footage of a test done two weeks before, but that footage was too sterile. Film of Japan being hit was to be used to silence those who questioned the program.
Of all the wars that Democrats had begun or inherited in the 20th Century, the war in the Pacific was the only one it ever won.
Major Sweeney had to understand that with a fuel leak he might not come back. No matter, two planes were meeting him to film and record the blast.
The plane reached Kokura but the city was obscured by clouds and smoke, as the nearby city of Yawata had been firebombed on the previous day.
Everything had happened so fast missions couldn’t be called off. It was impossible to film Kokura.
Bockscar arrived over Nagasaki but the other two planes were lost in the smoke from Yawata. He flew round and round for a half hour using up precious fuel when one of the planes arrived and luckily had both cameras and measuring instruments onboard. The plane found an opening in the clouds and dropped the bomb.
A firebombing of the cities hospital a few weeks earlier had convinced the townspeople to move the children out of the city. 80,000 people were vaporized within seconds.
A lot of kids became orphans immediately. Tens of thousands more would die of radiative effects over the days and years. Now I know what you’re thinking. Did we get the film?
YES! The greatest military success the Democrats ever had in the 20th Century was preserved on film. Sweeney’s plane made it back as well.
Oddly, the film is rarely shown ( usually the test footage is shown) and Hiroshima takes center stage in news accounts.
Also oddly, the record for number of people killed to make a movie has never been acknowledged. By the way, after Nagasaki Truman said Japan could keep their Emperor. That is a condition. The myth it was an unconditional surrender is just Democratic Party propaganda.
The US needs to experience a war on its own territory – to see and feel what war is all about, to see and feel what the US has been inflicting on other (always smaller) nations for decades and decades. I don’t favour any war, but if this is what it takes to get the US to finally come to it’s senses…then so be it.
You’re most likely correct, sadly….nothing else seems to work
In John’s own words..:
“… In Shanghai, I met Lijia Zhang, a Beijing journalist and novelist, typical of a new class of outspoken mavericks. Her best-selling book has the ironic title Socialism Is Great! Having grown up in the chaotic, brutal Cultural Revolution, she has travelled and lived in the U.S. and Europe. “Many Americans imagine,” she said, “that Chinese people live a miserable, repressed life with no freedom whatsoever. The [idea of] the yellow peril has never left them… They have no idea there are some 500 million people being lifted out of poverty, and some would say it’s 600 million.” …”
You are exactly right… The conversations of common maintenance are woefully nonexistant. … Even, just for a weekly town hall meeting where the local representatives truly listen to their “bosses”…
The NATO expansion has recently also included 4 Asian countries, S. Korea, Japan, Singapore, etc.. … But, it would appear that the real threat for the masters of the planet is definitely, China.
… This is very sad testarone statement of the state of the affairs.
The kids need desparately need to wake up, because you can’t stop whats coming “without a lot of particapation”. … Remember Earth Day in 1970…
Thank You So Much Every One.
… You Are Truly Very Special, Indeed!
No other nation in the history of civilization comes close to the monstrous United States of America. But here’s the question which must be asked given global and its effects on climate change (and it’s an extremely horrible one to even contemplate): “Would it not be better (again, horrible beyond belief) to go out in a massive nuclear exchange than the slow painful, in the billions, deaths by thirst, heat related deaths, weather related deaths and of course, mass starvation? I just finished reading Vasily Grossman’s ‘Everything Flows’ wherein he devotes an entire chapter in haunting detail, of the mass starvation of the Ukrainian peasants (in the millions) under Stalin in the Soviet Union: unimaginable! I wish there were a better way to put it, but there isn’t. And leading the way in all of this is the “exceptional” United States of America and its military might leading the way to a better if not “brighter” tomorrow: God Bless Us Everyone!
“Unless We Stop It Now”
But HOW do we stop it? That’s the question. We are impotent against these warmongering entities. We are not given a choice.
Thank you for acknowledging August 6. It has haunted and revolted me all my life. Perhaps it is the push-button ease with which the unspeakable genocide was committed that makes it disgusting. I don’t know. War is vile. Igniting atomic explosions over anyone or anything, trees, people, puppies, parakeets, anything, is all revolting. The big size of the weapon doesn’t make it one bit less cowardly.
Thank you for republishing this excellent and altogether terrifying piece by the great John Pilger.
Basically, the military is an evil institution. The fact that there are even people who contemplate having and potentially using nuclear weapons has to be treated as a premeditated war crime. These people are psychopaths. I grew up in the fifties learning to duck and cover, became active in various anti-nuke movements, but am now terribly fearful of our complacency in regards to the threat of total annihilation. During the seventies and eighties, plenty of information was available concerning just how terrible a nuclear exchange would be, but now the government carries on a monologue. There is no dialogue. Only the creation of fear of the other (pick your enemy). Over a million people demonstrated against nukes in NYC in 1982. Now there is no counterforce. We’re in deep denial.
Your post lacks the sufficient relation to reality that is necessary in an opinion that it be meaningful. It is valid as preaching about a false god of violence-free humanity you infer exists, but for which you offer zero evidence. You can’t offer evidence because like all gods yours does not exist. On the contrary some thousands of years of deep thought and careful analysis by the greatest thinkers speaks to the hard reality of the exact opposite of what you infer about fundamental human problems.
Thomas Hobbes put it smartly re the state of nature which gives rise to our current highly-militarized circumstance, including the ownership of nuclear weapons:”Bellum omnium contra omnes” – “The war of all against all.” The alternative to the ownership of violence by the state is mayhem by the individual upon other individual.
You speak as though this clear fact of homo sapien existence were never stated, that the problem of society were never contemplated before your complaint was posted here, that Sensitive Dude can invoke a few feelings and override thousands of years of experiential learning. You may be well sincere, but you insult the history of human thought in your simplicity. Human on human violence is a rock in every hand picked up on the way to inevitable confrontation, is unstoppable, and is undeniable. This is why the military exists – humans are animals.
Therefore to say the military is evil is to say nothing other than humans are evil and we are back to Hobbes. As such a military is still and always will be a necessary part of a civil society. The military has to be dealt with, not denied as evil. I absolutely agree that we could do without 90% of nuclear weapons, but we cannot do without them completely, in the face of the fact that they exist. The genie is out of the bottle. They are the rock in the hand that counteracts the opposing rock in the hand. For the record, for all the fright they induce in people like yourself, they’ve worked.
You should learn to be as concise and clear as the commenter you are addressing.
Your thought pattern clearly demonstrates a prime flaw of our species as it devolves. Our violence, the stone in hand, as you describe it, was initially used as a means of hunting and of self-protection. The protection was needed against attacks by other species, wolves lions, bears, etc. It then became protection against theft of property, whether a woman or child, or after the advent of agriculture. All animals do it is a common excuse for all sorts of superficial nonsense. But our big brain allowed us to go beyond other species from defense to acquisition whether by threat, as you recognize, or use, as John Pilger deplores.
That rock evolved into swords and arrows, spears and lances – until the 14th C when the Portuguese created an effective rifle, from there artillery and finally the atomic bomb. I was a teenager at Hiroshima time and the discussion was instant and heated. Our politicians have convinced the general public that nuclear weaponry is why we have peace. It’s called equivalency, but here’s where we run up against our flaw.
All animals do compete – with other species and intraspecifically. However, no other species has organized the killing of its own members en masse. And no other species has a communication system that incorporates systemic lies by their leadership. We call this latter propaganda and its use is for competitive purposes.
The time that this atomic rock in hand has worked is long for you, perhaps or almost surely, but consider this little tidbit that was swallowed almost instantly by the media: Those in charge of our mass killings at the Pentagon and in the so-called Administration of the current incompetency were thrown into a panic last Monday (or at least when there was a quickly suppressed leak.) The Chinese admitted that they had successfully circumnavigated the world with a nuclear bomb loaded 5G missile. That means that all of our anti-this-or-that stone defense is useless against a weapon that moves at 6 times the speed of sound. No doubt they overflew America, undetected! So our Generals will scurry around to get some contractor to work on a comparable stone.
And, yet, the corrupt and incompetent leaders, elected appointed or employed, civilian, military or intelligence are blindly convinced, as you seem to be, that we’re the biggest, best, strongest, etc. Therefore we must find a bigger rock that will kill more people to prove that, us included. Now if you don’t find the flaw in that paint by numbers picture, Sir, you, like most mentally numbed Americans (and others) are proof of human intellectual disintegration or failed development – which has many causes.
There is a stone marked Peace, but we, like most devolving groups have never thought to pick it up – which will end the species in short order.
I think that the article is relevant because it is a valid opinion by a respected journalist who knows more about this subject than most. As such it is meaningful to those of us that respect that opinion and who share his concerns. Reading it bring me back down to earth, to the inescapable reality of the threat.
None of what you say reduces the risk or likelihood of those weapons being used in the near future. Yes, the mutually assured destruction deterrent has worked – so far, but there are military strategists providing Washington with assessments that nuclear war can be survivable under ‘certain’ circumstances, and that smaller tactical strikes might be viable.
This is the notion of ‘limited’ nuclear warfare, as if such a thing is really possible. In the event of a nuclear attack, would you, if it were your responsibility, and you only had a few minutes in which to make a decision, be calm and rational enough to ‘limit’ your nuclear response? To resist escalation? No, probably not. Few could do such a thing.
This relatively new belief that nuclear war is now viable, to some extent, has to be a result of complacency, as much as any other thinking. As such, it is very dangerous thinking. And we must remember this – there will likely be only one chance to get it wrong. Not right, because getting it right is to never use the weapons, but to use them once (more) is to get it wrong – and that could be devastating for the whole planet. Nobody wants that.
“they’ve worked.” I don’t think so, particularly if you measure their success in lives lost/saved ! They have had no impact on reducing wars since WW2, from Palestine through Vietnam, Korea to Iraq and beyond.
MAD still applies – even the nutters understand this.
The west spends a fortune on a deterrence that will never be used, think if that money was spent on peace and cooperation between nations.
How have they “worked?”
If American “scientists” [I am at a loss to describe the kind of pe0ple dedicated to the perfection of mass murder, I use “scientists” here basically because they were testing the hypothetical effects that their research efforts had yielded in the form of the hydrogen bomb; as actual scientists they were clearly guilty of crimes against humanity every bit as much as Dr. Mengele was in his “research labs” in the Third Reich] ever deliberately exposed so many American citizens to certain pain, suffering, and death, they would have been convicted (at least in theory) of breaking so many laws in the areas of ethics, liability, and personal injury that their careers would be over and their finances destroyed for the rest of their natural lives. Even accidental harm to others, let alone deliberate predictable damage is punished most severely now. Huge class action lawsuits have yielded spectacular monetary judgements, if not well-deserved jail time for the perpetrators.
So, these Pacific Islanders were not Americans. So what? They were innocents, not our enemies. Ergo, our miscreants posing as scientists couldn’t even claim that as a legal fig leaf for their heinous actions as we did in Japan. That this was permitted is totally mind-boggling, especially in light of current sensibilities. Highly intelligent Nobel laureates like Richard Feynman and all of his colleagues never apologised, even in retrospect, for their roles in developing these weapons, instead they posed as heroes in their published biographies. Only Linus Pauling stridently opposed “the bomb” before the public. Oppenheimer did quietly but was basically “excommunicated” from the scientific priesthood as a consequence. Edward Teller, “father” of the hydrogen bomb was quite prideful and jingoistic about America’s embrace of nuclear weapons, including the way they were developed, tested and deployed against fellow human beings.
We all know there was actual, consequential racism back in the day… but one that gave a license to kill just because the perpetrators were Americans and the virtual lab rats were innocent, harmless Polynesians? Yeah, we had wiped out most of the indigenous Americans and enslaved black Africans, but that was confined to earlier centuries and justified as part of our “manifest destiny” blessed by our creator! Had we not progressed by 1945 and become enlightened about the universal rights of human beings espoused in our Declaration of Independence? It’s totally mind-blowing that all this would be permitted, especially right after the almost sacred crusade we waged as a civilisation against the Nazi atrocities of Hitler.
However, in actual fact, we have never really stopped treating other countries and their peoples as far less than human beings, with all of the criminal weapons we routinely deploy in all of the warfare that we deliberately, continuously instigate, like, oh, the white phosphorous described in the previous article, the depleted uranium used in armor penetrating projectiles, the high-flying stealthy drones and their ingenious new warheads that silently shred a victim rather than merely blowing him (and all around him) to smithereens, the “shock and awe” leveling of entire cities, burning people alive with napalm, poisoning them with chemicals (whilst blaming the enemy in false flags), and, utilising the genius of molecular biology and genetic engineering, creating vastly contagious and virulent bioweapons, the latest of which may have well killed in excess of 15 million innocent victims around the globe, including a million unwitting Americans who are, apparently, perfectly acceptable collateral damage which the federal government has undoubtedly immunized itself against being sued for in either criminal or civil courts. That’s ironic, is it not? The feds can immunize themselves against legal liability for their medical malpractice against the populace, but not the populace from the lethal effects of their Frankenstein creation, which just “accidentally” escaped from one of the many foreign biolabs contracted by our intel agencies. Lord Biden’s predicament if not so poignant would be almost funny: Double immunised, double boosted and still twice infected with a virus he can’t seem to shake.
And our “leadership” continually keeps egging this on and on and on. Ask yourself (hard to think about) “are we safer under a Joe Biden or Barrack Obama, or a Bill Clinton than a Donald Trump?” HARDLY!
Obama, Biden, Hillary, Nancy Pelosi, and probably Bush dynasty said that the Orange Man who is BAD would kill us all. Paul Krugman and Ari Fleischer said so too. Probably Mitch Mr. Turtle McConnell as well. Oh yes, his preference for concentrating on domestic matters was just awful, they thought. Isolationist! He was the first GOP president (in who knows how long) to meet regularly with the head of the AFL-CIO. I doubt Obama did.
Now we are waging proxy war with Russia while Nancy is doing the equivalent of poking the bear in China. The leaders of both North AND South Korea refused to meet with her. (The North guy was probably not invited to but the South guy deliberately chose not to, despite her presence there.)
You’ll never hear anyone in Congress, be they Democrat or GOP, say, “Hmm, maybe it was better to endure some rough edges but not fear nuclear war due to vanity, insularity from the electorate, hubris, and terrible policymaking, both foreign and domestic.” Nope, you won’t EVER hear that.
We’re not safe under any of the war criminals you mention. And yes, Trump was as big a war criminal as the rest of them. He bombed the crap out of innocent people during his entire presidency. His, “We’re the best, F the rest,” mentality is as crazy as it gets.
It’s worse than that … Yes, the west appears to consider most foreigners as little more than animals. However, there is evidence that the military/scientists have also used their own citizens as Guinee pigs in testing weapons abroad and at home.
In the UK, Porton Down released chemical/biological agents into the London Underground as well as spraying agents onto the population from the 1950s to the 1970s (and maybe in 2018). And, similarly in the USA.
The exceptionalists see everyone apart from themselves as expendable – and they have the nuclear bunkers.
We are still operating under the church edict of “Doctrine of Discovery”.
China isn’t perfect, but who is? That they have been able to maintain in a country of over a billion is an accomplishment in itself. And they didn’t need to invade anyone, nor install military bases all over the world to do it. There is no question that our so-called leaders here in the west are out of their minds and seem to want to provoke WW3. Goodness forbid these world-leaders learn how to cooperate and respect each other, and that the average citizen do likewise. Nationalism, jingoism, tribalism, it’s all out-dated and bringing us faster to the End.
Marketing and lies concerning the most deadly, life-denying technology on the planet; human beings playing with utter destruction like children playing with a cocked and loaded gun. There are, of course, other nefarious entities that embrace this ultimate nihilism, but once again, and once again to our shame, it is the US that is far ahead of anyone and leading the way to the extinction of our species on this planet.
“Even more than my experience as a war correspondent, this has taught me about the ruthlessness and immorality of great power: that is, imperial power, whose cynicism is the true enemy of humanity” [John Pilger]. Exactly, if thought is cancerous, it has now metastasized in the US.