August 6 and 9 are the 64th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, perhaps the greatest single acts of terrorism committed in human history.
Here are some links worth reading.
On a recent show, Jon Stewart said that he thought Harry Truman should have been tried as a war criminal for authorizing dropping nuclear bombs on the civilian population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He backed it up with some justification as to why the acts were just plain wrong. I cheered when I heard it because it’s very rarely that I hear Americans recognize the fact that the bombings were completely unjustified and a war crime of huge proportions. Even my American friends who are pro-justice and anti-war find it extremely hard to say “Yes, the bombings were wrong”. They justify it anyway they can.
Then, on last night’s show, he started by apologizing, saying he was wrong, and completely backing down!
You have to wonder what happened behind the scenes? I totally don’t believe his whole “Oh I knew it was wrong when I said it” shtick. The powers-that-be obviously came down on him HARD. But which powers? The Comedy Central powers? MTV? Viacom? And why? It’s not like Stewart doesn’t say lots of things that the elite don’t like on a nightly basis. Why this one statement?
If anyone can help me understand it, I’d appreciate it. Here’s Stewart talking about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
Here’s the segment where he backs down:
OMFG. Last night I did a live show with my most-excellent co-host Mr Nick Hodge and WE TALKED FOR FOUR HOURS. I kid you not. I only recorded the first THREE HOURS and I present them to you here (well the audio version anyway – to see the video you have to turn up on the night). Oh and this audio recording only has two of the five live numbers I performed during the show. One was in the pre-show festivities (“Come On Eileen”) and there were a couple during the post-show wind-down (including “Ship Song”by Nick Cave).
During this four hour marathon, Nick and I discussed:
Australia’s National Broadband Network
America’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Whether or not Nick is an atheist or an agnostic
The financial crisis scam and what we might replace capitalism with
The ethics of veganism
The Church of LOTU
The historicity of Jesus (or lack thereof)
And much, much more.
Listen to the full three hours – if you dare.
Tune in to future live shows every Tuesday night at 8pm here.
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John Pilger has written a terrific article to commemorate the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (6 August, 1945).
I was talking about Hiroshima with American friends while in France. They gave me the usual answer “it was horrible but it stopped the war and saved lives”. These friends are Democrats – anti-war, anti-American Imperialism. And yet they still believe that old line about it saving lives. I asked them why America couldn’t have just shown the Japanese video footage of the bombs being dropped in the desert and used it as a threat. They replied that the Japanese were too arrogant and wouldn’t have stopped their war for anything. This is what even the good Americans want to believe. They have bought the propaganda.
To this, Pilger writes:
The most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and 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 and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”
The National Archives in Washington contain US government documents that chart 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 US dispels any doubt that the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including “capitulation even if the terms were hard”. Instead, the US secretary of war, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was “fearful” that the US air force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. He later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb”. His foreign policy colleagues were eager “to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip”. General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the 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 Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.
Today I talk about what I’ve learned recently from the following books:
- Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (2003)
- The Rise And Fall Of The Great Powers by Paul Kennedy (1988)
- Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky (2002)
I also talk about
- an alternative to Hiroshima
- the Roadrunner supercomputer
- why a high IQ is linked to atheism
- my ideas for an Australian version of TED
- the future of media
- why science needs a celebrity makeover
“Secrets of Life” (mp3)
from “End of Days”
(Dark Star Records)
More On This Album
“If You Want To, You Have To” (mp3)
from “Wolves and Wishes”
More On This Album
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