Hiroshima and the First Use of a Nuclear Weapon August 6, 2005
I will address this in a future entry, but for now consider Thinking about the Unthinkable. This classic exploration of nuclear war by Herman Kahn was first published in the early Cold War era; it was re-issued in 1985 when the prospect of nuclear war with the Soviet Union was still a distinct possibility. (Books entitled "World War III" could still be found in bookstalls.) Now we face possible nuclear war with China, which recently threatened to use nukes if the U.S. intervened in a China-Taiwan conflict, or with North Korea.
It's sobering to consider, but what would you do if you were a policy-maker in "nuclear-ready" countries such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan if you read China's blustery threats of killing millions with nuclear weapons? I know what I would do--secretly develop my own nuclear arsenal as fast as possible. The nuclear genie seems to have irrevocably escaped the bottle 60 years after its first use.
For this we can thank Nazi Germany, whose pursuit of fission weapons drove the U.S. to undertake the Manhattan Project. Once the U.S. had mastered the technology, the Soviets stole the recipe via spies. Now the world finds Pakistan openly selling the secrets and technologies to any and all bidders. That's a forbidding development to ponder on August 6th.
I will leave you with one final thought. An elderly friend of ours who is Japanese was "drafted" in 1943--along with all the other 8th graders--to toil in munitions factories buried deep in mountainsides around Japan. As a resident of Kyoto, she was shipped to Maizumi, on the Japan Sea (western side of Honshu). She recalls seeing the glow in the sky as the great city of Osaka-some four hours away by train--burned to the ground as a result of conventional bombs dropped from American B-29s. To witness the destruction of a vast city from such a distance is horrendous evidence that conventional bombing was also terribly effective.
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copyright © 2005 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.
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