The shame of Hiroshima

Tomorrow, Aug. 6, will be the 66th anniversary of the day the United States dropped an Atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a shameful day.

The cost? The killing of an estimated 80,000 people with another 100,000 or more dying from radiation exposure in the years that followed.

Some justify the bombing, which separates our nation from all others, by arguing “the show of force” saved American lives by causing the Japanese to surrender.

I ask why that “show of force” could not have been off the coast of Japan, in public sight, but away from civilian population?

And why the inexplicable Nagasaki bombing three days later?

This second atomic bomb explosion speaks clearly to U.S. hubris and arrogance. Some 40,000 died in Nagasaki, in a flash and tens of thousands more perished in the years that followed.

As I write NCR Correspondent Joshua McElwee is in Hiroshima. He is there as a reporter but he cannot help but also be a witness to a still unfolding history, one that has forever wedding the Japanese and American peoples. You will read his reports on this Web site in coming days.

I visited Hiroshima twice, both quite moving events. Once I spent several days with an atomic bomb survivor who happened to be standing behind a wall within 300 meters of the blast site. He lived while people on both sides of him, as he recounted, simply melted away.

I experienced no Japanese hostility in Hiroshima. What I did find was forgiveness and reconciliation. I have never forgotten the grace and hospitality I found in Japan, most strikingly in Hiroshima.


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