Sunday, August 21, 2011

Face to Face with its Own Implications

Nagasaki - Atomic Bomb Damage
It was, biologist Jacob Bronowski later eloquently wrote, "a universal moment . . . civilization face to face with its own implications."  Nothing happened in 1945, he wrote, "except that we changed the scale of our indifference to man." I read these words tonight in a Nation magazine essay called "The Last Great Untold Story of World War II". I commend it to your attention. Its main point is that the first so-called "atomic soldiers" were the occupation troops who moved into Hiroshima and Nagasaki within a few weeks of the bombings. And later developed all sorts of physical ailments from being exposed to atomic radiation in these places. Rashes and sores, and years later thyroid problems, leukemia, and other cancers associated with atomic radiation.

Neither these soldiers nor the thousands of others exposed to radiation in subsequent atomic bomb tests in Nevada and the Pacific who developed similar ailments were ever compensated for their sufferings by the U.S. government. Despite what must be considered overwhelming evidence, the government contended that radiation from the bombs dissipated quickly and that science had not yet proved conclusively that radiation poisoning and cancer were connected. "A 1980 Defense Nuclear Agency report concluded, “Medical science believes multiple myeloma has a borderline relationship with exposure to ionizing radiation. That is, there are some indications that exposure to radiation may increase the risk of this disease, but science cannot yet be sure.”

I asked Susan today whether she thought about what bad shape the world was in. She just gives that to God, she said. There was nothing she could do about it, so she did not worry about it. I wish I could do that. I do worry about the state of the world. And I don't put any faith in this country doing anything to improve it. I don't have to go any further than Nagasaki to realize that Americans have not changed since 1945. Indeed, our indifference to man has increased exponentially since then. That bomb on Nagasaki shows us all we really need to know about who Americans are.
Post a Comment