Zero Plus 328
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York
City, August 6--The pilot of the plane revs the engines, climbing to
30,800 feet. It is the final bombing run. The target is in
sight. The twelve crew members tense, readying themselves to make
history. At seventeen seconds past 8:15a.m., Enola Gay's bomb bay
doors open and release a 10-foot, six-inch, 9,700 pound bomb nicknamed
"Little Boy." It falls to 1,800 where a barometric pressure trigger
ignites it, instantly killing 70,000 men, women and children, and injuring
an equal amount. Over the next five years, the death toll from
Little Boy reaches 200,000 as people die from its aftereffects.
Ironically, the code name for the operation
was Special Bombing Mission 13--an unlucky day for the Japanese at
Hiroshima 57 years ago, August 6, 1945. Three days later,
another B-29 releases a 10,800-pound, 10-foot 8-inch bomb nicknamed "Fat
Man" in honor of Winston Churchill, on the city of Nagasaki.
Immediately, 40,000 are killed and 60,000 injured. By 1950,
the death toll in Nagasaki rises to 140,000 as radiation poisoning
takes its toll on the exposed.
Most Americans would not consider the
dropping of the A-bombs as an act of Terrorism, but rather an Act of War.
The result was the surrender of the Japanese on August 15, 1945.
A land invasion of Japan, ready to be launched if the bombs didn't work,
is estimated to have cost up to 1,000,000 American lives, and vastly more
Japanese lives. In the great moral argument about the dropping of
the bomb, those who envisioned the bloodshed of an invasion,
called the bombing an "Act of Vigilance." Ultimately, it saved
lives at the expense of many. But to the Japanese civilians caught
in the holocaust, it was an Act of Terrorism.
In parallel, the Terrorist
bombings at the World Trade Center and Pentagon may have had the same
polarizing effect. Americans consider the attack one of
Terrorism, while many in the Middle East consider it an attack of
Vigilance--a signal to the West that if it launches assaults on the Middle
East, more Nine Elevens will occur.
No longer is America exempt from what the
Japanese know is possible--that its innocent civilians can become the
targets of destruction from lands across the sea
There is an argument that suggests
the Nine Eleven attack that killed 3,000 has saved lives, just as the
A-bomb ultimately may have saved millions of lives.
The counter-attacks launched on al Queda post September 11, may have
thwarted further attempts to wreak death and destruction on America.
No one can calculate how many lives might have been saved by the sacrifice
of the thousands who
died on the second Tuesday of September, 2001. No one knows how many
more attacks were planned, and how those attacks may have been stalled,
stopped or destroyed by America's retaliation.
But the War on Terrorism, according to the Japanese, should not
offer a carte blanche for America to escalate it.
The Japanese are the first to stand up and shout to the
world their fear that America may be launching a new Terrorism--the
use of nuclear weapons against Iraq. They fear that in
retaliation to America's assault, Saddam Hussein may launch
devastating nuclear and s biochemical war, ultimately affecting
In a ceremony today at Hiroshima,
45,000 gathered at Peace Memorial Park to remember the 57th
anniversary of America's use of nuclear weapons. The mayor of the city,
Tadatoshi Akiba, warned President Bush not to instigate a war that would
result in possible nuclear devastation.
He had a global audience.
He said that the
US Government was not the world's peacekeeper and that it did not have the
right to determine how countries governed themselves. "The US Government
has not been given the right to impose a 'Pax Americana' and to decide the
fate of the world" he added. "In this environment, only the weak become
victims, many of them women, children and the elderly." Japanese
Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, was also present at the ceremony,
Park in Hiroshima
Few understand the horror of nuclear
weapons as do the Japanese. They are the only nation on earth
to ever be attacked by them. The mayor urged President Bush to
visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima to see the effects of nuclear destruction
before he made any "rash decisions."
Despite pleas from other nations,
U.S. policy is targeting Iraq under the belief that if it doesn't stop
Saddam Hussein's building of "weapons of destruction," they will
prove a greater threat in the future. The decision is
not unlike that which herniated President Truman when he chose to use the
A-bomb over a land assault to end World War II. Truman's choice was the
number of casualties, not the fact there would be caualties.
Japan's Voice is anti-nuclear.
Its citizens know the victimization of the innocent if nuclear or
biochemical warfare is used. It has nearly 400,000
Sentinels of Vigilance--all those who died from the two bombings--helping
make their Voices be heard around the world.
America has 3,000 of them--the innocent who
died on September 11. The Japanese Voices outnumber ours more than
100 to 1.
I hear the Voices of the 400,000
Sentinels of Nuclear Vigilance in Japan.
I hear their screams.
I can see mothers kneeling over the
charred remains of their children, wailing mournfully, just as I see
Vietnamese mothers sobbing over their children, flashbacks from my days in
Vietnam when the innocent and the guilty became one, and bullets killed
with anonymous indiscrimination, just as nuclear bombs do.
I also see the mounting threat of a
Hitlarian personality in the Middle East, gathering about him all the most
horrible of weapons to strike Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into the
world. My guts tell me that a twist of fate, a moment of
twisted anger, a first-strike attitude, might trigger off a holocaust in
the Middle East, one that might ripple through Terrorist networks to major
cities where "dirty bombs" are released as Saddam elects to "go out in a
blaze of glory."
I have seen men trapped. Like any
beast, they charge. Instead of trying to survive, they elect
to take as many as possible with them when they die. They rampage
blindly, shooting, screaming, spilling as much blood as possible so that
their own will be less than those they take with them.
The insanity of such madness is virtually unstoppable once it begins.
The single person seeking to die permutates his self, becoming tenfold as
he ignores death in his final act of killing.
This is my greatest fear: trapping a madman; suffering the results
of his counter-attack. Such people become rabid, and try to destroy
everything in their way.
I don't think Saddam Hussein is so mad,
however, that he isn't smart. I believe he had put in place a
system of blackmail, cells within our country and others who may support
us, ready to launch deadly biochemical or nuclear devices as well as
conventional bombs, to be used to stave off any attempt to eliminate him.
His insurance policy for life is that if he is attacked or killed, his
fervent followers will release their "doomsday" bombs, taking out as many
as possible--and, as the Mayor of Hiroshima said, the innocent women,
children and elderly.
Warriors can never afford to see faces when they
kill--only bodies. They dehumanize their victims so they
don't haunt them later in life. That's why moral
considerations are defunct in battle. It's why in
Vietnam I was authorized in a "free fire zone" to kill anything that
moved, and taught not to see anything but body in my sights, never a face,
never a child, never a woman, never an elderly person. Just bodies,
cold, soon-to-be-lifeless bodies. To
humanize the target meant to hesitate, and to hesitate meant the enemy had
A cataract from
an Hiroshima radiation victim
Such is the dilemma
of trying to conduct a "moral war." There is no such thing.
This is an oxymoron at best, faddic communions to try and appease the public who
becomes horrified at the idea of innocents being killed.
But the Mayor of Hiroshima lacked one vital
fact in his speech. He didn't offer an alternative. He
didn't suggest a solution to the Terrorism, and the mounting threat of
Iraq as the next Berlin where Adolph Hussein was mustering his V-rocket
and designing jet planes, and beginning work on an atomic bomb--with the
clear intent of conquering all--Deutschland Uber Alles, Iraq Uber Alles.
I would have loved to hear Japan invoke the
Pledge Of Vigilance as a solution. While it may not be the
immediate one, it certainly is for the long range of human evolution.
We often forget that
the 1939 Time Magazine once heralded Adolph Hitler as its Man of the
Century, and the next year it spotlighted Joseph Stalin for Man of the
Year. And, we must not forget that not that long ago Saddam Hussein was once America's
biggest ally against Iran. The faces of our friends can become
our enemies, and, if not careful, we can become the beast we hunt.
The protection for us all is
Vigilance...focused on the Children, and their Children's Children's
I wish if Hussein and Bush were to visit
Hiroshima, they might see past the destruction to the impact it has on the
future. But since are both are warriors, I know what they will see.
I know. Back when I was
one, that's all I saw. Nothing. But today, through the
Pledge of Vigilance, I do see something--the Children. And
when one sees them, and makes their faces come to life, the swords of war
Go Aug. 5--Greeks
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