THE BLOG
05/30/2016 10:18 am ET Updated May 31, 2017

Obama's Hiroshima Visit Sparked an Important Conversation With My Kids

Atsushi Tomura via Getty Images

Certainly, we are all on the shoulders of those who fought for our country. But the first peoples of this land justifiably might feel bitterness. I am of the Vietnam generation; therefore, I feel mistrustful of the military. I can't forget the 3 MILLION Vietnamese who died, as well as our 60,000 soldiers. I do think if we had a draft again, the United States would embark on fewer wars.

Our president just got back from Hiroshima, Japan, the site where we dropped the big one -- the only country to use it... so far. It struck up an important conversation with my kids.

"Some people in my parent's generation say that it was necessary and good that we bombed two Japanese cities because it saved many American soldier's lives and stopped the war." My kids response was clear: "It was insane... to nuke and entire city... that's insane." I was proud of his response. "You're right. Maybe we can learn from this. Maybe Obama's visit will jump-start another dialogue to try and defuse, at least some, of the big ones."

My comment was cautiously optimistic -- not only because I am older and seen a lot of very slow progress, but because I had just heard a radio interview with a research group that studies ways to head towards peace. I'm sure, in this time of ISIS, some readers of this will immediately scoff at listening to any peaceniks' rhetoric.

Please listen up: The facts are very disturbing. He said the discussion of whether or not Hiroshima was necessary is moot. What is important is that today's nukes are SIX to SEVEN times more powerful than back in 1945. And for years I've heard that the computers that run our defense system are old and outdated -- so a mistake would truly be a nuclear winter for the entire globe.

I'm sure Obama is depressed about how much resistance he got from the Republican Congress in trying to defuse the arsenal. Receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and then not being able to deliver has to be very frustrating.

The other comment from the peace research group expert that stuck was chilling: If Obama could, at the very least, get the hair-trigger rule that is in effect taken off, the chance of an accident would lesson. HAIR TRIGGER!! Oh God, the Republican nominee for the next president seems to me to have a hair-trigger without me even knowing our missile system already has one in place!

My kids are right: We're insane. The Bob Dylan lyric, which he wrote 50 years ago, has come true:

"But now we got weapons, of the chemical dust. If fire them we're forced to, then fire them we must. One push of the button, and a shot the world wide, and you never ask questions, when God's on your side."

And then, of course, Dylan's prophetic conclusion, "If God's on our side, he'll stop the next war."

Update (5/31/2016): Thanks so much for the flood of comments ... I'm pleased that this blog has stirred up a dialogue about this subject. My only thought about this is that most of the comments are on the old question of whether Hiroshima was right or wrong. I would like to reiterate (like I said in the piece), that that question is moot ... the big one is, Can we defuse our arsenal? Just a little? Please? To avoid an accident? We have many more, and powerful, missiles than any other country. Thanks again for all the reactions ~ john densmore"