In the month of August 1945, Japan witnessed the most horrific human carnage. Two nuclear bombs plummeted from United States warplanes killing thousands. Some estimates put the death toll at over 200,000 within the first two months due to the affects of the radiation. Within months, people succumbed to burns, radiation sickness and other illness from these toxic man made weapons. To date survivors suffer cancerous disease and other radiological side affects.
The majority of those who suffer and/or died were innocent civilians, killed because those in government decided war was the answer. The use of these horrific weapons was applauded in the West. Despite the brutal massacre, the U.S. readied to use more. Seeing what humans are actually capable of, the Japanese Emperor surrendered.
In his declaration he referred to the atomic bombings:
The enemy now possesses a new and terrible weapon with the power to destroy many innocent lives and do incalculable damage. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.
Political and academic circles continue to debate the "ethics" of this genocidal instrument. Stating that the war would have caused more carnage if they weren't used.
The massive destruction should have given the world more than a verbal debate, it should have given all of us pause. Seeing the devastating impacts -- burning flesh to the bone, killing thousands in seconds, actually watching people, and I repeat, people being incinerated -- should have horrified us all. It did not. Instead of doing everything in our power to prevent war and weapons, the world chose to make more.
Looking around today, the world is looking pretty terrifying. Militants are rampant, religion used as an excuse to kill, young children being bombed, beaten, shot and burned. And I'm not just talking about the Middle East, or Africa. Europe, South America, Asia are all seeing unrest. You need look no further than your neighborhood schools or the US border with Mexico. The world is angry.
You would think after all that mankind has seen through war after war and endless holocausts that things would change. Yet, discontent has only gotten worse. Two massive nuclear explosions changed Japan who decided to disarm; the remainder of society chose to continue to kill.
As bombs drop on Gaza, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, militias terrorize throughout the world, governments marginalize and repress thoughts, ideas, and societies until they snap. The human race is capable of unspeakable horrors and we are seeing them daily.
Japan stood still after two nuclear missiles. The world froze after New York's World Trade Center fell. Hundreds of thousands died, families mourned, the psychological trauma never ends. And day after day, nations, peoples continue to look to solve their issues with lethal weapons through violence. The U.S. for its part engaged in two of the longest wars in history only to see more unrest, viciousness, and annihilation. Iraq and Afghanistan are not better. They both are worse. So what now? My bet is on more bombs, guns, and other weapons.
Although, we know it does not have to be this way. Peace may not be as dramatic or sexy as war has become, but it sure does give people safety, contentment and the ability to live a truly democratic and free life.