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6 Aug, 2010 23:38

No apology from US for Hiroshima, Nagasaki

Sixty five years ago, at 8:15 in the morning in Hiroshima, Japan, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on mankind.

It was a top secret mission; a new weapon of mass destruction scheduled to end a world war and Russel Gackenbach would serve as the ‘Necessary Evil’ guiding the Atomic bomb to its target.

The B-29 bomber known as the Enola Gay, dropped the atom bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

The bombs would serve as the first human experiment of nuclear warfare; setting off radiation, environmental and lasting damages long after the dust settled.

Gachenbach, 22 years old at the time, recalls that historic moment.

"We knew what we were going to do was to shorten the war, but we didn’t know how until the bomb had exploded. We didn't know it would lead to the Cold war, we didn't know what kind of ramifications it would have later on," said Gackenbach.

He also remembers the hero’s welcome he received when he came home.

"I remember taking a photograph; I remember the flight back and the festivities that were started in honor of the Enola Gay," he said.

After dropping the bomb on Hiroshima 65 years ago, US President Harry Truman addressed the nation and said, “We have used it to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young America, we will continue to use it until we completely destroy Japan.”

But the glorified end to a bloody world war left deep scars on the receiving end. More than one hundred thousand Japanese civilians were killed in the initial bombing and hundreds of thousands of others affected for decades to come.

For the first time since the US dropped the A-bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, a US representative will be attending the commemoration ceremony in Japan. But here in Washington, DC there will not be an official apology from the federal government. However, there are some Americans, who have been living with the guilt all their lives who are apologetic.

"I just want to say I'm very sorry for what we did," said Emily Moore of Silver Spring Maryland, who was eight years old at the time of the bombing.

John Steinbach, head of the Nagasaki – Hiroshima Peace Committee of the Greater Washington region said, “I'm glad that a representative is going there, it does not surprise me that there is no apology."

Remorseful Americans who experienced Hiroshima and those who only read about it in their history books came to a memorial in front of the Washington Monument to reflect, say a prayer, and light a candle for those who perished.

"I pray for a quick end to the American Empire as soon as possible," one man said.

Sam Husseini of the Institute for Public Accuracy said, referring to how the US justified the bombing, “Their violence is somehow legitimate because it's being exercised by the state, it's a savage concept, it has no moral and no legal sensibility."

According to late-historian Howard Zinn, the nuclear bombs were legitimized in the US as an “easy acceptance of atrocities as deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress.”

Emily Moore said, “All inflicted death is evil in some degree or another, this happens to be at the upper end of the scale for me and haven't really stopped doing really evil things."

However, Gackenbach had a different view of the bomb’s aftermath.

We were at war, and if that Japanese would have gotten us first, they wouldn’t have been afraid to use it on us,” said Gackenbach.

Sixty-five years later, the US remains defiant in its stance on the bombings. Today, the US is losing touch with the rest of the world on the legacy they left behind in its decision to use the world’s first nuclear bomb on a civilian population.