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Sunday, 9 August 2015

The 70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Nagasaki

Gary G. Kohls, MD

Unwelcome Truths for Church and State

 “An irradiated crucifix lies in the ruins of the Urakami Cathedral Following the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki”

70 years ago (August 9, 1945) an all-Christian bomber crew dropped a plutonium bomb over Nagasaki City, Japan, instantly vaporizing, incinerating or otherwise annihilating tens of thousands of innocent civilians, a disproportionately large number of them Japanese Christians. The explosion mortally wounded uncountable thousands of other victims who succumbed to the blast, the intense heat and/or the radiation.

In 1945, the US was regarded as the most Christian nation in the world (that is, if you can label as truly Christian a nation whose churches are proponents of eye-for-an-eye retaliation, are supportive of America’s military and economic exploitation of other nations or otherwise fail to sincerely teach or adhere to the ethics of Jesus as taught in the Sermon on the Mount).

Ironically, prior to the bomb exploding nearly directly over the Urakami Cathedral at 11:02 AM, Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan, and the massive cathedral was the largest Christian church in the Orient.

Those baptized and confirmed Christian airmen, following their wartime orders to the letter, did their job efficiently, and they accomplished the mission with military pride, albeit with an astonishing number of near-fatal glitches in the mission. Most of us Americans would have done what the crew did if we had been in the shoes of the Bock’s Car crew. And, if we had never seen, heard or smelled the suffering humanity that the bomb caused on the ground, and if we had been treated as heroes in the aftermath, most of us would have experienced no remorse for our participation in what was retrospectively universally regarded as a war crime.

Indeed, the use of the most monstrous weapons of mass destruction in the history of warfare, was later defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal as an international war crime and a crime against humanity.

Of course, there was no way that the crew members knew that at the time of the mission. Some of the crew did admit that they had had some doubts about what they had participated in after the bomb actually detonated. But none of them actually witnessed the horrific suffering of the victims up close and personal. “Orders are orders” and disobedience in wartime is severely punishable, even by summary execution, so the crew obeyed the orders.

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