The United States government has long spread the lie that it was a “regrettable necessity” that the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki “had to be dropped” in order to bring WWII to an end. If it wasn’t for the A-bomb, they lie, the war would have gone on for years, requiring a full-scale ground assault on the Japanese mainland in which too many American lives would have been lost. Even more obscenely, they spread the disgusting and obvious lie that dropping the A-bombs “saved lives”, when in fact, quite obviously, the opposite is true: almost 300,000 Japanese – the vast majority civilians – were incinerated in these two horrendous war crimes.
CNN, in the only video it seems to have produced in advance of this year’s commemoration of the 67th anniversary of arguably one of the greatest war crimes in history – the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima – has the last surviving member of the crew of the Enola Gay, Captain Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, repeat these long-discredited lies for the benefit of a new generation of Americans.
“It would have been another… years before the war had have been over. The point is: We dropped the bombs and saved a lot of lives. We… and the Japanese… would have had a bloodbath if we had invaded Japan. And they knew we were coming; they knew where we were gonna land; and they had their guns waiting for us.” [Source: CNN, “Last Enola Gay member recalls Hiroshima”, 4 August, 2012].
What once was a world-wide day of mourning and remembrance of the atrocities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has become, in the US, a thinly-veiled racist repudiation of the idea that there ever was an alternative to incinerating over a quarter of a million human beings. The US news media has apparently tired of covering these particular war crimes; this year it was the so-called “mass murders” in Colorado and Wisconsin that was the wall-to-wall focus of the capitalist press. The real mass murderers get the alibi that they “had no choice” but to kill 300,000; they walk away scot-free and tell lies about the crimes they committed. Meanwhile, the Colorado “Batman” killer will have no opportunity to do any such thing, no matter how obviously insane he is. And the nation hypocritically wrings its hands and wonders aloud where the impulse for “mass murder” comes from!
Completely ignored in the coverage of WWII in the Pacific is the virulent racism that animated the Allied war effort against Japan. Kirk lies when he claims in his CNN interview that he and the crew of Enola Gay didn’t celebrate when they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima: “But there was nothing celebratory about it at all… or anything… we’re just dropping another bomb.” That’s baloney. First lie: he and the entire all-white crew of the Enola Gay knew in advance that what they were dropping on Hiroshima wasn’t “just… another bomb”. They had been practicing for weeks making a fast getaway in their B-29 from what everyone knew was going to be anything BUT a typical bombing run. It’s also impossible to believe that these white men from the Jim Crow US who had been immersed in racist anti-Japanese propaganda from the moment they signed up for military service were not themselves racist. Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola gay, never apologized for his role in the bombing of Hiroshima; “In a 1975 interview he said: ‘I’m proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it, and have it work as perfectly as it did …. I sleep clearly every night.’ In March 2005, he stated, ‘If you give me the same circumstances, I’d do it again.’ [Source: Wikipedia, “Paul Tibbets” ] The bombardier on the mission, Thomas Ferebee, was from North Carolina. He was quoted in the book “Enola Gay” by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts as saying, decades after the bombing: “it was a job that had to be done”. Van Kirk told a reporter in 1975: “Under the same circumstances — and the key words are ‘the same circumstances’ — yes, I would do it again.” We have no reason to doubt that the majority of the crew of the Enola Gay was as racist as their peers were in the Jim Crow U.S.A. of the 1940s. Just look at this selection of disgusting racist anti-Japanese propaganda posters put out by the US Government in WWII.This is the kind of sick brainwashing propaganda that every serviceman and woman – and every US citizen – had to endure in the United States during World War Two. Is it any wonder that the crew of the Enola Gay felt that their war crime was justified “under the circumstances”?
Anti-Asian racism in the US was nothing new; anti-Chinese racism in the “good old days” of the “Golden West” was as common as dirt. The savagery meted out to Asian immigrant workers in the US in the 1800s is a well-known historical fact. That it developed from the racism inherent in the white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant capitalist class of the United States – inherited from their ancestors in Great Britain – is something glossed over if the subject is ever even raised in US history books.
Racism has been a part of the makeup of the American character since the Mayflower. It is inherent in the belief of European Christians that only those who believed in Jesus Christ would go to heaven and that everyone else on the planet was a “heathen” who must either convert or spend eternity in hell. This arrogant attitude “informed” European contact with people outside of Europe ever since Europeans “rediscovered” the world hundreds of years after the collapse of the Roman Empire. The different skin colors, cultural practices and strange religious practices were all taken by white Europeans as signs of the inferiority of non-European races that were derived from their Godlessness. Rather than attempt to understand these strange cultures, the better-armed and warlike Europeans simply took to massacring them, using their supposed God-given martial and racial superiority as an excuse for the murder of tens of millions of “inferior” human beings.
In the US, racism against Native Americans led initially to attempts to enslave these “godless and inferior” people. When enslaving the aboriginal peoples of the New World proved impractical, and as US agricultural development moved further south into climates too hot and malarial for white workers to survive in, the same concepts of racial and religious superiority were employed to justify the slave trade. Subsequently, a whole series of fake sciences were developed to “prove” the racial inferiority of the enslaved Africans and allowed the enslavers to sleep better at night. Before long, American racial ideologies justifying the genocide of Native Americans as well as the brutalities of the slave system had developed to such an extravagant degree that they were extended to cover all non-white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant peoples, from the Chinese to the Irish. Thus the white-skinned population of the United States has been propagandized to hate everyone not white and Protestant from the 1600s until today. Today’s institutionalized racism is more covert and is couched in cautious terminology, like
The haughty and racist attitude of the European nations and the young United States government towards the peoples of Asia were embodied in a series of “Unequal Treaties” imposed on both China and Japan in the early to mid 1800s. China was a closed country to foreigners until the British Navy – and British Indian army units – smashed their way into the country on behalf of the British East India Company in the First Opium War in 1839-1842. The British were “suffering” from a trade imbalance with China and sought to rectify the situation by importing opium from India – where the East India Co. had established a monopoly on the export of the drug – into China, where the drug was unknown. The importation of opium caused an epidemic of narcotic addiction in China, which the Chinese government tried to suppress by what was perhaps the world’s first “War on Drugs” – they attempted to enact a permanent ban on drug shipments to China. The British retaliated against this domestic policy of the Chinese by attacking China. China, completely outgunned by the British had no choice but to negotiate a settlement, and was forced to agree to a series of humiliating treaties, forcing open Chinese ports to British trade. The United States got into the act in 1844, signing the Treaty of Wanghia, in which the United States exacted a promise from the Chinese government that any Americans caught breaking Chinese laws would be tried by US Consular officials rather than by the local judiciary. It also provided for the establishment of Christian churches and missionary schools in China – to educate the “heathen” Chinese.
[To Be Continued]