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The Great Hiroshima Cover-Up—And the Greatest Movie Never Made
#1
The Great Hiroshima Cover-UpAnd the Greatest Movie Never Made

Greg Mitchell
Summary
This article introduces and draws on Greg Mitchell's new book Atomic Cover-up. Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and The Greatest Movie Never Made. http://gregmitchellwriter.blogspot.com/ This is a detective story that weaves the profiles of two U.S. military officers, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the official suppression of the most important film footage of the human consequences of the bombing, created by the American military and a Japanese newsreel team.

In the northwestern corner of the Hiroshima Peace Park, amid a quiet grove of trees, the earth suddenly swells. It is not much of a mound only about ten feet high and sixty feet across. Unlike most mounds, however, this one is hollow, and within it rests perhaps the greatest concentration of human residue in the world.
Grey clouds rising from sticks of incense hang in the air, spookily. Tourists do not dawdle here. Visitors searching for the Peace Bell, directly ahead, or the Children's Monument, down the path to the right, hurry past it without so much as a sideways glance. Still, it has a strange beauty: a lump of earth (not quite lush) topped by a small monument that resembles the tip of a pagoda. On one side of the Memorial Mound the gray wooden fence has a gate, and down five steps from the gate is a door. Visitors are usually not allowed through that door, but occasionally the city of Hiroshima honors a request from a foreign journalist.
[Image: memorial_mound.png]
The Memorial Mound, Hiroshima
Inside the Mound the ceiling is low, the light fluorescent. One has to stoop to stand. To the right and left, pine shelving lines the walls. Stacked neatly on the shelves, like cans of soup in a supermarket, are white porcelain canisters with Japanese lettering on the front. On the day I visited, there were more than a thousand cans in all, explained Ohara Masami, a city official. Each canister contained the ashes of one person killed by the atomic bomb.
Behind twin curtains on either side of an altar rest several dozen pine boxes, the size of caskets, stacked, unceremoniously, from floor to ceiling. They hold the ashes of about seventy thousand unidentified victims of the bomb. If, in an instant, all of the residents of Wilmington, Delaware, or Santa Fe, New Mexico, were reduced to ashes, and those ashes carried away to one repository, this is all the room the remains would require.
Most of those who died in Hiroshima were cremated quickly, partly to prevent an epidemic of disease. Others were efficiently turned to ash by the atomic bomb itself, death and cremation occurring in the same instant. Those reduced by human hands were cremated on makeshift altars at a temple that once stood at the present site of the Mound, one-half mile from the hypocenter of the atomic blast.
In 1946, an Army Air Force squad, ordered by Gen. Douglas MacArthur to film the results of the massive U.S. aerial bombardment of Japanese cities during World War II, filmed a solemn ceremony at the temple, capturing a young woman receiving a canister of ashes from a local official. Later that year, survivors of the atomic bombing began contributing funds to build a permanent vault at this site and, in 1955, the Memorial Mound was completed. For several years the collection of ashes grew because remains of victims were still being found. One especially poignant pile was discovered at an elementary school.
The white cans on the shelves have stood here for decades, unclaimed by family members or friends. (In many cases, all of the victims' relatives and friends were killed by the bomb.) Every year local newspapers publish the list of names written on the cans, and every year several canisters are finally claimed and transferred to family burial sites. Most of the unclaimed cans (a total of just over 800 as of 2010) will remain in the Mound in perpetuity, now that so many years have passed.
They are a chilling sight. The cans are bright white, like the flash in the sky over Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945. From all corners of the city the ashes were collected: the remains of soldiers, physicians, housewives, infants. Unclaimed, they at least have the dignity of a private urn, an identity, a life (if one were able to look into it) before death.
But what of the seventy thousand behind the curtains? The pine crates are marked with names of sites where the human dust and bits of bone were found a factory or a school, perhaps, or a neighborhood crematory. But beyond that, the ashes are anonymous. Thousands may still grieve for these victims but there is no dignity here. "They are all mixed together," said Ohara, "and will never be separated or identified." Under a mound, behind two curtains, inside a few pine boxes: This is what became of one-quarter of the city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
* * *
In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan 66 years ago, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years, all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited not only in the United States, but also in occupied Japan.
Meanwhile, the American public only got to see the same black and white images: a mushroom cloud, battered buildings, a devastated landscape. The true human costs a full airing of the bomb's effects on people were kept hidden. The writer Mary McCarthy declared that Hiroshima had already fallen into "a hole in history."
[Image: hiroshima_survivors.png]
Hiroshima survivors
The public did not see any of the newsreel footage for 25 years, and the U.S. military film remained hidden for more than three decades. In fact, the Japanese footage might have disappeared forever if the newsreel team had not hidden one print from the Americans in a ceiling. The color U.S. military footage was not shown anywhere until the early 1980s, and has never been fully aired. It rests today at the National Archives in College Park, Md., in the form of 90,000 feet of raw footage labeled #342 USAF.
When that footage finally emerged, I spoke with and corresponded with the man at the center of this drama: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel A. McGovern, who directed the U.S. military film-makers in 1945-1946, managed the Japanese footage, and then kept watch on all of the top-secret material for decades. McGovern observed that, "The main reason it was classified was...because of the horror, the devastation." I also met and interviewed one top member of his military crew, who had fought for years to get the footage aired widely in America, and interviewed some of the hibakusha who appear in the footage.
The Japanese Newsreel Footage
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb over the center of Hiroshima, killing at least 70,000 civilians instantly and perhaps 70,000 more in the months to follow. Three days later, it exploded another atomic bomb over Nagasaki, killing 40,000 immediately and dooming tens of thousands of others. Within days, Japan had surrendered, and the U.S. readied plans to occupy the defeated country -- and documenting the first atomic catastrophe.
But the Japanese also wanted to study it. Within days of the second atomic attack, officials at the Tokyo-based newsreel company Nippon Eigasha discussed shooting film in the two stricken cities. In early September, just after the Japanese surrender, and as the American occupation began, director Ito Sueo set off for Nagasaki. There his crew filmed the utter destruction near ground zero and scenes in hospitals of the badly burned and those suffering from the lingering effects of radiation.
On Sept. 15, another crew headed for Hiroshima. When the first rushes came back to Tokyo, Iwasaki Akira, the chief producer (and well-known film writer), felt "every frame burned into my brain," he later said.
At this point, the American public knew little about human conditions and radiation effects in the atomic cities. Newspaper photographs of victims were non-existent, or censored. Life magazine would later observe that for years "the world...knew only the physical facts of atomic destruction."
On October 24, 1945, a Japanese cameraman in Nagasaki was ordered to stop shooting by an American military policeman. His film, and then the rest of the 26,000 feet of Nippon Eisasha footage, was confiscated by the U.S. General Headquarters (GHQ). An order soon arrived banning all further filming. At this point Lt. Daniel McGovern took charge.
Shooting the U.S. Military Footage
In early September, 1945, less than a month after the two bombs fell, Lt. McGovern -- who as a member of Hollywood's famed First Motion Picture Unit shot some of the footage for William Wyler's "Memphis Belle" -- had become one of the first Americans to arrive in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was a director with the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, organized by the Army the previous November to study the effects of the air campaign against Germany, and now Japan.
As he made plans to shoot the official American record, McGovern learned about the seizure of the Japanese footage. He felt it would be a waste to not take advantage of the newsreel footage, noting in a letter to his superiors that "the conditions under which it was taken will not be duplicated, until another atomic bomb is released under combat conditions."
McGovern proposed hiring some of the Japanese crew to shoot more footage and edit and "caption" the material, so it would have "scientific value."
About the same time, McGovern was ordered by General Douglas MacArthur on January 1, 1946 to document the results of the U.S. air campaign in more than 20 Japanese cities. His crew would shoot exclusively in color film, Kodachrome and Technicolor, rarely used at the time even in Hollywood. McGovern assembled a crew of eleven. Third in command was a young lieutenant from New York named Herbert Sussan.
The unit left Tokyo in a specially outfitted train, and made it to Nagasaki. Their chief cameramen was Harry Mimura (Mimura Akira), a Japanese photographer who in 1943 had shot Sanshiro Sugata, the first feature film by a then-unknown Japanese director named Kurosawa Akira. (Mimura had spent several years in the U.S. before the war.)
[Image: us_military_survey_hiroshima.png]
U.S. military officers survey Hiroshima in the wake of the bombing
The crew documented the physical effects of the bomb, including the ghostly shadows of vaporized civilians burned into walls; but, most chillingly, dozens of people in hospitals who had survived (at least momentarily) and were asked to display their burns, scars, and other lingering effects for the camera as a warning, in vivid color, to the world.
March and April 1946 color footage of Hiroshima by Harry Mimura: Link.
The Suppression Begins
While all this was going on, the Japanese newsreel team was completing its work of editing and labeling their black and white footage into a rough cut of just under three hours. At this point, several members of the Japanese team took the courageous step of ordering from the lab a duplicate of the footage they had shot before the Americans took over the project. Director Ito later said: "The four of us agreed to be ready for 10 years of hard labor in case of being discovered." One incomplete, silent print would reside in a ceiling until the Occupation ended in 1952.
The negative of the finished Japanese film, nearly 15,000 feet of footage on 19 reels, was sent off to the U.S. in early May 1946. The Japanese were also ordered to include in this shipment all photographs and related material. The footage would be labeled SECRET and not emerge from the shadows for more than 20 years. The following month, McGovern was abruptly ordered to return to the U.S. He hauled the 90,000 feet of his own color footage, on dozens of reels in huge footlockers, to the Pentagon and turned it over to General Orvil Anderson. Locked up and declared "Top Secret", it did not see the light of day for more than 30 years.
McGovern would be charged with watching over it. Fearful that his film might get "buried," McGovern stayed on at the Pentagon as an aide to Gen. Anderson, who was fascinated by the footage and had no qualms about showing it to the American people. "He was that kind of man, he didn't give a damn what people thought," McGovern told me. "He just wanted the story told." Once they eyeballed the footage, however, most of the top brass didn't want it widely shown and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was also opposed, according to McGovern. It did, however, commission four training films.
In a March 3, 1947 memo, Francis E. Rundell, a major in the Air Corps, explained that the film would be classified "secret." Particularly sensitive was the "footage taken at Hiroshima and Nagasaki". After the training films were completed, the status would be raised to "Top Secret" pending final classification by the AEC. The color footage was shipped to the Wright-Patterson base in Ohio. After cataloging it, McGovern placed it in a vault in the top secret area. "Dan McGovern stayed with the film all the time," Sussan later told me. "He told me they could not release the film [because] what it showed was too horrible."
McGovern later explained it this way to me: The U.S. officials "wanted it buried…They were fearful because of the horror it contained. …because it showed effects on men, women and children…They didn't want that material out because they were sorry for their sinsand because they were working on new nuclear weapons."
The Japanese Footage Emerges
At the same time, McGovern was looking after the Japanese footage. Fearful that it might get lost forever in the military/government bureaucracy, he secretly made a 16 mm print and deposited it in the U.S. Air Force Central Film Depository at Wright-Patterson. There it remained out of sight, and generally out of mind. On Sept. 12, 1967, the Air Force transferred the Japanese footage to the National Archives Audio Visual Branch in Washington, with the film "not to be released without approval of DOD (Department of Defense)."
Then, one morning in the summer of 1968, Erik Barnouw, author of landmark histories of film and broadcasting, opened his mail to discover a clipping from a Tokyo newspaper sent by a friend. It indicated that the U.S. had finally shipped to Japan a copy of black and white newsreel footage shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese had negotiated with the State Department for its return. From the Pentagon, Barnouw learned that the original nitrate film had been quietly turned over to the National Archives and went to take a look. Soon Barnouw realized that, despite its marginal film quality, "enough of the footage was unforgettable in its implications, and historic in its importance, to warrant duplicating all of it," he later wrote.
Attempting to create a subtle, quiet, even poetic, black and white film, he and his associates cut it from 160 to 16 minutes, with a montage of human effects clustered near the end for impact. Barnouw arranged a screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and invited the press. A throng turned out and sat in respectful silence at its finish. "Hiroshima-Nagasaki 1945" proved to be a sketchy but quite moving document of the aftermath of the bombing, captured in grainy but often startling black and white images: shadows of objects or people burned into walls, ruins of schools, miles of razed landscape viewed from the roof of a building.

A clip from Hiroshima-Nagasaki 1945 archival footage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims
In the weeks ahead, however, none of the (then) three TV networks expressed interest in airing it. "Only NBC thought it might use the film," Barnouw later wrote, "if it could find a 'news hook.' We dared not speculate what kind of event this might call for." But then an article appeared in Parade magazine, and an editorial in the Boston Globe blasted the networks, saying that everyone in the country should see this film: "Television has brought the sight of war into America's sitting rooms from Vietnam. Surely it can find 16 minutes of prime time to show Americans what the first A-bombs, puny by today's weapons, did to people and property 25 years ago." This at last pushed public television into the void. What was then called National Educational Television (NET) agreed to show the documentary on August 3, 1970, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of dropping the bomb.
"I feel that classifying all of this filmed material was a misuse of the secrecy system since none of it had any military or national security aspect at all," Barnouw told me. "The reason must have been -- that if the public had seen it and Congressmen had seen it -- it would have been much harder to appropriate money for more bombs."
The American Footage Comes Out
In 1979, Japanese antinuclear activists, led by a Tokyo teacher named Iwakura Tsutomu (who I later interviewed), managed to track down hundreds of pictures of nuclear devastation in archives and private collections and published them in a popular book. In 1979 they mounted an exhibit at the United Nations in New York. There, by chance, Iwakura met Sussan, who told him about the U.S. military footage. Iwakura visited the National Archives where he found eighty reels of film, labeled #342 USA. About one-fifth of the footage covered the atomic cities. According to a shot list, reel #11010 included, for example: "School, deaf and dumb, blast effect; damaged Commercial school; demolished School, engineering; demolished.School; Shirayama elementary, demolished; blast effect Tenements, demolished."
The film had been quietly declassified a few years earlier, but no one in the outside world knew it. Eventually 200,000 Japanese citizens contributed half a million dollars enabling Iwakura to buy a copy of the film. He then traveled around Japan filming survivors who had posed for Sussan and McGovern in 1946. Iwakura quickly completed a documentary called Prophecy and in late spring 1982 arranged for a New York premiere. That fall a small part of the McGovern/Sussan footage turned up for the first time in an American film, one of the sensations of the New York Film Festival, called Dark Circle.
At the New York premiere at The Japan Society, which I attended, Herbert Sussan spoke. "I have waited so long for this moment," he said softly. "For years, all of my own efforts to obtain this unique footage to show the American people have been frustrated. This film has been locked in vaults, declared classified and held away from the public. I am pleased that the world will finally see a small bit of what the true reality of the nuclear age really is."
Sussan recalled entering Nagasaki from the north. The train the film crew was riding bisected miles of utter ruin. "On the hills to the right we saw the remains of an elementary school and a technical school, each pushed down by the detonation of the blast." Then they passed a medical college and the remains of the largest Catholic cathedral in the Far East (the bomb had killed many of the parishioners). "Nothing and no one had prepared me for the devastation I met there," he said. "I have never lost my memories of those days." He was in the rare position of being able to do something about it, however. "I felt that if we did not capture this horror on film, no one would ever really understand the dimensions of what had happened. At that time most people back home had not seen anything but black and white pictures of blasted buildings or a mushroom cloud."

[Image: victim.png]
His crew documented the physical effects, including the ghostly shadows of vaporized objects, flowers and humans burned into walls. They filmed survivors at Red Cross and military hospitals, many of them badly injured or slowly expiring from radiation disease. Two young American doctors, nicknamed Dr. Kildare and Dr. Gillespie, had saved hundreds of lives with burn therapy and massive doses of antibiotics. One of their patients was a boy kept in a bath of liquid penicillin, his entire back aflame, he was the worst burn case the Americans had seen. "I shuddered when the lights were turned on to film him," Sussan said. "None of us expected him to live, but the doctors persisted." Indeed, the boy, Taniguchi Sumiteru, somehow survived (I've interviewed him three times) -- and today remains one of the leading hibakusha political activists in Japan.
Then the crew moved on to Hiroshima. Again he filmed the unimaginable physical and human wreckage. When he returned to Tokyo, he told writer John Hersey about a group of friars who had a sanctuary near the city. One of them, Reverend Tanimoto Kiyoshi, became the central figure in Hersey's epic New Yorker piece, and classic book Hiroshima, a few months later. Sussan's footage would never see the light of day, however, instead labeled top-secret and shut away for decades.
The black and white footage shot by a Japanese crew and seized and suppressed by the US government, and the color footage by the American team together provide the most powerful evidence of the human consequences of the atomic bombs that in important ways define our era. Now, if imperfectly, it is possible to gain access to, and reflect on, the destructive potential of nuclear weapons for our time.

Video trailer for Mitchell's "Atomic Cover-Up" book, including some of the suppressed footage

Greg Mitchell is the author of twelve books including several on nuclear weapons and nuclear war. The former editor of Editor and Publisher, he currently blogs for The Nation on the media and politics, and, since April 2010, on WikiLeaks. From 2002 to 2009 he was the editor of Editor & Publisher (E&P), which covers the news and newspaper industry. His recent books include Atomic Cover-Up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshim & Nagasaki, and the Greatest Movie Never Made and The Age of Wikileaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond). With Robert J. Lifton, he wrote Hiroshima in America.His blog, and information about ordering the paperback of Atomic Coverup is here.
Recommended citation: Greg Mitchell, "The Great Hiroshima Cover-UpAnd the Greatest Movie Never Made," The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 31 No 4, August 1, 2011.
Articles on related subjects
ÅŒishi Matashichi and Richard Falk, The Day the Sun Rose in the West. Bikini, the Lucky Dragon and I
Robert Jacobs, Whole Earth or No Earth: The Origin of the Whole Earth Icon in the Ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Nakazawa Keiji, Hiroshima: The Autobiography of Barefoot Gen
Yuki TANAKA, War and Peace in the Art of Tezuka Osama: The Humanism of His Epic Manga
Howard Zinn, Hiroshima: Breaking the Silence
elin O'hara slavick, Hiroshima: A Visual Record
John O'Brian, The Nuclear Family of Man
http://japanfocus.org/-Greg-Mitchell/3581
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#2
Truman Lied, Hundreds of Thousands Died
by David Swanson / August 6th, 2011

On August 6, 1945, President Harry S Truman announced:

Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British Grand Slam' which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.

When Truman lied to America that Hiroshima was a military base rather than a city full of civilians, people no doubt wanted to believe him. Who would want the shame of belonging to the nation that commits a whole new kind of atrocity? (Will naming lower Manhattan "ground zero" erase the guilt?) And when we learned the truth, we wanted and still want desperately to believe that war is peace, that violence is salvation, that our government dropped nuclear bombs in order to save lives, or at least to save American lives.

We tell each other that the bombs shortened the war and saved more lives than the some 200,000 they took away. And yet, weeks before the first bomb was dropped, on July 13, 1945, Japan sent a telegram to the Soviet Union expressing its desire to surrender and end the war. The United States had broken Japan's codes and read the telegram. Truman referred in his diary to "the telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace." Truman had been informed through Swiss and Portuguese channels of Japanese peace overtures as early as three months before Hiroshima. Japan objected only to surrendering unconditionally and giving up its emperor, but the United States insisted on those terms until after the bombs fell, at which point it allowed Japan to keep its emperor.

Presidential advisor James Byrnes had told Truman that dropping the bombs would allow the United States to "dictate the terms of ending the war." Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was "most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in." Truman wrote in his diary that the Soviets were preparing to march against Japan and "Fini Japs when that comes about." Truman ordered the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th and another type of bomb, a plutonium bomb, which the military also wanted to test and demonstrate, on Nagasaki on August 9th. Also on August 9th, the Soviets attacked the Japanese. During the next two weeks, the Soviets killed 84,000 Japanese while losing 12,000 of their own soldiers, and the United States continued bombing Japan with non-nuclear weapons. Then the Japanese surrendered.

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that, "… certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated." One dissenter who had expressed this same view to the Secretary of War prior to the bombings was General Dwight Eisenhower. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy agreed: "The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender."

Whatever dropping the bombs might possibly have contributed to ending the war, it is curious that the approach of threatening to drop them, the approach used during a half-century of Cold War to follow, was never tried. An explanation may perhaps be found in Truman's comments suggesting the motive of revenge:

"Having found the bomb we have used it. We have used it against those who attacked us without warning at Pearl Harbor, against those who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, and against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international law of warfare."

Truman could not, incidentally, have chosen Tokyo as a target not because it was a city, but because we had already reduced it to rubble.

The nuclear catastrophes may have been not the ending of a World War, but the theatrical opening of the Cold War, aimed at sending a message to the Soviets. Many low and high ranking officials in the U.S. military, including commanders in chief, have been tempted to nuke more cities ever since, beginning with Truman threatening to nuke China in 1950. The myth developed, in fact, that Eisenhower's enthusiasm for nuking China led to the rapid conclusion of the Korean War. Belief in that myth led President Richard Nixon, decades later, to imagine he could end the Vietnam War by pretending to be crazy enough to use nuclear bombs. Even more disturbingly, he actually was crazy enough. "The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? … I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes," Nixon said to Henry Kissinger in discussing options for Vietnam.

President George W. Bush oversaw the development of smaller nuclear weapons that might be used more readily, as well as much larger non-nuclear bombs, blurring the line between the two. President Barack Obama established in 2010 that the United States might strike first with nuclear weapons, but only against Iran or North Korea. The United States alleged, without evidence, that Iran was not complying with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), even though the clearest violation of that treaty is the United States' own failure to work on disarmament and the United States' Mutual Defense Agreement with the United Kingdom, by which the two countries share nuclear weapons in violation of Article 1 of the NPT, and even though the United States' first strike nuclear weapons policy violates yet another treaty: the U.N. Charter.

Americans may never admit what was done in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but our country had been in some measure prepared for it. After Germany had invaded Poland, Britain and France had declared war on Germany. Britain in 1940 had broken an agreement with Germany not to bomb civilians, before Germany retaliated in the same manner against England although Germany had itself bombed Guernica, Spain, in 1937, and Warsaw, Poland, in 1939, and Japan meanwhile was bombing civilians in China. Then, for years, Britain and Germany had bombed each other's cities before the United States joined in, bombing German and Japanese cities in a spree of destruction unlike anything ever previously witnessed. When we were firebombing Japanese cities, Life magazine printed a photo of a Japanese person burning to death and commented "This is the only way."

By the time of the Vietnam War, such images were highly controversial. By the time of the 2003 War on Iraq, such images were not shown, just as enemy bodies were no longer counted. That development, arguably a form of progress, still leaves us far from the day when atrocities will be displayed with the caption "There has to be another way."

Combating evil is what peace activists do. It is not what wars do. And it is not, at least not obviously, what motivates the masters of war, those who plan the wars and bring them into being. But it is tempting to think so. It is very noble to make brave sacrifices, even the ultimate sacrifice of one's life, in order to end evil. It is perhaps even noble to use other people's children to vicariously put an end to evil, which is all that most war supporters do. It is righteous to become part of something bigger than oneself. It can be thrilling to revel in patriotism. It can be momentarily pleasurable I'm sure, if less righteous and noble, to indulge in hatred, racism, and other group prejudices. It's nice to imagine that your group is superior to someone else's. And the patriotism, racism, and other isms that divide you from the enemy can thrillingly unite you, for once, with all of your neighbors and compatriots across the now meaningless boundaries that usually hold sway.

If you are frustrated and angry, if you long to feel important, powerful, and dominating, if you crave the license to lash out in revenge either verbally or physically, you may cheer for a government that announces a vacation from morality and open permission to hate and to kill. You'll notice that the most enthusiastic war supporters sometimes want nonviolent war opponents killed and tortured along with the vicious and dreaded enemy; the hatred is far more important than its object. If your religious beliefs tell you that war is good, then you've really gone big time. Now you're part of God's plan. You'll live after death, and perhaps we'll all be better off if you bring on the death of us all.

But simplistic beliefs in good and evil don't match up well with the real world, no matter how many people share them unquestioningly. They do not make you a master of the universe. On the contrary, they place control of your fate in the hands of people cynically manipulating you with war lies.

And the hatred and bigotry don't provide lasting satisfaction, but instead breed bitter resentment.

This article is excerpted from "War Is A Lie"

David Swanson is an anti-war activist. Read other articles by David.

This article was posted on Saturday, August 6th, 2011 at 8:00am and is filed under Crimes against Humanity, Disinformation, GWB, Japan, Military/Militarism, Obama, Propaganda, Russia, War Crimes, Weaponry.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/08/truman...more-35722
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
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#3
Quote:"I feel that classifying all of this filmed material was a misuse of the secrecy system since none of it had any military or national security aspect at all," Barnouw told me. "The reason must have been -- that if the public had seen it and Congressmen had seen it -- it would have been much harder to appropriate money for more bombs."

Quote:When Truman lied to America that Hiroshima was a military base rather than a city full of civilians, people no doubt wanted to believe him.

Official history is always told by the victors.

Official history should be seen for what it is: propaganda.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
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