Friday, August 06, 2004

Remembering Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Today, 59 years ago, the United States successfully ended WWII - by dropping the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in Japan, creating a devastation never known before and killing more than a hundred thousand at the spot. Hundreds suffered later from injuries and side effects. Nagasaki witnessed a similar fate on August 9, 1945. People who support the attacks claim that it was necessary to end the war. This is not true. Many historians now agree that the war was already coming to an end because Japan had suffered heavy losses, and the attack was carried out merely hasten the end of the war. Some of the forgotten victims are N.Koreans who lived in Japan at the time as forced labor or sex slaves and were returned during the 50's.

There has been severe fighting in Iraq, in the Shia holy city of Najaf. It horrifies me to even think about the scores of innocent civilians that die in the crossfire. Figures vary, but the number of Iraqis killed since the invasion is anywhere between 15,000-30,000. What also bothers me is when US journalists use the word "enemy" or "insurgents. " That is not being objective & merely being Pentagon's mouthpiece. Just as in Vietnam, the "Vietcong" were nationalists who wanted the occupiers out, many of the "insurgents" in Iraq are angry at the occupation, the human rights abuses and the frustration of not having food, electricity and water. Basra is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.

Speaking of crisis, it is sad to hear that Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) is pulling out of Afghanistan after 24 years due to lack of security. Here’s a great article by the UN under-secretary general of humanitarian affairs, about why that was a bad idea.

In other news, Grand Ayatollah Sistani has arrived in London for treatment of a heart condition. I am usually weary of Shia clerics, but I have been so impressed by his moderate views & diplomatic approach to the situation. I pray he will recover soon.

From Informed Comment: in a recent interview, former President Clinton outlined the 5 major threats the US faces:
1. Al-Qaeda
2. Middle East bloodshed (i.e. the Arab-Israeli conflict)
3. The India-Pakistan conflict (i.e. Kashmir)
4. North Korea's nuclear program
5. Iraq

Yet, President Bush is obsessed with waging the "War on Terror" in Iraq. Here's his latest bluff speech where he erroneously said, "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people - and neither do we."