May 6, 2008

These appalling pictures were taken by an unidentified Japanese photographer in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. A U.S. serviceman found them among rolls of undeveloped film in a cave outside the city.

I reproduce a couple of the images here, not because I think the bombing was unjustified — I have yet to hear a persuasive argument against the decision to drop the Bomb — but because all the photographs I’ve seen before this were creepy, surrealistic pictures of melted objects and distorted buildings that worked as art objects rather than documents of war and disaster. Looking at them, one might think the blast simply scoured away all the people, leaving sun-baked rubble and eerie spaces. These pictures convey the true enormity of what happened in Hiroshima.

Reading the various arguments about the Iraq invasion, it becomes clear that we have a view of war that’s entirely too sanitized. It produces degenerate thinking along the lines produced by Jonah Goldberg, articulating what he styled the Michael Ledeen doctrine: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small, crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business.”

These pictures are the product of what people like to think of as the “good war.” All wars, good or bad, produces horrors like this. Internalize that knowledge, all you strutting rumpus room warriors, and temper your rhetoric accordingly. You don’t unleash this kind of thing just to show “some small crappy little country” that we mean business. Find some other way to deal with your masculinity issues.

8 Responses to “Aftermath”

  1. warren Says:

    I agree it’s important to show photographs like these.

    Though, I don’t understand why we dropped the second bomb on Nagasaki.

  2. Caveat Says:

    Wow. The pictures are more compelling in black and white than they would have been in colour.

    You’re right, the usual mental image of a nuclear bombing is obliteration/vaporization, not the unspeakable yet strangely typical carnage shown in these photos.

  3. Informed Says:

    Kanto Earthquake… in the 1920s… really, when you put stuff like this on a site and then mis-identify it, even when you can easily research it in a few minutes… how irresponsible.

  4. هذا لا يجوز يا منايك اليهود

  5. Amanda Says:

    As an American, I am completely and utterly devastated by these pictures. Also, some what embarrassed. This shouldn’t have happened.

    • Josh Says:

      If the bombings didn’t happen then millions of American troops and most of the Japanese people would have died during Operation Downfall. I would rather have bombed them then completely wiped out the country of Japan. This bombing did suck but Japan shot first. I’m really embarrassed as an American that there are those out there that don’t bother to look at both sides of the argument, if there was a better alternative it would have been done.

  6. Mike P. Says:

    The nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki really happened because only one country had the bomb. If there had been even one other player anywhere in the world, I don’t believe these cities would have been destroyed.

  7. V99 Says:

    Sad. However, Jpan shouldn’t have declared war on the USA on the first place. The great Japanese Admiral Yamamoto warned them this could happen, and it did. If only Japan had listened to the young and inexperienced, but still well-meaning and peaceful emperor Hirohito and maintained the alliance with the US instead of Tojo and his wackos…..then this would never have happened, since no one would have needed the bomb.

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