David Swanson: Psst. Slip this onto Obama’s teleprompter in Hiroshima

From David Swanson.org

April 30, 2016

Thank you. Thank you for welcoming me to this hallowed ground, given meaning like the fields of Gettysburg by those who died here, far more than any speech can pretend to add.

Those deaths, here and in Nagasaki, those hundreds of thousands of lives taken in a pair of fiery nuclear infernos, were the entire point. After 70 years of lying about this, let me be clear, the purpose of dropping the bombs was dropping the bombs. The more deaths the better. The bigger the explosion, the bigger the destruction, the bigger the news story, the bolder the opening of the Cold War the better.

Harry Truman spoke in the U.S. Senate on June 23, 1941: “If we see that Germany is winning,” he said, “we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible.” This is how the U.S. president who destroyed Hiroshima thought about the value of European life. Perhaps I needn’t remind you of the value Americans placed on Japanese lives during the war.

A U.S. Army poll in 1943 found that roughly half of all GIs believed it would be necessary to kill every Japanese person on earth. William Halsey, who commanded the United States’ naval forces in the South Pacific during World War II, thought of his mission as “Kill Japs, kill Japs, kill more Japs,” and had vowed that when the war was over, the Japanese language would be spoken only in hell.

On August 6, 1945, President Truman lied on the radio that a nuclear bomb had been dropped on an army base, rather than on a city. And he justified it, not as speeding the end of the war, but as revenge against Japanese offenses. “Mr. Truman was jubilant,” wrote Dorothy Day on the spot, and so he was.

People back home, let me be clear, still believe false justifications for the bombings. But here I am with you in this sacred place thousands of miles away, with these words flowing so well on this teleprompter, and I’m going to make a full confession. There has for many years no longer been any serious dispute. 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.” President 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,” he said.

Apart from the question of how rudely Truman was maneuvered into the bombing decision by his subordinates, he justified the barbarous weapon’s use in purely barbarous terms, saying: “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.”

He didn’t pretend to any humanitarian purpose, the way we are obliged to do these days. He told it like it was. War need not bow before any humanitarian calculation. War is the ultimate power. During my presidency, I have bombed seven countries and empowered war making in all kinds of new ways. But I have always put up a pretense of exercising some sort of restraint. I have even talked about abolishing nukes. Meanwhile I’m investing in building newer, better nukes that we now think of as more useable.

Now, I know that this policy is creating a new nuclear arms race, and that eight other nuclear nations are following suit. I know the chance of ending all life through a nuclear accident, never mind a nuclear action, has multiplied several fold. But I am going to keep pushing the U.S. war machine forward in every possible way, and the consequences be damned. And I’m not going to apologize for the mass murder committed on this site by my predecessor, because I have already told you what I know. The fact that I know the real situation and must necessarily know what ought to be done, even though I never do it, has always been good enough to satisfy my supporters back home, and it damn well ought to be good enough to satisfy you people too.

Thank you.

And God Bless the United States of America.

 

http://davidswanson.org/node/5132

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Vladimir Putin’s remarks following adoption of declaration on Ukraine, February 12

“Kiev authorities still refuse to have direct contacts with representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Even though they have not been recognised, we have to proceed from the realities of life and if everyone wishes to achieve an agreement on establishing long-term relations, direct contacts are essential.”

From The Kremlin, February 12, 2015

Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Petro Poroshenko took part in the talks on a settlement to the situation in Ukraine. At the final stage, they were joined by Heidi Tagliavini, OSCE Special Representative to the Trilateral Contact Group on the Ukrainian Settlement.

Participants from the Russian side included Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.

Following the Normandy format talks, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany adopted a declaration in support of the Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements adopted on February 12 by the Contact Group on the Ukrainian Settlement.

Vladimir Putin also made a statement for the press.

* * *

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good morning,

This was not the best night of my life, but the morning, I believe, is good. This is because, despite the difficult negotiations, we finally managed to agree on the key issues.

Incidentally, you might wonder why the negotiations took so long. In my opinion, this was because unfortunately the Kiev authorities still refuse to have direct contacts with representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Even though they have not been recognised, we have to proceed from the realities of life and if everyone wishes to achieve an agreement on establishing long-term relations, direct contacts are essential.

We operated under the existing conditions and, in my view, have managed to agree on many things. The first is that we agreed on a ceasefire to begin at midnight on February 15. The second item that I find extremely important is the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the current line of confrontation for Ukrainian troops and from the line established on September 19, 2014 in Minsk for the Donbass self-defence forces.

Then comes a set of matters dealing with a long-term political settlement. This includes several items, the first being a constitutional reform that should take into consideration the lawful interests of the people residing on the territory of Donbass.

This is followed by matters dealing with a solution to border issues upon agreement with the Donbass militia, humanitarian issues, and the implementation of the earlier adopted law on the special status of the Donetsk and Lugansk territories.

Finally, there is a set of economic and humanitarian items.

We proceed from the notion that all the parties will show restraint until the complete ceasefire. The problem here was that representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics claimed that in response to the aggressive actions of the Kiev authorities they not only held back the Kiev forces but also managed to mount an offensive and surrounded a group of 6,000 to 8,000 servicemen. They, of course, proceed from the idea that this group will lay down arms and stop its resistance.

We nevertheless call on both sides to show restraint and in order to avoid unnecessary excessive bloodshed and casualties they should do everything possible to ensure that the separation of forces, mainly the heavy equipment, is conducted without unnecessary bloodshed.

Representatives of the Ukrainian authorities believe their troops have not been surrounded and therefore think this process will go sufficiently smoothly. I had some initial doubts that I can share with you. If the troops really had been surrounded, then, logically, they will try to break free, while those who are on the outside will try to arrange for a corridor for their trapped servicemen.

Eventually, we agreed with President Poroshenko that we will instruct our experts – I am ready to do so – to establish what is actually going on there. In addition, I will repeat, we will try to develop a set of measures to verify the implementation of our decisions by both sides.

I would like to call on both conflicting parties once again to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible and proceed to a truly political process of a long-term settlement.

Thank you for your attention.

<…>

(Answering a question from a Russian journalist.)

One document has just been signed by the Minsk Contact Group, it is called Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements.

The other document does not require signing: it is a statement by the President of France, the President of Ukraine, yours truly and the Federal Chancellor of Germany to the effect that we support the process.

Thank you.

 

http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/23594

World Beyond War: Protests and events worldwide

Sick of U.S. wars and foreign policy? Here are some of the events and protests planned in the United States and other countries.

Stand up, speak out. And U.S. and NATO soldiers, stand down!

From World Beyond War, http://www.worldbeyondwar.org

February 28 – March 1 in New York, NY: Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction

March 2nd – major blockade of nuclear bomb factory of AWE Burghfield, England

March 4-6 – Shut Down Creech (also here)

March 18-21 in Washington DC: Spring Rising

March 26 to May 29: 65 days nonviolent blockade at nuclear air base Büchel, Germany.

March 28 – April 3 in Nevada: Nevada Desert Experience – Sacred Peace Walk

March 28 in Glasgow, Scotland: #TridentHastoGoNow demonstration

March 30 in Knoxville, Tennessee: Moving Towards a Nuclear Free Future 2015 walk to New York City for April 24 events

April 11 Michigan – David Swanson speaking

April 13 in Scotland: #BairnsNotBOMBS Big Blockade

April 13, Global Day of Action Against Military Spending

April 15, March for the Homeless

April 22, March from EPA to Pentagon

April 24 – April 26 in New York, NY: Peace and the Planet Conference and Rally * April 24/25 – An international peace, justice and environmental conference * April 26 – A major international rally, march to the United Nations and peace festival

April 25 Houston – David Swanson speaking

April 27-29 at the Hague: WILPF Turns 100

April 27 – May 22 at United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY: NPT Review Conference (“RevCon”) * Call for NPT-related organizing * NPT brief overview * NPT Home page at UN

May 25 in Washington, D.C., a Veterans For Peace Memorial Day

August 6 – 9 in Santa Fe, NM: Campaign Nonviolence National Conference (Aug 6 – Mark the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima with the annual sackcloth and ashes peace vigil and call for nuclear disarmament near the National Labs. Aug 9 – Mark the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki with the annual sackcloth and ashes peace vigil and call for nuclear disarmament near the National Labs.)

August 6 in Hiroshima, Japan: “August 6, 2015 will be the 70th anniversary of the bombing [of Hiroshima]. Annually, there are events such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, with guest speakers, and the Lantern Floating Ceremony, in which lanterns float on the river as petitions for peace. Additional special events for the 70th anniversary are to be announced.”

August 9 in Nagasaki, Japan: [August 9, 2015 will be the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. Commemoration events are held annually and, as with Hiroshima, it is expected that additional special events for the 70th anniversary are to be announced.]

August 27 Chicago – David Swanson speaking

September 20 – 27: Everywhere: Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions 2015

November – date TBD in Nagasaki, Japan: Annual Pugwash Conference

More nuclear disarmament events here. (Thanks to Joe Scarry!)

Sign the Declaration of Peace.