Guest Post by Karen L. Ishizuka
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first of two atomic bombs on the small island nation of Japan – the only time a nuclear weapon of mass destruction has been deliberately used to annihilate an entire city. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, the U.S. dropped another atomic bomb on another city in Japan, a mere 261 miles — less than the distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas — from the first.
Because of the overwhelming devastation and resulting chaos, the actual mortality of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will never be known. However, the latest figures indicate the number killed in Hiroshima is now over 192,000 (either instantly or within the following few months) and over 75,000 in Nagasaki. This is more than six times the number of women, children and men living in Culver City, where I reside. In addition to the deaths, over seven decades later, untold numbers of survivors and their children continue to suffer from radiation and other after effects,
This year Barack Obama was the first U.S. president to visit Hiroshima while in office, breaking the silence of nine previous presidents since Truman pressed the buttons. During this interval, many scholars have come to the same conclusion that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower voiced at the time: that Japan was already defeated and the bomb was completely unnecessary. Although Obama did not apologize on behalf of the United States, as some have long wished for, his visit, with all the pomp and ceremony befitting of a state visit — as well as his personal homage to the victims — was historic and long overdue.