To the editor:
The J-W's Aug. 21 editorial wonders if demonstrators who commemorate the "atomic bomb incidents" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki intend to depict America as the "monster" and the Japanese as "hapless victims," and reminds us of cruel Japanese biological warfare experiments on Manchurian civilians in World War II. Armed violence invariably breeds atrocities against innocent people, be they perpetrated by Japanese, Germans (the Holocaust), British (machine gunning of protesters in Amritsar), Americans (the massacre at My Lai), international terrorists (Sept. 11), Palestinians, or Israelis. These are all repugnant, and should make us work to adopt means other than war to settle differences.
But something different happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For the first time, a single weapon annihilated tens of thousands of people in an instant. Nuclear war today threatens not just individual communities, but all of human civilization. I, for one, participate in our local Hiroshima/Nagasaki vigil not to criminalize anyone, but to draw attention to the genocidal path we persist in following.
Your editorial states that "America has worked ceaselessly to avoid a repetition" of nuclear warfare. But the way we have worked for it is by building ever more nukes, by storing warheads taken off alert instead of destroying them, and by assuring potential adversaries that not only will we use nuclear weapons, but we will use them first. That policy will eventually result in the very end it seeks to avoid, only this time the nuclear "incident" will have devastating consequences for the entire human species.