I read this article this morning, and I was livid. The author writes that although we (or, at least, Japanese people) still remember the Bomb, we don't remember why we remember it. He writes the kind of apologistic take I don't understand why people are still trying to proliferate: we needed to drop the bomb to save innocent lives. Let the word be spread.
I'm not going to pick apart the claims he makes in his article and show how specious some of them are. In fact, in the end, the argument itself--did the bomb save lives?--is meaningless (that's not to say my personal opinions don't come down very hard on one side of that issue). That argument, after all, is history, and what we have done can't be fixed.
What we can do is learn from the past. THAT is why we remember the Bomb.
To that end, I'd like to post a couple of definitions here.
War: n.1. 1. A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties.
2. The period of such conflict.
3. The techniques and procedures of war; military science.
4. A condition of active antagonism or contention: a war of words; a price war.
5. A concerted effort or campaign to combat or put an end to something considered injurious: the war against acid rain.
2. 1. A condition of active antagonism or contention: a war of words; a price war.
2. A concerted effort or campaign to combat or put an end to something considered injurious: the war against acid rain. (American Heritage Dictionary)
I'd like to draw your attention to definition 1.1. War is a state of conflict between two like entities, two states, two nations, etc. I would like to claim here that the definition does not cover a state of conflict between the government of one country and the people of another country. I would also like to remind readers that there were no military targets at the Ground Zeros of the bombs in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. They were dropped on civilians. It wasn't Japanese civilians who had declared war on the United States.
President Truman famously said the following about his decision to drop the bombs:
Nobody is more disturbed over the use of Atomic bombs than I am but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them.
Aside from any racism you may read into this statement, I would like to point to Truman's comparison of the dropping of the bombs to the attack on Pearl Harbor. I would like to remind readers that Pearl Harbor was a military base which was attacked by the Japanese military, in which the bulk of the casualties were those of service people. I would also like to suggest that, as such, the comparison of these two kinds of attacks is unwarranted and unfair.
One more definition, so we can reflect for a moment on what our government tries hard to justify.
Terrorism: n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons. (American Heritage Dictionary)
There is right and there is wrong, and there will always be people who try to reposit the latter as the former. We have to stay sharp, and savvy, and we have to ask questions. Whether or not we can control or have part of what our tax dollars are doing, we have to at least know where we stand. This is why we remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It's because this element of history becomes more, and not less, relevant with each year.