Thursday, August 4, 2005

"Never Again..."

Tomorrow (August 5) I’ll go to downtown Portland to witness, if not participate in, an undertaking called "The Shadow Project." This is a yearly memorial of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that, for all intents and purposes, ended World War II. And destroyed, at the same time, the last vestiges of mankind’s innocence. Go here to listen to an excellent Oregon Public Radio piece on Portland’s participation in the Project.
The words "Never Again" have become the all-encompassing post-script to World War II. These days, we use them as an excuse to inflict more war and violence on the planet, under the pretense of keeping the world from spawning "another Hitler"—in Yugoslavia (Slobodan Milosevic), in Panama (Manuel Noriega) in Iraq (Sadaam Hussein) and on and on ad infinitum. It matters little that these smaller, weaker versions of evil incarnate bear little true resemblance to the huge malignancy that was Adolph Hitler. It suits us at given times to paint them with the same brush.
Have we ever applied those words "Never Again," to the World War II phenomenon to which they SHOULD most apply? To the use of mankind’s most heinous weapons? We don’t, as a nation, talk about that too much. When it comes to discussion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we put on solemn faces and declare that it was a terrible thing to have to do, but it was the only way to end the war. And that Japan or Germany would have had no qualms about dropping The Bomb on us if they had developed it first. I don’t propose to dispute the veracity of those statements. The arguments have all been made, and will probably be debated until the end of time. What bothers me is the belief that, since it was the United States of America that first used the ultimate WMD, it is somehow okay. That we were then, have always been, and always will be, the guys in the white hats. I would argue that the mere possession of that kind of power changes the color of your hat, over time…
It’s been sixty years since the U.S. perpetrated that hideous carnage upon two cities in Japan. Sixty years during which wehave, inexplicably, managed to keep from using similar weapons again. (This may the only concrete proof of the existence of a Supreme Being…) But, unfortunately, we did not stop perfecting, refining, and enlarging the weapons of ultimate death that we have.
Doesn’t it frighten anybody anymore, that in the bowels of our country, we hold the capability to destroy this planet many times over? Is it that all of us baby boomers grew up with that dark cloud over our heads, and we’ve just become desensitized to it? Is it that, since the demise of the Soviet Union, we think we can rest easy because the capacity for ultimate destruction is "in the right hands?" Is it that we think we don’t have to worry about it right now, since our current enemy doesn’t possess nuclear weapons? And how long can we hope that will be the case? Imagine a nuclear bomb in the hands of terrorists who have no respect for human life, not even their own. It’s certainly only a matter of time.
For all of the war-hawks out there who believe that we need to run all over the globe inflicting our values and way of life on the rest of mankind… For anyone who believes mankind could wage a "limited" nuclear war, and that would somehow be okay, as long as we don’t totally destroy the planet… For anyone who believes that we are going to root out and kill all of the terrorists before they get their hands on the technology with which we believe WE control the world… Think about what it will be like to be vaporized in your own home. To be reduced to a "shadow" on a wall or a floor. Or, worse, to become one of the living dead, wandering through hell with your clothes in shreds, your hair on fire, and your flesh falling in chunks from your bones. If you think you are safe, if you think only folks in desert lands halfway across the world should be sweating that fate, go to "Ground Zero." Reflect upon the place where two tall buildings once rose above the New York skyline. Do the words, "Never Again" hold a little more meaning for you now?


  1. Wonderful entry. The state of the world is so sad - going to hell in a handbasket. ~ Lori

  2. “Over the globe inflicting our values and way of life on the rest of mankind…”

    This romanticism allows people to desensitize themselves against the real bully----us.  So many people are caught up debating if we are inflicting values, if we need to be, and if it is our right, etc. etc that the real evil is going undetected and UNCHECKED.  

    The Real evil is American greed.  America’s unwillingness to scale back.  And because America is unwilling, people who love greed and power are running all over the globe inflicting war to steal resources to continue feeding that greed.  

  3. I have never been able to understand the mind set that invents these weopans much less the mind set that even CONTEMPLATES using them.


  4. Great entry. I do not believe in us owning weapons of mass destruction either. I have been in a lot of countries where Americans are hated for their superiority complex and capitalistic tendencies. My husband almost got in a fight with some English guys once because he got sick of them bad mouthing Americans...

  5. Promethius was punished for stealing fire from the gods, perhaps this will be our fate as well. To use another analogy from Greek mythology, now that we've opened the atomic Pandora's Box, we may not be able to close it before suffering the furries we have unleashed.
    To paraphrase one of my favorite writers, Edward Abbey, I sometimes wonder, in my darker moments, whether technology will suceed in enslaving humanity before it suceeds in its corollary goal of exterminating all human life.
    Still, I have hope. We are not prisoners of predestiny, not mere actors reciting a script that has already been written, we are creating this story as we live it and posess (I hope) a far greater capacity for love and wisdom than for hate and ignorance.


  7. Lisa, I hope you don't mind, but I plugged your commentary as recommended reading in my own journal.  Wendy

  8. "under the pretense of keeping the world from spawning "another Hitler"—in Yugoslavia (Slobodan Milosevic), in Panama (Manuel Noriega) in Iraq (Sadaam Hussein) and on and on ad infinitum."  

    All the while denying our own home-grown Hitler currently masquerading as Commander in Chief.

    As Americans we tend to have this superiority complex that tells us we are better than everyone else, that we know more than anyone else, that we are more responsible than the rest of the World.  Unfortunately we are wrong.

    Thank you for trying to educate those people.

    Dream of Peace.

  9. Hi Lisa,
    These are scary thoughts you write. It's always the"what if's" that scare me death about the future of our country and the lack of common sense or diligence of keeping us safer from our government. But whats to expected from our country being run by a bunch of baboons? Did President bush choose to attend his very important ceremony in Oregon or anywhere else? I didn't hear of any and I could be wrong.
    I have to also tell you that I have started reading "War Made Easy : How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" by Norman Solomon. What a great book and scary at the same time. It really gets you to thinking. I almost didn't purchase the book but I just had to after reading the first chapter and a half! Now Im glad that I'm reading it and I think everyone should.

    Thanks for posting you read it,

    PS: I also bought the "new" 911 reports and what is on those pages, fairly on those pages, scares me.

  10. War, Never Ends! When we use chemical weapons, it contaminates everything for generations. Children born with birth defects, are still a reality even 60 years later.  

  11. Hello!   I have enjoyed your style of writing in it's clear and distinctive mannor.  All of the wars will pale to the plight of the earth if environmental signs of distress by mankind  are  not heeded.  Future generations will long for the good ole days.  I listen and am friends to people of every political stance there is almost in the journals.  That is so much more to people than that, and by allowing them to say as they wish gives me more chance to have an open mind.  I find that history is such an excellent format for my presentations, even though it is not my writing nor do I attempt to take credit.  As an artist I have learned to value and heed originality, if not just for the sake of it being a requirement for exhibits.  I found your journal from Alphawoman1 (who I now know is Mary).  I have put you on my alerts, and look forward to more of your fantastic writing.   mark

  12. Remember that those in power are there because of the power. You have described the ultimate use of power. The leaders of a nation have the power of the nation in their hands. Money traslates to power. Bring the power back to the local Government. Seeking power is as old as mankind it is in our genes. Today the power comes from trillions of dollars. Bring the power back to the local government. Take the power away from the Federal government.