Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tomgram: Bunker-busting the Nuclear Taboo

[Tomdispatch Notes from Here and There: For those readers wondering about Nick Turse's long absence from the site, the reason is now apparent. Today, the first article in a major series he has co-authored on previously unrevealed American war crimes in Vietnam appears on the front page of the Los Angeles Times (with sidebar). When the series is finished, he will return to Tomdispatch. In the meantime, we here -- which means me, here -- at Tomdispatch are exceedingly proud of him for this accomplishment.

On a TD backward/forward-looking note: Even as you sweltered last week, perhaps you were somehow unaware that the rest of the country was gripped in the sort of heat-wave that was a living ad for Al Gore's hit film; but you surely knew that Mel Gibson, on being stopped by the police for driving while intoxicated, launched into an anti-Semitic tirade of media-stopping proportions -- and later asked for meetings with prominent Jewish community leaders so that together they could discover "the appropriate path for healing." He was even essentially forgiven in the President's name by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow (perhaps in the name of all Jews everywhere, since this President feels free to speak in the name of almost anyone). The exchange went:

"…And my question: Does the President forgive Mel Gibson or not? (Laughter.)

"MR. SNOW: The President believes in the forgiveness of sins for all who seek forgiveness."

George Bush himself later ducked the forgiveness question in a curious way -- by calling ABC's Sam Donaldson a "has-been," a good offense being perhaps the best defense. None of this would, however, have surprised long-time Tomdispatch readers, given the piece the ever-prescient Mike Davis wrote back in March 2004 on Gibson's Aramaic action movie, The Passion of the Christ, which he called "one of the most manipulative films ever made," and placed in a "tradition" we all might prefer to forget -– "the anti-Semitic conventions of Hitlerian cinema." It's well worth a re-read today. Tom]

First, there was one, Little Boy, which the United States dropped on Hiroshima as a bitter war was nearing its end sixty-one years ago today; then came Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki three days later. Both cities were essentially obliterated.

By the time the Russians got theirs -- Joe (for Joe Stalin)-1 in 1949, the U.S. had 235 in its arsenal. By the time Britain got its first ("Hurricane") in 1953, the U.S. had 1,436 and the Soviets, 120; by the time France had its first 4 and China its first in 1964, the U.S. had 31,056; the Russians, 5,221; and the British, 310.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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