Saturday, May 22, 2010

United States / Japan / Hiroshima Atomic Bombing

"Would I Drop the Atomic Bomb Again? Yes, I Would"
By Ed Pilkington
The Guardian, May 21, 2010
"Theodore Van Kirk is sitting at his desk in a detached bungalow in the gated community where he lives outside Atlanta, Georgia. ... The absence of any plans is unusual, because Van Kirk is usually heavily in demand on 6 August. This year, he tells me, he has been invited to travel, all expenses paid, to Tinian, the tiny Pacific island where, 65 years ago on that same day, he set out with 11 other men on an aeroplane journey that would change the world. But this year, Van Kirk declined the invitation. He just didn't feel like it, he says. His uncharacteristic inactivity is explained by the fact that none of the 11 crew members who joined him on that fateful flight will be in Tinian this year, and without them he didn't have the stomach to go. Over the last 65 years they have fallen one by one. ...
'We knew there was something special going on,' he says. 'You couldn't be in the 509th and not know something was up. They told us we were going out to do something that would either end or significantly shorten the war. They told us that the weapon we were going to drop would destroy an entire city.' On top of that, they saw hundreds of physicists milling around the base, one of whom Van Kirk recognised from the cover of Time magazine. 'After all that, if you couldn't figure out it was an atomic bomb you were pretty damn stupid. If you talked about it you were even more damn stupid, as you would be transferred instantly to the Aleutian islands, where you could talk all you wanted and nobody would listen.' [...]"

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