The Watering Hole; Friday July 15 2016; Trinity plus Seventy-one

Trinity

Seventy-one years ago this day, July 15, 1945, at the White Sands Proving Grounds near Alamagordo, New Mexico, final preparations were underway for the first test of the Manhattan Project’s creation: the nuclear fission bomb, the Atomic Bomb. Early the next morning — seconds short of 5:30 AM — the ‘Trinity’ test explosion sent a  searingly bright ‘rising sun’ some 40,000 feet into the desert sky, and the atomic age was launched. Two more fission bombs — one Uranium, the other Plutonium —  remained; they were intended to be used to end the Second World War, to force mass surrender of the Axis powers. Originally, the first target was to have been Nazi Germany, but since Germany had surrendered unconditionally on May 7, 1945, the remaining target was Japan.

On August 6, 1945, the “Little Boy” Uranium-235 bomb was dropped on Hiroshima; some 70,000 people died in result. Three days later on August 9, 1945, the “Fat Man” Plutonium-239 bomb was dropped on Nagasaki; some 40,000 people died instantly, and some 30,000 more died before the end of the year from the effects of the blast. On August 15, 1945, Japan offered its unconditional surrender. The final surrender was made official on September 2, 1945 — exactly forty-eight days following the Trinity test explosion in New Mexico. The Atomic Age, hurriedly ushered in thanks to the six year-old Manhattan Project, had proven its power.

Many people, myself included, have long wondered exactly why it was that the US chose to destroy two Japanese cities in just three days, why the US didn’t, instead and so as to save tens of thousands of innocent lives, detonate the first bomb away from a population center but in such a way as to ensure the explosion and mushroom fireball would be visible to a large number of Japanese people, especially to their military leaders. It may have worked, but if not the second device would have still been available. Such an option was indeed discussed by those responsible for the decision, but they decided to take the other course instead.

In the mid-1990’s and on or about the fiftieth anniversary of the Second World War’s official end, I happened to be visiting Hawaii. While there, one of our many stops was Pu’owaina, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. During a somber walk amongst the earlier rows of graves, I stumbled upon a footstone, an ironic grave marker of a U.S. Marine Lt. who was killed somewhere in the Pacific . . . on the exact day in late October 1942 that I was born. The irony stuck with me, and over the next several years I spent uncounted hours attempting to summarize my own view of World War II history and its impact via a lengthy poetic essay, of sorts. The following three poems are excerpted from that poetic essay entitled Emeralds and Ashes. The selections are poem numbers 3, 4, and 5, from . . .

Part II: The WAR in THE PACIFIC

****

G _ D HAVE MERCY

saipan
iwo jima
okinawa
Islands where battles raged to capture
stepping stones
to place the
empire of japan
within range of
bombers
and of
bombs

G _ D
have mercy

the toll in life snuffed or wounded
by flame and bullet
enormous
saipan
34,000
iwo jima
51,000
okinawa
205,000
and fateful lesson learned
‘twas said and written
invasion of japan would bear a cost in human life
unimagined
and far greater than any battle fought before in
all of human history

G _ D
have mercy

there had to be a better way

new mexico
july 16 1945
anno domini
at dawn a flash
described by witness as

. . . enormous ball of . . .
  fire
and closely resembled a

rising sun

a better way
now found
but now
the hour
is
late

later than e’er before

G _ D
have mercy

****

THE RISING SUN

a subtle crimson dawn
bears witness to the

rising sun

as drone of aircraft parts the tropic stillness
of oahu
without warning
flashes
explosions
and searing heat
begin their murderous task
of destroying fleet of ships
and sailors
amidst screams and death
in aftermath
silent determination signals that
the beginning of the end
is begun

then other places and other dawns
in consort with the

rising sun

turn the ocean red as if with blood
the stench of war prevails
and stench of death overwhelms
and sickens
all but gods of east and west
who remain curiously silent
unoffended by carnage beneath them on
bataan
midway
guadalcanal
saipan
okinawa
to name a few
now emerald tombstones
for untold tens of thousands

the inland sea
bears witness to the final dawn of war
as familiar drone parts the morning silence
unobtrusively
above the

land of rising sun

and lets drop its cargo
the soul of hell encased in steel
a flash
explosion
and mushroom cloud’s
atomic searing heat vaporizes
screams and moans
of all beneath this erstwhile devil’s

rising sun

hiroshima
where satan’s crimson dawn
lays carnage at the feet of men
and of gods who never cared enough
to halt atrocities
which tore their world to shreds
the heart of the

rising sun

finally stilled
alongside hearts of
innocents across the globe
the murdered dead
who whisper questions
through the dirt which overlies
their shallow graves

why
they ask
are all gods deaf
to prayers of the living
and deaf to screams
of dying and the dead
why is misery of carnage
always allowed to bear witness to the

rising sun

of yet another dawn
and we are not

?

****

¡HALLELUJAH!

finis!
of this
the latest
war to end all wars
september 2 1945

anno domini

as japan capitulated
on quarter-deck of dreadnought
uss missouri
at anchor in tokyo bay
these final words were spoken
by douglas macarthur
army general of the victors

let us pray that peace be now restored to the world
and that god will preserve it always

PRAISE BE TO GOD!
HALLELUJAH!

in global conflagration
fifty millions dead or missing
cities and nations now become
smoking rubble
through cause unjustifiable
by any measure of
sanity
or insanity

or PRAISE BE TO GOD
or HALLELUJAH

left behind a lexicon
of horror

auschwitz birkenau buchenwald treblinka bergen-belsen majdanek babi yar
pearl harbor bataan guadalcanal saipan iwo jima okinawa hiroshima nagasaki

Holocaust

to those who perished
by fetid hand of satan’s fetid soul

PRAISE BE TO GOD?
HALLELUJAH?

aftermath prophesied in
bhagavad gita

“If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst
at once into the sky
that would be like the Splendor of
The Mighty One . . .
‘I am become Death, Shatterer of Worlds.’”

EPITAPH:

IN HOC SIGNO

VINCES!

¡HA! …
Halle …
Hallelu …
¡JA!

Praise be to . . .

?

****

Today countless other nations possess nuclear arms. Many of them are sworn enemies: Pakistan-India; Israel-Pakistan; N. Korea-the World; China-Russia-USA . . . the possibilities of nuclear conflict are as ongoing as they are endless. And even as rationality diminishes daily amongst adversaries, the good news remains that, as of this day, so far, only the United States has used the atomic bomb against a military enemy, and only twice as noted above. But still the fact remains: two of the first three atomic bombs ever detonated — “miniatures” in today’s world — destroyed two cities and killed nearly 150,000 people in the process.

Today, 2016 — according to the Federation of American Scientists and as posted on the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) website — “nine countries together possess more than 15,000 nuclear weapons,” and of those weapons, “most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.” They list arsenals as follows:

United States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6970 Warheads

Russia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7300

United Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215

France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300

China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260

India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100-120

Pakistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110-130

Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

North Korea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . <10

TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15,350 Warheads

The obvious reality is a simple one: a full-fledged nuclear war will likely extinct most if not all life forms on the planet. PRAISE BE TO GOD? HALLELUJAH?  Hardly. Human Insufficiency — Stupidity — is a much better fit.

It’s fair to note, too, that earlier this year (presumed) Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump publicly advocated that Japan, South Korea, and probably other countries as well be encouraged/allowed to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. Given the location of his home in New York City’s Trump Tower, would it be fair to consider that recommendation as yet one more Manhattan Project? In any case, should Drumpf manage to win the POTUS-ship in the upcoming election, I suggest he adopt as his Administration’s slogan that line from the Bhagavad Gita, the line that reads

‘I am become Death, Shatterer of Worlds.’

It suits him, somehow.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Friday August 9, 2013; Nagasaki

In Memory of All Who Suffered, and of The Murdered Dead.

Following are some excerpts from “The Pacific War” by John Costello (1981; Atlantic Communications, Inc.; ISBN 089-89256-206-4); detailing various events beginning on August 6, 1945 and culminating 68 years ago today, on August 9, 1945

“This is the greatest thing in history,” Truman exclaimed when he was brought the message, “HIROSHIMA BOMBED,” while lunching with sailors aboard the Augusta in mid-Atlantic.

“It is an atomic bomb,” announced the prepared White House release. “It is harnessing the fundamental power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East.” The Japanese had been given a shocking example of American power in a detonation estimated at 20 million tons of TNT, and a terrible warning: “If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”

In re Hiroshima itself: the detonated uranium bomb’s first moments, and the immediate aftermath . . .

“My God!” was the startled reaction of one of the Enola Gay crew members . . .

“Suddenly a glaring whitish pink light appeared in the sky accompanied by an unnatural tremor that was followed almost immediately by a wave of suffocating heat and wind that swept everything away in its path,” was how one observer recorded that moment of detonation. . . .

“Within a few seconds the thousands of people in the streets and the gardens of the center of town were scorched by a wave of searing heat. Many were killed instantly, others lay writhing on the ground, screaming in agony from the intolerable pains of their burns. . . .”

Half an hour after the explosion, through a clear, cloudless sky, a mysterious drizzle began to fall on the survivors. Those not dying or in agony from their terrible burns began to fear that the black drops of rain contained some more deadly poison. Ten square miles of Hiroshima had been obliterated and more than 130,000 people had perished in those few interminable minutes of hell, which also cost the lives of American prisoners of war held in Hiroshima Castle.

There was no response from Tokyo to the American ultimatum, so therefore episode two in the promised  “rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth” was shortly underway.

Major Charles W. Sweeny took off from Tinian piloting the Superfortress named Bock’s Car after its usual pilot, Captain Frederick C. Bock . . . Slung in the B-29’s hull was the second of America’s nuclear weapons, the “Fat Man” plutonium bomb which scientists expected might prove more powerful than the uranium bomb dropped three days earlier. His mission was not to run so smoothly. There were technical snags in getting the device armed, and the weather reports were bad that night as Bock’s Car thundered toward its primary target at Kokura, the site of a huge army arsenal. Thick clouds blanketed the city at dawn, and Sweeny determined to try his alternative dropping zone over Nagasaki. With his reserve tanks not functioning by the time he arrived over the city shortly before 11 A.M., he decided to ignore orders and bomb by radar. Then his bombardier sighted a hole in the overcast.

The detonation of the “Fat Man” plutonium bomb generated a fireball of destruction that annihilated 35,000 people and flattened the center of the city, but the extent of the damage was contained because of the shielding effect of the surrounding hills.

Hours later, Japanese Emperor Hirohito, in a piping, almost expressionless voice denounced the futility of “prolongation of bloodshed and cruelty.” The terms of Potsdam, calling for the disarming of the services and the punishment of the war leaders, were “unbearable,” he agreed. “Nevertheless the time has come when we must bear the unbearable.”

The Second World War was thus over, and the final Japanese (unconditional) surrender took place some three weeks hence — on September 2, 1945 — aboard the decks of Battleship Missouri, at anchor in Tokyo Bay.

From Emeralds and Ashes, my summation:

¡HALLELUJAH!

germany surrendered
unconditionally
may 7 1945
anno domini
five years
eight months
seven days
beyond day one
and flow of european brimstone ceased
though well beyond the gates of hell
the maniacal
thousand year reich
died a fitting death
at age twelve years
four months
eight days

PRAISE BE TO GOD!
HALLELUJAH!

finis!
of this
the latest
 war to end all wars
september 2 1945
anno domini
as japan capitulated
on quarter-deck of dreadnought
uss missouri
at anchor in tokyo bay
these final words were spoken
by douglas macarthur
army general of the victors

let us pray that peace be now restored to the world
and that god will preserve it always

PRAISE BE TO GOD!
HALLELUJAH!

in global conflagration
fifty millions dead or missing
cities and nations now become
smoking rubble
through cause unjustifiable
by any measure of
sanity
or insanity
or PRAISE BE TO GOD
or HALLELUJAH

left behind a lexicon
of Horror
auschwitz birkenau buchenwald treblinka bergen-belsen majdanek babi-yar
pearl harbor bataan guadalcanal saipan iwo jima okinawa hiroshima nagasaki
Holocaust
to those who perished
by fetid hand of satan’s fetid soul

PRAISE BE TO GOD?
HALLELUJAH?

aftermath prophesied in
bhagavad gita

“If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst
at once into the sky
that would be like the Splendor of
The Mighty One . . .
‘I am become Death, Shatterer of Worlds.’”

EPITAPH:

IN HOC SIGNO

VINCES!

Ha…
Halle…
Hallelu…
¡JA!

Praise be to . . .

??

Open Thread.