On NPR this morning was a segment about a Japanese composer who has recently done some music to commemorate the nuclear attack on Hiroshima. While the music plays, people read from diaries of survivors of the attack. The composer referred to the music as a “call to peace”, apparently by the message that the people in Hiroshima were ordinary people struck by a man made disaster.
The first thought I had was “why not intersperse those readings with readings from the diaries of people who survived Nanking?” Is it possible that what happened there contributed to what happened later in Hiroshima?
But then it occurred to me that real peace activists (as opposed to tyranophilic apologists) should celebrate Hiroshima. It should be held up as an example of what can happen to nations that invade, loot and brutalize other nations. Or what happens if the people allow a militaristic authortarian government to be in power.
Instead, by treating Hiroshima in isolation, the message is that peace means preventing American attacks on other nations and in turn that peace means “The USA is not at war”. This certainly seems to be the viewpoint of the anti-war protestors so this is not just one loony composer. It’s unlikely to result in a better world, first because the USA is overall a strong force for peace and liberty, and second because just like as for “international law”, the American street is likely to become pyschologically isolationist in reaction. It won’t be that the citizenry won’t support intervention overseas, but that it will demand that any such action serves only American interests regardless of the cost to the rest of the world. That doesn’t seem like a good thing to strive to achieve.