The Fire This Time

Nagasaki in August, 1945 Source: HULTON ARCHIVE / GETTY IMAGES

This month, a hot one in the Global North, is when we remember the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with two types of nuclear weapons. This month the old lies will be trotted out: the U.S. ended the war and saved countless (American soldiers’) lives by dropping these bombs. 

This month the old lies will be refuted — eloquently and with copious references by David Swanson in Hiroshima is a Lie among other places.

Anyone paying attention to WWII actual history rather than the History Channel (some say, Hitler Channel) version knows that Japan was about to surrender. And the U.S. government knew it. The unnecessary firepower was primarily intended as a show of strength to warn the U.S.S.R. that, with Nazi Germany defeated — primarily by the U.S.S.R. — the U.S. was the new bully on the block.

But firebombing cities full of civilians was nothing new in 1945. The U.S. had already burned up many cities in Japan and Germany. 

And burning civilians to death has continued as the signature act of aggression by U.S. forces.

Napalm was developed, a jellied form of petroleum, to burn Vietnamese jungles and people.

Drones were developed to deliver Hellfire missiles remotely without risk (other than debilitating moral injuries to last a lifetime) to the bombers.

White phosphorus was developed to burn on contact and keep burning deep into the flesh. It’s used extensively by Israel and the U.S. on civilian populations.

And now come global raging fires, a result of runaway military use of fossil fuels which is accelerating rather than abating in the face of climate emergency.

Joseph Galanakis/Rex/Shutterstock

Greece is on fire, with ground temperatures beyond belief.

Oregon has gone almost two months without rain and is burning.

Just two examples out of many.

When will we stop burning up people, animals, fish, birds, and forests for profit?

When will we realize that to live by the sword of fire is to die by the sword of fire?

Respect to the environmental activists begging us to find a better way to live, throwing their spanners into the works of late stage capitalism.

Respect to the nuclear resistance activists begging us to realize that any further deployment of nuclear weaponry spells doom for humans as a species.

In the face of facts on the ground, why does the U.S. keep building nuclear weapon systems? For profit, of course. The revolving door between the Pentagon and military contractors guarantees that these deadly contracts keep rolling in. 


Indigenous wisdom is ignored at a time in history when listening and heeding could save us. 

Will we listen in time to save us from the fire this time?

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