Paul Tibbets died today. He commanded and flew the airplane that dropped the world’s first atomic weapon on people. What does it mean? Some people are really het up about him and have been so for years. Who flew the airplane that dropped the second bomb on Nagasaki? I don’t know and I’m not bothered. I can understand the symbolism about the first so was it right or not to drop the bombs? Was it right to develop RADAR in Britain as a defence for Britain and which ultimately saved Europe from fascism, but was also a key component in the A-Bomb to ensure it exploded at the correct height for maximum destructive effect and was also a key component in anti-aircraft artillery to ensure that a shell goes off close to the bombers trying to bomb British cities? Maybe it depends on whether you are one of the dead or living, winners or losers, a family that survived or a family that was hurt?
My opinion is in broad agreement with the chaps that did it. My father WAS at the Battle of Okinawa (see down the bottom of my Buddhism page) where the death toll was much greater. My father was in various places during WW2 and he told me all the things he’s seen and done. Using information available to me and my life experiences, here are my thoughts.
- War is hell.
- War is an abomination.
- I don’t think that to die from a nuclear blast or it’s after effects is in any way worse than to die from a bayonet in your guts, or to die a lingering death in a mud-filled shell hole with your guts and brains hanging out, or to spend a minute dying from the searing heat in a tank as it catches fire, or to be blown to a red mist by a roadside blast in Iraq.
- I don’t think that 140,000 dead from an atomic blast is worse than P.C. Yvonne Fletcher dying in the road in London from a shot from an embassy window, or the 10 million killed in China by the communists, or the millions killed by Stalin or Hitler, or the death of my great Uncle Tom, an artist who lost the use of his painting hand and later died, 10 years after being gassed in WW1.
- The numbers are not important and neither is the method of death. The important thing is to eliminate war as an abomination upon our species. It all derives from the anger state inherent in all people and the cowardice of people to speak up when they see bad things being done in their name.
- Bad things happen when good people do nothing.
- It’s everyone’s responsibility that these things happen, not Paul Tibbets’. Leave him alone. He was a brave man. To read the story of the flight makes one realise how brave they were on that day in that airplane.
I’ve resisted the temptation to include pictures of death and destruction, victory marches, labour camps, tortures, scientists or politicians, my family, someone else’s family, war memorials, etc. I feel like it – but I’ll resist. Words should be enough.
However, I DO think it’s appalling that, and I quote from the BBC article:
Gen Tibbets had asked for no funeral nor headstone as he feared opponents of the bombing may use it as a place of protest, the friend, Gerry Newhouse, said…
I say stick one up anyway. Anyone that threatens such stuff are actually the same and in the same anger state as the people that started the war – who knows when it might end. The only thing we can change is the future. Tibbets is dead and so are most of the people alive during that war. They cannot be brought back.
Fuck the people making these threats. Take them head on in argument and show them to be wrong. That’s the only way to a brighter future.