Atomic past: The consequences still continue




The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki make many Americans nervous. We rationalize the incineration of two Japanese cities, pleading we had no choice &

the same hollow claim President Bush used to justify our Iraq invasion. We can't undo the past, but we better learn from it &

especially now, as our leaders push for newer more "useable" atomic bombs.




In high school, students learn that dropping two atomic bombs on Japan supposedly "saved" lives. They read the only alternative was an invasion of the mainland and loss of at least a million American lives. Few see through this self-serving propaganda to learn that the Japanese, their cities fire-bombed, were already on the verge of surrendering. Few discover the bombs were, at least partially, a global warning, especially to the Soviets, of new American supremacy.




A colleague of mine lost her job over the touchy issue. Her students enthusiastically role-played a mock trial of President Truman. Many parents believed even exploring the possibility that an American president had committed genocidal crimes was itself offensive. They pressured the principal to curtail the exercise. Receiving an ultimatum, my friend chose to resign rather than capitulate.




As 1995 and the 50th anniversary of the bombs approached, the debate divided the Smithsonian Museum. The question was how to commemorate this vital moment in history. In the end, the proposed photographic exhibit showing the bombs' results was withdrawn, and the only part allowed was the Enola Gay itself, hanging from the rafters. They let us see the heavenly plane but not the earthly consequences of its mission.




Two years ago in a Hiroshima museum, thirty-nine members of our Rogue Valley Peace Choir did view photographs of the bomb's ghastly devastation. Our pilgrimage was conceived by choir-member, Hideko Tamora, who was only ten when the Hiroshima bomb killed her mother and over 300 of her classmates. We sang at her old school on Aug. 6. We sang by the river where so many, their flesh burning, came to die. In our hearts and those of our listeners, one thought prevailed: This should never happen again.




Today, as our nation threatens other countries for their potential development of nuclear weaponry, we need to examine our own relationship, past and present, with these genocidal devices. Hiroshima and Nagasaki can waken us to the catastrophes that await us if we do not elevate our moral development to match and contain our horrendous capacity to kill. Our future depends on it.




Ron Hertz









Suspicions about gun club foes




In a July 31 letter to the editor, Cathy DeForest, who, along with Leon Pyle, appears to be a spokesperson for a group that seems, to me, to be determined to rid Ashland of the gun club. Ms. DeForest stated that only two of the 430 signators owned property near the gun club. I am wondering if DeForest and Pyle are those two, since four years ago the DeForest-Pyle Trust purchased about 5 acres of property near the vicinity of the gun club.




Currently there is a large home under construction on that property. Interesting timing to conduct this purge. Neither DeForest nor Pyle have ever offered that information; wondering if they offered it to the signators at the Ashland Coop for four days when their support was being requested. DeForest and Pyle have attempted to cover any interpretation of self-serving goals and couched their attack in other areas. I have not been a member of the gun club for awhile, but I am sure that conversion to steel shot on the skeet range is possible, if they haven't already done so, as well as regular policing of the berms backing the rifle range.




It is my hope that the city council will study not only the situation thoroughly but the source of the complaint. DeForest closes her letter by asking us "to remind the city council that they represent all the citizens of Ashland." I would add that two disgruntled property owners whose purchase came decades after the existence of the gun club do not constitute a citizenry.




Doug Rowe









Encouraging impeachment




I believe that the Bush administration has chosen to commit many offenses against the Constitution and the American people that are grounds for impeachment. I hope Congress will find the strength and courage to stand up for what is right and introduce and pass appropriate articles of impeachment.




Morton Smith