Nagasaki: Fat Man incinerates thousands

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Paul Tibbits and the bomber
he named for his mother

Why would anyone name a bomb?

For centuries men have given their ships and airships the names of women.  They love these toys, even when they are designed to be killers.

Starting in 1944-45, men began giving pet names to atomic bombs themselves.

Today is August 9, the day Nagasaki was blasted with a nuclear explosion.  We are now 75 years past that bloodless death day.  Humans were incinerated, flesh to ashes in seconds.   

“Fat Man” the men called their bomb. It killed between 39,000 and 80,000 humans in Nagasaki within four months.  No one really knows how many were killed instantly–there were no remains, no bones, no way to count.

“Little Boy” they called the bomb that killed humans in Hiroshima.  It killed  between 90,000 and 146,000 people in one blow, not counting those who took years to die.  It killed many little boys.

Wikipedia reports calmly:

On August 6, one of the modified B-29s dropped a uranium gun-type bomb (“Little Boy“) on Hiroshima. Another B-29 dropped a plutonium implosion bomb (“Fat Man“) on Nagasaki three days later. 

We call ourselves civilized, so mass murder of thousands must be a mark of civilization.  Giving tender names to our weapons of murder must be the modern equivalent of naming a sword.

I feel sorry for Enola Gay Tibbits.  

What woman would want her name on the B-29 bomber that dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima?  

Her son Paul Tibbits named the bomber for his mother, Enola Gay.  Maybe she was a bummer of a woman.  A bomber. 

That death-laden plane could have been named “Mary Louise” or “Susan Marie.”  “Suzy Q.”

The B-29 that carried “Fat Man” was given the ugly name Bockscar, from the surname of pilot Frederick C. Bock.

If we stop to think about these things–as we should at least once a year–we may go crazy.  Death tied up in a bow with cute names. 

If we don’t stop to think about the tens of thousands needlessly murdered by our own country–America, the Beautiful–we accept being morally bankrupt.

We are complicit.  We are the children of those who chose to kill, and by not crying out against this atrocity, we allow it to happen again.

A British band called Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark wrote a song in 1980 to remind us:

Enola Gay, you should have stayed at home yesterday
We got your message on the radio, conditions normal and you’re coming home
These games you play, they’re gonna end in more than tears someday
Uh huh Enola Gay, it shouldn’t ever have to end this way
It’s 8:15, that’s the time that it’s always been
We got your message on the radio, conditions normal and you’re coming home
Enola Gay, is mother proud of little boy today
Uh huh, this kiss you give, it’s never ever gonna fade away
Enola Gay, you should have stayed at home yesterday
We got your message on the radio, conditions normal

See also:
NY Times:   Hiroshima Survivors Worry that World Will Forget
LA Times:   Hiroshima’s lasting shadow on the world by Nicholas Goldberg
”      ”           Art: survivors carrying the dead of Hiroshima
Science:     Aftermath – radiation’s health effects by Dennis Normile
                    Avoiding another Hiroshima by Madeleine K. Albright

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