Media Mashup: August 6, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 5.18.19 AMHiroshima: 70 Years Later

Hiroshima may be one of the most confusing places I have ever visited. It’s difficult to describe the locale where 70 years ago the world entered the atomic age. Freeze dried is about the only way for me to tell others how it looks–a place frozen in time as the atomic blast literally left people’s shadows captured on a wall. I cried during my visit.

But I didn’t cry because of the “evil” done there on Aug. 6, 1945. I cried because it took so many to die to save so many American soldiers.

When I teach my students about the event, I have them read John Hersey’s articles about what happened to some of the survivors. Hersey’s account, which appeared in The New Yorker, is perhaps the most brilliant piece of journalism in the 20th century.

But I support President Truman’s decision to use a nuclear bomb. Had he not done so, an estimated one million allied soldiers, mainly Americans, would have been killed or wounded trying conquer Japan. All you have to do is watch Clint Eastwood’s “Iwo Jima” to understand how fierce the fighting would have been. It would have been horrific.

Carl von Clausewitz, the author of the 19th-century classic “On War,” should serve as anyone’s guidebook for assessing Truman’s decision.

“If the critic wishes to distribute praise or blame,” writes Clausewitz, he must “put himself exactly in the position of the commander; in other words, he must assemble everything the commander knew and all the motives that affected his decision, and ignore all that he could not or did not know, especially the outcome.”

The National Interest provides an analytical guide at http://bit.ly/1IrXExs

Syria: Five Years Later

A London news organization alleges that the Syrian government has used napalm against its enemies.

Napalm has a devastating effect on humans as it sticks to skin and causes firestorms and a carbon monoxide atmosphere that can kill people entrenched in shelters.

Media: A Few Days Later

On a  lighter note, the media madness around hitchBOT may be unwarranted. It appears that the video of two men in Philadelphia essentially dismantling the hitchhiking robot was a hoax. Although the robot apparently was damaged, according to its Canadian makers, it appears that Philly may have taken a bad rap–something that always happens. Just sayin’ I haven’t seen many corrections about the fake video.

Please send suggestions and tips to charper@temple.edu

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