Israel and the Lessons of Hiroshima

I just finished reading an excellent piece at Editor & Publisher on how the press covered "the day after" Hiroshima.

The MSM relied completely on the US War Department, something unthinkable today:

Almost without exception newspaper editorials endorsed the use of the bomb against Japan. Many of them sounded the theme of revenge first raised in the Truman announcement. Most of them emphasized that using the bomb was merely the logical culmination of war. "However much we deplore the necessity," The Washington Post observed, "a struggle to the death commits all combatants to inflicting a maximum amount of destruction on the enemy within the shortest span of time." The Post added that it was "unreservedly glad that science put this new weapon at our disposal before the end of the war."

Referring to American leaders, the Chicago Tribune commented: "Being merciless, they were merciful." A drawing in the same newspaper pictured a dove of peace flying over Japan, an atomic bomb in its beak.

It would be weeks before the first western reporter, George Weller, would reach Nagasaki to file his own independent reports — the first to draw attention to radiation-related illnesses. Compare that to this year's Gaza War. Despite Israeli media restrictions, we knew a lot more about developments in the Strip — much of it in real time.

The increased concern for human rights is also hard to overlook. During Operation Cast Lead, the IDF made more than 200,000 phone calls warning Gazans of impending air strikes. To put that number in perspective, Hiroshima's estimated casualites (dead and injured) is 135,000.

None of which prevented the media from skewering Israel.


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