Revisionist history stems from power

Writers of history must include the horrific aspects of America’s past.

I’m confused by Marty Andrade’s column in the Aug. 17 issue of the Daily entitled “Erasing Revisionist History.”

For cable networks to recall the horrors of atomic warfare on its anniversary is not “revisionist” any more than it is a memorial commemoration of the Jewish Holocaust.

Historical revisionism stems from power – those with the power to write and propagate history will do so in their best interests. Winston Churchill said, “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.” Churchill does not highlight his role in the firebombing of Dresden at the end of World War II – nearly half a million German civilians were burned alive despite the known absence of a military target.

Andrade says that the suffering of Japanese civilians “wasn’t nearly as great as the suffering saved” by the bomb. At worst, it is a racist rationale saying the life of the Japanese is worth less than that of the American. At best, it is an echo of U.S. government propaganda.

The U.S. was the first to build and test nuclear weapons, despite horrible side effects inflicted upon its own population from fallout in Utah and Nevada. It is the only country to wage unilateral illegal war upon another. It continues to pursue the building of new weapons and nuclear militarization of space years after the Cold War has ended, despite the fact that there have been at least 20 nuclear accidental near-launches due to human error. The U.S. refuses to ratify the Non-Proliferation Treaty which would ban further construction and use of nuclear weapons.

Since the second invasion of Iraq, other countries that may face unilateral military aggression from the United States find that their only deterrent is to acquire their own weapon.

Those who portray history have a moral obligation to convey the past in order to avoid repeating the same horrors in the future. Memorializing Nagasaki and Hiroshima is not only a portrayal of such an atrocity, but should serve as a sobering reminder. Unfortunately, some U.S. policymakers and historical revisionists have only demonstrated the type of ignorance which could put our very survival at risk.

Jonathon Warnberg is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]