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Historians Propose National Park To Preserve Manhattan Project Sites

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the remember-this? dept.

The Military 150

Hugh Pickens writes writes "William J. Broad writes that a plan now before Congress would create a national park to protect the aging remnants of the atomic bomb project from World War II, including hundreds of buildings and artifacts scattered across New Mexico, Washington and Tennessee — among them the rustic Los Alamos home of Dr. Oppenheimer and his wife, Kitty, and a large Quonset hut, also in New Mexico, where scientists assembled components for the plutonium bomb dropped on Japan. 'It's a way to help educate the next generation,' says Cynthia C. Kelly, president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation, a private group in Washington that helped develop the preservation plan. 'This is a major chapter of American and world history. We should preserve what's left.' Critics have faulted the plan as celebrating a weapon of mass destruction, and have argued that the government should avoid that kind of advocacy. 'At a time when we should be organizing the world toward abolishing nuclear weapons before they abolish us, we are instead indulging in admiration at our cleverness as a species,' says Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich. Historians and federal agencies reply that preservation does not imply moral endorsement, and that the remains of so monumental a project should be saved as a way to encourage comprehension and public discussion. A park would be a commemoration, not a celebration, says Heather McClenahan, director of the Los Alamos Historical Society pointing out there are national parks commemorating slavery, Civil War battles and American Indian massacres. 'It's a chance to say, "Why did we do this? What were the good things that happened? What were the bad? How do we learn lessons from the past? How do we not ever have to use an atomic bomb in warfare again?" '"

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Especially Apt (4, Funny)

xevioso (598654) | about a year and a half ago | (#42198865)

It's Christmas at ground zero
There's music in the air
The sleigh bells are ringing and the carolers are singing
While the air raid sirens blare

It's Christmas at ground zero
The button has been pressed
The radio just let us know
That this is not a test

Everywhere the atom bombs are dropping
It's the end of all humanity
No more time for last-minute shopping
It's time to face your final destiny

It's Christmas at ground zero
There's panic in the crowd
We can dodge debris while we trim the tree
Underneath the mushroom cloud

Ronald Reagan:
Well, the big day is only a few hours away now.
I'm sure you're all looking forward to it
as much as we are.

You might hear some reindeer on your rooftop
Or Jack Frost on your windowsill
But if someone's climbing down your chimney
You better load your gun and shoot to kill

It's Christmas at ground zero
And if the radiation level's okay
I'll go out with you and see all the new
Mutations on New Year's Day

It's Christmas at ground zero
Just seconds left to go
I'll duck and cover with my Yuletide lover
Underneath the mistletoe

It's Christmas at ground zero
Now the missiles are on their way
What a crazy fluke, we're gonna get nuked
On this jolly holiday

What a crazy fluke, we're gonna get nuked
On this jolly holiday!

--Wierd Al Yankovic
Christmas At Ground Zero

Re:Especially Apt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42198931)

--Weird Al Yankovic
Christmas At Ground Zero

FTFY. It's "Weird", not "Wired". Also, Christmas at Ground Zero just got 20% [youtube.com] more enriched [youtube.com] .

Re:Especially Apt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199115)

He wrote "wierd", not "wired". How come ctrl-c ctrl-v eludes so many people?

Re:Especially Apt (1)

sarysa (1089739) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200753)

It sucks on a phone. :p

Re:Especially Apt (4, Funny)

xevioso (598654) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199197)

That's weird; I thought I wrote wierd. Weird.

Re:Especially Apt (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42201827)

Party at ground zero Every movie starring you And the world will turn to flowing Pink vapor stew
Please do not fear 'cause Fishbone is here to say Just have a good time, the stop sign is far away The toilet has flushed and green lights are a ghost And drop drills will be extinct
Speed racer cloud has come They know not what they've done Sin has just won The planet is a crumb
Johnny, go get your gun For the commies are in our hemisphere today Ivan, go fly your MIG For the Yankee imperialists have come to play
Johnny goes to Sally's house to kiss her goodbye But Daddy says to spend the night They make love till the early morning light For tomorrow Johnny goes to fight
Johnny, Ivan, Ian Everybody come along For our nations need new heroes Time to sing a new war song
Party at ground zero Every movie starring you And the world will turn to flowing Pink vapor stew
Please do not fear 'cause Fishbone is here to say Just have a good time, the stop sign is far away The toilet has flushed and green lights are a ghost And drop drills will be extinct
Speed racer cloud has come They know not what they've done Sin has just won The planet is a crumb
Party at ground zero Every movie starring you And the world will turn to flowing Pink vapor stew

Fishbone, Party at Ground Zero

Re:Especially Apt (1)

TwezerFace (2788771) | about a year and a half ago | (#42202801)

You may have a copyright violoation here...no?

Meanwhile, at Hanford (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42198869)

They are desperately trying to [b]get rid[/b] of about a trillion tons of nuclear waste from historic bomb making before it leaks into the Columbia RIver.

And they'll do it too. Just as soon as they figure out how, and if we pay Bechtel enough billions. Though sometimes it's about the journey and not the destination.

Take the tour, see the sights.

Only Americans... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42198871)

...Would honor something like this.

Re:Only Americans... (5, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199021)

arc de triomphe, Trafalgar square, brandenburg gate, etc?

Whatever you may think of the two bombings in particular lots of countries have killed a lot more people in their wars, and built varying types of monuments. Should the war museums in britain not have lancaster bombers given how they were used to obliterate cities? How about any monument to the royal navy which was basically built to starve continental adversaries into submission?

For all it's faults the manhattan project was also one of the largest research projects in history, if not the largest, and I think it's important to remember just went into making it, how much money and resources can be spent testing ideas in a desperate hope to find one that works, and a tribute to the people who did the work to make it happen at all. It's important to recognize the consequences of that work too, but it really was tremendous work and genius to realize the potential of uranium and plutonium, good and bad.

Re:Only Americans... (4, Funny)

formfeed (703859) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200007)

arc de triomphe, Trafalgar square, brandenburg gate, etc?

Nothing in comparison.
Brandenburg Gate: Built to represent peace, so Napoleon could come and visit the city.
Trafalgar square: built after Napoleon's defeat, to remind the British Nation that French people are funny.
The Arc de Triomphe: built after Napoleon's victory, to remind the French Nation not to discriminate against short people.

Re:Only Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200721)

Then this should be the premise

Manhattan Project memorial: Now Global powers give each other the stink eye rather then throwing wave after wave of goons into trench warfare.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

treeves (963993) | about a year and a half ago | (#42201185)

Randy Newman: built to remind us all that it's OK to discriminate against short people.

Re:Only Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42201261)

arc de triomphe, Trafalgar square, brandenburg gate, etc?

Nothing in comparison.

Brandenburg Gate: Built to represent peace, so Napoleon could come and visit the city.

Trafalgar square: built after Napoleon's defeat, to remind the British Nation that French people are funny.

The Arc de Triomphe: built after Napoleon's victory, to remind the French Nation not to discriminate against short people.

Unlike those monuments, the Manhattan Project is still the 800 lb gorilla in the room for international politics. Nuclear weapons and the paranoia they produced are what defined 90% of every major political decision between the major powers in the latter half of the 20th century. The military-industrial complex, the Space Race, proxy wars, paranoia wars, hippies, neo-cons, Stalinists, anti-Stalinists, Cuba, Israel, apartheid, India, Pakistan, etc., have all been influenced by this weapon. Even today the Doomsday Clock is only 5 minutes to midnight. All other international politics is relatively fluff compared to nuclear holocaust.

So yes, Europe can have its monuments to great wars and hard fought peace. We will have ours commemorating the fact that hundreds of millions of people can die within 15 minutes and humanity could be extinct within a year or so if we don't pay attention and solve this problem. If we are lucky, at some point in time this monument will reflect on the fact that we did solve the problem and become more like Europe's monuments.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200055)

No need for a boondoggle national historic park to understand this history. Just read Richard Rhodes' "The Making of the Atomic Bomb." It's really the history of 20th century physics relevant to the Manhattan Project. Many insights, including how important the now-ignored Leo Szillard was to the whole enterprise.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42204097)

What makes you think a book is somehow better than preserving the places where history was made?

Re:Only Americans... (5, Insightful)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199131)

It shortened the war by years, sparing millions of lives at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

Also, there is a difference between honoring something like this and remembering something like this.

Go to Dachau, take the tour - the difference between honoring and remembering becomes obvious.

Re:Only Americans... (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199523)

But but, you spoiled the little Hate-America-First poster boys cleverly set up one liner.

Still one has to fear the pablum that would be spat by perky Park Service summer intern "interpreters".
I've seen my fair share of parks, and the drivel that flows is pretty annoying.
Ask them anything off script and they are at sea.

Re:Only Americans... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200059)

<quote><p>It shortened the war by years, sparing millions of lives at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.</p></quote>

The war was basically over.  The Japanese have already agreed to capitulate and it was a matter or a week or so before they would hand over the signed paperwork. 

Re:Only Americans... (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200513)

The Japanese have already agreed to capitulate

No, they didn't. What had happened is that some Japanese had decided to seek surrender through odd channels (such as via the USSR), but there's no indication either that the ones seeking surrender had the authority to do so or that the US knew that status either.

I see no reason stemming from those diplomatic activities to question the use of the atomic bombs or the allegation that the war would have continued otherwise and resulted in hundreds of thousands of allied deaths and millions of Japanese deaths.

Re:Only Americans... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200481)

Anyone who needs a memorial to senseless killing should be happy with Ground Zero in Manhattan.

History has been updated, and much as you may want to believe the use of these outrageous weapons shortened WWII, it did not. The Japanese were negotiating in earnest with Truman, and the only sticking point was keeping the emperor. Otherwise the Japanese were ready the surrender. The fiction that these weapons saved lives was convenient but untrue. There is no justification for wiping 250,000 civilians off the map and irradiating the nearby survivors, many of whom bore the scars as they raised their genetically modified offspring only to join them as they died from cancer later on.

It was a heinous act, even if done out of ignorance and especially if contemplated as a show of force to deter the Russians ambition to claim Japan as their own.

Aside from which a National Park should be preserved for its natural beauty and source of recreation through the appreciation of the out of doors, as has been the tradition since Theodore Roosevelt advocated for Yellowstone NP. Los Alamos doesn't begin to qualify for consideration in that regard. In addition, the National Park Service budget has been under assault for years out of sheer ignorance on the part of those who believe we should cater to the RV set and those who believe that every non-essential service of the federal government should be paid for on a fee-for-service basis.

At a time when legislators on both sides of the aisle argue for fiscal responsibility, I can find absolutely no justification for the acquisition of this land, let alone its designation as a National Landmark. For once I'll side the Potty Tea People of America, this NOT an acceptable use of federal funds, especially if you are at all concerned about the budget, and even if you're not.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200657)

The Japanese were negotiating in earnest with Truman

No, they weren't. I doubt even that the people who were attempting to negotiate with the US had the authority or power to do so.

It was a heinous act, even if done out of ignorance and especially if contemplated as a show of force to deter the Russians ambition to claim Japan as their own.

And even if that were true, that probably saved millions to tens of millions of lives by stopping a hot war between the USSR and the "First World".

Aside from which a National Park should be preserved for its natural beauty and source of recreation through the appreciation of the out of doors, as has been the tradition since Theodore Roosevelt advocated for Yellowstone NP. Los Alamos doesn't begin to qualify for consideration in that regard. In addition, the National Park Service budget has been under assault for years out of sheer ignorance on the part of those who believe we should cater to the RV set and those who believe that every non-essential service of the federal government should be paid for on a fee-for-service basis.

Whine whine whine. I guess it's better to not pay for a National Park Service and simply let people and businesses do whatever they want on NPS land Fee for service at least funds some protection of those lands which is more than you can say for its absence.

At a time when legislators on both sides of the aisle argue for fiscal responsibility, I can find absolutely no justification for the acquisition of this land, let alone its designation as a National Landmark. For once I'll side the Potty Tea People of America, this NOT an acceptable use of federal funds, especially if you are at all concerned about the budget, and even if you're not. I'd put it as one of the most important moments in human history on the scale of discovering fire or inventing writing. That's the justification for making some of these sites national historical parks.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42204157)

"History has been updated"

In the words of Will Rogers: "Things ain't what they used to be and probably never was"

History gets re-evaluated to match political doctrine all the time. North Korea just announced that they'd found a unicorn's lair, thus validating their assertion that the capital of an ancient kingdom was Pyongyang rather than some other possibilities.

You've defined your reality, and I doubt that anything could sway you, but it's unlikely that the Japanese leaders who had the ability to deliver on a peace proposal were the ones making backdoor overtures.

This is a bit like the conspiracy theories arguing that the invasion of Europe on D Day wasn't needed due to Rudolf Hess's alleged peace mission to England. Even if it did have the ok of the leader who could make such a deal (Hitler in this example), it ignores the truth that in war, longshot parallel diplomatic avenues are pursued, many of them not even seriously intended to succeed.

But, what the hey, it's great for justifying your own feelings. As most such theories are.

Re:Only Americans... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200627)

It shortened the war by years,

How? The war was basically over. The main part of the Japanese Army was on the Chinese mainland. The Russians were already invading in the north. The Japanese were basically saying "We'll surrender but only if we get to keep the emperor" and the Americans said "Herp derp, no, unconditional!" And guess what, we kept the emperor on the throne anyway! The Tokyo trials basically was an orchestrated farce on both sides trying to lay blame everywhere but on him.

sparing millions of lives at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

Again, the vast majority of the Japanese army was on the Japanese mainland.

The reason to use nukes was not because Japanese invasion would be all that difficult. It was a show of might, especially with the up and coming Russians -- who were invited by FDR in February of that year to invade, but Germany's surrender bought Americans face to face with them and their drastic gains in the Atlantic changed the higher-up minds. They did not want to split Japan like they did Germany, they wanted the whole thing.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200935)

When WW2 began, there were highly placed members in the imperial cabinet who made predictions. Predictions such as "Japan will win all naval engagements with the US for at least the first 2 1/2 years", or "It will take the US at least 18 months to take any location where they can base bombing runs against the Japanese mainland.". Both of these predictions, and many similar ones turned out to be directly, factually wrong. The Doolittle raid was a successful strategic bombing mission against the mainland, only four months and eleven days after the Pearl Harbor attack. The Battle of Midway was a Japanese loss six months after Pearl, a loss where the Japanese saw four of six carriers sunk to take down one US carrier. The people who made these erronious predictions were promoted and rewarded after they proved wrong. They enjoyed support sufficient that when some Japanese military personel pointed out that they had been wrong, they were able to have their critics disgraced, and in some cases summarily executed, in a few cases alongside their families. The war wasn't going to be "basically over" until they were removed from power, period.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42203957)

The Doolittle raid was a psychological attack. It was not something that we could replicate en masse, it required massive stripped of the bombers, and the bomb loads for the bombers did negligible damage to the Japanese.

Midway was weird. The US won predominantly because of better intelligence and some luck with the flight groups. The attack that sunk 3 of the Japanese flatops was an uncoordinated simultaneous attack which kind of overwhelmed anti-aircraft defenses for the flat tops. Had the uncoordinated attacks arrived separately the outcome very well could have been much different.

Imperial Japan was still a potent foe ... (3, Informative)

drnb (2434720) | about a year and a half ago | (#42201067)

The war was basically over. The main part of the Japanese Army was on the Chinese mainland.

The forces in Japan were more than sufficient to inflict massive casualties on the US. Look at what they managed at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the previous two battles on Japanese soil. Plus they were training their civilians to resist and fight. Plus we now know they were planning on using chemical weapons on the invasion beaches when the US landed. Plus they had been holding back kamikaze aircraft and suicide boats, again look at Okinawa. Plus they had also perfected the aerial dropping of bubonic plague infected fleas, they even tested it on Chinese villages, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731 [wikipedia.org] . Marry this with their new submarines that could launch 2 or 3 aircraft, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-400_class_submarine [wikipedia.org] , and they would have the capability to target San Francisco not just invasion beaches. We have no idea what would have happened if the war went on until Spring 1946, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_japan [wikipedia.org] .

The Russians were already invading in the north.

Wrong, Russia did not invade Japan until after the atomic bomb was dropped, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrender_of_Japan [wikipedia.org] .

Even if Russia would have attacked with the atomic bombing they would be quite busy on the mainland for many more months. Plus the Russians did not have an amphibious capability, they could not invade the Japanese home islands in force even if they wanted to.

Again, the vast majority of the Japanese army was on the Japanese mainland.

The millions of Japanese casualties that the previous poster referred to would have been predominately civilian. Some fighting, some caught in the middle, some suiciding ... again see Okinawa.

Re:Only Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42201403)

The use of the bomb on Japanese cities was decided due to the scarcity of nuclear weapons at the time. The two that were used were the only weapons available at the time with a third coming a little later. One proposal was to drop a bomb outside of Tokyo's harbor to act as a show of might and induce the Japanese to surrender. This was rejected because it was considered to be wasting the bomb.

In any case, a land invasion would have also used nuclear weapons. The plans at the time had nuclear weapons being used to destroy opposing armies (~7 - 15 would be available including the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs). US troops would then march over the nuclear wasteland created and encircle and destroy the remaining enemy forces. Even then, the death count would be enormous.

One thing that does need to be noted was that Japanese surrender negotiations were not as simple as most people here portray. At the time there was a military culture that carried out assassinations against those who would do anything to oppose Japan's military machine. Only the emperor had enough clout to break through that. And even he was almost ousted in a coup. So while there was talk of surrender, it wasn't straightforward and anyone who would seriously suggest it to the military inner circle would know that they would probably be murdered later by fanatics.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42203979)

Even early in the war the assassinations were a very real threat. The Imperial Japanese Army was the problem in most cases. Yamamoto was asked to move to a more secure location because of the potential that he would be assassinated over opposing the aggression of the IJA.

Re:Only Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42201935)

It shortened the war by years, sparing millions of lives at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

There is a big difference between killing civilians and having soldiers go at each other.
I'm not to familiar with how soldiers were recruited in that day and age so the difference could actually be much less than today. Meaning soldiers today are soldiers by their own choice, I doubt that was the case in WWII.

Either way, if it actually saved lives, we'll never know. It's all speculation with arguments going both ways.

Re:Only Americans... (5, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199465)

The sooner the Americans come, the better...One hundred million die proudly.
-- Japanese slogan in the summer of 1945.

Japan was finished as a warmaking nation, in spite of its four million men still under arms. But...Japan was not going to quit. Despite the fact that she was militarily finished, Japan's leaders were going to fight right on. To not lose "face" was more important than hundreds and hundreds of thousands of lives. And the people concurred, in silence, without protest. To continue was no longer a question of Japanese military thinking, it was an aspect of Japanese culture and psychology.
-- James Jones, WWII

We will prepare 10,000 planes to meet the landing of the enemy. We will mobilize every aircraft possible, both training and "special attack" (kamikaze) planes. We will smash one third of the enemy's war potential with this air force at sea. Another third will also be smashed at sea by our warships, human torpedoes and other special weapons. Furthermore, when the enemy actually lands, if we are ready to sacrifice a million men we will be able to inflict an equal number of casualties upon them. If the enemy loses a million men, then the public opinion in America will become inclined towards peace, and Japan will be able to gain peace with comparatively advantageous conditions.
-- Imperial General HQ army staff officer in July 1945, from Weintraub's "The Last Great Victory"

"We hated the Japs but nobody had the slightest desire to go there and fight them because the one thing we knew was that we'd all be killed. I mean we really knew it. I never used to think that, I used to say the Japs would never get me. But there was no question about the mainland. How the hell are you going to storm a country where women and children, everybody would be fighting you? Of course we'd have won eventually but I don't think anybody who hasn't actually seen the Japanese fight can have any idea of what it would have cost."
-- Austin Aria, veteran of the Okinawa campaign

Re:Only Americans... (3, Insightful)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199927)

I think the reality would have been that that USA would have used conventional weapons to firebomb Japanese cities, getting to the same result as nuclear weapons but more slowly. The "shock & awe" of nuclear weapons made it clear that Japan didn't have a choice... they could surrender, or be annihilated.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200567)

I think the reality would have been that that USA would have used conventional weapons to firebomb Japanese cities

The reality also is that conventional weapons pf that era weren't that effective. The US had already been firebombing Japanese cities for years. And the Japanese could have made that effort very expensive for the result by investing in a lot of flak guns and otherwise spreading out their residual industry and military targets. So continued loss of bombers combined with reduced effectiveness from hitting hardened, dispersed targets.

At some point, the US would need to invade. Then it would be a bloodbath with a lot of allied deaths and a lot of Japanese dying for each of those deaths.

The atomic bombs changed that by greatly reducing the cost to the allies. One bomber now could take out one city. There was no hope to draw out the war or cause enough harm to get the US to give up.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200749)

Without nuclear weapons the cost would be too high to be paid. US would have to back down eventually. For much less than that the pressure in Vietnam and more recently in the middle East shows that US population, with reason, doesn't like very much the idea to lose their husbands and sons in mass to a war that already lost its reason to be.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42202181)

The war would have continued until Japan surrendered. Certainly the war in the Europe continued until the Germans surrendered, even though Hitler hoped until the end that the rather weird alliance between Stalin & the western powers could be broken. Also, Russia had it's eye on Japanese territory and was entering the war, and the Japanese knew (like everyone else) that they'd rather surrender to the Americans than the Russians.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42203623)

Or until they retreated to their islands and US got tired of trying to take them from there, as happened in Vietnam, Middle-East, etc. Japan could as well ally with Russia in the meantime.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42203771)

Japan's industrial base was destroyed, they didn't have defense against air attacks, they no longer had any source of raw materials (one of the main reasons that they had gone to war)... they would have had to just hunker down and accept being destroyed from the air, without any way of fighting back. Do you really think that 6 years after Pearl Harbor, the USA would have given up the war when the enemy was down and out?

And pretty unlikely Japan and Russia would end up as allies. Russia was interested in grabbing territory, not forming an alliance.

Re:Only Americans... (1)

drnb (2434720) | about a year and a half ago | (#42201113)

The reality also is that conventional weapons pf that era weren't that effective.

The fire bombing of Tokyo produced more casualties than the atomic bombings, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Tokyo [wikipedia.org] .

The US had already been firebombing Japanese cities for years. And the Japanese could have made that effort very expensive for the result ...

If they could have resisted they would have done so already. The fire bombing raids were primarily at night and the Japanese fighters were few and the antiaircraft ineffective, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_raids_on_Japan#Firebombing_attacks [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Only Americans... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42203051)

And why would Japan have continued to present such easy targets? Even "ineffective" antiair and sparse fighter planes kill bombers. So harder targets and more cost to bomb them.

If they could have resisted they would have done so already.

Well, they were resisting.

Re:Only Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42201849)

At some point, the US would need to invade.

Why was it so important to force japs surrender? Why couldn't ussians just let them be? Japs didn't have navy nor air force anymore, what good is a ground force on an island they can't leave?

Re:Only Americans... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42202999)

And that is what the die-hards in Japan were counting on. Making it so costly to invade that the US and USSR would eventually give up. And you may be right, Japan might not be a threat thereafter.

I'll just point out that once before, Japan was just a ground force on an island they couldn't leave.

Re:Only Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42203533)

And you may be right, Japan might not be a threat thereafter.

I doubt that (not the same AC). Even with the restrictions placed on them, including a specific constitutional ban on declaring war (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_9_of_the_Japanese_Constitution), the JSDF is right up there in modern militaries (it's no US or China, but it's up there in spending)

If the bomb didn't happen, they probably wouldn't surrender themselves to such restrictions

Re:Only Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199569)

Well as this one guy who identified himself as American [wikipedia.org] once said: "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it."

Re:Only Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200279)

Only Americans have the opportunity to honor something like this. Nobody else has ever invented the nuclear bomb.

Those who forget history (1, Redundant)

stox (131684) | about a year and a half ago | (#42198925)

are condemned to repeat it. This is one piece of history that no one wishes to see repeated.

Re:Those who forget history (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42201357)

Really? I thought North Korea and Iran were trying to repeat it.

want a monument on this major history milestone? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42198927)

then build it in hiroshima stupid people

Re:want a monument on this major history milestone (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199003)

then build it in hiroshima stupid people

been done

I think it's a good idea (4, Insightful)

Trolan (42526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42198957)

But it all depends on the execution. As with any museum/park/etc. how you structure it sets the tone.

Great example would be German museums dealing with the events surrounding their involvement in the World Wars and the Holocaust. You go into any of those, and while they talk a lot about the Nazi Party, National Socialism, Hitler and the rest, you would be hard pressed to say that anyone would think any of it is an endorsement. Everything I saw really had a tone of: "My God, we screwed the pooch BIGTIME. Let's put this all out here, so maybe people won't let it happen again"

Granted, the atomic bomb isn't quite as clear of a moral area, since while it did kill many, many people, it also ended the war much earlier than was likely without it, and therefore all the casualties that would have entailed didn't occur. Instead of glorifying a WMD, it can help foster discussion about them, and past them.

Re:I think it's a good idea (4, Informative)

Deadstick (535032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199069)

Great example would be German museums dealing with the events surrounding their involvement in the World Wars and the Holocaust. You go into any of those, and while they talk a lot about the Nazi Party, National Socialism, Hitler and the rest, you would be hard pressed to say that anyone would think any of it is an endorsement. Everything I saw really had a tone of: "My God, we screwed the pooch BIGTIME. Let's put this all out here, so maybe people won't let it happen again"

Indeed. I was quite surprised to hear the tour guide at Hitler's mountain chalet above Berchtesgaden...she told it like it was, no beating about the bush. Her sentiment was clearly Nie wieder.

Re:I think it's a good idea (3, Informative)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199155)

This is very true. When I was in Germany I went to the dachau camp. It was a very somber experience. There was plenty explaining exactly what happened on the grounds. It was preserved and rebuilt in some ways, but it was never "endorsed"

As long as this memorial is done in a way that explains the things that happened, and why they were done, without claiming that "the japz are teh badz" than I think it is a good thing

Re:I think it's a good idea (4, Informative)

Trolan (42526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199239)

Unfortunately when I was there, we didn't have a chance to get out to Dachau, but did go through the Documentation Center in Nuremburg. Exact same thing. No punches pulled, just straight up "Here's what happened, why it happened, and why it should never be allowed to occur again." I was kind of surprised, and very glad to see it just laid out like that. A dark period of human history, and the best way to deal with it is to let it stand on its own.

Some visitors rightfully feel some pride ... (1)

drnb (2434720) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199647)

This is very true. When I was in Germany I went to the dachau camp. It was a very somber experience. There was plenty explaining exactly what happened on the grounds. It was preserved and rebuilt in some ways, but it was never "endorsed"

I felt some pride at the gate looking at the plaques commemorating the U.S. 20th Armored Division and U.S. 42nd Infantry Division, they liberated the camp. A member of my family was in the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and they liberated of one of the sub-camps nearby. I was proud of the guys who shut down these camps and destroyed the government that created them.

But, yeah, once my eyes moved from the plaques to the original motto on the gate things became quite somber.

Re:I think it's a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199821)

The primordial nuclear arsenal was developed with the original intent of using them against Germany.
It was only as Germany fell was it decided that the bombs would be used against Japan.

Re:I think it's a good idea (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199641)

But it all depends on the execution. As with any museum/park/etc. how you structure it sets the tone.

Well, it seems unlikely we could ever agree on the tone to be set.
Let alone how to present it. (see my post upthread about my annoyance with chirpy park service interpreters).

When you look at the death tolls [wikipedia.org] , the fire bombings of both Germany and Japan cities killed way more people.

In March 1945, 334 B-29s took off to raid on the night of 9–10 March ("Operation Meetinghouse"), with 279 of them dropping around 1,700 tons of bombs. Fourteen B-29s were lost. Approximately 16 square miles (41 km2) of the city were destroyed and some 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the resulting firestorm, more immediate deaths than either of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Re:I think it's a good idea (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42202867)

Well, it's not like this would be the only place we've ever presented historical places or material of controversial significance. Hell, I think the Smithsonian has the Enola Gay on display.

It's pretty standard practice to preserve and present the history, and let people philosophize on the subject however they will. Just don't bulldoze major historical places because it has to do with a (maybe) touchy subject. That's juvenile at best, and you don't get to change your mind about it later.

Re:I think it's a good idea (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200637)

It is a good idea period. As far as I am concerned those who are not wiling to put down a few bucks to help us learn from the past is simply playing a political game to accomplish two things.

First is the realization that war and fighting is not a game. Some like it to be, especially conservatives, because they can con the American people into paying huge sums to watch the game. If we admit we occasionally cannot but war games, but occasionally have to go in solve problems, then people get squeamish. The have no problems killing off Afgani children a few at a time if it creates job, but if we actually have to go and have a real war, no one wants to do that. It is horrible, but there is no use denying reality.

Second is the power of science. It was not religion or faith that was instrumental in ending WWII. Faith starts wars, Physics ends them. Faith continues the fighting, physics creates superior power to end problems that are not readily solved. These are not monuments to strongly held personal beliefs, like so many other are. They talk about the civil war monuments. Those are glorifying people were willing to die for a belief. I once believed that reebok pumps were the greatest shoes in the world, should I do die for them and then build a monument? But who is going to build a monument to the superiority of science, to the fact that refrigeration and lasers make life much more easier than any faith could have imagined.

So let me make one pitch for one unique museum that unabashedly celebrates the contributions of science. The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History [nuclearmuseum.org] . Poorly funded, not well enough known, and absolutely directed in it's mission. Located in Albuquerque not far from Los Alamos, the trinity site and many other important sites in the region. Add a Museum at 109 W Palace Ave, and expand the Bradbury museum, and you have a good start on reflecting on the importance of the time.

Re:I think it's a good idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200763)

Yeah, you Americans are cocksucking hypocrites. At least 100x more holocaust museums/space than anything dedicated to the Indians you lot killed. 100 Million population decline over the centuries and hardly a mention anywhere.

*Waiting for the predictable genocide deniers to come in and say why I'm wrong....*

Re:I think it's a good idea (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42202793)

The atomic bombings are seen as a great tragedy in Japan, as were the fire bombings of other cities. Most of the people who died were not fighting in the war, although Japan was in total-war mode at the time so arguable they were contributing to the war effort. But most of them did not want the war and did not support it, so are considered victims.

That is similar to the German attitude, except that the average person did perhaps bare a bit more responsibility since initially the Nazis did rise to power democratically and enjoyed widespread support. After the war the German people were treated as victims by the allies.

The prevailing view in Japan seems to be that the bombings were a test of the technology. At that time no-one knew what the effects on people and a city would be, and the US realized that eventually other countries would develop their own atomic weapons so they needed to find out.

Answer to THE Question (0)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year and a half ago | (#42198989)

"How do we not ever have to use an atomic bomb in warfare again?"

Assad, Hamas and Iran know...Sarin is the neutron bomb of the 21st century. It destroys civilians without destroying the infrastructure so the attacker can just move in and get rid of the bodies and it has a ready made infrastructure in place to use to continue their conquest.

I may sound "off topic" or "trolling" but Syria's activities today show the reality.

This would be (0)

Swampash (1131503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42198991)

the Dennis Kucinich who just lectured the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on how autism is caused by mercury in vaccines, right?

HEY THIS GUY SOUNDS LIKE AN EXPERT IN EVERYTHING LET'S LISTEN TO HIM

OMG, more government pork! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42198993)

This is an unconscionable waste of government money to honor yet more wasted government money. We are in a debt crisis people! The country is bankrupt, and it has maxed out its credit cards!

We can't afford a museum. Let's have a free market solution instead.

Just like we solved WW2 with free market principles by buying out the Nazi stock in a leveraged takeover.

Godwin's Law be damned (1)

Xacid (560407) | about a year and a half ago | (#42198995)

Why don't we just bulldoze concentration camps too? You know, just so we don't appear to be supporting the Holocaust.

I am not an atomic playboy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199033)

But there are no shortage of morbidly old professors who think they were. You don't get to make nukes and deserve to be remebered at the same time.

Humbling, troubling (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199043)

For those who've never visited, a tour of the museums at Los Alamos (the town) is incredibly humbling and thought-provoking. Except perhaps for psychopaths, there is nothing celebratory about it. On the contrary, the atmosphere is deeply troubling and anxiety producing. However, I for one would appreciate the opportunity to visit the lab grounds as a national park, to better understand how the Manhattan Project transpired. I believe this is important for humankind to grasp the darker sides of its nature.

Re:Humbling, troubling (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199467)

For those who've never visited, a tour of the museums at Los Alamos (the town) is incredibly humbling and thought-provoking. Except perhaps for psychopaths, there is nothing celebratory about it. On the contrary, the atmosphere is deeply troubling and anxiety producing. However, I for one would appreciate the opportunity to visit the lab grounds as a national park, to better understand how the Manhattan Project transpired. I believe this is important for humankind to grasp the darker sides of its nature.

This.

A lot of stuff has been declassified, and there are still a few - very few - of the original workers still alive. It's only been in the past couple of decades that they've been able to show their children and grandchildren what they were working on. The museums in town are first-rate, and you'll see things you never knew existed. The bookstore, which is used for both tourists and locals alike, is surreal. When I was at the Bradbury museum, one of the artifacts was a binder with the ID badge photos of hundreds of lab workers. You could just sit there and flip through it and chalk up Nobel Prize winners every few pages. By accident of alphabetical association, Enrico Fermi's badge is right next to Richard Feynmann's, and Feynmann's picture is quintessential Feynmann.

There's a little pond in the middle of the town with an unassuming little memorial on Trinity Street. When you locate that memorial on a photo of the town as it appeared in 1946 (I won't spoil it for you), you'll do a double-take.

If you have an interest in vintage electronics, no visit to the town is complete without a trip into The Black Hole [blackholesurplus.com] , a surplus store that was founded by a guy who got sick of building bombs - so he quit, and founded the place both as an act of protest and as a means to find a more productive use for the lab's surplus gear.

(Not the same AC. Just another person who's done some atomic tourism back in the day. You can be awed by walking in the footsteps of genius, feel that shared nerdy kinship when you see a fellow engineer's cartoon about his day job, humbled that people not that different from you took upon themselves the reponsibility of doing something like this and keeping it secret, and horrified by the bets/choices/decisions made by leaders both civilian and military, all in the space of a few minutes, and you never know which of the three you'll be experiencing from one moment to the next.)

Re:Humbling, troubling (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199725)

For those who've never visited, a tour of the museums at Los Alamos (the town) is incredibly humbling and thought-provoking. Except perhaps for psychopaths, there is nothing celebratory about it. On the contrary, the atmosphere is deeply troubling and anxiety producing.

But you see, that is exactly what the debate will be about.

It was a war, an all out war. And the Bombs shortened that war. They were far from the biggest death tolls in the war.

So overwrought somberness might not be the best approach. All you do is guilt trip every visitor, and the science achievments and
the historical context is lost.

There might be differing opinions about better ways to present it.

Re:Humbling, troubling (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199997)

It could be argued that simplistic demonization of nuclear weapons is actually a whitewash tactic.

Yes, they are, by far, the most efficient examples of their genre; but the logic of "total war" had been grinding on with horrific civilian casualties for a few years by the time nukes were available. The people in charge of Allied air power(which, toward the end of WWII basically meant "American air power", since the US was the main allied nation not a smouldering heap of rubble) had already embraced the notion that enemy civilians were effectively military assets and to be bombed as such. HE and incendiaries are substantially more labor intensive and inefficient; but the step of indiscriminate bombing of population centers had already been taken. From then on, it was just a matter of doing it faster.

Re:Humbling, troubling (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200293)

The people in charge of Allied air power(which, toward the end of WWII basically meant "American air power", since the US was the main allied nation not a smouldering heap of rubble)

UK was not a smoldering heap of rubble toward the end of WWII. And, while huge swaths of the USSR were, there were enough remaining for it to pump out combat planes like hot cakes (I mean, there's a reason why the most mass-produced combat airplane in history was Soviet IL-2, and that's not because it was cheap).

US was an undeniable king of strategic bombing air power, though.

Re:Humbling, troubling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200725)

So overwrought somberness might not be the best approach. All you do is guilt trip every visitor, and the science achievments and the historical context is lost.

(I'm the other AC)

It's the visit that's humbling and thought-provoking. The original AC may have come away with something different than I did, and that's awesome, because that's what interpretive centers are all about.

If I may split a hair with the original AC - the displays weren't at all somber. Nor were they celebratory. You can go to one place and see it from the viewpoint of the engineers who Did What They Must, Because They Could. It really is awesome science and engineering. Some of them were wrought with guilt over what they'd built and how it ended up being used. Others were proud of what they'd done and sought to do more. Teller was brilliant, yet was the personification of "when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like hours and hours of fun", and in his zeal to see his invention used, he screwed over Oppenheimer in unforgivable fashion.

The exhibits in Los Alamos (or Albuquerque's museum of nuclear science and technology, or the Nevada Test Site museum in Las Vegas -- unlike the NTS itself, it's open to the public without appointment, within a half-hour walk of the Strip, and is a must-see if you'd rather geek out in Vegas rather than play games with a mathematical certainty of loss!) are anything but guilt-trippy. The curators of all of these museums have done their damndest to show the bomb as both an incredible technological and engineering challenge, as well as something that will hopefully never be used again. It's up to you to make up your own mind as to whether the use in WW2 was justified. (I'm inclined to say it was justified. I'm even inclined to say that the horrors we saw after we used it helped both the US and USSR when it came to making damn sure neither side has used them again.)

tl;dr: Whatever your politics, go find a nuke museum, and visit it.

Re:Humbling, troubling (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#42204107)

I've visited war memorials and museums in many parts of the world, including the US, and neither the intention nor the result has been to guilt trip anyone.

A generation of children has been born who don't remember the cold war, and a generation will soon be born who have had no contact with anyone who remembers the last world war.

The manhattan project sites in particular are an important chance to say "this war happened. This was the price we paid to end it. Don't let it happen again."

Generations who don't remember the price of war are too eager to use it as a tool.

Re:Humbling, troubling (3, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199929)

I've toured several sites on the "Atomic Tourist" list and seeing this places in person is much different than looking at pictures in a book. And, at several places, I had tour guides who had actually been posted at the locations in pretty senior positions. That's something that even a museum won't be able to replicate and, quite frankly, those people aren't going to be around much longer. If you ever want to have a full day to bend the ear of someone in the heart of nuclear weapons development, take the public tour at the Nevada National Security Site (nee: Nevada Test Site). I can't recommend it enough and it's free. It's booked well in advance but a few people can usually get on standby because there are usually a few open seats.

The guys conducting those tours are the real deal. They're the ones who were working on the base when they were lighting off nuclear explosions, lighting off even bigger ones out on the pacific atolls, and may or may not have worked at Area 51. If you want to understand the mentality of that era, these are the guys to talk to. One thing I wish was on the regular NNSS tour is a walk through the Ice Cap building. Seeing the instrument rig of the last scheduled full scale test hanging over that hole really drives home the scale of what went on there. (Yeah, I pushed it and watched it swing.)

I've also had a tour of a Titan Missile silo from a man who was stationed in that very silo. Again, he was able to give insights to that experience that no book will ever capture. Half a day exploring every nook and cranny of that place with someone able to explain exactly what everything did and provide anecdotes about living in a silo.

I've been to the Trinity site and that just wasn't the same experience. Informational signs, a short presentation, exhibits at the McDonald Ranch. But there was nobody there who could provide a first-hand account of the spirit of what occurred there. Nobody to look you in the eye and explain how it felt to be part of that event. But being able to go there and see the site was still pretty meaningful. I'm glad I had the chance to see it. Another decade or two and the previous two sites will be the same. Second and third hand accounts.

My most recent nuclear explosion site visit was Project Faultless. That's the only test site I've been to with absolutely no access controls. Just a single plaque and some graffiti.

Re:Humbling, troubling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200789)

My most recent nuclear explosion site visit was Project Faultless. That's the only test site I've been to with absolutely no access controls. Just a single plaque and some graffiti.

I know that place, but only via GPS. Assuming no flash floods between your visit and today, how was the ground clearance? (Are we talking just a slow crawl down an old dirt/gravel road, or is an SUV required?)

/fellow atomic tourist.
//everything else you said lines up with my experiences.
///Anyone interested in this period of history owes it to themselves to meet these people while they can. Hearing first-hand from the people involved is very different from reading it in a book. There's little room for interpretation - and if it is, you just ask. Your children, and their history professors, will not have such opportunities.

Re:Humbling, troubling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200001)

You will never get onto LANL property without a reason. The stuff being proposed is now scattered around the town of Los Alamos, which until 1953 was also closed and remains plenty strange.

Re:Humbling, troubling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42201217)

And if you ever get a chance to do a tour of the Hanford facility in WA State (where they made the plutonium), it's VERY worth it. I live nearby and they offer bus tours yearly. They fill up almost instantly. I got to go 2 years ago. The "B" reactor, where they made the first plutonium and the oldest reactor in the world, is amazing and on the list to be included in the national park proposal.

Just the thought that "Hey, I'm standing in the core of a nuclear reactor that made plutonium." Woah.

Of course they're still cleaning up the mess from both the Manhattan project and all the production/refiniement/research during the cold war. That's worth letting the next generation see too.

Re:Humbling, troubling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42203251)

However, I for one would appreciate the opportunity to visit the lab grounds as a national park, to better understand how the Manhattan Project transpired.

There's basically nothing left of the original Manhattan Project grounds (i.e., buildings). Most of the current lab buildings are the next mesa over, and built post-war. As mentioned in TFA, Oppenheimer's house is still there, but not really the scientific buildings.

Re:Humbling, troubling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42203435)

It's not exactly celebratory in terms of "it's great we bombed Japan", but the museum does have a pro-nuclear weapons feel to it IMHO.

Yu0 Fail It... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199051)

W00t on baby...doN't

Celebrating Nuclear weapons? (2)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199077)

Critics have faulted the plan as celebrating a weapon of mass destruction, and have argued that the government should avoid that kind of advocacy.

I've been to plenty of Holocaust museums and memorials and I don't recall any of them focusing on a celebration but rather the educational aspect.

Re:Celebrating Nuclear weapons? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199269)

These are Americans we are talking about.. I highly doubt that they can make something that is of not celebratory nature.

Re:Celebrating Nuclear weapons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42201821)

I highly doubt that they can make something that is of not celebratory nature.

Damn straight!
U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Re:Celebrating Nuclear weapons? (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199529)

Critics have faulted the plan as celebrating a weapon of mass destruction, and have argued that the government should avoid that kind of advocacy.

I've been to plenty of Holocaust museums and memorials and I don't recall any of them focusing on a celebration but rather the educational aspect.

Exactly. I remember going to the Hiroshima memorial and museum during a visit to Japan when I was only 10 or 11 years old. It has stuck with me probably more than any other museum experience before I became an adult.

I remember a few years later debating issues of the use of nuclear weapons in WWII in my American history class in high school, and I had a completely different perspective on it compared to many of my classmates.*

Whatever side of the nuclear debate you fall on, it's better to remember and be educated rather than make future mistakes out of ignorance of the past. Kucinich is absolutely wrong here.

(*Please don't make assumptions concerning what my actual views on these events are -- they're irrelevant to the present discussion, and they've evolved significantly over the years, but my visit to Hiroshima definitely added some perspective.)

D U M B Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199107)

Dumb!

They were cheep, quickly built bland buildings. Nothing exciting at all to really see.

Put a historical marker at the place and be done with it. There are enough good movies about it, and old film footage for anyone interested to look at.

It's a National *Historic* Park (3, Informative)

edibobb (113989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199167)

There is a difference between a National Park and a National Historic Park. The proposed "National Park" is a National Historic Park, about 3 notches below a National Park in terms of visitors, staff, and funding.

Re:It's a National *Historic* Park (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199745)

There is a difference between a National Park and a National Historic Park. The proposed "National Park" is a National Historic Park, about 3 notches below a National Park in terms of visitors, staff, and funding.

But perhaps National Monument status would be more appropriate. Somebody to mow the grass every other week, and pick up the trash daily.

So you *had* to, huh...?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199601)

"How do we not ever have to use an atomic bomb in warfare again?"

*Have*? You *had* to use it? Sometimes there's nothing you can say but WTF.

Elitists propose yet another eminent domain grab (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199663)

Sorry, no. Just make sure it's not contaminated. If it is, clean it up. If it isn't, let the current owners enjoy it. Historic preservation and environmentalism have to have limits. If they don't, everything will eventually become historic, and nothing will be farmed or lived on.

Re:Elitists propose yet another eminent domain gra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199991)

I agree completely. I work on a large government installation. Any building over 50 years old is considered potentially "historic" and must be studied prior to making changes or demolition. Old crappy buildings from the mid 50's of no particular interest. This isn't the Parthenon and there are already plenty of museums at places like Los Alamos and Alamogordo.

Re:Elitists propose yet another eminent domain gra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42202863)

Rome (or rather Athens) wasn't built in a day ;)

Re:Elitists propose yet another eminent domain gra (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about a year and a half ago | (#42203363)

Sorry, no. Just make sure it's not contaminated. If it is, clean it up. If it isn't, let the current owners enjoy it. Historic preservation and environmentalism have to have limits. If they don't, everything will eventually become historic, and nothing will be farmed or lived on.

How about the current owners pay for the cleanup themselves instead of having the taxpayers subsidize their enjoyment?
Point taken about everything becoming historic though.

Monument Proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42199765)

Let me be the first to propose the monument be a re-creation of the half-mile surrounding ground zero at Hiroshima. Highlighting the twisted and melted steel girders of the destroyed buildings, the piles of fused glass-like bricks and featuring the charred human remains.

> arc de triomphe, Trafalgar square, brandenburg gate

They were monuments to their country's victories; built also as rememberences to those who gave their lives for their country.
Not monuments to the group of men who created the machines of death and destruction.

Sounds cost effective to me! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42199945)

Given the, um, totally excellent, standards for handling of radioactive goodies that were adhered to by unpracticed people rushing like crazy and shielded by secrecy, declaring the whole thing a "national park" and forgetting about it is probably cheaper than rehabilitating the place....

Not enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42200329)

If we're going to just memorialize everything and turn everything into a historical building/place/whatever, why not just lock down the whole country and never allow us to do anything new ever again?

Re:Not enough. (1)

swalve (1980968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200465)

Sounds like the republican party platform!

atomic bombs probably will be used again (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200449)

How do we not ever have to use an atomic bomb in warfare again?

Well, one obvious solution is to kill everyone with some other superweapon so nobody is around to use atomic bombs in warfare. Otherwise, I think sooner or later atomic bombs will be used again. There are huge disincentives to using them, but there's no reason to expect those disincentives to always be good enough.

Consider for example, Syria's situation in the Middle East. The current government is facing its doom by a massive rebellion. But it might be able to hold on by using sarin nerve gas on the rebels. According to the media, various US military sources are claiming that Syria has mixed precursor chemicals [nbcnews.com] for sarin and loaded it into warheads on aerial bombs.

Now it depends on whether a dying regime thinks it'll get better return from using sarin than not. A lot will depend on what sort of threat the rest of the world can and does choose to make with respect to these terrible weapons and whether Assad will be bold or desperate enough to call their bluff.

This is likely to be an occasional occurrence for dictatorships down the road as well. And some of those will be nuclear armed.

Thank god for the bomb (1)

bsercombe72 (1822782) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200471)

I for one am very glad of the lesson taught to the world by the detonation of two bombs during wartime Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I live in Australia, and we were next on the invasion list. I regret the loss of civilian life that the Japanese people suffered as a consequence of war and I am glad that Japan is now one of our greatest friends and highly respected.

I think it was inevitable that we would discover some method for extremely large scale destruction and I'm glad that humanity has so far not used the technology since WWII for anything more serious than sabre rattling- and that's bad enough. We need to understand how to deal with this kind of power because as much as we may not like it, it exists and it has existed all along. There are worse things than nuclear weapons too, so the learning experience is useful in other areas.

I personally support the idea of a monument to those men who were part of the Manhattan Project and think its pretty shallow for people to call them murderers etc. Firstly: fuck you- you weren't there (and neither was I). WWII was a response, NOT an invasion.

I agree with jtownatpunk.net 's comments. Take advantage of the learning experience while there are still people alive who can look you in the eye and tell you what it was really like back then. Sadly for the Manhattan Project the time for that is likely past.

Author Hugh Pickens, brother of Slim (1)

strangluv2 (1050350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42200527)

Where is Major Kong!

Whay are atomic bombs the exception? (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about a year and a half ago | (#42203465)

Why are these weapons so different, in that "we must never use them again"? No one ever says that about, say, TNT, or even bullets.
Somehow it is accepted in war that we can shoot, blow up, stab, bludgeon, or strangle the enemy, but using an A-bomb is immoral.
Maybe what we should be concerned about is war itself.

I can't confirm it, but I think it was Sir Arthur Harris [wikipedia.org] who said something like "Tell me one thing that is moral in war. Is sticking a bayonet in a man's belly moral?"

Now look what you made me do! (1)

Harvey Manfrenjenson (1610637) | about a year and a half ago | (#42203929)

'It's a chance to say, "Why did we do this? What were the good things that happened? What were the bad? How do we learn lessons from the past? How do we not ever have to use an atomic bomb in warfare again?"

I have a couple of problems with this quote. First of all, stylistically, it resembles the sort of thing that a rather vacuous high school student might write. It also contains an egregious example of a planted assumption: "How do we not ever have to use an atomic bomb in warfare again?" Planted assumption=We HAD to use them in Japan. The truth of this proposition may be a matter for debate-- however, it is incredibly offensive to me that this lady (who considers herself a historian or at least a student of history) believes that it is self-evident.

From what I understand, recent scholarship tends to support the opposite view, based in large part on War Department studies which came out in 1945 and have only recently been declassified.

History should be preserved, both good and bad: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42204313)

How is this different than if Russia set up a set of historical preservation sites of the nuclear facilities leading to its first nuclear bomb? Or China?

You may not have approved, but it IS history.

Else, you might as well be saying to demolish anything that reminds you of something negative.

Perhaps you'd like to see the Peenemunde Historical Technical Museum in Germany razed and forgotten?

How is your position any different than others who have tried to erase "inconvenient" histories?

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