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Why We Must Apologize to Hiroshima

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Confessing our own violence would not deny violence committed against us. Rather, an apology could call attention to war atrocities of the past and present on all sides. Admitting that the deadliest bombings in history had selfish strategic motivations, admitting that life was so thoroughly devalued and destroyed for no greater good (as if a greater good could exist) could force people on all sides to rethink the “necessities” of other wars past and present. Debunking one war lie could lead to the debunking of many war lies. And governments built on violence, powers upheld and strengthened by the looming threat of death, seek to extinguish the light of truth.

Pope Francis on the Anniversary of the Bomb: ‘A Lasting Warning to Humanity’

REUTERS / Tony Gentile / RNS
Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican August 9, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS / Tony Gentile / RNS

Seventy years after the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, Pope Francis on Aug. 9 described the bomb as a “lasting warning to humanity.”

Speaking to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Francis recalled the “horror and repulsion” aroused by the twin bombings of Nagasaki on Aug. 9 1945, and Hiroshima, three days earlier.

“This (event) has become the symbol of mankind’s enormous destructive power when it makes a distorted use of scientific and technical progress,” he said.

Buddhist Monk Blames Muslims for Myanmar Bombing

Photo courtesy RNS/Time.com.
Cover of Time magazine. Photo courtesy RNS/Time.com.

A radical Buddhist monk in Myanmar said a bomb that exploded near him, wounding five devotees, came after a death threat by a “Muslim religious leader” who wanted to silence his campaign to prevent Buddhist women from marrying Muslim men.

Ashin Wirathu’s portrait appeared on the July 1 cover of Time magazine’s Asia edition, above the headline, “The Face of Buddhist Terror: How Militant Monks are Fueling Anti-Muslim Violence in Asia.”

“Since their plan to fight me via Time Magazine has failed, they are now targeting my ‘dharma’ [Buddhist teaching] events, and the devotees, with explosive devices,” Wirathu told the respected Irrawaddy magazine.

2-for-1 Bomb Sale! Supplies Unlimited!

CONGRATULATIONS to the Brazilian navy for launching its newly refurbished Tupi Class (Type 209/1400) submarine. It’s not clear if we should send gifts or maybe hum the Brazilian national anthem on our lunch break, but it’s definitely a special moment. I don’t have to tell you that the 209/1400 has needed modernization for several years and, well, it’s about time.

Actually, I think about the Brazilian navy ... uhm ... never. Didn’t even know Brazil had a navy. (Must be near an ocean, right?) In fact, my knowledge of Brazil is limited to that tall Jesus statue overlooking a city, and the fact people can be naked on the beaches, while speaking Portuguese.

But the submarines I know about because I read Jane’s Defence Weekly, a British publication that spells defense with “c” and regularly arrives in my email even though I didn’t ask for it.

According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, Jane’s Defence Weekly is the world’s most trusted source of military-related news. And she wouldn’t be wrong about a thing like that. (Oops. Actually, the founder was a man named Fred. T. Jane, who published the first issue in 1898, a time when being a guy named Jane probably required some quick thinking when local thugs approached on the street. “Morning lads. Did you hear they’re putting double hulls on the new ironclads? Didn’t think so. Ow! Mind me new knickers! Second pair this week! Oof!”)

Jane’s is not only a comprehensive review of the military industrial complex, it’s also the largest collection of acronyms in the history of long words you don’t want to have to keep saying. “U.S. NAVAIR has just completed flight-testing its AAR as part of the UCAS-D programme [that’s another word Jane’s mispelles] to de-risk AAR.” It doesn’t report how the test went, but de-risking is always a goode idea.

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A Decade of War (and Football)

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Let’s face it — while lawmakers are picking their own battles in Washington, they aren’t fighting on the ground in Afghanistan. Winning elections has become more important than implementing winning foreign policy strategies that would end the war and bring our service men and women safely home.

And it’s my generation that’s being sacrificed.

St. Francis, Pray for Us

Today (Oct. 4) Christians around the world celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the bright lights of the church and one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

The life and witness of Francis is as relevant to the world we live in today as it was 900 years ago. He was one of the first critics of capitalism, one of the earliest Christian environmentalists, a sassy reformer of the church, and one of the classic conscientious objectors to war.

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

I have gotten so used to stories of violence in the news every morning that I confess they don't move me as much as they should, or used to. Today: Three straight days of killing in Karachi with 42 dead; Syrian tanks shelling the city of Hama, where more than 100 people have died since Sunday; U.N. peacekeepers killed by a landmine in Sudan; daily deaths in Libya; bombings in Baghdad and assassinations in Kandahar. It goes on and on.

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