BTS 8/8/2005: 60 Years After Hiroshima and Nagasaki; False Consciousness; Ann Wright in Crawford, TX

Listen: Martin Sherwin - Richard Lichtman - Anne Wright

Sixty years ago the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 140,000 people, 95% of whom were non-combatants. Radiation poisoning prolonged the dying. Martin Sherwin joins us to break some of the persistent myths about the reasons we dropped the bomb -- and says the bombs weren’t necessary, as Americans were told. How are myths of that magnitude legitimated?

We turn to a conversation with Richard Lichtman on false consciousness and the ways that the population can be led to believe, for example, that mass death can be acceptable, or that the figures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden can merge in the minds of most of the public.

And finally, we talk to Ann Wright, 26 year veteran of the armed services and 15 year diplomat with the State Department who publicly resigned –after setting up the station in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2002 – and is today in Crawford, Texas with Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, and other veterans hoping to meet with President Bush not for condolences, but answers.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Martin Sherwin and Kai Bird have just published American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of Robert J. Oppenheimer (Knopf), a biography of the man the center of the development of the atomic bomb. – who later feared his creation would destroy the world. The LA TIMES ran an op ed piece by Martin Sherwin and Kai Bird last week called “The Myths of Hiroshima.” (August 5)

Martin Sherwin is professor of American history at TUFTS University where he also directs the Nuclear Age History and Humanity Center. He is also the author of A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and the Origins of the Arms Race, a runner up for the Pulitzer Prize, and has been an advisor on documentary films on the nuclear age, as well as the Smithsonian’s ill-fated Enola Gay exhibit, marking the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs.

2. Richard Lichtman is a professor at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, author of books on critical theory, (The Production of Desire), psychoanalysis and Marxist theory, and Dying in America. He is a founder of the journal Socialist Revolution. He is the Director of a new graduate degree program in critical theory at the Professional School of Psychology in Sacramento .

3. Ann Wright is in Crawford, with many other veterans and others supporting Sheehan. Wright spent 26 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and was a diplomat in the State Department for 15 years before resigning in March 2003, protesting the then-impending invasion of Iraq. She wrote in her letter of resignation: “I strongly believe that going to war now will make the world more dangerous, not safer.” She asked today: “Is the president interested in real dialogue with people who disagree with him?”