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Published:August 6th, 2011 09:16 EST
The Danger of Secrets: Hiroshima and the Atomic Bomb

The Danger of Secrets: Hiroshima and the Atomic Bomb

By Donna Cavanagh

Secrets: we all keep them but let`s face it, they can cause a lot of trouble.  Some secrets are little white lies that come with no dire consequences attached.  For example, I hide Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies so no one in my family can have them.  It`s not much of a secret, but no one but me and my dogs are privy to that information.  Sometimes it costs me a few extra treats in their bowls so they don`t give it away, but for the most part, the dogs seem okay with the arrangement.

A woman I know has a big secret:  She hides men " unfortunately, she hides them from her husband. Now, that to me is a secret with some good sized problems waiting in the wings. I can`t see her keeping this secret for much longer. Why? Because I already know about it. I am not going to tell anyone, so there is no need to hire a hit man to take me out.  It`s not my business what she does, but if she accidentally let the cat out of the bag with me, she is going to slip up down the road and let her secret out to someone else.

This slip up might end a marriage " a sad occurrence but still not earth shattering except for the people involved.  Sir Walter Scott said it best: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."  That tangled web will wreak havoc on not only the person who keeps the secret but those who were deceived by it as well.

As we all know, political secrets have long-range effects. Pick a president and enjoy the scandal. Why? Because someone in the cabinet or congress or White House guest bedroom got ticked off or ignored and felt the need to tell the world all the hidden dirt. Okay, Watergate was a biggie. I am glad we found out about that secret. No president should hold that much power.  I could have lived without knowing about Clinton, the intern and their somewhat disturbing use of cigars as love toys, but apparently the media thought that was important for me to know..

Even if someone promises to "take the secret to the grave", don`t believe it. It`s not going to happen because little and big secrets require absolute trust that has to last for the lifetime of everyone involved in the secret.  I don`t know about you, but few relationships have that staying power and when relationships end, secrets come out. 

It`s human nature to want to get revenge and tell the secrets of someone you once loved and trusted.  Most of the time this is a bad idea.  While the offending party in the secret looks bad, usually so does the person who tattled.  The "rat" gets a bad reputation and runs the risk of having his or her secrets revealed. Yes, it`s a vicious cycle. Just ask Linda Tripp. 

There are two secrets in recent history where I wish someone would have ratted out those involved. The first involves the Catholic Church. Decades of abuse were known by most priests. Yet, not one of them divulged the crimes, and yes, despite what the Pope might say, they were crimes.  Think of how many less molestation victims there would have been if one priest, bishop, cardinal or pope had the balls to come forward and tell the truth about what had been going on for so long. 

The second secret is one that many of us know little about. It`s not our fault; it is the fault of the government because we were kept in the dark.  Sixty-six years ago, The United States dropped Atomic Bombs on  Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  What we do know is that the bombs were the icing on the cake in ending the Second World War.  What we didn`t know in detail until recently was the physical and emotional effects the bombs had on not only the people of Japan but also on the American servicemen who were there for the aftermath. Americans and the Japanese took films of the death, illness and disfigurement that resulted from the bombs. The government chose to hide those films away and it wasn`t until the 1980s that any of the films were viewed and still now, most Americans do not know these films exist.

Good secret to hold onto?  Probably not. This is not an example of  "What we don`t know, won`t  hurt us ". Kept in the dark, the American people trusted the government and its nuclear ambitions seeing them as good protection against foreign enemies. They heard the rhetoric about the Russians and the Cold War and they grew fearful that the Russians would drop a bomb on us, so we needed to be ready to strike first.

If the graphic information about the Japan bombs were released, and we saw what truly  happened there, maybe nuclear arms would not have been so widely accepted among Americans. Maybe we would have insisted that the money that went into nuclear weapons go into other issues like stopping hunger or developing an alternative fuel that would have allowed us to tell the Middle East to go to hell. Maybe, women`s rights in those countries would have been further along because those countries would not have the wealth or power that they possess today. 

I know; it`s easy to say "What if?" We don`t know what could have happened, but we do know that secrets like these always have a way of coming out. Unfortunately, they sometimes come out too late.