Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Give Me Sound Sleep, PC in Terminal Condition?, Oppie's Life

Couldn’t sleep at all… Horrible memories were coming back, and that jungle bird was making things even worse. These days the bird seems to have found friends in this neighborhood and it calls to other birds in a very loud and jungle type of shout.

Tried to sleep of course but gave up when the birds started BARKING. Turned to “AM” and finished it.

… In 1960, he visited Tokyo, where reporters greeted him at the airport with a barrage of questions. “I do not regret,” he said softly, “that I had something to do with the technical success of the atomic bomb. It isn’t that I don’t feel bad; it is that I don’t feel worse tonight than I did last night.” The translation of that ambiguously loaded sentiment into Japanese could not have been easy… (p. 564)

… One Christmas dinner [the Oppenheimers] served their guests champagne and Japanese seaweed. (p. 572)

“Japanese seaweed”???? And with champagne???

Oppenheimer’s security clearance was not renewed mainly because of years-old stories of his communist connections. After the hearing (i.e. trial), he is no longer as active in voicing his opposition to the US nuclear policy… The sort of morality Truman and Eisenhower to the arms race with the Soviet Union had should be questioned.

In 1964, Oppenheimer received an advance copy of a book with a startling new interpretation of the decision to use the bomb on Hiroshima. Using such newly opened archival sources as former secretary of war Henry L. Stimson’s diaries and State Department materials related to former secretary of state James F. Byrnes, Gar Alperovitz argued that atomic diplomacy against the Soviet Union was a factor in President Truman’s decision to use the bomb against a Japanese enemy that appeared to be defeated militarily. Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam: The Use of the Atomic Bomb and the American Confrontation with the Soviet Power created a storm of controversy…. [Oppenheimer] still thought the Truman Administration had used atomic weapons on an enemy already essentially defeated. (p. 578)

The opinions of those who knew the Oppenheimers are extreme whether positive or negative. I’d rather stay away from these strong, controversial characters even with their intelligence.

On balance, it seems that the couple left more suffering than happiness to their two children. The son, Peter, twice married and twice divorced, ended up as a “contractor and carpenter.” Their daughter, Toni, twice married and twice divorced, killed herself when she was only 31 or 32.

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