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editorial

Manhattan Project National Park would commemorate history, not glorify it

THE MANHATTAN Project that created the first atomic bomb was a great success — and, in the eyes of many, a cautionary tale about the dangers of technological proliferation. The best way to forget such complicated lessons of the past is to pretend they never happened. Members of the US House of Representatives who voted down a proposed national park that would preserve and link together sites in three states involved with creating the atomic bomb ought not to forget that insight.

Representative Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, and others argued that any official recognition of the places where the Manhattan Project did its work would be celebrating violence and nuclear destruction. But this argument is shortsighted. Many advances in science and technology have deadly uses as well as peaceful ones, and sometimes the deadly ones help to keep the peace. The questions that could be raised at the proposed Manhattan Project National Park are exactly the ethical quandaries that contemporary students — and lawmakers — should be confronting.

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