The 74st anniversary of the only use of nuclear bombs is upon us. President and retired General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower was shocked by their use, saying that he was not taught to conduct war in such a manner. US military leaders and theologians condemned its use (the theologians saw it as a sin). Gar Alperowitz’s study, “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb”, clearly documents that the US leadership knew Japan was ready for surrender months before August 6. There is strong evidence that we used the bomb not to defeat Japan but to send a message to Stalin that the US would dominate the post war world.
“One World or None” (available in the Pike’s Peak Library) contains 15 essays written by scientists who developed the bomb including Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr as well as by Gen “Hap” Arnold who commanded the US Army Air Force bombing campaign against mainland Japan and Walter Lippmann, foremost conservative political writer at the time. All agreed there needed to be an international rule of law enforced by an international body to eliminate nuclear weapons. They believed a nuclear arms race would lead to disaster.
At the end of the Cold War, 25 years ago, Air Force General and commander of Strategic Air Command, “Lee” Butler said that the world narrowly escaped a civilization destroying, planet destroying holocaust by sheer luck or the grace of God. Having examined US Nuclear Weapons Policy and Targeting he judged that both super powers had worked themselves into a state of paranoid fear leaving the world awash in weapons and delivery systems. He believed and still believes they have to be eliminated.
Some have argued that the nuclear arms race deterred the world from another world war but, in fact, millions have been killed in regional conflicts, proxy wars, civil wars and special ops by “intelligence” organizations with conventional weapons sold or given them by the superpowers. By the end of the Cold War the US alone had squandered over 5.5 Trillion dollars of the world’s wealth creating this monstrous nuclear arsenal. Such a sum might have been spent addressing human needs, creating a more just world, creating an International Police to enforce International Law in order to prevent further cruel war and violence.
Those who profit from war and preparations for war and those who celebrate national sovereignty, competition for wealth between nations (races and religions) have managed to turn the best intentioned leaders from hoped for nuclear disarmament. The US refuses to ratify the International Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons . Here in Colorado, we have about 40 nuclear armed Minuteman missiles in launch on warning status (less than 20 minutes). A great deal of the Colorado Economy is military spending based. And finally, in contradiction of Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (wherein the United States pledged to abolish its nuclear weapons) we are budgeting well over a Trillion more dollars over 20 years to “modernize” our nuclear weapons arsenal with more “useable” nukes. The US refuses to declare a “No First Use” policy.
US foreign policy selectively condemns other nations’ (Iraq, Iran and N. Korea) nuclear programs, but winks at Israel’s large nuclear arsenal (while supporting Israel’s illegal and immoral occupation in Palestine.) It accuses Russia of violations of nuclear treaties (i.e. Intermediate Range weapons) while pushing the NATO nuclear forces closer to Russian Borders. Isn’t it time for a mental health check? The real threat to our national security and planetary security is the Climate Crisis which will require major cooperation among nation-states in the name of human survival. To quote a famous non-violent peacemaker, “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”
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