Yesterday, August 6th, was Hiroshima Day, and Sunday August 9th will be Nagasaki Day, when peace lovers remember the thousands of innocent men, women and children murdered by the United States military both on those terrible two days in 1945 and in the decades since from cancers caused by the nuclear fallout.
The lie has been spread that it was only these terrible weapons which ended the War in the Far East. Even if true, that was no justification, because there CAN be no justification under ANY circumstances whatsoever for dropping nuclear bombs on innocent men, women and children. No justification for burning little babies and children alive, and causing terrible deformities and cancers in those not yet even born.
However, since the Japanese considered it an honor to die for their Emperor and their country, hence the kamikazi pilots, it would have been about as effective as nuclear bombing Al Quaida and creating thousands more martyrs with many more lining up to fill their shoes. We can see in Afghanistan that for every Taliban killed, hundreds more are recruited to take their place. Killing suicide bombers and others considering it an honor to be a dead martyr is counter-productive, and will just win even more recruits to the cause.
No, what persuaded the Japanese to end hostilities was when the United States backed down and allowed Emperor Hirohito to remain on the throne, instead of trying him for war crimes. This could have been achieved without the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The reason these atomic bombs were dropped on those Japanese cities was precisely because the War was ending, and the Americans wished to demonstrate the power of the weapon and what it could do to innocent civilians, mainly to scare ‘Uncle Joe’, their wartime ‘ally’ Joseph Stalin. It was an early attempt to forestall the spread of Communism after the War, which failed completely of course.
Since Soviet forces had liberated most of Central and Eastern Europe from Fascism, they were in de facto occupation, and there was little the Western allies could do but agree that these countries belonged in the Soviet sphere of influence. Having lost nearly 20,000,000 people in the Nazi invasion of the USSR, the Soviets were not going to allow this to happen again, and wanted a buffer zone of friendly Socialist states between them and the West, and in particular, between them and West Germany.
In the Far East, Mao Ze-dong’s People’s Liberation Army soon took over all China and Tibet (except Formosa/Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau), whilst North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia also eventually became Communist states. And the possession of the atomic bomb by America (who then shared the secrets with Britain in return for the latter’s slavish lapdog support for U.S. wars and foreign adventures ever since) just spurred the Soviet Union, with the aid of its spies and undercover agents, to acquire The Bomb.
I was reading an article yesterday, which stated that The Bomb since the Second World War has become military totally useless, because any country using it would be a pariah. World public opinion just will never stand for another Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Whilst it could be argued that they were just bigger versions of Allied conventional bombing/shelling of German cities like Hamburg, Dresden and Berlin, this doesn’t wash with those of us who know that ALL targeting/bombing of civilians, whether with nuclear or conventional weapons, is totally illegal and a war crime. And nuclear weapons not only cause much greater damage and kill more people instantaneously, but the nuclear fallout kills and causes cancers and deformities for decades, also affecting generations yet unborn.
If so-called ‘nuclear deterrence’ prevented war, then every country in the world which did not possess nuclear weapons (i.e. the vast majority) would have been invaded. An old CND slogan pointed out that well over 100 countries need no nuclear bomb, so why do we? Only as an expensive and dangerous status symbol, and a permanent ticket to the UN Security Council, which should be abolished. The UN General Assembly is the democratic forum for UN decisions/resolutions, and nobody should have the right of veto. Certainly not nuclear terrorist states!
If the nuclear deterrent worked Argentina would never have dared try to reclaim the Malvinas/Falklands from Britain, Nasser wouldn’t have dared nationalize the Suez Canal, North Vietnam and North Korea would have lost their wars against nuclear armed USA, Afghanistan would not have defeated the Soviets and now be causing so many losses for the UK and USA, similarly with Iraq which has cost many American, British and Iraqi lives.
President Obama has stated that it is his intention to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and he has already made a start by reducing the remaining stockpiles in agreement with Russia. Targeting civilians is not only illegal and wicked, but it encourages others to do the same for political/religious objectives. How can USA and UK condemn terrorists for targeting innocent civilians with bombs, when they are doing exactly the same only on a much bigger scale – aiming nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert at civilian centers of population?
Far from being a ‘deterrent’, the nearest we came to nuclear war was when nuclear weapons CAUSED the crisis. In the early 1960s the Soviet Union was surrounded by U.S. and other Western nuclear missiles in Polaris submarines patrolling the seas around it, and based in Alaska, Turkey and Western European countries. So in 1962, after its ally Cuba and its leader Fidel Castro was the victim of several failed American attempts at invasion (Bay of Pigs fiasco) and assassination, Kruschev agreed to let Cuba have a few nuclear weapons to ‘deter’ a future attack. This is what caused the Cuba Missile Crisis, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. It would NOT have occurred had it not been for nuclear weapons. The Cuba Crisis just demonstrated how dangerous nuclear weapons are, and how they can CAUSE wars and crises, rather than deter them.
So nuclear weapons cannot deter war or invasions, certainly cannot deter terrorist atrocities like 9/11, cannot win or even be used in wars (Vietnam being a typical case), but can only cause wars and crises such as the Cuba Missile Crisis, and crank up tensions in places like the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. They also cost billions of dollars and make nuclear arms companies rich, impoverish the economy (the nuclear arms race broke the Soviet economy, and now the West is in trouble) and leave a lot of dangerous plutonium and nuclear waste which could get in the hands of terrorists.
It is now high time nuclear weapons were banned worldwide, by international agreement. As long as the major nuclear powers cling on to these militarily useless and totally illegal weapons of mass destruction, the more other countries will seek these ‘status symbols’ and the danger of nuclear war in unstable situations will increase.
Of course, if ‘nuclear deterrence’ really worked, then the USA could have given every country in the world The Bomb, and we’d have everlasting peace (even if none of us could sleep peacefully at night worrying if some madman somewhere was going to release Armageddon, intentionally or accidentally).
High time to rid the world of these obscene weapons of mass destruction, and for all of us to remember the millions of innocent civilians who have been murdered by conventional and atomic bombs in wars and terrorist attacks in the last 100 years or so.
President Obama is our best hope yet of pushing the world to honor the Nuclear Non-Ploriferation Treaty and rid the world of nuclear weapons completely.
In the words of the old ‘anthem’ of CND, ‘The H-Bomb’s Thunder’ by John Brunner: BAN THE BOMB FOR EVERMORE!