Never again—Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s 70th Anniversary Commemoration

By Blase Bonpane

A holocaust began on this day in 1945 and has continued to the present. Some 30 million people have been sacrificed. It was then Korea, Indo-China, Central and South America, Panama and Grenada. And for the past 24 years the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and much of Africa.

And now all of the military hubris, waste, murder, torture and rape must be put aside and channeled into saving our common home . . . this tiny grain of sand called planet Earth.

Never has there been a greater danger of nuclear holocaust than today. The United States and Israel are certainly the most apt to use these biocidal weapons. There is not now nor has there ever been any value in what was called deterrence. There is only crisis.

The United States does not obey the nuclear non-proliferation treaty Israel is not even a member and both point the finger at a nation which is open to inspection and is a member and yet has no nuclear weapons . . . Iran.

Let’s talk for a moment about Nagasaki. There is a book review in the New York Times by Ian Buruma. The book is called Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard. Mr. Buruma points out that there is good reason to write a book about the atom bombing of Nagasaki. Most people have heard of Hiroshima. The second bomb, dropped by an Irish-American pilot almost exactly above the largest Catholic Church in Asia, which killed more than 70,000 civilians is less well known.

The book gives us some idea of what it must have been like for people who were unlucky enough not to be killed instantly. General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, which had developed the atom bomb, testified before the United States Senate that death from high-dose radiation was “without undue suffering” and indeed “a very pleasant way to die”. Many survivors died later, always very unpleasantly, of radiation sickness. Their hair would fall out, they would be covered in purple spots, and their skin would rot. And those that would survive longer after the war had a much higher than average chance of dying of leukemia or other cancers even decades later.

The American Administration occupying Japan at the time made it even worse for Japanese doctors to treat their patients by censoring information about the bomb and its effects. This policy was in place until the early 1950’s. Readers were shocked by John Hersey’s description of the Hiroshima bomb in The New Yorker in 1946. The ensuing book was banned in Japan. Films and photographs of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as medical data, were confiscated by American authorities.

And let’s talk for a moment about lying . . . A new study by Army War College found that not only is lying common in the military, the armed forces themselves may be encouraging it. Matthew Hoh, a State Department whistleblower, said: “The culture of lying that is endemic and systemic in the Army, as found by researchers with the Army War College, finds its expression in America’s pointless wars, a one trillion dollar-a-year, pork-filled and in auditable national security budget, chronic veteran suicides, an expanded and more globally robust international terrorist movement, and untold suffering of millions of people and political chaos throughout the Greater Middle East perpetuated by our war policies.

Listening to our military leaders, and the politicians who adore and deify them rather than oversee them, America’s wars and its military have been a great patriotic success. This report is not a surprise for those of us who have worn the uniform, nor should it be surprising to those who have watched and paid attention with a modicum of critical and independent thought to our wars these past thirteen plus years. The wars are failures, but careers must prosper, budgets must increase and popular narratives and myths of American military success must endure, so the culture of lying becomes a necessity for our Army at a great physical, mental and moral cost to our Nation.”

Hoh, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, previously directed the Afghanistan Study Group, a collection of foreign and public policy experts and professionals advocating for a change in the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and on U.S. Embassy teams in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

And let’s look at the final declaration from the Kyoto International conference on Space and Peace which just ended this week. (Note: Dr. Bonpane’s talk at the Hiroshima event only quoted the 4th paragraph of this declaration beginning Missile defense systems . . .).

The United Nations was established in 1946 after the Second World War to ‘Save the succeeding generations from the scourge of wars, which twice in our life time has brought untold sorrow to humankind”. The UN visualized establishing a New International Order. But the US and the European colonial countries have joined together and instead of a New International Order, they have brought a “New International Disorder”.

The entire 20th Century witnessed wars, aggressions, and assassinations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The imperialist countries formed the NATO military alliance which is being used to indulge in attacks on sovereign nations and committing war crimes which go unpunished. Even the UN is being side tracked as NATO expands its mission as the primary resource extraction service for corporate globalization.

Instead of allowing an alternative social order to capitalism to be developed the US engaged the USSR in a nuclear arms race. US has established approximately 1,000 military bases throughout the world. It was largely responsible for boosting global military expenditures to more than 1.75 Trillion US Dollars. Along with allies like Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies the US has over the years fostered the growth of Taliban, Al-Qaida and terrorism throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of Africa.

Missile defense systems, key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning, have been deployed around Russia and China. This has helped deal a death blow to hopes for global nuclear disarmament as both those nations have repeatedly warned that they cannot afford to reduce their nuclear retaliatory capability at the same time the US deploys the ‘shield’ on their doorstep.

At the beginning of the 21st Century the United Nations made another attempt to herald a “new International Order” by adopting the “Millennium Declaration” and the Millennium Development Goals. All UN members have accepted to eschew violence and follow peaceful co-existence ushering disarmament and development. But again the US and many European partners have created a “new International Disorder”.

Lies have been spoken in the governments of US & Britain and also in the UN Security council about the non-existent nuclear weapons in Iraq. War in Afghanistan, invasion of Iraq, attacks on Libya, and drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and other nations have led to the killing of many innocent people.

Having directed a coup d’état in Ukraine the US has helped create a deadly civil war on Russia’s border that appears designed to destabilize the government in Moscow. NATO has been extended up to the borders of Russia violating post-Cold War promises to the former Soviet Union that the western military alliance would not move ‘one inch’ eastward. The US_NATO are today sending troops and heavy military hardware to NATO members Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Georgia all along or near the Russian border. These provocative developments could be the trigger for WW III.

US refusal to negotiate a ban on weapons in space at the UN has left the door open for continued development of offensive and destabilizing space technologies like the military space plane and Prompt Global Strike systems. US military satellites offer global surveillance to the Pentagon and allow for targeting of virtually any place on Earth.

The recently announced Obama ‘pivot’ of US forces into the Asia-Pacific is intended to give the Pentagon the capability to contain and control China. More airfields, barracks, and ports-of-call are needed for US military operations in the region thus we see expansion of existing bases, or construction of new bases, in places like South Korea, Okinawa, Guam, Philippines, Australia and more. We stand in solidarity with those local and national movements that resist the US base expansions.

Particularly as we meet in Kyoto, Japan we declare our strong opposition to the US deployment of a “missile defense” X-Band radar system in the local prefecture that is provocatively aimed at China.

This Kyoto Conference declares our opposition to the dangerous spread of global militarization, on behalf of corporate domination, which cannot be allowed to continue as we see the coming ravages of climate change and growing global poverty. We must all work to realize the UN ideal to “save the succeeding generations from the scourge of wars”. This can only happen with a powerful and unified global movement for peace, justice and environmental sanity.

We call for the conversion of the global war machine so that all life on our spaceship Earth may live and flourish in the years to come. We recognize the need for bold and determined action now to ensure that another world may in fact be possible.

All energy, support and war making must be channeled into saving our common home – The Planet Earth.

Friends, we have the power to save the planet it will not be done by our pathetic Congress and Administration it can only be done by a people mobilized in protest and leading the way to a new internationalism which is capable of ending the war system . . . creating a peace system and saving our common home. To this we must pledge our fortune and our lives.

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