Today marks the 64th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. 50,000 people gathered in the city to remember the 140,000 killed within months of the attack and to honor thousands of survivors.
Hundreds more events to mark the anniversary happened around the globe, including one in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the location of the Y-12 plant where the “Little Boy” bomb was built. The event’s organizer, Ralph Hutchison, stated that, “The bomb does not make us more secure, it makes us less secure.”
Many others agree.
Today on the Huffington Post, Bill Hartung of the New America Foundation argues that, “it’s long past time that we had a national dialogue about eliminating these weapons of mass terror once and for all.”
He goes on to discuss the cyclical nature of the history of anti-nuclear weapons activism, and the progress each cycle has brought to reducing the threat of nuclear weapons.
“The ban-the-bomb movement of the 1950s set the stage for the prohibition of above-ground nuclear tests. The nuclear freeze campaign of the 1980s helped turn Ronald Reagan from a reckless, loose-talking cowboy who joked that ‘the bombing starts in five minutes’ into a leader in nuclear arms reductions who almost moved to abolish them in his 1986 summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik.”
With 27,000 nuclear weapons around the globe – 95% of them possessed by either Russia or the U.S. – and so many voices calling for “a nuclear weapons free world,” we stand a a crucial turning point in nuclear weapons policy.
After all, advocates calling for the reduction or elimination of nuclear weapons for our security, not despite it, now include:
• President Obama
• 71% of Americans
• Bush’s and Obama’s Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
• Former Republican Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Democratic Secretary of Defense William Perry, and former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn
• Other moderates and conservatives, including Sen. John McCain
With support from such different constituencies around the country, the time could not be more ripe for the most significant progress on nuclear reductions in history.
In the words of our very own Lt. Gen. Robert Gard,
“I like the Sam Nunn analogy. He said [nuclear disarmament is] like a mountain with a cloud over the top. You can’t see the top, you don’t know if you can get there, but you start up the mountain.
The fact of the matter is I could not come up and tell you how we could verify that some nuclear power didn’t squirrel a few of them away. But, there’s a lot we can do to start walking up that mountain, and hopefully try to get there. I am 100% behind enunciating it as a goal, and Obama was NOT irresponsible, he said ‘this will be very difficult, it’s unlikely to happen even in my lifetime,’. But he said ‘that is the goal of the United States.’”