In August 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, bringing death to 300,000 human beings, creating pain and endless suffering in the lives of countless others. Now nine countries have nuclear bombs; many more have the capacity to make them.
Today, there are, in combat readiness, enough bombs to kill the world population many times over….. And there is no defense. Nuclear war could happen any day – by accident, by design, by miscalculation, by terrorism, by madness. The weapons are still on hair-trigger alert, in this country and abroad.
The current review conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty proved that two groups of nations are in collision. The possessors of nuclear weapons want to stop the proliferators and proliferators demand that the nuclear powers reduce and eventually get rid of their own nuclear arsenals in accordance with their treaty commitments.
The United States needs to re-examine its policies that envision an active role for nuclear weapons in future wars and building a new generation of nuclear weapons. The American case against the nuclear weapons plans of Iran and North Korea would be greatly strengthened if the United States were to cut drastically its own stockpiles of nuclear weapons, abandon plans to build new nuclear weapons and approve the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
What happens in nuclear war?
1. Blast – creates enormous pressure, topples buildings and trees. Kills people by shock wave over pressure and wind, by flying debris, by throwing people against fixed objects and by crushing them in collapsing buildings.
2. Fireball – temperatures up to millions of degrees ignite raging fires and kill by flash-burn. People can be burned at great distances. Causes blindness
3. Prompt radiation – kills people close to the explosion by large dose. Smaller doses can cause acute delayed radiation sickness and possibly death. Affects future generations genetically.
4. Fallout radiation – spreads out to large distances, sometimes killing people hundreds of miles from explosion. Causes leukemia and other forms of cancer everywhere on Earth for decades. Increase incidences of stillbirth, tumors, congenital malformations and cataracts.
5. Environment – pollutes water, earth and air. Destroys forests and agriculture by heat and blast. Death by radiation of animals and birds, while radiation resistant bacteria, fungi, viruses and insects flourish.
6. Social disorganization – disruption of medical facilities and energy production, breakdown of government, authority and disaster relief, spreading of disease and epidemics. Fighting for scarce food supplies, despair at the enormous task of reconstruction – with the possibility of another nuclear war in the offing.
On the December 21, on the Fox Television News Sunday hosted by Chris Wallace, Vice President Richard Cheney, made the following stunning statement:
“The president of United States now for 50 years is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a football that contains the nuclear codes that he would use and be authorized to use in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States. He could launch a kind of devastating attack the world’s never seen. He doesn’t have to check with anybody. He doesn’t have to call the Congress. He doesn’t have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in.”
This post originally appeared on The Relentless Liberal on December 28, 2008.