Revolution #98, August 19, 2007
From A World to Win News Service
Hiroshima, Nagasaki…and Tehran?
August 6, 2007. A World to Win News Service. “That fateful summer, 8:15. The roar of a B-29 breaks the morning calm. A parachute opens in the blue sky. Then suddenly, a flash, an enormous blast—silence—hell on earth.
“The eyes of young girls watching the parachute melted. Their faces became giant charred blisters. The skin of people seeking help dangled from their fingernails. Their hair stood on end. Their clothes were ripped to shreds. People trapped in houses toppled by the blast were burned alive. Others died when their eyes and internal organs burst from their bodies. Hiroshima was a hell where those who somehow survived envied the dead.” (From the August 6, 2007 memorial statement by Hiroshima mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, in a plea to rid the world of all nuclear weapons)
On August 6, 1945 the U.S. unleashed the atomic bomb on humanity. The world’s first use of nuclear weapons, against the Japanese city of Hiroshima, was followed on August 9 by the bombing of Nagasaki.
As the U.S. threatens war—including the use of nuclear weapons—against Iran, supposedly because the Islamic regime seeks nuclear weapons capability, it is more important than ever to emphasize what country has been the first and only to ever actually use such weapons.
The two atomic bombs dropped at the end of World War 2 were deliberately set to explode high in the air. The point was to maximize the killing, not the destruction of buildings. More than 110,000 people died immediately in the two bombings and the radiation eventually killed hundreds of thousands more. Many years of painful death by cancer and later birth defects lay ahead for the survivors and their descendents.
If terrorism is defined as the killing of innocent civilians for a political purpose, then the world has seldom seen such terrorism. Think of 40 times September 11, 2001 in New York and you will only imagine the first few seconds.
Shortly after, Japan surrendered. But its economy and capital city had been destroyed before the atomic bombs reduced two non-military and relatively unimportant cities to towns of the dead. Many historians believe that country was on the verge of surrender before those terrible days in August 1945. The main reason the U.S. wanted to use atomic weapons was as a demonstration of strength to threaten the USSR. The Soviet Union was then a socialist country. It had been allied with the U.S. against Germany and Japan during the war, but even before that war was over, the U.S. was baring its teeth to the USSR and setting out to dominate the world.
Before World War 2, bombing civilians was considered a barbaric and illegal act. The U.S. was not the only nation to commit that crime in WW2, but along with the British it did so on an enormous scale. Since then the U.S. has threatened to use nuclear weapons on dozens of occasions, not only against the USSR when that country later became an imperialist rival to the U.S., but also Vietnam and China. That the U.S. would make first use of nuclear weapons whenever it felt its interests sufficiently threatened has been official U.S. doctrine and the cornerstone of American military policy from the 1950s through today.
Currently, despite the fact that the U.S.’s rival in Cold War nuclear terrorism, the USSR, has collapsed, the Bush government has launched a plan to redesign and rebuild every weapon in its nuclear arsenal, which still contains, like Russia’s, roughly 5,800 active atomic warheads. This includes both giant city-crushing long-range-missile-borne bombs and smaller “tactical” nuclear weapons to vaporize smaller targets. The Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab in California, which is carrying out this project, was the target of a planned series of demonstrations to commemorate the bombings of the two Japanese cities and oppose an American attack on Iran. The use of “tactical” nuclear weapons against Iran is a popular topic of discussion in Washington.
It is also criminally ironic that just the week before the Hiroshima anniversary, the U.S. and Indian governments reached agreement on American technical assistance to India’s nuclear program at the same time the U.S. is threatening Iran for undertaking its own program. Unlike Iran, India has refused to sign the nuclear non-proliferation pact, and unlike Iran, India has developed and tested nuclear bombs. Obviously, for the U.S. the question is not preventing nuclear proliferation but supporting or toppling regimes according to its perceived interests.
As the UN International Atomic Energy Agency has said, there is no evidence that Iran’s nuclear program includes weapons at this time. It is true that nukes are nukes and much of the same technology and skills used for nuclear power plants can be used to make nuclear bombs. It also may be that the Iranian Islamic regime seeks nuclear weapons. It would be wrong to deny these facts and prettify an anti-people regime.
But the world has only known one nuclear war criminal, and that criminal must be stopped from doing it again.
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