The Guardian August 7, 2002


Hiroshima, Never Again

by Terrie Albano

There are a number of dates that live in historical infamy, like December 
7, 1941, and September 11, 2001. Two other such dates are August 6 and 9, 
1945. These were the days when the US dropped never-before-used atomic 
bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, resulting in some 
300,000 deaths.

In one of history's twists of fate, the survivors and families of victims 
of both the September and August dates have been brought together out of 
their common bonds of sorrow, horror, anger and commitment to say "never 
again  we need peace".

New Yorker Rita Lazar, a member of September 11th Families for Peaceful 
Tomorrows, will be a keynote speaker at the 2002 World Conference Against 
Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Some 10,000 participants are expected, including American peace activists. 
They will gather under the theme, "Working Together for a Peaceful and 
Promising World Without Nuclear Weapons".

The Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organisations (Hidankyo) 
came to New York City to pay their respects at Ground Zero. After September 
11, the Confederation sent a message of condolence and condemnation of the 
attacks and offered the following prescient words:

"As survivors of the first nuclear attack in history, which was no less an 
anti-human and atrocious act, we oppose the concept of 'retaliation' in 
itself. If an act of retaliation is allowed in response to any 
unjustifiable action, it will generate a vicious cycle that continues 
endlessly, embracing a danger of throwing the human race and the earth into 
the hopeless abyss of catastrophe", they wrote.

They opposed the Japanese government's co-operation with the war on 
terrorism. They urged that there be no military attack, no use or threat of 
use of nuclear weapons, and that the terrorists be brought to justice "for 
their crime under international law and by peaceful means, relying on a 
worldwide consensus that condemns the terrorism".

What a different world it would be today had their words been heeded.

Instead, those September 11 actions gave the ultra right and their 
corporate masters the upper hand around the world. Dr Strangelove seemed to 
get into the drivers' seat as the Bush administration  with its unending 
war, Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that considers using nuclear weapons, 
abridgement of the ABM Treaty, pursuing Star Wars, bombing Afghanistan, 
laying plans to invade Iraq and intensifying regional conflicts, all under 
the guise of fighting terrorism  hurtle the world into the abyss of 
untold destruction and lawlessness.

As the Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the Princeton-based 
Coalition for Peace Action and pastor of East Brunswick Congregational 
Church, wrote:

"The NPR makes clear that the Bush administration has no intention of 
permanently reducing nuclear arsenals. The rules proposed to count nuclear 
warheads would make Enron jealous. Nuclear warheads taken off active 
deployment wouldn't be counted  but they would be stored in a way that 
they could be quickly re-deployed.

"A recent analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council showed as many 
as 15,000 nuclear warheads would remain in the US arsenal  not the widely 
touted 2000."

Nuclear arms control has become Enronised. As horrid and tragic as that is 
to all the workers who have lost their pensions and jobs, times that horror 
by a million. Since this is in the nuclear sphere, it's about the survival 
of the planet.

Each step towards more war and violence brings us closer to the edge. One 
could argue that the bombing of Afghanistan and the unending war on 
terrorism is just a precursor for the invasion of Iraq.

After all, the Pentagon has already experimented with bunker-buster bombs, 
never before used, and bunker-busters are militarily key for not only Iraq, 
but other countries as well. Many argue Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the 
experiment and precursor to the Cold War.

These policies and experiments may make happy the Dr Strangeloves and the 
corporations who build and profit from these weapons and military might, 
but that's a very small minority.

It will take the unity, resolve and action of the world's majority to 
guarantee that "never again" becomes a reality.

* * *
People's Weekly World paper of Communist Party USA

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