ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Agent Orange, the most powerful of the herbicides used in Vietnam in Operation Ranch Hand, begun on August 10, 1961, contained dioxin, one of the most toxic substances on the planet. We dropped 20 million gallons of this and other herbicides on Vietnam, contaminating 7,000 square miles of its forests. Half a century later, we are fully aware of the consequences of this strategic decision, not just for the Vietnamese, the Laotians, the Cambodians, but also for many American troops.
PETER BERGEL – Any of our cities could be incinerated by today’s nuclear weapons without warning at virtually any moment, either accidentally or purposely. Yet this monstrous possibility has fallen off the radar of most citizens and politicians.
ALICE SLATER – August 6th and 9th mark 74 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where only one nuclear bomb dropped on each city caused the deaths of up to 146,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 people in Nagasaki. Now, with the US decision to walk away from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) negotiated with the Soviet Union, we are once again staring into the abyss of one of the most perilous nuclear challenges since the height of the Cold War.
ZIA MIAN, ALAN ROBOCK and SHARON WEINER – On May 23rd, the New Jersey General Assembly approved Resolution 230, urging the federal government to pursue a broad range of measures to reduce the danger of nuclear war and to join the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. California and some American cities have already adopted similar resolutions to call for action in Washington on nuclear weapons. Hereâ€™s why.
SHARON TENNISON – We Americans must take diplomacy into our own hands â€” as our citizens did in the 1980’s!
MAYORS FOR PEACE – â€œWe call on the cities around the world to unite in cross-border cooperation to pave the way towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.â€ This call made by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to the establishment of â€œMayors for Peace.â€ Since then, we have appealed for the establishment of a legal framework to prohibit nuclear weapons as we believed it to be essential in achieving their abolition.
MARTHA BASKIN – The ad pierces your consciousness and catches you by surprise. Plastered on the side of Seattle’s King County Metro it hurls you momentarily back in time, to a time when nuclear weapons were an imminent threat to our survival. Or did the era never end?
RAMESH JAURA – Despite protests by Republican congressional leaders and the heads of Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, President Barack Obama is garnering wide support for his reported plan to implement at least a part of his cherished nuclear agenda through a series of executive actions during the next months before leaving the White House.
DAVID SWANSON – President Obama went to Hiroshima, did not apologize, did not state the facts of the matter (that there was no justification for the bombings there and in Nagasaki), and did not announce any steps to reverse his pro-nuke policies (building more nukes, putting more nukes in Europe, defying the nonproliferation treaty, opposing a ban treaty, upholding a first-strike policy, spreading nuclear energy far and wide, demonizing Iran and North Korea, antagonizing Russia, etc.). Where Obama is usually credited — and the reason he’s usually given a pass on his actual actions — is in the area of rhetoric. But in Hiroshima, as in Prague, his rhetoric did more harm than good. He claimed to want to eliminate nukes, but he declared that such a thing could not happen for decades (probably not in his lifetime) and he announced that humanity has always waged war (before later quietly claiming that this need not continue).
HARVEY WASSERMAN – The on-going radiation releases from jalopy nuclear reactors impact our health and undermine our eco-systems every day, threatening our future on this planet, and standing in the way of the Solartopian Revolution in renewables and efficiency that must ultimately save our planet from ecological and economic ruin.
ROBERT F. DODGE, M.D. – Following the arrival of spring each year, our nation renews its commitment to our priorities on Tax Day, April 15th, from education to health care, infrastructure and national defense. Included among these expenditures are nuclear weapons programsâ€”weapons that can not and must not ever be used. The funding for these programs, while more transparent than in the past, is still quite secretive. From the beginnings of our nuclear programs in 1940 we have spent as a nation in excess of $6 trillion dollars on them. This Tax Day we will spend ~$56.3 billion more on these same programs. From Los Angeles Countyâ€™s expenditure of $1.785 billion to our nations capitol at $107 million, these are monies that we can ill afford to spend.
RIVERA SUN – Nowhere is Hannah Arendt’s phrase the banality of evil more potent than at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The prosperous county -one of the nation’s richest – sits amongst the piÃ±on pines and junipers in the high-altitude desert of northern New Mexico. It exists almost exclusively for the purpose of researching and developing nuclear weapons.
JAINE ROSE and REBECCA JOHNSON – Editorâ€™s Note: â€œWhile Nagasaki Day has come and gone, this innovative project richly deserves to be known by people all around the world, so â€˜Ask me what Iâ€™m knitting.â€™â€ On 9th August â€“ the 69th anniversary of the incineration of Nagasaki by a plutonium bomb code-named â€œFat Manâ€ â€“ thousands of people will join the Wool against Weapons demonstration in Berkshire to link up a 7-mile pink knitted â€˜peace scarfâ€™ between the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) complexes at Aldermaston and Burghfield.
ROBERT F. DODGE, M.D. – On Aug. 6th, sixty-nine years ago, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, killing 80-140 thousand people immediately. Three days later on August 9th, a second U.S. nuclear bomb was dropped over Nagasaki, killing an additional 74,000 people. From that week to the present moment the world has been held hostage to the insane threat and potential annihilation by these weapons that now number in excess of 17,000 worldwide. However daunting, we have witnessed this past year some of the most significant progress and awareness of this threat and work to eliminate nuclear weapons, thus realizing the long standing desires of people everywhere, to live in a world free of nuclear weapons. It is time for our elected officials to support the international efforts toward this end.
DAVID SWANSON – The relationship of women to war has changed dramatically in recent decades, even while remaining the same. But make no mistake, waging war at the behest of female politicians is no different than waging war at the command of male politicians.
DAVID SWANSON – Three years later a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel acted out the same scene, with the computer glitch on his side this time. Then in 1984 another U.S. computer glitch led to the quick decision to park an armored car on top of a missile silo to prevent the start of the apocalypse. And again in 1995, the Soviet Union almost responded to a U.S. nuclear attack that proved to be a real missile, but one with a weather satellite rather than a nuke. One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years â€” so far.
DR. ROBERT DODGE – This week marks the 67th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the combined initial death toll of approximately 200,000 and thousands more in the years that followed. As Albert Einstein famously said, â€œWith the dawn of the nuclear age everything changed save [except] our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”
RUSSELL VANDENBROUCKE — Every August, as the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki approach, comments resume about American decisions at the end of World War II. Despite the passage of 65 years, heated opinions are repeated as fact and myths become immortalized as truths. Beyond distorting the historical record, wishful thinking about it leads us to repeat past mistakes in new ways against new enemies.