Just in time for the 62nd annual observance of the Hiroshima massacre August 6th, Sen. Hillary Clinton(D-N.Y.) has scolded Sen. Barack Obama(D.-Ill.) for stating he would not drop nuclear weapons on civilians. What a wuss that fellow is!
However, the executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists, an organization that works to stop nuclear proliferation, praised Obama for his stand.
“I don’t believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or non-use of nuclear weapons,” Sen. Clinton lectured. Her position is not likely to draw fire from the Bush White House, as his secretary of state has already threatened to nuke Iran for allegedly thinking about making A-bomb No. 1 when Bush has his trigger finger on 10,000.
Obama made his considered reply when asked if he would use nuclear weapons to go after terrorists in Afghanistan or Pakistan. “I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance,” he said, pausing to add, “involving civilians.”
Of course, there will never be any use of the “nuclear option” that will not kill civilians.This was made clear by nuclear expert Dr. Helen Caldicott, who noted the accidental nuclear meltdown at the Ukranian Chernobyl nuclear plant on April 26, 1986, has sent more than 5,000 Europeans to an early grave. She predicts if the U.S. or Israel attacked Iranian nuclear facilities “huge amount of radioactive material will be lifted into the air to contaminate the people of Iran and surrounding countries.”
Asked for comment on the Clinton-Obama debate, Kennette Benedict, of The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists, of Chicago, said, “I think if he (Obama) would stick to that position it would be a great step forward.”
“We would have, like other countries such as China and the Soviet Union before the breakup, a policy that renounces first use of nuclear weapons,” Benedict said.
She noted “The U.S. has never had an explicit no first-use policy and it was made explicit under the Bush administration that we would use nuclear weapons first even if not attacked with nuclear weapons.”To put this spat in context, we might recall that President Truman used atomic weapons to wipe out between 200,000 and 350,000 Japanese civilians, about half of them instantly, the rest suffering lingering deaths from radiation poisoning.
In Hiroshima, a city of 310,000, approximately 140,000 people, nearly all civilians, were killed, including ten thousand Christians who, had they lived, might have wondered what church Truman attended. Like his role model Genghis Khan, Truman did not scruple to wipe out cities --- including women, children, and elderly non-combatants---if their leaders refused to surrender. The Mongol warlord, of course, did not have the Geneva Convention to guide him, a document which forbids the bombardment of civilian populations. Truman did, but ignored it.
He also established a precedent for the terrifying nuclear arms race whose “testing” has resulted in thousands of deaths from fallout, while sucking $7 trillion out of the pockets of U.S. taxpayers.
Also just in time for the Hiroshima Day observance, is the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal in which the administration “agreed to virtually all of India’s demands at the cost of U.S. national security and nonproliferation interests.” That’s according to Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Arms Control Association, and Fred McGoldrick, a former State Department official.
They point out India has refused to join the nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty but the Bush administration is giving it “preferential treatment” it does not even give nations that live up to the treaty.India previously violated its peaceful use pledges by U.S. American and Canadian nuclear aid to conduct its 1974 nuclear bomb test.
President Bush has compounded this sell-out by agreeing to deal the F-16 fighter-bomber jets to both India and Pakistan. The warplane is capable of carrying a nuclear bomb so the two enemies will become only more suspicious and fearful of each other than ever. Former Sen. Larry Pressler(R.-S.D.) sponsor of a law in 1985 to stop the proposed F-16 sale to Pakistan, called the Bush policy reversal “an atrocity.”
As another Hiroshima Day nears, President Bush and Senator Clinton cling to the nuclear war club to intimidate other nations. Neither deserves to be president. At least Sen. Obama shows some fresh thinking.
#(Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Fla.-based writer who covers political and military subjects. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org)