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Nuclear weapons will not bring peace or security, only dangers

We can honour the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by supporting the prohibition treaty, says RAE STREET

THIS is the month when we commemorate the fearful nuclear bombings of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

Alas, the myth is still put out that the bombs were dropped to end the second world war. That is not true.  

By the time the bomb was ready for use, Japan was ready to surrender. As General Dwight D Eisenhower said, Japan was at that very moment seeking some way to surrender with minimum loss of face, and “it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”  

There were several reasons why the bombs were dropped, including the US desire to establish its dominance in the region after the war.  

The US wanted to prevent a Soviet advance in Asia and subsequent Soviet influence on Japan.  

When the Japanese presented Emperor Hirohito’s terms, the US leadership did not inform the Japanese that its surrender terms were more or less acceptable because it needed an excuse to demonstrate its overwhelming power.  

Thus, the bomb on Hiroshima was dropped on August 6 before it was publicly stated that the Japanese had surrendered.  

The Soviet Union entered the war in Asia on August 9. Later the same day, the US dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki.

We now know the horrors that nuclear bombs inflict. We have heard from the Hibaksha, the survivors. Now instead of heeding the survivors of those bombs, the Hibaksha, that nuclear weapons should be ended, governments across the world have developed more destructive nuclear bombs.  

Britain, part of the US Trident submarine system, carries warheads on multiple missiles, with 15 times the power of the bomb used on Hiroshima. 

Proponents of nuclear weapons, including the Nato military alliance, claim that they keep the peace and repeatedly talk of nuclear deterrents. 

But the US has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, and it did not stop the attack on the Twin Towers; nor did Trident stop terrorist attacks in Britain.

What is never mentioned is the death and destruction which has been brought about with the development of nuclear weapons, mainly on indigenous peoples.  

This starts with the beginning of the cycle with uranium mining where native people in the US, in Canada, in Australia and the Congo, among others, have been forced into mining.  

They and their families have suffered serious illness and even death. Above-ground testing has also brought suffering to native peoples.  

After the French testing in the Pacific, mothers gave birth to “jellyfish” babies which died within a few hours. In the US above-ground testing meant that many of the “downwinders,” including the Western Shoshone, became seriously ill.  

Although above-ground tests have now ended following the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, uranium mining has not ceased.  

It continues except for Greenland where the Inuit, now in government, have banned uranium mining.

In 2022, with the war in Ukraine, we are now in more danger than ever before of a further use of nuclear weapons. If ever one of these highly destructive current bombs were exploded either by intent or accident, it would be a worldwide catastrophe.  

There would be fires and radioactive fallout and fatal illnesses from acute radiation sickness, cancer and genetic damage which can be passed on to offspring.  

At the same time, nuclear fireballs would send up enormous quantities of dust high into the atmosphere, blotting out the sun which would lead to nuclear winter.  

And the contaminated ground would be unsuitable for food production leading to food shortages. In effect, if people had not died any other way, they would die of hunger.

Yet our current government not only supports the replacement of Trident but in the Integrated Defence Review increased the cap on Britain’s stockpile for 2025 from 180 to 260.  

They even changed the scenario for nuclear use to “emerging technologies that could have a comparable impact,” possibly cyber-attacks but maybe some conventional weapons?  

Starmer, once more making himself into a Tory by default, said via his shadow defence minister that Trident was “non-negotiable.”   

Even the cost should have made him hesitate on this. It is estimated that the cost in public money — our money — will be £205 billion (and rising) to replace Trident.  

And that when working people are struggling and across the world people starve; where we also urgently need funding for the transition from fossil fuels.   

Nato too still holds a policy of first use of nuclear weapons and through the US, which has always dominated Nato policy, keeps “nuclear sharing,” weapons on the territory of five states: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.  

Without any public debate, we now know that nuclear bombs and nuclear capable aircraft are to be brought back to Lakenheath in Suffolk.  

But the majority world wants nuclear disarmament. In January 2021, the UN-negotiated Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into force which now has 138 signatories — but not the Nato nuclear-armed states which were prevented by Nato.  

Sixty-six states have now ratified the treaty. Our government and the Labour Party should be supporting the treaty because nuclear weapons will not bring peace or security, only dangers.  

That way we would honour the memory of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Our politicians should be looking at how to develop “common security,” putting funding and resources into dialogue and negotiation and respecting the security of everyone.

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