From Socialist Voice, August 2005

Sixtieth anniversary of nuclear bombings

August of this year is the sixtieth anniversary of the dropping of nuclear bombs by the United States on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States is the only country ever to use such weapons of mass destruction, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens. Up to today people have continued to die from the results of radiation in those two cities.
    The United States also used a chemical weapon—another weapon of mass destruction—in the form of Agent Orange, on vast areas of Viet Nam, against the liberation forces and civilian population in its war of occupation. Thousands died, and today more thousands of Vietnamese citizens are still being affected by that deadly poison. Children are born with dreadful abnormalities: some with two heads, others with only one arm, or with three arms.
    This was a war crime, a genocidal act by US imperialism, yet to this day the United States does not acknowledge that it did anything wrong. It has failed to compensate or to help the Vietnamese government with the legacy of that chemical warfare.
    Japanese militarism was well on the way to defeat, and the use of nuclear weapons was and is still indefensible. Shortly beforehand the United States had firebombed Tokyo and other Japanese cities—just as the British had firebombed Dresden, killing tens of thousands of German civilians. The motivation for the use of nuclear weapons had more to do with signalling what the outcome of the war should be after it had ended in both Europe and Asia.
    The Soviet Union emerged victorious in Europe, the Chinese people had liberated themselves, and the Communist Party was on the verge of taking power in that country. These were the real targets of the bombing: a shot across the bows of the Soviets and the Chinese. The threat was implied; the politics of containment was the priority, not the defeat of Japanese militarism.
    Today our world continues to be threatened by a spiralling arms race, with both nuclear and biological as well as conventional weapons. The United States has made it very clear that it no longer wishes to abide by the nuclear non-proliferation treaties it signed with the Soviet Union. It sees its nuclear, biological and sub-space missiles, as well as its conventional weapons build-up, as its trump card in its grand total-spectrum domination of the globe.
    It knows that if more and more countries acquire nuclear power, which invariably leads on to nuclear weapons production, it loses that total domination. Countries know from history and from experience at the hands of the imperialist powers that imperialism speaks in double-talk; they know that imperialism wishes other nations and peoples to “do as we say, not as we do.”
    If the United States was serious about ending the spiralling arms race and the potential for more and more countries acquiring nuclear weapons, it should start by example, abandon its own missile programme, and open up real global talks through the United Nations to end the development of nuclear weapons.
    Peoples across the globe know that it is the bellicose actions and statements of the United States and its allies that are the source of the desire for acquiring nuclear weapons and that feed the need of a growing number of states to acquire them. Everyone knows that two of the closest client states of the United States—Israel and Pakistan—developed nuclear weapons under the tacit agreement of the US government, because they were America’s local policemen, local enforcers of US foreign policy priorities. So when the United States calls on Iran or North Korea to abandon their nuclear development programme, these countries know that they speak with a double standard as the historical backdrop.
    Sixty years later, we owe it to those who died, and to those who survived and continue to suffer from these acts of mass murder, to end the nightmare of the nuclear arms race, before our planet is laid waste, whether by accident or design, by these horrendous weapons of mass destruction.

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