Connections 2000 August

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Pencil and ink,  1999, Kara Priest.
August: Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power, and Nuclear Waste -- Think: production of nuclear weapons, nuclear waste, nuclear proliferation, Comprehensive Test Ban, Stockpile Stewardship Project, militarism, US as world mafia, myth of nuclear deterrence, nuclear winter, weapons sales, myth of mad evil enemies, multinational corporations, cost overruns, profits, military contractors, the Pentagon, nuclear power and on and on, connected to every other problem or phenomenon . . .
"The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima fissioned the political atmosphere and split the world into warring camps for over 40 years. It squandered more than 4 trillion dollars, degraded the environment, disjointed the economies of the victors of WWII and corrupted the moral fiber of both superpowers. It furthermore fixed in the Western public mind the sick notion that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were justified and that the atomic bomb, the most malign scourge, was a peacekeeper. This sick notion cloned a pernicious deception, the so-called doctrine of deterrence. Largely as a result of this doctrine, the public has accepted the immoral ideology of nuclearism. This ideology purports the "final solution" of nuclear annihilation to be the sole guarantor for human survival, wherein security is linked to mutual threats of international suicide. Deterrence has been the underlying justification for the stockpiling of one million Hiroshima equivalents. It is the intellectual basis for the current unabating nuclear modernization program.

Before we enter the 21st century, a new code of morality must guide the behavior of nations. This code must incorporate the unequivocal statement that possession of instruments of genocide, be they nuclear, chemical or biologic, is a crime against humanity . . . the crime of Hiroshima can only be redeemed by the elimination of all nuclear weapons."
This quote by Dr. Bernard Lown, who was then co-president of the IPPNW, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, was written in about 1996. Now we are within days of entering the 21st century and still continue to modernize the nuclear arsenals under the disarming rubric, "Stockpile Stewardship Program." The myth goes on. It is powered by the political/economic demands to keep the huge, complex travesty churning out money for the thousands of contractors involved directly or indirectly as it churns out increasing harm to the earth. Many countries without nuclear weapons, understandably, are doing whatever necessary to develop them.

The US uses sub-critical explosions, computer simulation and hydro-nuclear testing, and is planning $60 billion in new bomb research facilities. The US public sits by and permits all of this because the myth of deterrence is employed in the service of corporate profits and lucrative careers.

Add to this the staggering problems of nuclear waste with no safe way to transport it and no safe or reasonable place to store it. The nuclear power industry is in many politicians' pockets urging opening of faulty nuclear waste sites so that the nuclear power industry can continue to exploit us all.

We must change public perceptions about the myth of deterrence and about radioactive waste which is an unfathomably lethal, timeless, invisible hazard. General Charles Horner has said,
"We have to create an environment in which not having nuclear weapons puts you in a position of strength, not weakness. The important thing is to get it into people's minds that these devices are illegitimate, so that anybody who decides to build one has to do it in a closet. It should become a commonly held belief that it is dysfunctional for any one nation to have them, so that you release the force of moral outrage, in addition to self-interest. Those are the things that are going to work. It's going to require leadership, and the nations that can provide that leadership are the big ones."

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