The wisdom of being afraid of nuclear weapons and nuclear power
Lies, Damn Lies, and Nuclear Lies The International News Magazine , 22 September 2012 David Swanson USA Our government likes to lie to us about nuclear weapons. This poor impoverished nation halfway around the world is about to nuke us. No, that one is. The result, of course, is mass murder. But there’s another result potentially even worse. We begin to think there’s something wrong with being terrified of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.
There isn’t. This stuff should scare the hell out of us. And the arrogant lunacy of imagining that even an honest and accountable authority, much less our government, could set up a commission to regulate the winds of hell and deadly substances with a half-life as long as the age of the Earth must give us serious pause.
What are we thinking? How are we thinking? Are we thinking?
One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years so far — near misses, near apocalypses.
Soldiers in war sometimes learn to accept the senseless risk to their lives. But need our whole species and all the other species that we write off as collateral damage accept catastrophic risks as part of a permanent state of war? Or has accepting that risk in fact facilitated our acceptance of this permanent state of war? If nuclear weapons and nuclear energy were done away with, imagine the space that would open up in our minds for the possibility of living in peace and looking back on war as we look back on more small-scale forms of human sacrifice, and on cannibalism, slavery, or duelling.
In 1961 a U.S. B-52 with two nukes on board blew up over Faro, North Carolina. One of the bombs, with a parachute to slow it down, was
found. Five of the six fuses designed to prevent full nuclear
detonation had failed. The other nuclear bomb buried itself 20 feet
deep in the ground, lighting up the sky like daylight. The military
deemed that one hard to dig out, and left it there. And there it sits
. This little mishap involved bombs that were each 250 times the
power of the Hiroshima bomb. The commander of the Explosive Ordnance
Disposal Team, Lt. Jack B. ReVelle, remarked, “How close was it to
exploding? My opinion is damn close. You might now have a very large
Bay of North Carolina if that thing had gone off.”
On January 17, 1966, a U.S. B-52 carrying four live hydrogen bombs
smashed into a tanker during midair refueling over Spain. Two of the
bombs were blown apart like dirty bombs scattering radioactive
particles all over Palomares, Spain. The United States dug up 1,400
tons of radioactive Spanish dirt and took it to Aiken, South Carolina,
where the Savannah River Site has been producing nuclear weapons
material, trying to dispose of the waste, and radiating people for
over half a century, and where radiation was even recently detected
coming all the way from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan.
In 2007, a U.S. crew accidentally (or as part of a secret plan; and
I’m not sure which is worse) flew six live nuclear bombs from North
Dakota to Louisiana and left them sitting there unguarded until the
ground crew noticed.
If you doubt that these people will arm unmanned drones with nukes
just because the drones tend to crash and malfunction, you haven’t yet
begun to grasp the sort of madness we’re dealing with.
Uranium mining of the sort the profiteers now want to reopen in
Virginia has spread cancer through every community it’s touched. And
the use of depleted uranium weapons has likely contributed to
thousands of deaths and birth-defects in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq,
and among members of the U.S. military and their families, not to
mention the weapons’ producers in places like Jonesborough, Tennessee.
The United States has also sold DU weapons to 29 other countries.
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