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UK Labour must renew the planning for nuclear disarmament – and prevent the apocalypse that no-one is talking about

We’ve stopped talking about nuclear disarmament. Labour cannot let that happen, Guardian, 

In the next few hours, the end of human civilisation may commence. We’ve had a good run – about 6,500 years, actually – and now we will perish in fire, famine, drought, never-ending winters, disease and chaos. A single megaton nuclear weapon dropped on the House of Commons would kill more than a million people outright. Nearly 2.5 million would be burned, maimed and injured. The fireball radius – the area that represents total annihilation – would stretch for nearly a kilometre.

That’s just one bomb, of course. What if 100 nuclear warheads with a much lower yield – 15 kilotons, say, the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima – were exchanged on the Indian subcontinent? Well, scientists have modelled this scenario, and the calamity extends far beyond the borders of India and Pakistan. As five megatons of black carbon instantly enter the atmosphere, temperatures will suddenly fall, rainfall will decline, the ozone layer will thin dramatically and the frost-free growing period for crops will shorten by between 10 and 40 days. According to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, 2 billion people could starve in the aftermath. In a full east-west exchange billions would also die. Infrastructure would collapse. The survivors would, it is often said, envy the dead. They would suffer torturous protracted deaths from radiation; they would scrabble for food in irradiated soil; as healthcare systems implode, their illnesses and cancers would be untreated. For the diminishing minority who remained alive, it would be everyone for themselves in a struggle for survival in a ravaged hellscape.

There have been many close calls. ………..

the arguments for replacing Trident are based on utter delusion, the cost of acting on these delusions is grotesque, and we are rendered colossal hypocrites by lecturing the world about weapons of mass destruction while renewing our own. CND believes the lifetime cost will be at least £205bn. What would that money mean for an NHS that last year, the Red Cross said, faced a “humanitarian crisis”; for our struggling education system; and for eliminating the housing crisis?

Listen to Tony Blair’s former defence secretary Des Browne, who suggested that cyber attacks against Trident could render it obsolete. Or take former Tory defence secretary Michael Portillo, who said that Trident’s replacement was “a waste of money” and that “our independent nuclear deterrent is not independent and doesn’t constitute a deterrent”. Tony Blair himself said he could see “the common sense and practical argument” against Trident, that “the expense is huge, and the utility in a post-cold war world is less in terms of deterrent, and nonexistent in terms of military use”. So why throw all that money at it? Because in Blair’s own words it would be “too big a downgrading of our status as a nation”. All that wasted money for status alone.

 

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March 28, 2018 - Posted by | general

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