Saturday, August 06, 2005

Footnote to the preceding

I just thought I'd include this; it's part of the text of a leaflet a group I was with gave out to commemorate Hiroshima Day some years ago. Red Bank was the name of the town where we were doing the leafletting.
Imagine a one-megaton nuclear bomb has exploded over Red Bank. Out to a distance of six miles from the center of the explosion:

- all human skin exposed to the blast has been charred through;
- human eyeballs have melted;
- bushes, trees, and wooden buildings have burst into flames;
- most structures have been leveled;
- burning ashes, hot coals, and other flammable materials have been scattered.

Result: a fire storm. Something that killed over 100,000 people in Dresden in World War II. Something that was responsible for most of the deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Something that would kill millions in a nuclear war.

A fire storm: A column of fire one mile wide reaches one and one-half miles into the sky. Two-thirds of standing structures are on fire. The rising hot air generates winds of over 100 mph, strong enough to uproot trees three feet in diameter and toss cars around. The fire burns up all available oxygen, suffocating people in open air. The temperature in the center rises to 800 degrees Centigrade. People are blasted to death, burned to death, suffocated. The ways are different, the end is the same: They die.

In World War I, 5% of the killed were civilians.
In World War II, 48% of the killed were civilians.
In the Korean War, 84% of the killed were civilians.
In World War III, 90-95% of the killed will probably be civilians.

Now remember the people of Hiroshima. Over 100,000 killed by a bomb a fraction of the size of the bombs available for use today. People permanently scarred - mentally and physically - by the most shocking experience in the history of humankind. Discovering for the first time the legacy of nuclear war. A legacy of disease, death, and anguish.

For most of the dead will not die at once. Theirs will be a lingering, painful death of radiation poisoning, hunger, and disease.

"At Hiroshima and Nagasaki," a medical report states, "the population three months later was found to be apathetic and profoundly lethargic. Leaking water pipes all over the city. No garbage or sewage collection organized - people living often in their own filth in total dejection and inertia."

Malnutrition. Scurvy. Bubonic plague. Dysentery. Tuberculosis. Typhus. Hepatitis. Gastro-enteritis.

This, too was the legacy of Hiroshima. The legacy of nuclear war.
Today, eight nations have nuclear weapons: the US, the UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel. North Korea is developing them and Iran is accused, possibly accurately, of doing likewise. The possibility of a nuclear-armed North Korea is encouraging some in Japan to press for that nation to join the "nuclear club."

Two years ago, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace estimated the world's nuclear arsenal at 27,600 weapons with a total explosive force of about 5,000 megatons. That is roughly the equivalent of 385,000 Hiroshimas.

We may have forgotten the nuclear arms race and nuclear proliferation, but they haven't forgotten us.

No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');