You are herecontent / 60 Years of Disaster

60 Years of Disaster


by Jim Haber, Coordinator of Nevada Desert Experience

January 27 marks 60 years since the first atomic bomb test in Nevada. Codenamed “Able” it was tiny for a nuclear weapon: the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT, about 1/15 the size of the bomb that killed upwards of 130,000 people in Hiroshima. Anniversaries are times to reflect, so what is the legacy of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), now called the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS)? What is the current state of the NNSS and what is going on there? Are the nation and world safer for all the Cold War and post-Cold War efforts? As the NNSS re-purposes itself to focus more on detecting and containing national security threats, it still stands as a world-wide symbol of the making of weapons of mass destruction. The name change is intended to reassert its relevance in the absence of exploding nuclear devices, but the inherent problem of the NTS remains. The NNSS is always able to resume testing nuclear weapons within two years should the president order it.

Testing of nuclear weapons didn't only happen at the Nevada Test Site. Historians even argue that using the bombs on Japan rather than demonstrating them on an unpopulated location constitute human experimentation. Treating victims as research subjects rather than patients was widely reported in Japan, as well as from victims of atmospheric testing in the 1950s. Targeting civilians was and remains a crime against humanity, as does threatening nuclear attack on non-nuclear states, no matter how repressive their leaders.

We, as a people, caused much worldwide grief for our part in the Cold War, which used small countries as battlegrounds with no concern for local populations or environments. Official tours of the NNSS and the displays at the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas exhibit great pride in the NTS' Cold War role. There is little mention in their history about efforts to stop testing and other parts of the nuclear weapons complex. Efforts to shut down the Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan or French test sites in Africa and the South Pacific garner barely a word. Only a limited view is presented.

At the NNSS which is run by the Department of Energy (blurring the lines between civilian and military in this country), military nuclear waste is buried even as remediation efforts elsewhere are undertaken. The detection and first responder trainings are only defensive in nature if we concurrently support the leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its mission to monitor nuclear programs around the world. Unilateral or bilateral agreements that ignore the mandate of the IAEA actually encourage other states to seek nuclear weapons to be seen as worthy players on the international stage.

The United States military budget is on par with military spending of all other countries combined. When the US attacks countries that don't have nuclear weapons, it makes the possession of nuclear weapons seem like a necessary deterrent. But if more countries have deterrent forces, then we've lost the disarmament fight.

Taking the land of the Western Shoshone and other native peoples to use it for nuclear testing is not just. Forcing the people of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands to live on tiny Ebeye Island, creating one of the most densely populated places on Earth is not just. Stealing and contaminating native hunting and fishing grounds is not just.

Thank God so few countries have tested or possess nuclear weapons. The global consensus is clearly to eliminate all nuclear weapons. "Stockpile Stewardship" tests at the NNSS, along with missile tests in the Pacific are undermining the credibility of the U.S.'s agreement to seriously reduce nuclear stockpiles. Sharing nuclear technology with violators and abstainers of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while threatening countries not in egregious, well-documented breaches of the NPT is not just and promotes horizontal proliferation. Hence, continued testing whether they're full-scale tests or not, signals to the world that the US will keep its finger on the button and will brook no new players in the nuclear game.

When we devise ways for nuclear weapons to be more precise and kill fewer civilians, to be more militarily useful, we undermine the international consensus against all weapons of mass destruction. And how many design upgrades and revisions can be implemented and still not require a real test? At some point, unless we in the United States get serious about pressuring our government to cut its nuclear weapons arsenal, the Nevada Desert will again quake with detonations...and be filled with peacemakers crashing the gates like in the 1980s to shut it down once and for all. This anniversary should serve as a time to work for peace and disarmament.

###

Jim Haber is the Coordinator of Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) which organizes interfaith resistance to nuclear weapons and war. Jim is on the War Resisters League National Committee, and he edited the 2008 WRL Peace Calendar. Jim is also very active with Jewish Voice for Peace, the G.I. Rights Hotline and the Catholic Worker movement. He can be reached at: jim[at]nevadadesertexperience.org.

Tags

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Hey kidz!!! Military disasters Past, Present . . and Future???

You may want to file this story somewhere safe . . . for future reference . . . ;-)

(clipped headline and article from Veterans Today)
"Utah Army post reopens after nerve agent found - DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah – The Army said Thursday that Dugway Proving Ground, where military weapons are tested, was locked down for hours because a small amount of a nerve agent was unaccounted for. The amount missing was less than one-fourth of a teaspoon of VX nerve agent, which affects the body’s ability to carry messages through the nerves. The missing vial prompted a lockdown late Wednesday afternoon that lasted nearly 14 hours."

(full story)
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/01/27/utah-army-post-reopens-after-ner...

Don't you just love that line? "A small amount of VX nerve agent" . . . ;-)

Just like that "small amount" of ANTHRAX that went missing from Fort Detrick, MD . . . that the Zionist PNAC Neo-Cons swore up and down had come from "al-CIAda" by way of Sadam Hussein . . . ;-)

(clipped headline and article)
"THE 9/11 ANTHRAX FRAME-UP - An Army biological and chemical warfare facility in Utah has been quietly developing a virulent, weapons-grade formulation of anthrax spores since at least 1992, and samples of the bacteria were shipped back and forth between that facility and Fort Detrick, Md."

(full story)
http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/frameup.html?q=frameup.html

Gee, now that we're getting "official" information that IRANIAN Terror Manuals are showing up in American deserts . . .

(Paging Rita Katz . . . Rita "SITE" Katz, please pick up the white courtesy phone . . . Rita Katz . . .)

. . . is it much of a stretch to project that we'll be soon hearing about IRANIAN VX nerve agents showing up in American cities . . .

(Paging Dr. Philip Zack . . . Dr. Philip "Camel Club" Zack, please pick up the white courtesy phone . . . Dr. Philip Zack . . . )

. . . like Chicago, maybe???? . . . .

(Paging Rahm Emanuel . . . Mayor Rahm "Mega Mossad" Emanuel, please pick up the white courtesy phone . . . Mayor Rahm Emanuel)

What is that old saying about the more things change the more they remain the same? Has military strategy really changed that much in the last 6000 years?

It is all about killing people, destroying things, and taking other people's stuff. . .

. . . and it is all done . . . by way of deception.

"Hear my song.
People won't you listen now? Sing along.
You don't know what you're missing now.
Any little song that you know
Everything that's small has to grow.
And it has to grow!"
- "The Song Remains The Same" by Led Zeppelin

peace.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Store:



















Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.