By Madelyn Hoffman and Ryan Swan
From the Old Cold War to the War on Terror
The four and half decades following World War II were characterized by intense competition with the Soviet Union, which saw the cultivation of weaponry capable of ending all life on earth multiple times over. Massive resources were poured into nuclear weapons and sophisticated delivery systems, before the Kennedy Administration’s Flexible Response Strategy shifted focus to development of advanced conventional capabilities to enable more “credible” military threats. President George H. W. Bush promised these enormous Cold War military investitures would yield a “peace dividend,” realizable upon the dissolution of the Soviet apparatus. However, this high-priced peace was to be short-lived.
The Clinton Administration quickly began to preoccupy itself with transnational organizations in the Middle East (whom the Central Intelligence Agency had provided with extensive funding during the Soviet-backed government’s control of Afghanistan). It undertook bombings in Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 and, by the time the Bush Administration came to power, a new national security paradigm centered around transnational actors – dubbed “terrorist organizations” – was reaching maturity. 9/11 solidified this with President Bush proclaiming the “war on terror” to begin with al Qaida, but “not [to] end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
This opened-ended objective, given near carte blanche authorization by the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), introduced the war in Afghanistan, an expansive complex of military and clandestine operations spanning more than 70 countries and revamped national security infrastructure, including introduction of the Patriot Act and creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Director of National Intelligence.
Together with the 2003 invasion of Iraq – perhaps the gravest war crime of the new millennium, the US counterterrorism paradigm has consumed the 21st century with perpetual American force employment against an expansive list of self-identified threats. The toll has been severe in terms of human life (240 thousand civilians and 15 thousand US armed service members between 2003 and 2018 just in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan – not to mention innumerable more lost and affected lives in other regions scourged by US operations) and financial costs (Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs estimates expenditures for post-9/11 wars between fiscal years 2001 and 2019 to be $5.9 trillion, with an additional $808 billion predicted over the next four years; the long term healthcare costs of the veterans of just Afghanistan and Iraq are expected to increase the tab by another $1.8 trillion over the coming years).
What has the United States gained during the past nearly 20 years of continual war – a war that former vice-president Dick Cheney predicted back in 2001 “would not end in our lifetimes?” US militarism has led to the destruction of ancient cities throughout the Middle East and South Asia. This militarism has resulted in the creation of the largest number of refugees worldwide since the end of World War II, many from nations experiencing conflict as the result of US aggression.
Millions of people took to the streets in 2002 and 2003 to oppose the invasion of Iraq, knowing full well that the invasion was based on lies and the violation of international law. The creation of a coalition for the operation of “shock and awe” set off a chain of events that leave us almost twenty years later wondering how to stop the on-going cycle of violence. Those who protested in opposition to these wars knew that the use of military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, in addition to being illegal, immoral and unjustified, was of suspect strategic calculus given the illogic of ending “terror” through war – itself an act of state-sponsored “terror.”
Retired General Wesley Clark publicized the strategy of the Project for a New American Century described in their late 20th century publication “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” He discussed what he was told by his superiors shortly after 9/11. He reported that there were plans to replace the governments of seven countries within five years – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing off with Iran.
The absurdity of this strategy was evidenced on February 26, 2021 when the Biden administration bombed Syria (a country the U.S. is in illegally and against the will of the Syrian people) in retaliation for, as stated in the official explanation, an Iranian bombing of a US military base in Iraq (another country the US is in illegally and against the will of the Iraqi people), an action that the Iranians said was in retaliation for the illegal assassination of General Soliemani of Iran while he was in Iraq.
From the War on Terror to the New Cold War
For all its overt focus on the Middle East counterterrorism wars, the Bush Administration also quietly went about needling newly Putin-controlled Russia. In 2002, it unilaterally withdrew from the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to act upon a reinvigorated Reagan-era interest in extravagant (albeit operationally dubious) missile defense concepts, markedly increasing spending in this area. The claim that this new missile defense program, with installations in former Soviet bloc nations, was directed at Iran and North Korea was but a thinly veiled challenge directed at Russia and China, which viewed these systems as a direct threat. Furthermore, the Administration indulged its appetite for (selective) democracy promotion, lavishing funds on movements in Georgia and Ukraine directed against pro-Russian leaders and floating the idea of possible North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership.
The Obama Administration picked right up where its predecessors left off, only this time in less discrete fashion with unabashed enthusiasm for pro-Western regime change in Ukraine and the proclaimed “pivot to Asia” policy. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was concluded in 2011, but President Obama’s Nobel Prize-wining “Prague Vision” for a world without nuclear weapons translated in practice into the introduction of a trillion dollar nuclear modernization program, contributing in no small measure to renewed nuclear tensions with Russia and China. The stated goal of this so-called modernization program is to create an arsenal both larger and more powerful than what existed at the height of the first Cold War, at a time when the world should be headed in the opposite direction. While loudly advertising the (unrealized) objective of winding down the post-9/11 wars, the Administration effectively cemented the foundation for a return to Cold War-like rivalry with Russia, and now China.
The Trump Administration then officially announced the paradigmatic shift with its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review boldly proclaiming the “return of major power competition.” Established arms control frameworks were liquidated and plans for arms racing in the old nuclear and new high tech domains was openly shared. Just two months into office, the Biden Administration is making clear its maintenance of the charted course toward increasingly adversarial relations with Russia and China. This was as predictable as it is dangerous. During the 2020 presidential campaign, candidate Biden criticized Donald Trump for not being tough enough on China. In addition, steady referral to alleged “Russian meddling in U.S. elections” obscures the fact that the US is the global champion in such matters and deliberately adds to the tension between the two countries. Biden’s calling Putin a “killer” without agreeing to any ensuing diplomatic discussions reflects poorly on his intentions and does nothing to de-escalate the tension.
A new Cold War with attendant arms racing in traditional and novel domains only needlessly increases the risk of confrontation (either intentional or inadvertent) involving the use of calamitous weapons capabilities (e.g., nuclear, large-scale cyber, etc.). It advances strategically suspect goals. War is not fightable between major powers without incursion of drastic costs. These costs far outweigh any possible benefits gained. Such an arms race also fails to yield durable strategic advantages – particularly between economically well-matched adversaries, like the US and China. It also results in tremendous economic waste (allocation of finite state resources to dangerous and useless means at a time when funding is desperately needed for provision of basic social services, infrastructure improvements, public health measures, and more).
In observing the impact of the US permanent war economy on the global and domestic population, the anti-war, pro-peace and justice movement in the United States proposes the following ways of stopping these endless wars:
- The US government can cut the military budget by 75% as proposed by the Green Party’s presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins. Even with such a cut in the budget, the U.S. would still spend more on its military budget than the next 8 countries combined. These cuts should include shutting down of many of the more than 800 U.S. military bases operating overseas. With a military budget currently at approximately $740 billion, such a cut would free up $555 billion to spend on programs to help our communities in such possible areas as public education, single-payer healthcare, fighting against climate change, rebuilding roads and bridges, tuition-free college, an end to student loan debt, and a continuation of the moratorium on rents and evictions, especially during the on-going pandemic.
- The US government and the Russian government should lead the rest of the nuclear weapons possessing countries toward signing and ratifying the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which became law at the end of January 2021. Over 120 countries initially supported conclusion of the Treaty and 52 have now signed and ratified it, leading to its entry into legal force. There is no good reason for the US to reject this Treaty. It works in conjunction with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to accomplish abolition of nuclear weapons, something the majority of the world’s population understands is a threat to all humanity and life on earth.
- The US needs to honor the wishes of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and withdraw its troops from both countries immediately.
- The US must not only stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, but it must make sure that the Saudi government stops the bombing of Yemen, which many international humanitarian organizations consider to be the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. Additionally, the U.S. and its proxies, including Saudi Arabia, must withdraw their troops from Syria, where the troops are neither wanted nor needed.
- The US must also withdraw its support for the Israeli government until their brutal occupation of Palestine is ended and the practice of continuing to annex more Palestinian land ends. In addition, the creation of a nuclear weapons free Middle East could help, as it would subject Israeli nuclear weapons to international scrutiny.
In conclusion, the post-9/11 world is in dire need of redirection away from increased militarization and confrontation and more toward peace and recovery from a global pandemic. The expenditure of trillions of dollars on war and preparation for war, not only by the US, but by all who are at risk due to heightened tensions and US unilateral imposition of economic sanctions, needs to stop. Funds need to be removed from weapons development and other aggressive ends and instead used to reclaim that long-lost and much needed “peace dividend.”
For more information about these and other issues, please view the UN Green Party Peace Action Committee’s March 18th webinar titled “Post-9/11: A Twenty Year Retrospective” (the video begins at about 2 minutes in).
Madelyn Hoffman is co-chair of the Green Party USA’s Peace Action Committee and was the Green Party of New Jersey’s candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018 and 2020. She was the director of NJ Peace Action (formerly NJ SANE founded in 1957) from 2000 to 2018.
Ryan R. Swan serves as California Representative on the Peace Action Committee of the Green Party of the United States. He holds a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law and an M.Phil. in international relations and politics from Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He is an incoming researcher in arms control and emerging technologies at the Bonn International Center for Conversion in Germany.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)
The TPNW, enters into force Jan. 22, 2021 for the first 50 countries that ratified it. Some countries/organizations (namely, the U.S.) have criticized the TPNW saying that it detracts/counteracts the NPT. This resource guide will show that this is definitely not the case – that the TPNW is a natural result of the NPT and that both treaties play important roles in achieving nuclear disarmament.
This short guide is broken up into 5 sections – each section centered and bolded. A bonus/necessity of the compactness of this guide is listing on-line sources for more complete information.
Origins and UN endorsement of the NPT and the TPNW
By 1960, nuclear weapons technology had the potential to become widespread although only three countries had them – the U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union. A ban on the distribution of nuclear technology was first proposed by Ireland in a meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1961. In June, 1968, the United Nations General Assembly (UN GA) endorsed the NPT with a vote of 95 to 4 with 21 abstentions. Basic info including text of the NPT: https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/npt/. Under the treaty, all states-parties commit to pursue general and complete disarmament, and the non–nuclear weapon states (NNWS) agree to forgo developing or acquiring nuclear weapons. These are the first two “pillars” of the treaty. The third pillar ensures that states-parties can access and develop nuclear technology for peaceful applications.
The TPNW is the product of the past fifty years of politics regarding the NPT – the dissatisfaction of the NNWS of the lack of disarmament of the nuclear-weapon states (NWS) and the reasonable fear that the NNWS will suffer due to the NWS. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), launched in 2007 seeks to shift the disarmament debate to focus on the humanitarian threat posed by nuclear weapons drawing attention to their unique destructive capacity, their catastrophic health and environmental consequences, their indiscriminate targeting, the debilitating impact of a detonation on medical infrastructure and relief measures, and the long-lasting effects of radiation on the surrounding area The road to a world free of nuclear weapons (https://www.icanw.org/history_of_the_tpnw) has pictures and text of the history of the TPNW starting with the weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that have been outlawed. The General Assembly decided to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. The conference adopted the TPNW on 7/7/2017 with 122 states in favor. Basic info including text of the TPNW: https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/tpnw/
Signatories and Entry In to Force (EIF) of the NPT and the TPNW
On July 1, 1968, the NPT opened for signature and was signed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Article IX of the treaty established that entry into force would require the treaty’s ratification by those three countries (the treaty’s depositories) and 40 additional states. In 1970 the NPT entered into force with 46 states-parties.
The TPNW opened for signature in September 2017. In celebration of the International Day of the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, a global conference on generating intergenerational support for the TPNW and its EIF was held in September 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7C3Gu3kq00&t=1s. This conference had twelve guest speakers and discussed the inclusiveness of nations, genders and indigenous peoples in creating this treaty. The TPNW got the needed 50 countries ratifications Oct. 24, 2020 so the EIF – 90 days later – is Jan. 22, 2021. WILPF’s own Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will, the disarmament program of WILPF, wrote in the Oct. 27, 2020 Nation Nuclear Weapons Have Always Been Immoral. Now They’re Illegalhttps://www.thenation.com/article/world/tpnw-nuclear-ban/.
Comparison of the NPT and TPNW
The first five articles in the NPT differentiate between the NWS and the NNWS. A good discussion of the NPT’s first ten Articles is https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/nptfact.
The TPNW does not differentiate between NWS and NNWS – a sign of its inclusiveness but a reason that no NWS has signed it. The TPNW is about twice the length of the NPT as it lists a greater number of reasons for its being and has more specifications for those countries that ratify it. Article 1 prohibits each state party to develop, test, produce, manufacture, transfer, station, possess, or stockpile nuclear weapons – and also makes it illegal to assist, encourage, or induce anyone else to do any of those things.
Post-EIF of the NPT and TPNW
Regret about the lack of progress towards nuclear disarmament was expressed at all the NPT review conferences starting in 1975 even as more countries became parties to the Treaty: https://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/disarmament-fora/npt/history-of-the-npt-1975-1995 . The NPT was indefinitely extended in 1995 and calls for a continuation of a review conference every five years. The latest conference was scheduled for last April (twelve WILPFers were planning on attending) but was delayed due to Covid. The NPT now has the widest adherence of any arms control agreement, with 191 parties to the treaty – this alone makes the NPT an important tool in nuclear disarmament.
Regarding the TPNW, the wonderful Dec, 16, 2020 webinar by Timmon Wallis, Executive Director of NuclearBan.US, is a must-see. NuclearBan.US also put out a fact sheet that has some of the info that https://www.icanw.org/here_are_five_examples_of_the_type_of_activities_that_will_be_illegal_under_international_law_on_22_january_2021has.
ICAN has more than 500 partner organizations in over 100 countries.The Executive Director of ICAN, Beatrice Fihn,is interviewed in the Dec. 7, 2020 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists https://thebulletin.org/premium/2020-12/beatrice-fihn-how-to-implement-the-nuclear-weapons-ban-treaty/. Fihn lays out a possible future in which nuclear weapons countries are persuaded to decide that it is best to give up the most fearsome weapons ever created—in those countries’ own interests.
An article written by two members of the Green Party’s Peace Action Committee (GPAX) was published on Jan. 05, 2021 in Common Dreams. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/01/05/treaty-prohibition-nuclear-weapons-road-there-and-road-ahead encourages us to seize this moment of the EIF of the TPNW to push for greater TPNW awareness and apply pressure on NWS.
The NPT, signed and ratified by most of the world’s countries, has not lessened the threat of nuclear war as hoped as evidenced by the Doomsday Clock now closer to midnight than ever before. The TPNW strengthens and supports the NPT and is now perhaps our best hope to decrease the threat of nuclear catastrophe although the NPT is still an important tool in this effort.
By Rusty Tomlinson
During the fall semester of 2007, I was in Gallup, New Mexico, teaching a reading program to the teachers in the two high schools in the Gallup, McKinley County School District, geographically, the largest school district in the nation. At some 6000 feet, Gallup is in a beautiful high desert. It was a favorite location for western movies. Extremely culturally diverse, Gallup is 44% Native, mostly Navajo, with quite a few Zuni, 34% Hispanic and 21% Caucasian. Some 15 miles west of Gallup is the Arizona line. Somewhere before that, is the border of the Navajo Reservation, the largest in the nation. The Navajo call themselves Dine’ and their rez Dinetah. Less than five miles east of Gallup is Red Rock State Park, with some beautiful sandstone formations, the highest of which is the steeple shaped Church Rock. East of there is the Dine’ town of Churchrock, New Mexico. Red Rock State Park was a favorite playground of ours. We often went there to hike and climb.
By Haig Hovaness
The government of Saudi Arabia is using munitions sold by U.S. weapons makers to prosecute a brutal campaign against a faction in the Yemen civil war. The weapons in question are laser-guided bombs manufactured by a subsidiary of Raytheon, one of the top weapons makers in the U.S.
GBU-12 Paveway II bomb
The precision guidance capabilities of these bombs are irrelevant to the destruction they wreak on civilians if they are used indiscriminately. The bomb does not choose its aim point. It will accurately strike a school bus, a hospital, or an apartment building if that is where it is aimed, The Saudi military and its Gulf allies have used such high-tech weaponry indiscriminately to inflict death and injury on thousands of innocent Yemeni civilians.
The Saudi government is an oil-rich tyranny heavily influenced by the fundamentalist Wahabi sect of Islam. Saudi Arabia is a nation in which women’s rights activists are arrested and tortured. It is a country with no national elections and no synagogues. Its authoritarian absolute monarchy and intolerant clergy are anathema to American values, yet the U.S. eagerly sells weapons to this regime. We sell them because weapons makers like Raytheon welcome profits from blood money.
The prime directive motivating Raytheon, and all other corporate weapons merchants, is maximizing shareholder value. They have no interest in promoting peace or minimizing human suffering. Indeed, the more their weapons are consumed with devastating effects, the greater their profits. Their corporate hands are stained with the blood of countless victims of the indiscriminate use of their weapons. Maximizing weapons sales is accomplished by influencing the U.S. and foreign governments to adopt policies resulting in stockpiling and use of weapons of war.
There is a clear chain of political influence reaching from the boardrooms of companies like Raytheon through the well-paid lobbying firms of the Washington beltway into the campaign financing of powerful congressional representatives and the career advancement of government officials who authorize arms purchases. This primary mechanism of influence is augmented by extensive subsidies to supposedly independent defense experts at numerous think tanks and academic institutions. These experts provide intellectual respectability to the feeding frenzy of the weapons makers at the enormous trough of the U.S. defense budget.
Raytheon, like other arms makers, publicly asserts that it has no role in shaping foreign policy. Meanwhile its lobbyists privately tie crucial votes in Congress to the promise of large campaign contributions and participate in revolving door career maneuvers that place industry advocates in powerful government positions. This duplicity is so common that it has been normalized as a permanent feature of the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex. The improper influence has become so egregious that a Raytheon lobbyist, Mark Esper, was appointed Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, and Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, sits on the Raytheon board of directors. With control of both houses of Congress and the Executive branch, Raytheon has nothing to fear from U.S. government oversight over its lavish funding. But there is something that Raytheon would fear: investor activism.
Senior corporate executives are increasingly compensated by stock grants and stock options. Thus, anything that depresses the stock price of their companies directly affects their earnings. This explains the widespread practice of companies buying back their own stock to boost stock prices instead of reinvesting their profits in productive business capabilities. In the past, investors were reluctant to punish companies for socially irresponsible behavior because the conventional economic wisdom was that nothing should interfere with market forces. Motivated only by profit, weapons makers have used campaign contributions to engineer steady increases in U.S. defense spending for decades, with utter indifference to the damage inflicted by the ill-advised use of their weaponry. But the winds of change are reshaping the priorities of investors.
After the sharp recession of 2008, the magic of the marketplace was partially discredited because unchecked exploitation of deregulated mortgage markets had led to a global financial collapse. Moreover, the looming danger of climate change led economists and investors to add consideration of “externalities,” factors not directly reflected on a corporation’s income statement, to the evaluation of investments. The result has been the growth of socially responsible investing, a practice that balances the profitability of an investment with the associated impacts on society. Initially, the focus of this movement has been on hydrocarbon and mining companies, but there is no reason why this new calculus of investment valuation could not be extended to the arms makers.
I submit that a divestment campaign targeting Raytheon Corporation would be the most direct and efficient means of halting this company’s improper manipulation of U.S. foreign policy and reducing the carnage caused by the indiscriminate use of its weapons in war zones like Yemen. The divestiture of large amounts of Raytheon stock by major public pension funds, academic endowments, and mutual funds, would significantly depress the company’s stock price and lead Raytheon management to heed the following demands:
- Halt all campaign contributions to elected officials.
- Halt all contributions to policy organizations advocating aggressive military action.
- Halt the marketing of weapons to regimes engaged in human rights violations
- Redirect lobbying funds to foreign aid efforts aimed at relief for war refugees
Although Raytheon is not the only weapons maker engaging in corrupt and harmful practices endangering lives and undermining peace, it is a prominent example of such misconduct, and effective concentrated action against it would send a powerful message to other corporate giants in the Military Industrial Complex, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman. For too long, the invisible hand of marketplace power has kept the U.S. government on the path of war. It is time for investors to use their economic power to turn arms makers away from being political advocates and enablers of war and limit them to functioning as responsible guardians of peace.
By Rusty Tomlinson
In Truthout, Stephen Zunes examined some of the history of Anthony Blinken, President Elect Biden’s designee for Secretary of State.
Biden and Blinken have worked together for many years. In 2002, when W. went to Congress asking for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, Biden chaired the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Blinken was the Democratic staff director of that committee. Together, they limited the hearings on the authorization to a day and a half and ensured that all the testimony would come from hawks, allowing no Middle East experts or weapons inspectors to testify. Thus, we were thrust into an unnecessary, illegal and disastrous war.
The Authorization for the Use of Military Force has yet to be repealed, meaning that W., Obama and Trump all had absolute authority to determine the use and disposition of the military. So will Biden, until it is repealed.
Blinken complained that we didn’t send enough forces to the Syrian Civil War and he opposed withdrawing from Syria. He even went against Biden, when Biden opposed our involvement in the Libyan Civil War.
Along with Michele Flournoy. Biden’s choice for Secretary of Defense, Blinken founded West Exec Advisors, a consulting firm, whose client list is secret, but is thought to include military contractors and an Israeli artificial intelligence firm with close ties to the military.
Another position Blinken shares with Biden is a refusal to make billions in aid and arms to Israel dependent upon Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian laws. Both Blinken and Biden have often criticized the Palestinian Authority, but not Israel.
Israeli authorities are very happy with the choice of Blinken. Former Israeli ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, said, “I can think of no finer choice.” Biden’s and Blinken’s opposition to making aid to Israel dependent upon Israel’s adherence to humanitarian international law draws into question whether they will insist upon such adherence from other allies.
In 2015, John Kerry made a Palestinian/Israeli peace proposal. Despite Palestine’s recognition of the Israeli State and Israel’s flat refusal to recognize the Palestinian State
The Nuclear Ban Treaty Will Enter Force
By Ryan Swan
In the United States, we regularly hear about the “threats” posed by Russia and China. The former is corrupting our elections and pursuing aggressive ambitions in the Baltics, while the latter is stealing our intellectual property and jeopardizing “our interests” in Asia. Both are committed to “challenging the liberal democratic world order.”
Behind this rhetoric, which at best is misleading, if not outright propagandistic, both the Republican and Democratic parties support astronomical military budgets (close to $750 billion for FY2020 – more than the next 11 highest military spending states combined) and the advancement of dangerous and morally questionable military capabilities (autonomous weapons, militarization of space, etc.).
Most dangerous and morally questionable is the overwhelming bipartisan support for continued maintenance of nuclear weapons with civilization-ending potential as a centerpiece of U.S. “deterrence policy.” The Obama Administration kicked off a $1 trillion renovation of the American nuclear arsenal, and the Trump Administration has picked up from there to further expand the initiative (which would certainly continue under a potential Biden Administration with hawks, like Michele Flournoy – a possible Biden Secretary of Defense pick, shaping administration policy).
In 2017, more than 120 countries came together in the United Nations to reject a continual life under the nuclear shadow. Tired of this status quo, they concluded the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Treaty’s rationale was simple – the common interest of mankind in avoiding the calamitous consequences of nuclear weapons outweighs any strategic benefits such weapons confer upon specific states. Accordingly, nuclear weapons must be banned.
The TPNW provided that once 50 states actually ratify the treaty, it would enter into legal force 90 days thereafter. This past week, that noteworthy milestone was reached. With Honduras’ ratification, the Treaty will now become legally effective in January 2021.
Both the Republicans and Democrats have summarily dismissed the TPNW and supported the practice of pressuring allies into not signing it. Their refrain is that the Treaty runs counter to U.S. national interests. However, an important and rarely asked question should be just what exactly are U.S. national interests and do they include the desires and best interest of the American people, or simply advance an agenda favorable to the powerful military-industrial complex?
What do the American people – those who have thought about this existentially important issue – want? Well, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that a full 87% of respondents to a 2019 survey desired that the government conclude an agreement with Russia to limit nuclear arms. Approximately two-thirds of surveyed Americans favored remaining a party to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and 80% called for extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction (New START) Treaty. Furthermore, the majority of respondents to a 2019 YouGov opinion survey thought the U.S. “should work with the other nuclear armed countries to eliminate all nuclear weapons from all countries, in line with the [(TPNW)].”
Instead, the Trump Administration has rejected arms control wholesale, unilaterally withdrawing the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Nuclear Deal), the INF Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty, while denouncing the TPNW and refusing to take up negotiations on New START extension (the last remaining bilateral nuclear treaty between the U.S. and Russia). For their part, the Democrats continue to support enormous military budgets. Disappointingly, Democratic members of the House recently voted to kill the Lee-Pocan Amendment, calling for a paltry 10% reduction in military spending and redirection of those funds to health and human services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In contrast to the two major parties continually subjected to heavy special interest lobbying, the Green Party refuses all corporate campaign contributions and, accordingly, is uniquely situated to genuinely pursue what most Americans want – a more peaceful and cooperative world. To this end, the Green Party advocates for concrete steps, including adoption of a no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy, considerable cuts to the nuclear arsenal to the minimum point required for effective deterrence, large cuts to military spending, and implementation of a broader foreign policy that is based on principles of international law, not rooted in the brute force of might-makes-right egoism. All of these steps are actively opposed by Republicans and Democrats alike.
For this reason, and many others, I support the Green Party and its presidential ticket of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker. I encourage those interested in peace – as well as real democracy, sustainable environmental policy, social and economic justice, racial and gender equality, election and campaign finance reform, and more – to check out the national Green Party platform, as increasing numbers of Americans are now doing. I invite you to consider joining us in our effort to make the world a better and more peaceful place for all its inhabitants.
Ryan Swan is a California Representative on the Peace Action Committee of the Green Party of the United States. He holds a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law and a Master’s in international relations and politics from the University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall).
By Rusty Tomlinson
One of the principles of the Green Party is nonviolence. We believe strongly, and research shows, that it is a much more effective tool for change than violence. We are concerned with the degree to which violence is being manifested in the BLM protests, therefore, we the Green Party Peace Action Committee (GPAX) offer this position paper, a collection of suggested defenses against and alternatives to violence.
The police must be held accountable for their use of brutality, chemical and impact weapons and their failure to protect protesters and others against assailants. The use of tear gas against military enemies is illegal; it should not be used against Americans exercising their First Amendment rights. Rubber bullets and beanbags are potentially lethal. Protesters and others should keep their cameras ready to document any brutality or other misdeeds by police. Any misdeeds should be reported to the police Internal Affairs Division or, if necessary, the state police. If that doesn’t work, there is litigation. The people should continue to push for the establishment of citizen’s review boards, with the power to investigate and hold the police accountable.
The push to defund the police must continue. Of particular importance is to demilitarize the police, taking away their military weapons and combat armor. If police show up in their dress uniforms, there will be much less violence!
Trump used active duty personnel, the 82nd Airborne, to clear protesters from Lafayette Park, so that he could walk to a church for a photo op. They used chemical weapons and physical abuse to clear the park. Trump made noises like he was going to enact the Insurrection act, which would have made his use of active duty troops legal. As it was, his use of them was illegal. Trump later backed off on the use of active duty troops, and none have been used since then, but if any are ever again deployed, they must be reminded that they took an oath not to obey any illegal orders. Many military members have expressed displeasure at being deployed against protesters and we believe many would step down and maybe join the protesters. If any obey orders to deploy against protesters, they and their chain of command must be held accountable for deploying illegally and for any violence or brutality committed against the protesters.
Unlike the use of active duty forces, the use of National Guard forces is legal, but we feel it is immoral. We believe that a good percentage of the National Guard have more in common with the protesters, than they do with the militaristic mindset of the National Guard. Therefore, we call on the members of the National Guard to break the law, stand down and join the protesters. We realize that any members who take our advice will face some immense legal problems and we will refer them to organizations who can help, such as the GI Rights Hotline, Courage to Resist, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Stand Down! Refuse to Deploy!. As always, National Guard who do not take our advice and who deploy against the protesters must be held accountable for brutality, chemical and impact weapons, so, as always, keep your cameras ready.
The Trump regime initiated what they named Operation Diligent Valor, threatening to send a coalition of personnel from different Department of Homeland Security divisions, who were trained in special operations and SWAT tactics, along with US Marshals. They soon became infamous for pushing non-offending protesters into vans and employing chemical and impact weapons. Organizers in Portland, OR proved very adept at devising non-violent responses, such as the Wall of Moms, who would place themselves between the protesters and the federal law enforcement personnel, the Wall of Dads, who brought leaf blowers to disperse the tear gas and the Wall of Vets. The DA in Philadelphia swore that any of the federal personnel who broke the law in his city would be arrested. The Facebook group Stand Down! Refuse to Deploy! tweeted the DAs in the other cities threatened by the Trump regime, asking that they swear similar oaths. Once again, accountability is essential.
And yet another threat has appeared. Right wing, racist militias, often armed, have started appearing at the BLM protests. Confrontations between protesters and militia have resulted in at least five shootings and four deaths. When armed militia show up, the most important thing is to avoid angry confrontations and taunts. Use your cameras to document police interactions with the militia. Are they working in concert with the militias? Are they allowing militia members to commit violent acts and walk away freely, while the police harass non-violent protesters? Use cameras, legal observers and the press to document such behavior. If you know where the militia will be, schedule your event where they are not. It is a lot easier to stay on message, when there are no violent counter-protesters.
Remember, that BLM is a movement OPPOSING violence. Agent provocateurs try to sabotage our message by committing violence against people and destruction of property and making it appear that we are doing it. Let’s not help them. Leave your firearms and firebombs at home.
A dangerous delusion has taken hold in US political and media circles regarding the prospect of a war with China. In order to avoid the calamitous outcome that would ensue from such a war, the public should be aware of the historic and technical facts that argue against such folly. The following discussion will provide this information and explain the perverse incentives motivating US business, political, military, and media elites in their efforts to present China as a hostile power that must be confronted militarily.
China emerged as a powerful modern state after a long period of suffering at the hands of exploitative foreign powers (1840-1945) followed by a bitter civil war (1937-1949), and a major war against the US in Korea (1950-1953). Adding to the challenges of repeated warfare was the internal political turmoil of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Only after the death of Mao in 1976 did China adopt a political system that enabled rapid modernization and economic growth, resulting in China’s emergence as a major world power.
Unlike the United States, which has not experienced the suffering of war on its own soil since 1865, the Chinese have a long history of episodic bloody conflict, external and internal, covering the last century, including border wars with Russia, India, and Vietnam. China is not a nation that backs down from war if its vital interests are threatened.
The large and rapidly growing Chinese economy, which is on course to surpass the GDP of the United States within the next 10 years, has enabled China to modernize its armed forces. China has a small but potent nuclear deterrent, a Navy with more ships than the US, and a large, well-equipped standing army double the size of that of the US. Although the US military has many high-tech advantages, such as stealth technology and naval aviation, the Chinese have developed offsetting advanced weapons systems, such as precision-guided ballistic missiles capable of sinking warships.
Chinese DF-26 “Carrier Killer” missiles – Est. unit Cost: $2 million
China views the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland as the most important unfinished business of the restoration of China to its historic position as the dominant power in Asia. US support of Taiwan, the break-away state established by the defeated faction in the Chinese Civil war, is a major point of contention between the two nations, and a possible cause of armed conflict. The other likely cause of conflict is territorial claims over the waters of the South China Sea, an area encompassing strategic waterways and rich with natural resources. Forcible attempts by the US to block Chinese unification with Taiwan or occupy islands claimed by China in the South China Sea would likely trigger a war. What would this war look like?
The Realities of War with China
Americans have grown accustomed to swift initial victory in warfare against weak adversaries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, but the US has not fought a war with a peer power armed with equivalent weaponry since 1945. Thus, the US risks encountering serious unfavorable technical and operational surprises should it undertake a war with China. Although military planners make estimates of adversary capabilities in simulations and exercises, the test of combat is the final determinant of outcomes. No one in the US military knows if the Chinese missiles designed to sink US aircraft carriers can do so in a shooting war, and no one knows if the complex logistics infrastructure required by US high-tech weapons deployed in the Western Pacific can survive in a high-tempo combat environment. Why, then would US leaders contemplate such a war?
USS Nimitz Aircraft Carrier – Est. cost: $13 Billion
There have been many historical instances of outdated military thinking leading to catastrophe. Perhaps the most terrible is that of WWI, a conflict that resulted in far more carnage than political and military leaders expected. On the eve of WWI, there was enthusiasm on all sides for what was expected to be a short and decisive war. The opposing generals has clever plans for swiftly defeating their adversaries. What they failed to understand was the radical transformation of the battlefield that advances in antipersonnel weaponry would cause. The devastating effects of massed artillery and machine gun fire would result in infantry casualties in the millions and a bloody, exhausting war of attrition that left deep scars in European politics and created the conditions for WWII.
What is known about a potential war with China is that the logistical constraints imposed by geography overwhelmingly favor the Chinese in a war fought off their coast against an adversary from other side of the Pacific. In such a war, the US would be heavily reliant on a small number of Western Pacific bases such as Guam and Okinawa. These bases are likely to be attacked and destroyed in the early days of hostilities, leaving US naval forces stranded with uncertain prospects of support from nervous Asian allies. Long-range stealth bombers flying from the US could inflict some damage on China, but the sortie rate (the number of strike missions flown) would be too low to be decisive.
The Chinese, on the other hand, could swarm Taiwan and the South China Sea with naval and aviation assets, absorbing heavy losses and still sweep US forces out of the theater. At that point, escalation to a nuclear exchange would be the only remaining military option for the US, but the relatively small Chinese nuclear force would still be capable of destroying dozens of US cities, an unacceptable outcome for any sane US President.
The general public is poorly informed regarding the characteristics of modern missile warfare. Despite decades of costly efforts to develop missile interceptors, the US has not been able to overcome the basic problem of missile defense. The defender must protect all vulnerable assets with costly systems that can intercept a high percentage of incoming missiles, but the attacker can make concentrated attacks selectively, using surprise, decoys, and overwhelming numbers, to score precise hits that damage or destroy targets. (This imbalance was demonstrated recently in successful missile attacks on Saudi petroleum facilities and US airbases in Iraq.) The US simply lacks the resources to put an impenetrable missile defense umbrella over every vulnerable ship, airbase, and supply depot in the Western Pacific, and the Chinese have a lot of missiles to throw against these targets.
The damage to the US from defeat in a war with China would be far-reaching. Apart from the military casualties and material losses, the economic impact of disrupting trade and communications in Asia would be enormous, probably triggering a global recession. The diplomatic impact would likely be the destruction of long-standing US alliances with other Asian powers, including India, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philipines, and the Southeast Asian nations
The US Military has conducted many simulations of an armed conflict with China involving Taiwan and the South China Sea, and China wins (at a heavy cost) in most of these exercises, mainly because of geographical and logistical advantages. If war with China is a losing proposition from an analytical perspective, what sustains the delusion?
The Latin expression “Cui Bono” (To whom is it a benefit?) is the name of a method that has been used since ancient times to analyze motives behind political actions. Consider who benefits from sustaining the propaganda delusion of war with China:
Defense Contractors benefit from the incessant arms purchases associated with preparations for war. Because the Chinese can afford to steadily modernize their armed forces, the US defense industry can successfully market new weapons to counter actual and perceived advantages in Chinese weaponry. The US defense industry has enormous political influence because of large campaign donations and support for institutions and academics promoting bellicose foreign policies.
Military Professionals benefit from improved opportunities for command and promotion in growing organizations, such as the newly established Space Force. More surface ships and aircraft squadrons require more officers and commanders. New high-tech weapons projects require military managers who can look forward to high-salaried jobs with defense contractors after taking early retirement.
Politicians benefit from Xenophobia and war fever, particularly if there is a racist component involved. In WWII, the US had no compunction in putting Japanese Americans into internment camps, while German Americans were left unmolested. By depicting the Chinese as totalitarian Communists bent on world domination, politicians can easily whip up war fever among a large segment of the electorate. President Trump has already begun building up anti-Chinese sentiment by referring to COVID-19 as the “China Virus.”
Media Corporations benefit by generating Internet clicks and TV ratings from an audience excited by wars and rumors of wars. Danger and violence sell, and tensions threatening a major war are a sure winner for elevating viewership. The concentration of US media power in a handful of major corporations makes it easier for governments and arms makers to influence “news” coverage in a bellicose manner. Government-friendly US media companies now routinely employ ex-military and former intelligence agency personnel as commentators on foreign affairs, thus strengthening what is effectively a pro-war propaganda collaboration with the national security establishment.
The above players are engaged in an alliance of convenience to promote a war that cannot be waged successfully. Nevertheless, by keeping the danger of this delusional war before the public, they succeed in selling costly weapons, advancing military careers, winning elections, and earning media profits.
The rational arguments against the US engaging in a war with China are overwhelming, and it is only the power of the US political/media propaganda apparatus that has given this idea public credibility. Perverse incentives motivate arms makers, politicians, the military, and media leaders to sustain this delusion and run the risk of the accidental or intentional outbreak of a war which would have ruinous consequences for the US. Citizens should act to persuade their leaders to stop the drum beat of war before a propaganda delusion turns into a military disaster.
September 3, 2020
Student Resources about the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima/Nagasaki (H/N)
By Dianne Blais for the GREEN PARTY PEACE ACTION COMMITTEE (GPAX)
These Resources include:
Intro – info about the H/N bombings
Aug. 6-9, 2020 EVENTS
Anti-Nuclear Organizations that include H/N bombings remembrance
Webinars about the H/N bombings
Books about the bombings
Articles about the bombings
Films about the bombings
Miscellaneous: Photos, Sample Program to Remember H/N and petition
A good intro to the H/N bombings is “The Untold History of the U.S.”
Oliver Stone’s 2012 12-part series (free on Netflix and supplemented by a 750-page companion book) is a condensed analysis of WWII and the H/N bombings.
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – US section created this online 1945 timeline. https://www.vtwilpfgathering.com/timeline
Website: UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)
https://www.un.org/disarmament/education/slideshow/hibakusha/ Links to many resources, including Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs collection of testimonies from Hibakusha
Hiroshima – “Original Child Bomb” by Thomas Merton (1961 poem has 41 sections) https://inaspaciousplace.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/hiroshima-original-child-bomb-by-thomas-merton/
FOR AUGUST 6-9, 2020
https://www.hiroshimanagasaki75.org/ more than 160 organizations working together to create 18 hours of video streaming on August 6 and 9
From August 6 at 8:15am, the time that the nuclear bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, until August 9 at 11:02am, the time the nuclear bomb was detonated over Nagasaki, peace activists around the world will undertake individual and/or group actions as part of a ‘Peace Wave’
ReThinkMedia.org is a media company that is a gathering place for organizations to share resources for the 75th Anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
75 Years and Counting: From Hiroshima to Hope – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE6hCc6Mo2Q&feature=youtu.be
film featuring performances and readings, interviews with hibakusha, and traditional koto and shakuhachi flute along with beautiful images of candle-lit lanterns floating on Green Lake (Seattle, Wash).
Groups against nuclear weapons that support remembering the H/N bombings.
Go to these groups’ web-sites for videos, articles, and links to further information.
From Wikipedia: Nuclear disarmament groups include the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Peace Action, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Greenpeace, Soka Gakkai International, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Mayors for Peace, Global Zero, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
U.S. elder statesmen Sam Nunn, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, and George Shultz have called upon governments to embrace the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons & have created the Nuclear Security Project to advance this agenda. Organizations such as Global Zero, an international non-partisan group of 300 world leaders dedicated to achieving nuclear disarmament, have also been established.
Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons www.abolition2000.org
PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (PSR) mobilizes physicians and health professionals to advocate for climate solutions and a nuclear weapons-free world. Is local /state/national/international organization.,
The Council for a Livable World promotes policies to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons and to minimize the risk of war through lobbying and by helping elect and support Members of Congress who share our goals.
United for Peace & Justice www.unitedforpeace.org a multi-issue network that takes nuclear weapons dangers seriously
Prevent Nuclear War.org Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War is a national grassroots campaign seeking to lead us away from the dangerous path we are on – lays out five common-sense steps that the United States should take to reform its nuclear policy.
UNFOLD ZERO is a platform for United Nations (UN) focused initiatives and actions for the achievement of a nuclear weapons free world. UNFOLD ZERO aims to unfold the path to zero nuclear weapons through effective steps and measures facilitated by the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, UN Secretary-General and other UN bodies.
Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) has info & documentary films https://www.nti.org/
The World Peace Council (WPC) is an international organization that advocates universal disarmament, The U.S. Peace Council represents its American section.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty.
World BEYOND War is a global nonviolent movement to advance the idea of not just preventing any particular war but abolishing the entire institution (2014).
Mayors for Peace “No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasaki!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03aRCUSsyCg
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
WILPF was founded in 1915 during World War I, with Jane Addams as its first president.
Tri-Valley CAREs Communities Against a Radioactive Environment From Hiroshima to a Healthy Tomorrow: Embracing Our Common Humanity —Annual protest and rally held at the gates of Livermore Laboratory,
Since 1982, the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area has been organizing for the abolition of nuclear weapons and power and in support of nuclear victims.
Prevent Nuclear War.org Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War is a national grassroots campaign seeking to lead us away from the dangerous path we are on – lays out five common-sense steps that the United States should take to reform its nuclear policy.
Hiroshima City University (HCU) contains the affiliated Hiroshima Peace Institute (HPI)
Minneapolis St. Paul Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration Committee (HNCC)
No More Bombs based in Washington state
Webinars about the H/N bombings
7/25/2020 – Four historians explained that the US didn’t need to drop the bomb, we’ve been told a myth. https://youtu.be/7hJVHsQ7f0k What Every Global Citizen Needs to Know About the Decision to A-Bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Hiroshima Symposium Hibakusha Testimony: Hiroshima 1945 to the U.S. 2020 (March 5, 2020). Recording available to watch online. Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis https://iu.mediaspace.kaltura.com/playlist/details/1_k83bkcoj
IUPUI’s Japanese Studies Program hosted “Hiroshima Nagasaki A-bomb Poster Exhibition,” which includes the testimony of Dr. Hideko Tamura, an A-bomb survivor and Hiroshima Peace Ambassador, followed by a symposium with guests, Dr. Roy Tamashiro, Professor Emeritus from Webster University and specialist in Peace Studies, as well as Ari Beser, the grandson of the only crew member who participated in both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
Books about the bombings
One Sunny Day by Atomic bomb survivor Dr. Hideko Tamura Snider (1996)
Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard (Viking 2015) — tells the story of five survivors, all of whom where teenagers in 1945, and the life of the entire city, over the next 70 years. Documents the enduring impact of nuclear war. www.susansouthard.com
Choosing Life: My father’s journey from Hollywood to Hiroshima by Leslie A. Sussan https://hiroshima-choosinglife.com/ The ripples of one bomb on four generations and two continents seen at a level of human compassion.
African Americans Against the Bomb
Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement
By Vincent Intondi https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=23490
The Atomic Bomb on my Back. Hibakusha (atomic bomb sufferer/survivor), Taniguchi, at age 16, was badly burned by the blast, and spent ten years in recovery. This account of his life, during which he lived with “the atomic bomb on his back,” is a moving tale of survival and activism, as he dedicated his life to the abolition of nuclear weapons. https://www.rootstockpublishing.com/rootstock-books/the-atomic-bomb-on-my-back he would often show the photo of his burns to illustrate the intense suffering that resulted from the bombings. He spent a total of more than three-and-a-half years in the hospital after the bombing.
Dr. Joseph Gerson is Executive Director of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security and Vice-President of the International Peace Bureau. His most recent book is Empire and the Bomb: How the US Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World. His previous books include The Sun Never Sets and With Hiroshima Eyes.
Articles about the bombings
“Intersectionality of the bomb” https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2020-07/features/reflections-injustice-racism-bomb
Films about the bombings
The Moment in Time: The Manhattan Project | 2000 | 56min | Directed by John Bass |
This Library of Congress and Los Alamos National Laboratory co-production uses interviews and oral histories with many of the key Manhattan Project scientists who helped build the bomb. The film charts the fear that the Nazis were working on an atomic bomb, and follows its development up to the explosion of the ‘Trinity” bomb on July 16, 1945 with scarce consideration given to the population living in the vicinity.
ICAN Film: The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons http://theendofnuclearweapons.com
This documentary film about the efforts to bring about a nuclear weapon ban treaty into international law and the role of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is told through the voices of leading activists that are part of the coalition of ICAN. This 56 minute documentary is available by contacting the producer through the website listed. It includes a brief history of the bomb and anti-nuclear activism and moves to the historic steps taken since 2010 to turn the treaty from a dream into a reality.
Hiroshima: BBC History of World War II https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475296/
The docudrama recounts the world’s first nuclear attack and examines the repercussions. Covering a three-week period from the Trinity test to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the program chronicles America’s political gamble and the planning for the momentous event. Archival film, dramatizations, and special effects depict what occurred aboard the Enola Gay and inside the nuclear blast.
White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0911010/ Using extensive interviews with survivors and archival footage, an examination reveals the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
MISCELLANEOUS: Photos, Sample Program & petition
https://time.com/after-the-bomb/ Powerful Photos of Survivors paired with their personal stories. A selection of the work of Photographer Haruka Sakaguchi. Suitable for posters, handouts, display and readings.
Sample Program to raise awareness of Hiroshima/Nagasaki w/ Readings, Songs & Film
Hiroshima Day (original by Barbara Taft, Greater Phoenix AZ)
7:00 Program begins with Song – “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
Film Excerpts: “White Light, Black Rain :”
7:20 Slide Show on Hiroshima, until mostly finished, then begin:
Songs: “Song of Peace (Findlandia), “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream”
Poem: “I Come and Stand at Every Door,” by Nazim Hikmet
7:40 Reading of Toyomi Hashimoto from play “Most Dangerous Women” written by Jan Maher
August 6, 1945. Hiroshima. Perhaps the darkest day in a dark decade. Three days later the United States drops a second bomb on the city of Nagasaki.
Toyomi Hashimoto remembers that day: Though at each anniversary the skies over our city are blue and peaceful, the memory of that day in 1945 still troubles my body and soul. In spite of the wartime conditions, my husband and our little son and I lived a happy life. On the morning of August 9, 1945, I walked to the gate to see my husband off to work. My three-year-old boy, Takashi, went out to play. I was alone in the house when, in the distance, I heard an approaching airplane. “Japanese?” I wondered. I stepped outside to see my son running to me, calling, “Airplane! Airplane!”
The moment we reentered the house, there was a blinding flash followed by a tremendous explosion. The roof of the house caved in, pinning us under a mountain of debris. Hours passed. I do not know how many.
Then I heard my son crying softly and calling for mother and father. He was alive. I tried to reach for him, but a huge beam immobilized me. I could not break free. Though I screamed for help, no one came.
Soon I heard voices calling names of neighbors. My son was bravely trying to crawl from under a heap of clay that had been one of the walls. When he turned and faced me, I saw that his right eye was obliterated with blood. Once again, I tried to move, but the beam would not budge. I screamed so loud and long that I must have lost my voice. I called to the people I could see scurrying about, but they did not hear me. No one answered until the lady next door finally pulled my son out of the wreckage.
I suddenly became aware of a sharp pain in my breast, left hand, and stomach. As I tried again to crawl out, I saw that a huge nail was stuck in my stomach. “Fire! Fire!” I could hear people shouting around me. It was either break free or burn to death. With a violent wrench, I pulled myself from under the beam. In doing so, I ripped the flesh of my stomach. Blood spurted from an agonizing gash in my body.
I was at last out of the ruined house. Still, my son was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps the kind lady next door had led him to safety. I had to search for him, but I could only limp slowly because of the pain in my stomach. As I crept slowly along, people more seriously injured than I clutched at my feet and pleaded for help and water. I heard loud voices shouting, “Leave the old people! Help the children first!” All I could do was promise to come back with water, if it was possible.
“Thank heaven you’re alive!” I heard a familiar voice saying. Turning, with intense happiness, I saw my husband, who was holding our son in his arms. We climbed to the top of a hill together, walking among countless corpses.
On the hilltop, a kind man gave us bed sheets, candles, sugar, and other useful things. At once we began to try to do something for Takashi, who had lost consciousness. After a while, as we dripped sugar water into his mouth, he awakened. He had already lost the sight of his right eye. Myriad slivers of glass were embedded in his head, face, body, arms, and legs. An air-raid alarm, still in effect, prohibited lighting candles. In the pitch darkness, my husband and I picked out as many pieces of glass from his body as we could find. So full of life and energy until that moment! Now blind in one eye and covered with blood and dirt!
Still he bore everything bravely and only asked, “Am I being a good boy?”
SHE stands quietly, head bowed.
Petition: Join the Hibakusha in calling for an end to nuclear weapons by signing their petition here: https://www.hiroshimanagasaki75.org/hibakusha-appeal