By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
5 August 2011
On the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the barbaric bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US, the International League of People’s Struggles joins the Japanese people and all peace-loving peoples in commemorating the event and in condemning the continuing nuclear threat from the US and its imperialist allies.
On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was incinerated by a nuclear weapon with a core of enriched uranium released by the US over the city. The nuclear radiation, explosion, heat and resulting fires killed 90,000 people almost immediately. This number rose to more than a hundred thousand by the end of 1945.
On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was destroyed by a second atomic weapon with a core of plutonium 239 killing immediately some 40,000 and left 70,000 more dying by the end of the year. Tens of thousands more died later from radiation sickness. The combined death toll from the two atomic attacks run up to nearly two hundred thousand.
Despite the passage of 66 years, the surviving victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings suffer from the after effects and the second and third generations of the victims live in fear of consequences adverse to their health. The Japanese government has not provided to the victims state compensation and the necessary medical services.
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki sixty-six years ago is one that is an exercise of unnecessary and excessive force. With the objective of enabling the US military to assess the effects and power of the newly developed atomic bomb, the US chose the two cities that were relatively unscathed by aerial bombing for its atrocious experiment. The twin bombing ranks as one of the worst war crimes and crimes against humanity ever committed in history. Yet despite this horrifying example of destruction, the threat of nuclear weapons remains from the only country that has used these weapons of mass destruction in war.
There are still roughly 20,500 nuclear weapons in the world. Fourteen thousand of these are in military stockpiles and around 4,830 are deployed in operational strategic role. More than 95 percent of nuclear weapons are with the US and Russia which continue to integrate these weapons into their military strategies. The rest of the weapons are with the UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
Although both the US and Russia have recently said that nuclear war between them is now “unthinkable,” their strategic war plans still put nuclear strikes with hundreds of targets as options. Both countries still have the capacity to initiate a nuclear attack in a matter of a few seconds. Between the two, there are more than 800 ready-to-fire ballistic missiles armed with at nearly 2,000 strategic nuclear warheads on high alert, ready for use on short notice.
The US continues to test its intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the Minuteman III for readiness and keeps its Global Strike capability to hit targets anywhere in the globe in less than an hour. As the US puts the prevention of nuclear terrorism and proliferation in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, it has increased funding for the rebuilding of its “aging” nuclear infrastructure.
The Obama administration plans to spend $6.3 billion until 2016 to extend the lifetime and usage capabilities of the warheads in their stockpile. It seeks to finish the construction of nuclear materials production facilities which costs more than $10 billion and pledged another $6.24 billion to modernize its missiles, SSBN submarines, Joint Strike fighter planes and B-2 and B-52 bombers that are designed to deliver nuclear warheads.
The US military budget of $698 billion in 2010 is nearly 43% of the world’s total military spending. It also remains the largest arms exporter in the world selling nearly $38 billion last year which is predicted to surge up to $50 billion in 2011. Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt consistently rank among the top five importers of U.S. weaponry.
The US continues to expand its war foothold with new military bases such as that on Jeju Island in South Korea and in Okinawa despite resistance from local residents. It uses bilateral military agreements such as status of forces and base sharing agreements to virtually convert whole countries as their military base.
The new NATO Strategic Concept at the Lisbon Summit in 2010 reaffirmed the importance of nuclear weapons in the designs of the alliance in Europe. NATO’s nuclear posture with roughly 200 non-strategic warheads remains tied directly to US interests. Plans to retrofit strategic nuclear bombs currently deployed in Europe as well as to build new F-35 planes to carry these bombs are being pushed to enhance NATO’s capability to knock out military targets.
The US promotes double standards in nuclear proliferation– one set of rules for Israel and India and another set for potential enemies such as North Korea and Iran. It expands its role in assigning itself as global cop to hold “fully accountable any state, terrorist group, or other non-state actor that supports or enables terrorist efforts to obtain or use weapons of mass destruction, whether by facilitating, financing, or providing expertise or safe haven for such efforts.”
It enforces this through US-led agreements such as their Proliferation Security Initiative which lets US allies interdict ships unilaterally on the high seas on mere suspicion that these are carrying “nuclear materials and contraband”. Such initiatives which inflame tensions are mainly focused on such states as Iran and the DPRK and are seen as aggressive moves by these countries.
In 1954, the US used nuclear technology to entice and bring into its fold other countries such as Japan in order to counteract Soviet influence. The US uses the same tactic, in reverse, in denying Iran and the DPRK nuclear technologies to counter proliferation. This introduction of nuclear technology to Japan brought in US designed reactors such as the Fukushima Dai-ichi plants that melted down last March 2011. As nuclear power has shown its deadly bite with the meltdown of the reactors in Fukushima, the threat of nuclear war still remains with us.
Through nuclear intimidation and blackmail, the US has caused the suffering of tens of millions of people who came under its wars of aggression and intervention in Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and elsewhere. Further, the US has enabled its puppet regimes to massacre and maim millions more of people.. The oppressive and exploitative globalization policies unleashed by the US and its local partners have put hundreds of millions of people into misery and poverty.
In commemorating the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we stand in solidarity with the people of the world against any form of imperialist war, military intervention and oppression. We are moved to resist imperialist aggression as we witness today the extremely high numbers of people being killed and injured in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
We vigorously oppose the U.S.-Japanese military alliance and its core strategic policy of nuclear blackmail. It is just for the people of Japan and the world to condemn and resist the scheme of the U.S. and Japanese governments in the consolidation of US bases in Okinawa, Iwakuni and Kanagawa. These are meant to perpetuate US domination over the Asia-Pacific region
Since the latter half of the 1960s, the US and Japanese monopoly bourgeoisie have undermined and weakened the yearly commemoration of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombings in order to reduce remembrance of these, lessen fears about nuclear radiation and pave the way for the rapid construction of nuclear power plants in Japan. There are now more than 55 nuclear reactors in Japan, with 14 more power plants previously planned.
Now, we are confronted with a grave nuclear disaster, the meltdown of reactors in Fukusihma Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Radiation leaks continue and spread. A great number of people are exposed to radiation in the Fukushima and neighboring prefectures. Land, seawater and crops are polluted and local communities are victimized. The myths of safety in the use of nuclear power plants have been exposed.
We hereby express our firm and continuing support to the Japanese people in their demands for the state to provide compensation and medical services to the A-bomb victims and their second and third generations, for banning and shutting down all the nuclear power plants and stopping the construction of new ones, for holding the Japanese state responsible for acts of aggression during World War and for indemnifying all war victims in Asia, for topping the nuclear armament of Japan, for scrapping the US-Japan security alliance and dismantling the US military bases in Japan and for the withdrawal of all US military forces in Asia.
The anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are reminders of the continued peril that the peoples of the world face under imperialist aggression. The ILPS calls on all the world’s peoples to intensify their struggle against US imperialism and its barbaric and terrorist policy of producing, maintaining, using and threatening to use nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. ###