On the 60th Anniversary of Hiroshima

August 7th, 2005 - by admin

Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy – 2005-08-07 08:45:05


Statement of the National Executive Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy
on the 60th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima.

[The on-line version at On the 6th and 9th of August 1945 our country’s aircraft dropped atomic bombs on the civilian cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At least 104,000 people were killed immediately and by the end of the year the number of dead had reached 210,000. An estimated additional million people have had their lives shortened by exposure to radioactivity and toxic chemicals from nuclear weapons testing or work in the military or nuclear weapons production complex.

According to scholars, the bombs were dropped to shock Japan into immediate surrender and also to intimidate the Soviet Union. The bomb still continues to be used for intimidation of other countries, at the moment Iran and North Korea. A “Nuclear Posture Review” issued by the Bush administration in 2001 listed states against which the United States should be prepared to use nuclear weapons, among them Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Syria.

As exemplified by Robert McNamera, the former defense secretary, there are elements within the ruling establishment who take a sober view of the nuclear weapons predicament. McNamara recognizes that it is counterproductive for the US to attempt regime change against certain states while at the same time demanding that they forego nuclear weapons. What he correctly foresees coming out of such efforts is stepped up proliferation of the bomb to additional countries.

The situation that McNamara seeks is one in which the countries that have the bomb manage to keep it, while the rest do without. He explicitly rejects the part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Article 6) which requires the US and its allies to give up their own atomic weapons. We firmly disagree with him on Article 6.

Ban Atomic Weapons — Everywhere
We demand that atomic weapons be banned. Banned for everybody, including the United States. Anything less creates an unstable situation with inevitable attempts by those without to get into the Nuclear Club.

Article 6 of the Treaty is a potent weapon against proliferation, requiring all countries with the bomb to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament….”

Long after the cold war, the US continues to deploy 6,000 strategic nuclear weapons, each of which, on average, has 20 times the destructive power of the one used against Hiroshima. Of these, 2,000 remain on high alert, allowing them to be launched within 15 minutes on order of the President. This absurd situation must end.

Banning the bomb would free humankind from great danger, but the task faces formidable problems. While the manufacture of new warheads ended early in the 1990s and the nuclear production complex has fallen into disrepair, the Bush administration has signaled its desire to revitalize the weapons infrastructure and develop new or modified warheads.

The number of people employed at production sites has fallen far from the cold war average of 120,000 and serious dangers remain from radioactive wastes and toxic chemicals. Nevertheless, local support for a return to weapons work makes up a powerful political force.

In terms of the US economy, renewed activity at the bomb plants is not even the main issue: In contrast to making the bomb during the cold war, whose cost was “only” $409 billion, the expense of deployment (missiles, planes, submarines, etc.) during the same time period came to $3.2 trillion!

From the beginning of the bomb project in 1940 until the present its total costs have come to almost $5.5 trillion.

The design, assembly, deployment and control of atomic weapons are an organic part of the U.S. economy. Getting rid of them will by no means be easy. But the benefits will be great.