Hiroshima and Nuclear Weapons Disarmament

by Barrister Harun ur Rashid | August 7, 2014 5:22 am

August 6th reminds us the horrors of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. The annual 6th August Peace Memorial Ceremony, which is sponsored by the city of Hiroshima, is held in the park every year.

The location of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was once the city’s busiest downtown commercial and residential district. The park has been built on an open field that was created by the explosion.

Hiroshima Memorial Park is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack, and to the memories of the bomb’s direct and indirect victims of whom there may have been as many as 140,000.

The purpose of the Peace Memorial Park is to not only in memory of the victims, but also to establish the memory of nuclear horrors and advocate world peace and nuclear disarmament. Today there are a number of memorials and monuments, museums, and lecture halls, which draw over a million visitors annually.

It may be recalled at 2:45 a.m. on Monday, August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, took off from Tinian, a North Pacific island in the Marianas, 1,500 miles south of Japan. Colonel Paul Tibbets, the pilot, nicknamed the B-29 the “Enola Gay” after his mother. On a hook in the ceiling of the plane, hung the ten-foot atomic bomb, “Little Boy.” Navy Captain William S. Parsons, released the bomb on Hiroshima, which flattened the city, killing tens of thousands of civilians. While Japan was still trying to comprehend this devastation three days later, the United States struck again, this time, on Nagasaki on August 9th.

Is it justified?

Many say that the US President Truman justified the use of nuclear bomb on Japan to reduce death of people on both sides. However critics say that the US could have tested the nuclear bomb in waters to show its devastating power to Japan and this could have ended the war by Japan. It is not only immoral but disproportionate to use nuclear bomb without any warning to end the war when so many tens of thousands of people died slowly due to radiation.

Nuclear weapons pose an intolerable threat to all humanity and its habitat. The destructiveness of nuclear weapons is immense. Any use of weapons would be catastrophic.

The only defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are held by a handful of countries which insist that these weapons provide unique security benefits and yet reserve uniquely to themselves the right to own them.

Number of nuclear bombs:

The Arms Control Association (ACA), a US weapons research organization estimates the number of strategic atomic warheads held by the US to be about 6000, Russia, 5000, France 350, China 300,and UK 180. ACA estimates Israel 200, Pakistan 110 and India 95.

According to a report in January, 2009, the US has now 1,198 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-based missiles, and bombers which together are capable of delivering 5,676 warheads. The US now deploys at least 2,200 strategic nuclear warheads.

Russia has 816 delivery vehicles capable of delivering 3,909 warheads. While the number of deployed Russian strategic warheads is not known, the Arms Control Association estimates it at 2,000 to 3,000.

The world faces threats of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. These threats are growing. Western security chiefs told a Nato meeting in 2009 that Al-Queda was planning a programme of “dirty radioactive improved explosive devices” which could be used against soldiers fighting in Afghanistan that would contaminate the surrounding area for years to come. Furthermore Al Queda papers found in 2007 convinced security officials that greater advances had been made in bio-terrorism than previously feared.

There have been attempts by rogue organisations to smuggle weapons grade material and in one case a freight train on the Kazakhstan-Russia border had carried weapons-grade material while a small- dealer in Lisbon tried to sell radioactive plates stolen from Chernobyl.

Elimination of nuclear bombs:

For these reasons, a central reality is that nuclear weapons diminish the security of all states. Indeed, states which possess them become themselves targets of nuclear weapons. Paul Keating former Prime Minister of Australia in his book “Engagement” (2000) disapproved the possession of nuclear weapons.

In his book Paul Keating, argues for scrapping nuclear weapons on the following reasons:“Three possibilities exist with regard to nuclear weapons and three only.First, they will be used, either deliberately or accidentally. Second, they will not be used but will be managed forever by wise, prudent and well-meaning governments and military forces and will never fall into the hands of terrorists. Third, we agree to get rid of them.”

Keating argues the first possibility offers catastrophe to the human race. The second requires us to make assumptions about the future that run completely counter to logic and experience. The third is the only possibility that can secure our safety. Furthermore he adds the proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used—accidentally or by decision—defies credibility. The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and assurance that they will never be pr

In the past, talk of nuclear disarmament was confined to the margins of political debate, but now a chorus of national security officials- past and present- have joined calls for multi-lateral disarmament

The Obama administration sees the adoption of Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty important and US officials reportedly say efforts are now underway to find a way to start negotiations in new forums, away from Pakistan’s influence. Pakistan is opposed to the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty because that would cut into their ability to match India’s arsenal.

In recent time an organization has emerged–Global Zero. In the US, the debate was kick-started by a joint call for “getting to zero” from a group of veterans of the Cold War, including Henry Kissinger and George Schultz.

Global Zero consists of 100 leading figures seeking practical steps towards nuclear abolition and gaining public support for that goal. They include former US President Jimmy Carter, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, businessman Sir Richard Branson, Ehsan Ul-Haq, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Pakistan, and Brajesh Mishra, former Indian National Security Advisor.

Polling of 21 countries for Global Zero found an average of 76% of the population favouring an agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons within a time -bound agreement.

The aim of Global Zero is to work on a plan that could lead to a phased nuclear reduction which would eliminate all nuclear weapons in 20 to 25 years.

Source URL: https://priyoaustralia.com.au/articles/2014/hiroshima-and-nuclear-weapons-disarmament/