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Issue #1558      1 August 2012

Hiroshima Never Again

As we face the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, issues of war and peace are still as stark as ever. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are coming to a messy end. The world faces the prospect of possible new wars against Syria, Iran and perhaps North Korea. In Africa wars with horrific numbers of deaths and injuries continue without apparent hope of resolution. On Hiroshima Day we need to resolve again to work for peace across the community and across the world.


Traditional Japanese Taiko Drum and Dance began the public march and rally for Hiroshima Day in Sydney last year. (Photo: Anna Pha)

Brigadier General Bonner Fellers, one of General McArthur’s aides, described the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as “one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history.”

As time has passed, there has been growing recognition in the community that the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime.

It was not to save Allied lives as the spin the infamous President Truman and his bloodthirsty cabinet put on it would have us believe.

The end of war with Japan was brought on by the entry of the Soviet Union into the conflict.

The use of the atomic weapons was a way of positioning the US as the dominant power in the post war period.

Today’s challenges

The threat of war still hangs over us today.

US President Obama’s 2011 visit to Australia heralded a new intensification of Australia’s integration into the US war fighting strategy.

The Australian government agreed to allow the stationing of 2,500 marines in Darwin, porting facilities for nuclear subs in Fremantle, and the use of Cocos Islands for US drones. There will more exercises and US ship visits to our ports.

In the baldest terms the US is seeking to choke or contain China economically or militarily.

This war-like strategy is bringing war to our doorstep.

Australian aggression

The Australian government’s 2009 Defence White Paper set out an aggressive strategy to compliment what it saw then as US intentions.

The Australian (May 25-26, 2012) commented:

“Just three years ago Australians were told in the 2009 defence white paper that there was a possibility, long term but startling nonetheless that in the decades to come they might be fighting a war against China. This possibility of conflict with a superpower, their major trading partner and a crucial pillar of the Australian economy, would require building a very potent ADF with 12 big new submarines, giant landing ship able to carry 1,000 troops, tanks and the works, air warfare destroyers to protect the lot and about 100 revolutionary Joint Strike Fighters.”

Military Spending

These sorts of policies lead to excessive military spending.

Shamefully Australia is now the second biggest per capita spender on the military in the world, second only to the US.

Each year Australia’s military spending is 10 percent of the government’s disposable income.

Cuts to the military budget in the 2012-2013 Budget and the ending of quarantining the military from cuts was welcome, but these steps are minor and not permanent.

Seven of the nine programs have been deferred not cancelled, and there is no prospect of the number of submarines being cut down at all.

With the US moving into Asia and the impossibility of finding the money to pay for the planned military equipment purchases, the Labor government is preparing a new Defence White Paper due in 2013.

A major campaign is underway to force the government to agree to community consultations on the 2013 military planning document. If agreement is won, it may go some way towards forcing military planners to recognise that over 70 percent of the community are opposed to increased military spending.

Uranium

The experience of Japan’s Fukushima reactor after last year’s tsunami should be enough to persuade governments of the need for caution about uranium mining. And when uranium’s use is for nuclear weapons, the case against mining is even stronger.

This is not a view shared by the Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, who keenly promotes uranium mining and its sales to India.

Australia, as the owner of around 40 percent of the world’s supply of uranium, should be encouraging alternative sources of energy and campaigning for nuclear disarmament.

Magnificent protests by over 500 people at the huge Roxby uranium mine over the last few weeks have been largely ignored by mainstream media.

The uranium debate is reaching a climax in NSW where the conservative state government plans to overturn a ban stretching back more than a quarter of a century on uranium mining and to open some new mines.

The Australian government is planning to store radioactive waste from the nuclear industry on Aboriginal land at Mukaty in the Northern Territory.

Despite protests and rejection by Elders and traditional landowners, the age old process of Australian governments ignoring Aboriginal rights continues in this most toxic industry.

The NSW government is moving radioactive waste from Hunters Hill to Auburn in Sydney in a move that looks suspiciously as if the well heeled of Hunters Hill can dump their waste on a working class suburb.

Hiroshima Day 2012

This is a time to renew our struggle for peace in this world and this region. We urge all CPA members and supporters, everyone who hates war, everyone opposed to nuclear weapons, everyone committed to a world of peace and social justice to get to your local commemoration.  

Next article – Editorial – A question of priorities

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