Friday, August 4, 2017

BALTIMORE HIROSHIMA COMMEMORATION/Banning Nuclear Weapons: The Beginning


   For the 33rd year, the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Committee will remember the atomic bombings of Japan on August 6 & 9, 1945, which killed more than 200,000 people. It has been 71 years since these awful events occurred. Other organizations involved in the commemorations are the Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Crabshell Alliance and Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore.

HIROSHIMA COMMEMORATION on Sunday, August 6, 2017

5:30 PM Outside Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N, Charles Street, demonstrate in favor of the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons: Fifty nations must ratify the Convention to Ban Nuclear Weapons, and ratification begins on September 20.  One hundred and twenty two countries signed on to the convention, but they must take it back to their nations for ratification by whatever means each nation has for ratification. Commemorate Hiroshima.

6:30 PM Inside Homewood Meetinghouse, savor a potluck dinner with members of the peace and justice community. David Eberhardt will again share some poetry, and Joseph Byrne, from Baltimore’s Jonah House, will perform some dulcimer music.

7:15 PM Dr. Gwen DuBois, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, will discuss her work in New York City during the gathering at the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons.  A statement will be read from Rev. Dr. Mankekolo Mahlangu-Ngcobo, who will share her thoughts about living in apartheid South Africa.  Rev. Mahlangu-Ngcobo will be in South Africa on August 6 for a Prayer Intercession in Parliament. Note South Africa is the first nuclear nation to end its program. 

RSVP at mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net or 410-323-1607. Kagiso, Max

Published on Portside (

Banning Nuclear Weapons: The Beginning

H. Patricia Hynes

Monday, July 31, 2017

The United States lobbied hardest against this treaty, contending that these weapons of mass destruction keep us secure.  Despite this morbid logic, we learned recently that our government’s leaders have a set of fortified sites constructed to save themselves in the event of nuclear catastrophe while the rest of us fend for ourselves.  (See Garrett Graff’s book, Raven Rock: The Story of the Government’s Secret Plan to Save itself While the Rest of US Die).

           But the US leaders who would know best about weapons and national security–generals and weapons scientists–have had a different take on the security and morality of nuclear weapons, from their first use in 1945 through their existence today.  American leaders from all branches of the armed forces, among them Generals Eisenhower, Arnold, Marshall and MacArthur; and Admirals Leahy, Nimitz, and Halsey strongly dissented from the decision to use the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for both military and moral reasons.  Japan was already defeated and in peace negotiations with the Soviet Union; surrender was imminent. Bombing dense human settlements was barbarous and would shock world opinion; and a demonstration bombing away from residential areas (also suggested by many atomic bomb scientists) could be used instead to force immediate surrender.

           The top military commanders concurred that the decision to use the atomic bomb was political, not militaryThe US wanted to demonstrate the new atomic weapon that we solely possessed to intimidate the Soviet Union. The opposite happened: an arms race between the US and Soviet Union ensued. Today seven other countries also possess nuclear weapons (Britain, France, China, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea), with the ever-present specter of their use, an accident, or their theft by terrorists.  (Two countries, South Africa and Iran have relinquished their programs and signed the new nuclear weapons ban treaty).

           On February 2, 1998 retired General George Butler, former Commander of US Strategic Air Command statement spoke to the National Press Club: “The likely consequences of nuclear weapons have no politically, militarily, or morally acceptable justification…The unbounded wantonness of their effects…transcend time and space, poisoning the earth and deforming its inhabitants for generation after generation. They…expunge all hope for meaningful survival.  They hold in their sway not just the fate of nations but the very meaning of civilization.”  He joined 60 other retired generals and admirals calling for nuclear weapons abolition.

           At their fortieth anniversary reunion in Los Alamos, New Mexico, 70 of 110 physicists who had worked on the atomic bomb signed a statement in support of nuclear disarmament.

           A word about Korea, given the nuclear tensions between that country and the US.  In 2013, former President and Korean War veteran Jimmy Carter spoke at Lafayette College about the US policy towards North Korea. He traced the current crisis to the Bush administration's repeal of a 1994 agreement with North Korea that assured North Korea would not develop nuclear weapons in exchange for energy and economic aid.

           In the early 1990s, Carter was asked by the North Korean leader Kim II Sung to come to North Korea "because," he said, "no one in the US government would talk to the North Koreans." After persuading the adverse Clinton administration for permission, he met with Kim II Sung who expressed the desire for a peace treaty with the United States and to have the economic embargo lifted against his country. The result of their talks was a successful diplomatic agreement that ended the Korean nuclear weapons program in exchange for lifting an economic embargo and allowing Americans to search for the remains of Korean War veterans.

           The Bush administration dismantled that agreement and included North Korea in the "Axis of Evil" countries, making it an explicit target of regime change. North Korea responded by re-starting a nuclear weapons program, weapons testing and chest-beating war rhetoric. The Obama administration (and, in lockstep, the Trump administration) ratcheted up war games with South Korea, including a simulated nuclear attack on North Korea. Thus, a small, poor country wasted by its own militarization and the world's militarized superpower are locked in an asymmetric nuclear standoff.

           Carter concluded his address at Lafayette College: "I've been there two or three times since the 1994 agreement, and I can tell you what the North Koreans want is a peace treaty with the United States and they want the 60-year economic embargo lifted against their people, so they can have an equal chance to trade and commerce. It's a very paranoid country. They are honestly convinced that the United States wants to attack them and destroy their country, to eliminate the Communist regime. They make a lot of mistakes, but if the United States would just talk to the North Koreans…I believe…we could have peace, and the United States would be a lot better off in the long run."

Pat Hynes, a retired environmental engineer and Professor of Environmental Health, directs the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice [1].


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to 

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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