The latest information I have had from the followers of der Bush is
that he has demanded and received permission to use nuclear “bunker busters”
in Iran in a preemptive strike. As a nuclear veteran (Operation Redwing, Bikini,
1956) I can affirm that this is absolute madness. The “bunker buster”
is a cute sounding name for a nuclear horror. Air bursts are horrible enough,
doing incredible destruction through heat, shock and high initial radiation.
The fallout from an air burst is registered around the world. A surface or subsurface
burst is even deadlier and more long lasting.
The Castle-Bravo blast at Bikini in 1954 was a fifteen megaton surface blast.
It blew a hole over a mile wide and four hundred feet deep in the atoll, completely
obliterating the island and vaporizing over thirteen billion
cubic feet of coral, rock and water, sending it in a radioactive cloud extending
into the stratosphere. The fallout over the atolls downwind was devastating
to the people and ecology there. All of that material is rendered extremely
radioactive and as it cools it condenses to fall as rain or radioactive “snow”
which contaminates everything it touches. The effects are felt worldwide.
Firing der Bush’s bunker busters in Iran, or anywhere else for that matter,
will vaporize hundreds of thousands of tons of earth, water and rock and send
this radioactive soup downwind to kill and sicken whole populations. Those immediately
downwind will die quickly, in hours or days. Those further downwind will take
longer. The global incidences of cancers and disease will again rise markedly.
The land downwind will remain contaminated and unusable for generations. If
there were deep shelters, it has been postulated by the designers that the bunker
busters would not penetrate deeply enough to affect them. I imagine that would
initiate the attack theory of sending one nuke after another into the same hole.
Picture the intensity of the radioactive disaster that would perpetrate on the
There are not too many of us left that witnessed the tests, but there are a
number of groups that monitor the effects through cancers, birth defects, both
physical and mental and monitoring of contamination in the environment. We are
still feeling the results of those tests. I have exchanged e-mails with downwinders
and with the children of downwinders who have had children with birth defects
that had no previous history of such things in their families; who suffer from
cancers that are peculiar to nuclear radiation.
Now we are facing the specter of Depleted Uranium, which is turning up in atmospheric
filters around the world. Depleted Uranium is a nuclear byproduct of the nuclear
industry. It is a low level radioactive material of extreme density. The half
life of DU is 4.5 billion years. Workers in DU have to wear
full protective equipment and respirators. DU ammunition is extremely hard and
dense. It penetrates armor like tissue paper, vaporizing and burning, leaving
dust and particles as shrapnel to be ingested or breathed. DU is not what the
public thinks of as a radioactive material. It only emits alpha and beta radiation.
A piece of paper will stop it. However, when it is in the lungs or elsewhere
in the body, it is in contact with living tissue, bombarding that tissue with
low level radiation for the rest of your life and beyond. That radiation can
lead to cancers, genetic damage and eventual death.
Independent laboratories like Johns Hopkins have studied this and made predictions
of the harm it can do. The government says, as it did with Agent Orange, “There
is nothing to it, it is all in your head.” Meanwhile, people continue
to sicken and die and will for generations.
Chernobyl was not a nuclear explosion. It was just a very hot, stubborn fire
in nuclear fuel. Chernobyl and a huge surrounding area is uninhabitable for
an estimated three to six hundred years. The fallout from Chernobyl contaminated
food and livestock around Europe and Scandinavia for a long time, and the radiation
is still traceable in the earth and some living things.
I, and many thousands like me, worked for many years to end the nuclear threat.
Treaties were drawn up and ratified. The Peaceful Uses of Space
treaty which guaranteed that no nation would use space as a platform for making
war. That treaty is now derided by the American Military Establishment as naive.
We are ready to take full control of the space around earth to provide a high
ground for attack on any “threat” to the United States hegemony.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which was to keep nuclear
weapon technology from spreading around the world. Der Bush has narrowed that
down to anyone who could conceivably at some time in the future be a threat
to American domination. Our “friends” can build what they want.
We’ll even help them. The Arms Reduction Treaty between
us and the CCCP. That was a treaty to destroy nuclear weapons and delivery systems
on a mutual basis, with observers from each country verifying the destruction.
Der Bush and Putin decided to change that to putting the weapons in storage
instead of destroying them. Storage means access by black marketeers who can
bribe poorly paid security guards and remove weapons and weapon grade material
for resale to the highest bidder.
Treaties mean nothing to this government, of course, if they interfere with
profits or power. The Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners is ignored,
the international conventions against torture are ignored, the tenets of our
own Bill of Rights and Constitution guaranteeing privacy and freedom of expression
to its citizens are being canceled our by der Bush and his minions, the United
Nations Charter is ignored or derided. The Kyoto Protocols on global warming
and other studies are ignored by this administration as they interfere with
short term profits.
All of these breaches of humanity are overshadowed, however, by the possibility
of our using nuclear weapons. The effects of that will be as earth shattering
as global warming and pollution. This can be avoided very simply by not
using them,the one thing we cannot count on der Bush doing unless we
stop him by absolutely forbidding the use of nuclear weapons. Even better would
be to forbid him from conducting so called “preemptive wars” with
anybody who disagrees with him.
Here are some links for those who wish to read a bit further into the subject.
This is my page on the Atomic Veterans site. It contains writings on my nuclear
experiences. Then explore the rest of the site. http://www.aracnet.com/~pdxavets/osborn.htm
Downwinders are those who have been exposed to radiation through our testing
both here and in the Pacific. http://www.downwinders.org/
There are a number of Chernobyl sites of interest, but these two really bring
it home. http://library.thinkquest.org/3426/
Goes over the circumstances and effects of Chernobyl on the world. The Kiddofspeed
site is the site of a courageous lady named Elena who has ridden her motorcycle
through Chernobyl and its surroundings, photographing what she found there.
Depleted Uranium is discussed at many sites including the following, http://www.iacenter.org/depleted/du.htm
Googling Depleted Uranium will give you about five million hits, many of them
government apologia saying that DU is harmless, or nearly harmless.
http://www.cadu.org.uk/ is the site of
the Committee Against Depleted Uranium and well worth reading.
Is a site on DU and Gulf War Syndrome, which also explores some of the problems
with the manufacture of DU armaments to the ecology in the vicinity of the plants.
Please, do your own reading on the subject, then insist that the use of nuclear
weapons is unacceptable for any reason. As one who has faced the nuclear dragon
and survived, I can only say that “Ban the Bomb” is not just a slogan,
it is a necessity.
Biobyte: Stephen M. Osborn is a freelance writer living
on Camano Island in the Pacific Northwest. He is an "Atomic Vet."
(Operation Redwing, Bikini Atoll 1956, ) who has been very active working and
writing for nuclear disarmament and world peace. He is a retired Fire Battalion
Chief, lifelong sailor, writer, poet, philosopher, historian and former newspaper