Lazy Luddite Log

2.8.07

Hiroshima Day Peace Rally

I posted a notice here publicising the Hiroshima Day Peace Rally in Melbourne on Sunday 5 August. I missed the march but hope it was a well-attended and inclusive event. The event commemorates the deaths resulting from the atomic bomb exploded over the Japanese city of Hiroshima at the end of World War II. However it also serves as an opportunity for those participating to express opposition to the continuing existence of nuclear arms and this makes it relevant to this very day.

Opposition to the nuclear arsenal of all nuclear powers is strong among the public of all nations. It is something that unites those of many different political persuasions. It is nothing particularly radical to say that the original Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) is too dangerous a thing for even the most democratic and peace-loving nation to hold.

During the Cold War there was an argument for both rival superpowers to maintain a nuclear arsenal which went by the name of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). This doctrine told us that the sheer mind-blowing danger of nuclear escalation was such that nobody would dare ever press the button. As much as I hate to say it I cannot deny that MAD may in fact have saved the world during the 4o-something years of the Cold War. But that crazy world has been replaced by another crazy world and as a result the old crazy logic is now obsolete. Back then the rivals were very much focused on worldly objectives and wanted to survive with populations and infrastructure intact. Now however we have terrorists motivated by the promise of eternal reward in a supernatural afterlife who can operate within a complex and shifting array of clandestine cells and who can carry WMDs the size of a briefcase. Try firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at that!

My attitude towards nuclear arms was forged in the nervous tension of the latter part of the Cold War. In the 80s public awareness of and revulsion towards nukes was honed by movies such as War Games and The Day After. I was too young to be involved at the time but the peace movement was much bigger then than it is now. Many seem to have decided that nuclear proliferation is a problem of yesterday. And yet we still have a massive global stockpile and it is growing with smaller nuclear powers like India and Pakistan engaging in a mini cold war. Now if all the nukes were targeted at comets that come creeping into our planetary personal space then I may look on them more kindly. As it is in this post Berlin Wall era they are less than useless and still the most horrifying thing humans have ever invented.

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