Hiroshima among us!
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 by Ron Cruger
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        J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist head of the Manhattan Project, uttered these words after he had witnessed the explosion of the first nuclear weapon in the desert sands of New Mexico – “I have become death, destroyer of worlds!”
        Albert Einstein, the man who postulated E=Mc2 and first discovered the energy to be found in the splitting of the atom said this just five months before his death in 1955 –“I made the greatest mistake of my life when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending an atom bomb be made.”
        Oppenheimer was the scientific genius who led America’s effort to construct the first atom bomb, managing the multi-billion dollar effort named the Manhattan Project, starting in 1941, ending in 1946. For the rest of his life he bore the guilt for his role in the creation of the world’s most powerful weapon.
        Einstein, other than urging President Roosevelt to consider having America create an atomic bomb before Nazi Germany did, had no role in the actual creation of the bomb. His regret was that the world now had a means of complete annihilation.
        But, alas, the first atom bomb was made and the original, detonated at “Trinity” site in New Mexico in 1945, pales in relation to the increased power of destruction that nuclear weapons of today can effect. And that’s what frightens me more than anything that is happening on our planet today. More than the ballooning price of gasoline, more than global warming, more than our presidential election – what I fear most is the use of a nuclear weapon by an individual, a group, a sect or a nation.
        The destructive power of a nuclear weapon has been demonstrated twice on our planet. The first in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, the second, three days later on August 9, 1945 in Nagasaki, Japan.
        For those who were too young to be aware or for those who have not watched the History Channel or read a history book, the utter destruction of human life and property was nightmarish. Never since or before has the world witnessed such immediate loss of life among so many humans.
        President Harry S. Truman, who succeeded the late President Franklin Roosevelt gave the order to release the bomb on these Japanese cities in order to save the lives of an estimated 90,000 American troops that would have been lost in the event of an allied invasion of the Japanese islands.
        At 8:15 on the morning of August 6, 1945 the B-29 bomber, the “Enola Gay,” dropped the atomic bomb, called “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, a city of 300,000 souls. A blinding flash enveloped the city. Skin fried and bubbled, eyes melted, hair disappeared and in a few seconds almost half the city’s population was dead. Many of those 125,000 who died immediately were never found. They became ashes where they had stood. Thousands more died in the years to follow 1945 from the results of the lingering radiation. It is estimated that over 200,000 Japanese died as a result of the dropping of “Little Boy.”
        Three days later another American B-29, named “Bock’s Car,” dropped the second atomic bomb, “Fat Man,” on Nagasaki, a city of approximately 200,000 souls.
        The result was 40,000 deaths within seconds, with 60,000 injured. By January of 1946 the death toll from the explosion of “Fat Boy” had reached 70,000, with the total deaths reaching twice that number by the fifth year after the explosion. It is estimated that 140,000 deaths had occurred from the dropping of “Fat Man” - One nuclear weapon had spread death and destruction to an area of forty three square miles!
        For the scientific and history challenged among us - a nuclear weapon with even a small yield is significantly more powerful than the largest conventional explosive available. A single nuclear weapon is capable of destroying an entire city.
        Perhaps Americans, over the years, have become inured to the deadly hazards of nuclear warfare. Perhaps with so much focus on our “portfolios,” on the rise and fall of the stock market, on the death and injury related to the war in Iraq, on the threats and babbling of nutty dictators around the world, on the daily survival of us and our families we have set aside in our fears the almost unthinkable, inconceivable event of a detonation of a nuclear weapon on our shores.
        The single greatest danger to life on our planet today is the use of nuclear weapons.
        Read the description of the result of the world’s first atomic bomb dropped in anger.
        “At 8:15 a.m. the city was alive with activity. Commuters on foot or on bicycles, groups of women and children working outside. Then the bomb exploded. Those closest to the city center died instantly, their bodies turned to black char. Nearby, birds burst into flames in mid-air, combustible materials ignited as far away as 6,400 feet. The white light acted as giant flashbulb, burning the dark patters of clothing onto skin and the shadows of bodies into walls. People farther from the point of detonation experienced first the flash and the heat, followed seconds later by a deafening boom and the blast wave. Nearly ever structure within one mile of ground zero was destroyed. The firestorm eventually engulfed 4.4 square miles of the city of Hiroshima.”
        It is time for our greatest thinkers to face the likelihood of rogue, deceiving evil men such as Iran’s Ahmanijidad actually delivering a nuclear weapon in and on an American city.
        Every safeguard imaginable must be taken to avoid any nation from ever using a nuclear weapon on another.
        One can imagine an American city, similar in size to Hiroshima, Japan being attacked with a bomb the size of that dropped on Hiroshima (the magnitude of nuclear weapons today are far greater to the one called “Little Boy,” dropped on Hiroshima).
        Envision Tampa, Florida; Cincinnati, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri or Bakersfield, California being destroyed as Hiroshima was. These American cities have roughly the same population as Hiroshima. In the event of a nuclear explosion of modern power and capacity the death and destruction totals would far exceed those of those two Japanese cities.
        These nations, in addition to the United States have stockpiles of nuclear weapons – Russia, United Kingdom, France and China. India. Pakistan, North Korea and Israel are known to have nuclear weapons. Iran and Syria are believed to own nuclear weapons. Under N.A.T.O. agreements nuclear weapons and technology are shared with Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada and Greece.
        The world is closer to seeing a nuclear holocaust than it has been in decades. Only a few years ago a knowledgeable Pakistani nuclear scientist, Qadeer Khan confessed to selling nuclear technology and armament information to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
        Experts fear that many nations own nuclear suitcase and gravity bombs. Nuclear weapons can be delivered by submarines, fighter planes, bombers and hijacked missiles.
        The goal of humanity must be that a nuclear explosion must never occur again.
        If the death tolls from Hiroshima and Nagasaki aren’t explanation enough – I don’t know what is.
        Let us not permit the world to pay its attention to matters less important than the utter destruction of mankind.