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Bush's Nuclear Madness
April 1, 2002
By Bassman

The Bush administration's recent decision to revise this county's nuclear weapons policy should send a shivering chill down the spine of every human being living on this planet, including, and especially, those in our own country. With a mixture of anger, trepidation, and sadness, I read headlines stating that Bush plans to revive nuclear weapons testing, make ready the use of nuclear weapons in the battlefield, and allow storage of thousands of tons of deadly nuclear waste in Nevada.

My anger starts with seeing this administration plan the use of tactical nuclear weapons. With our armed forces already stretched thin (witness, the recent Congressional testimony from field commanders currently in action), and with Bush and his draft-dodging advisors (none of whom have actually seen a nuclear blast, and few who have ever fought in a military battle) expand our participation in wars around the globe, it's only a matter of time before they deliver us to the point of no return.

Militarily, they are leading us up a box canyon, and into a situation where, in the event we were ever losing a battle (which happens, even to us), we would be forced to either surrender or use tactical nuclear weapons. Is this sane planning?

This type of military strategy, as is currently envisioned by the White House, is a recipe for worldwide death and destruction. Why? Because it won't stop with just "one" battle. If we were to use nuclear weapons in the field, what would our argument then be to prevent Israel, Pakistan, or India, from doing the same, if they were ever faced with a similar military situation? Would we hypocritically tell them to restrain themselves, while we showed no restraint?

My trepidation and sadness comes from the fact that so few people understand the collateral damage caused by nuclear weapons use. Though the Bush administration takes a rather laissez-faire position with regards to collateral damage, nuclear weapons use will change that attitude quickly. Nuclear weapons are like a boomerang - they will come back at you, one way or the other.

Collateral damage? Let's look at this country. The CDC recently released a report that stated over 15,000 people were killed as a direct result of downwind radiation from nuclear testing blasts, with a hundred thousand more contracting cancer. These numbers lie. I can tell you first hand, after seeing whole families beset with cancer and death in Nevada and Utah, that the CDC's numbers are no more accurate than a Republican candidate's budget numbers at election time. If I extrapolate, using my own personal knowledge and experience, the actual "collateral damage" would be more like 100,000 deaths, and a half-milllion or more cases of cancer! Our own children and babies, sacrificed for what?

And it wasn't just the tests conducted in this country that killed and maimed our own people. Radiation from testing in China and Russia, carried by the upper atmosphere, also landed in the United States. Nuclear weapons advocates just can't seem to (and/or don't want to) understand, that damage from blasts will not, and cannot, be confined to the immediate area. It will kill and cause sickness around the world.

I know these things because I was raised in Nevada. During my youth I witnessed several above ground nuclear tests, and experienced a number of underground tests, in very close proximity. I do not have the words to describe the power, the horror, or the unmitigated destructive force of these weapons. No-one does - no-one - and certainly not anyone in this White House.

Add to the insane "Bush Nuclear Weapons Doctrine" his plans to store nuclear waste in Nevada. Nevada is not a wasteland. It is full of families, just like yours. The air and water move though majestic mountain ranges, and broad valleys. There are hundreds of thousands of citizens, men, women, and children, that will be put at risk of exposure, either through the actual storage, or accidents in transport. And God forbid, that there would be a terrorist act while the waste was being transported through your town on the way to Nevada, or one at the site. Tens of thousands, even millions, could die a slow, and ugly death.

My passion for this subject, stems from the fact that I am already a victim of past, and vitiated nuclear policies. I have suffered from radiation-induced cancer, and have had a lifetime of health problems because of my exposure, so I know of what I speak. I don't want one person, anywhere in this world, to suffer as I have, or to see their friends, families, their cities, and countries, die from exposure to deadly radiation.

Bush must be stopped, as must all those who think like him. Because in a nuclear war, no-one will win - not the planet, not our country, not your kids, not you. Please write G.W. Bush, and his Republican congressional allies, and tell them to stop this madness, NOW!

While we still have time.

Bassman is a freelance writer, photographer, activist, and patriot.

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