To the Editor:
Dr. Gabe Mirkin writes brilliantly and offers expert medical opinions on a variety of important topics. Thanks for his expertise and willingness to do so. In the August 28 edition of Villages-News, he wrote: “In 1939, [Einstein] sent a letter to Franklin Roosevelt that specifically led to the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb that saved millions of lives by ending the war with Japan.”
On August 6 and August 9 the world will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the U.S. dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is time for the world to abolish nuclear weapons. The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. Those choices the U.S. made have been defended because supposedly the bombs negated the need for an invasion that may have killed many more.
But the U.S. already knew the Japanese were ready to surrender. Many of the military leaders of the day including General Dwight Eisenhower, Admiral William Leahy (Chief of Staff to Truman), General Henry (Hap) Arnold (commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces) and Major General Curtis E. LeMay (commander of the Twenty-First Bomber Command) stated the bombings were not needed to end the war against Japan.
Regarding the bombing, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a personal visit to President Truman a couple of weeks before the bombings, urged him not to use the atomic bombs. Eisenhower said: “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime.”
More recently, General Lee Butler, who commanded all U.S. nuclear forces from 1991 to 1994, has stated: “The cold, hard fact of the matter is that a nuclear weapon is, at its very core, anti-ethical. It is simply a device for causing wholesale destruction. Nuclear conflict is essentially an irrational activity, because essentially what you’re doing is signing your own death notice.”
As the only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons to kill people, the U.S. could lead the world in getting rid of these weapons. Just as the world has negotiated bans on cluster bombs, land mines and chemical weapons, we can work towards banning nuclear weapons. Instead, the U.S. is intent on spending $1.5 trillion on upgrading and modernizing nuclear weapons.
We publicly talk about first strike capability and making nuclear weapons usable. It’s no wonder most people surveyed worldwide name the U.S. to be the greatest threat to peace in the world.
Back to Albert Einstein who was a pacifist. Wikipedia states: “It should be noted that according to Linus Pauling, Einstein later expressed regret about his letter to Roosevelt, adding that Einstein had originally justified his decision because of the greater danger that Nazi Germany would develop the bomb first. In 1947, Einstein told Newsweek magazine that ‘had I known that the Germans would not succeed in developing an atomic bomb, I would have done nothing.’ In that same year, he wrote an article for The Atlantic Monthly arguing that the United States should not try to pursue an atomic monopoly, and instead should equip the United Nations with nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of maintaining deterrence.”
As Einstein stated, “War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished.” In abolishing war, we also need to abolish nuclear weapons.
Al Mytty, Coordinator World Beyond War-Central Florida, Co-Coordinator Veterans for Peace-Chapter 136, The Villages
Village of Poinciana
Laurent Gilbert, Sr., Co-Coordinator Veterans for Peace-Chapter 136, The Villages and World Beyond War Member, Village of LaBelle North
Cindy Grossman, World Beyond War Member, Village of Caroline
James and Jule McCormack, World Beyond War Member, Village of St. James
Larry Berman, World Beyond War and Veterans for Peace Member, Village of Sable Chase
Paul Pudillo, World Beyond War and Veterans for Peace Member, Village of Hadley
Steve Urosevich, Veterans for Peace Member, Village of Pine Ridge