Not Embracing the Dark Side
By Rachel Kent on 09/25/2012 @ 10:30 AM
This past Thursday, September 20th, the House defeated H.R. 5987, which sought to create a Manhattan Project National Historical Park in places such as Los Alamos, New Mexico, Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Hanford, Washington. These cities all played a lead role in the creation and development of the first nuclear weapon, under the code name of The Manhattan Project.
It would not be an understatement to say that The Manhattan Project dramatically and drastically changed the 20th century and the world. Its legacy is a confused and complex one.
Many people believe that the use of atomic weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended World War II. But the end of the war came at a terrible cost. Two major cities in Japan were utterly destroyed. 135,000 casualties in Hiroshima. Another 64,000 in Nagasaki. People are still suffering today from radiation and the aftermath of the bombings in Japan.
But people here in the United States were also affected. Residents in the areas surrounding nuclear testing sites often have a greater chance of being diagnosed with cancer and are at a higher risk for other serious health risks . These health effects are still being felt today, 50 years after the United States started testing nuclear weapons, both above and below ground.
Dennis Kucinich (OH), who led the rally against the bill, eloquently stated, “The technology which created the bomb cannot be separated from the horror the bomb created. We should not celebrate the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians or the destruction of two major Japanese cities no matter how proud we are of our ability to innovate.”
The introduction of nuclear weapons into our world has made it a more dangerous place to live. Humans are capable of literally destroying our planet dozens of times over. No one needs that much power. No one should have the capability to extinguish life as we know it. Even though the Cold War is over, we live in an atmosphere of uncertain possibility, of a small nagging fear that won’t go away.
If we celebrate nuclear weapons, we embrace the darkest side of our humanity. Though it may be a small one, the defeat of H.R. 5987 is a step towards the recognition that nuclear weapons should have no part in our world.