Saturday, November 19, 1983

"One Nuclear Bomb can Ruin your Whole day!"

My Speech and Debate & Activities Hellgate High School, Missoula Montana. Never a dull moment!

The Memorized Public Address: Fall 1983

Dr Helen Caldicott, a pediatrician from Melbourne, Australia, has a deep emotional concern for the well being of children and adults alike with hope towards world-wide peace for all.  With a tremendous strength born from within, she gives anti-nuclear talks, getting her messages across with realistic descriptions of the painful effects of nuclear war.

  • Memorized Public Address "One Nuclear Bomb can Ruin your Whole day!"
The Speech...
At 8:15 one August morning, thirty -seven years ago, the doomsday clock struck midnight.  To end the World War II, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan  The city was destroyed.  The bomb killed over 75,000 and injured nearly 100,000 of the 245, 000 residents.'

A repeat is not so far-fetched.  Disaster struck once and it could strike again, accept instead of a limited nuclear attack chances are very likely it would be all-out nuclear war.  Today the United States and the Soviet Union have the equivalent of one million Hiroshima bombs or  four tons of T-N-T for every man, woman and child on the planet.

The notion of limited and protracted wars are dangerous illusions.  It is more realistic for us to acknowledge that any nuclear exchange would escalate immediately to all-out nuclear war destroying both countries completely.

With the Reagan administration's declaration of a 'winnable' or 'limited' nuclear war as possibilities one can only see the dangers inherent in countering the basic tenants of deterrence strategy; i.e., the non-use  of nuclear war is 'inconceivable to me -- madness.  I have never read any study suggesting that any nuclear war could be limited,' he said."

If a 'limited' or 'winnable' nuclear war could be fought it is extremely important to ask the question; what are the standards or determinants of limited or winnable?  It is disheartening to note that our current policy of nuclear deterrence or the balance of terror has lead to the war-fighting strategy which states that the United States could survive the loss of 20 million people.  As Colin Gray, a consultant to the State and Defense Departments has noted:

The current debate is not about the desirability of nuclear war.  It is about the best means of deterring war.  I believe in damage-limitation and in a war-fighting strategy.  That requires--in addition to appropriate offensive forces--air defense, missile defense and civil defense.  If American casualties could, by these methods, be held to 20 million, that would be very horrible, but it is damage from which we could recover.  This posture would make the Soviets take our deterrence more seriously. '

The question concern is whether the American people are ready to die 20 million deep to preserve 'Peace and National Security?'  With respect to the notion of civil-defense in the event of a nuclear war I can only refer to a defense department spokesman who told the American people to, 'dig a hold, cover it with a couple of doors, and then throw three feet of dirt on top.  Everyone's going to make it if there are enough shovels to go around.' Really?  It's quite clear that civil defense is absurd as was pointed out in the film:  The Last Great Epidemic, The Medical Consequences of Nuclear War, put out by Physicians for Social Responsibility.  Indeed as Schell notes, 'the policy of deterrence does not contemplate doing anything in defense of the homeland...'  This premise follows from the basic logic of deterrence, which is that safety is 'the sturdy child of terror.'  As Schell notes, 'according to this logic, the safety can only be as great as the terror is, and the terror therefore has to be kept relentless.' 
Everyone must realize that medical 'disaster planning' is meaningless.  There is no possible effective medical response.  Most hospitals would be destroyed, medical personnel would be dead or injured, supplies would be unavailable.  Most 'survivors' would die.

The cancer incident rate from Hiroshima is still rising, 37 years later.  These bombs don't just kill people suddenly.  The go on killing people forever, but we've learned nothing from that.  In fact we have become a society that's hooked on nuclear weapons like a drug.  We're paying for it with our taxes and we may ultimately pay for it with our lives!

But there is hope. Not everyone is ready for the potential destruction of nuclear war and human holocaust.  There is a shining light.  

Dr Helen Caldicott, a pediatrician from Melbourne, Australia, has a deep emotional concern for the well being of children and adults alsike with hope towards world-wide peace for all.  With a tremendous strength born from within, she gives anti-nuclear talks, getting her messages across with realistic descriptions of the painful effects of nuclear war.

In the early 1970's children were drinking radioactive water, contaminated by French Nuclear weapon's testing and dieing of cancer and Leukemia, as a concerned pediatrician she alerted the people as to what was happening and single handedly took the French to court and forced them to stop the bomb testing.  Triumphantly she made the difference, creating a somewhat safer environment for us to live in.

She moved to Boston and organized  and became president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.  1982 brought about her highest honor bestowed so far, she was awarded the Humanist of the Year. 
Not one person alive today has contributed more to our society on the hopes of freeing our world from the fear of nuclear war than Dr. Caldicott.  She would have agreed with the insightful words of Winston Churchill when he said: "The stone age may return upon the gleaming wings of Science and what might no shower immeasurable blessings upon mankind may bring about his total destruction.  Beware I say, Time may be short."

Until I realized that the earth was threatened by nuclear war,  I really wasn't very motivated.  But now I feel that we should and must have an influence.

We are into changing the whole psychology of the human race.  This isn't just to get rid of nuclear weapons, this is to make human kind understand that they can't fight anymore.

We can't have anymore wars until we get rid of our nuclear weapons or we will destroy our world.  War now is not war, it is annilation.

Lets describe Nuclear war, so that you understand what we are talking about.  Every town and city with a population larger than 10,000 in this country and the Soviet Union and Europe is targeted with at least one bomb.

Nuclear war between Russia and America will take about half an hour to an hour to complete.  So we are not going to have much time to prepare for it.  But the Civil Defense is planning for us to relocate from risk areas to host areas out in the country.  It takes eight days to evacuate cities but they say not to worry.

The failure of deterrence means mutual annihilation.  A single megaton weapon detonated over  a major U.S. City would kill 500,000 and create total causalities of over 750,000.  In a full scale nuclear war in excess of 100 million Russians and a comparable number of Americans would be killed outright, and at least another 50 million in each country would die of injuries.

It is apparent that the only solution to this holocaust and the apparent serious limitations of deterrence policy is total unilateral nuclear disarmament.

A twenty-megaton bomb dropped at ground level will burn with the heat of the sun.  Digging a hole three quarters of a mile wide and 800 feet deep, converting all the buildings, all of us and all the land below to radioactive fallout molecules.

Every person would be killed, many actually vaporized.  We could never do that before nuclear weapons; vaporize people.  The body is made up mostly of water and when exposed to the heat of the sun, we turn to gas.  We've already done it.  There are pictures and photographs of shadows of people from Hiroshima.

So what else happens?  Ear drums rupture.  If you look at the flash your eyes might disintegrate and melt.  The burns will be so very severe.  Tens to hundreds of thousands of people will be shockingly burned.

Out to a radius of twenty-six miles, if you are just walking along your clothes would instantaneously ignite and you'd become a flaming torch.

If you go to a fall-out shelter the firestorm sucks the oxygen out and you die of asphyxiation.  The heat and the blast convert the fall-out shelters to crematories.

So what will the long term effects on the world?  Well of course those few poor people, staggering around in the ruins will have to wait in their fall-out shelters for two months.  Because the radiation fall-out is so severe, it will cause vomiting, hair to fall out and ultimately in death.

The men who invented these new bombs say that they will create the "on the beach syndrome", which is a lethal fall-out that will kill every human being, on earth, within weeks.

It's up to us.  We -- I -- have to take the world on our shoulders and like Atlas said, "I am responsible for the planet, for my children and for the children of the world."