Thursday, August 06, 2009
Hiroshima Day: Never again. Not in Madison. Not anywhere.
The age of nuclear terror began in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. I grew up under that cloud at the height of the Cold War. This montage approximates a recurring dream I used to have -- a blinding flash and a mushroom cloud, centered not on the downtown, but about five miles to the northeast, on Truax Field, the military airport that housed fighter-interceptors supposedly armed for a time with air-to-air nuclear missiles to shoot down those swarms of Russian bombers that could attack across the North Pole. That made us a target. As the bomber threat diminished and ICBMs became the delivery mechanism of choice, that particular threat diminished -- but, hey, by then both sides had so many warheads, everything had to be on some target list or other. The dreams were usually about toxic skies snowing gray flakes of ash, dread and slow death. They gradually became less frequent and eventually went away altogether (though there was a brief encore during the early days of the Reagan administration, when people who should have known better started talking about survivable nuclear war). I haven't had one of those dreams for a long time. Of course that doesn't mean the threat is gone. All we can do is hope -- and keep pressuring leaders everywhere not only to stop nuclear proliferation, but to work for real progress on meaningful steps toward nuclear disarmament.