SHAFAQNA – The United States is sitting once more in the middle of a fierce debate over both its foreign policy and “penchant” for over militarization of diplomatic disputes – only this time it appears it is Washington’s past strategies which have become the subject of much criticism and worry.
And while many experts have often warned over the years against America’s exacerbated “trigger happy” attitude towards geopolitics and other international issues, it may well be Washington was always the seat of neo-conservatism.
On December 22sd, a series of highly sensitive documents pertaining to America’s nuclear strategy were made available to the public following a request filed by William Burr, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive and head of the Archive’s nuclear history documentation project at the George Washington University
The declassified top-secret U.S. military documents are shocking for a number of reasons. To begin with the Cold War-era report, titled the Strategic Air Command (SAC) “Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959,” contains a list of targets that would be priorities in the case of atomic war with the Soviet Union and its allies. Among those targets are great many European cities and other civilian-heavy locations.
To assert its power and secure its prominence on the international scene, the US stood ready to bomb half of the world to oblivion, all in a day’s work, in complete negation of those legal standards its officials have always claimed to represent better than most.
Looking at the extent of America’s nuclear strategy, the term exceptionalism has taken an entirely different meaning …
As analyst William Burr pointed out in comments to the press this December, the revelations the documents withhold within their pages are “disturbing”. With utmost methodology and extreme military rationale, the US planned for a grand world genocide.
In his explanation of the document’s context and significance, William Burr notes how the list of airfields and industrial targets also included urban centers, indicating that “people as such, not specific industrial activities, were to be destroyed” in the event the plan was carried out.
In a report for the Time, Lily Rothman commented on the sheer implication such a strategy would have carried for those targeted countries and regions, adding yet another dimension to what can only qualify as absolute military madness. She wrote: “Given today’s knowledge of the long-term effects of atomic explosions, it’s clear that the plan so dryly laid out by US intelligence would have resulted in death and destruction unlike anything the world had or has ever seen.”
Indeed … when America dropped its first A bomb onto Japan during WW2 an estimated 165,000 casualties were registered, among which 66,000 dead. Knowing fully well the level of destruction and ravages a nuclear strike would ultimately bring on civilian populations, US officials planned a nuclear winter.
A quick reminder of what a nuclear attack looks like from the ground might offer some perspective. In August 2015, Stop The War Coalition recalled America’s strike against Hiroshima in the following terms:
“At quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August 1945, the US plane Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the city centre, a busy residential and business district, crowded with people going about their daily business.
The bomb, called ‘Little Boy’ because of its long, thin shape, was made from uranium 235. Unimpeded by hills or natural features to limit the blast, the fireball created by that single bomb destroyed 13 square kilometres of the city.
The heart of the explosion reached a temperature of several million degrees centigrade, resulting in a heat flash over a wide area, vapourising all human tissue. Within a radius of half a mile of the centre of the blast, every person was killed.
All that was left of people caught out in the open were their shadows burnt into stone.
Beyond this central area, people were killed by the heat and blast waves, either out in the open or inside buildings collapsing and bursting into flame.
In this area the immediate death rate was over 90 per cent. The firestorm created hurricane-force winds, spreading and intensifying the fire.
Almost 63 per cent of the buildings of Hiroshima were completely destroyed and nearly 92 per cent of the structures in the city were either destroyed or damaged by the blast and fire.
The total number of deaths was hard to establish, but at least 75,000 died in the first hours after the bomb was dropped, with around 140,000 dead by December 1945.
The death toll reached around 200,000 by the end of 1950.”
It is attacks such as these US officials fathomed as acceptable – and still we have been told that Washington remains the democratic scale all nations need to be measured against. If that was indeed true, if nations were to align their policies on those laid out by the US, a nuclear Armageddon would have likely claimed half of the world population by now.
But lurking behind the frigid calculus of Cold War nuclear strategy is a bit of context that the report’s authors might already have suspected in 1956 – technical obsoletism. As Burr explains, “the priority targets listed in the plan are those connected to Soviet air power, because the age of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) had not yet arrived.” Here again the documents betray an interesting aspect of US military strategy planning: the coordinate development of both conventional and experimental weapon programs.
In comments to Press TV Daniel Patrick Welsh, a US political analyst noted: “The target list of US nuclear weapons from the 1950s is blood-curdling” as it shows the terrifying behind the scenes of US foreign policy.”
To which he quickly added: “Even though it is old, it shows what the thinking was and basically still is among circles of power in the United States military and foreign policy establishment … Saving specific bombs designed only for a population, and this is basically a roadmap for the complete annihilation of the world and it shows how sociopathic this mindset is.”
And THAT is exactly why the declassified documents have raised more than a few eyebrows!
Stephen I. Schwartz, an independent consultant on nuclear weapons policy and the co-author and editor of a 1998 book on American nuclear weapons, “Atomic Audit,” also called the target list “grim and frankly appalling.” He however postulated that the publication of the declassified documents would help the public get re-acquainted with the threat nuclear weapons really pose the world.
“We’ve known the general contours of nuclear war planning for a few decades,” he told media. “But it’s great that the details are coming out. These are extraordinary weapons, capable of incredible destruction. And this document may be history, but unfortunately the weapons are not yet history.”
As it were it would appear it is the US which would need to curtail its nuclear program …
By Catherine Shakdam – This article was published first in the American Herald Tribune.