August 9, 2009
NEWS ITEM OF THE DAY that caught my interest.
Nagasaki mayor urges worldwide nuclear arms ban
By JAY ALABASTER, Associated Press Writer
Sun Aug 9, 3:02 am ET
TOKYO – The mayor of Nagasaki called for a global ban on nuclear arms at a ceremony marking the 64th anniversary of the devastating U.S. attack on the Japanese city that killed about 74,000 people.
In a speech given just after 11:02 a.m. — the time when a plutonium American bomb flattened Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945 — Mayor Tomihisa Taue said some progress had been made toward eliminating nuclear weaponry but more needed to be done.
He cited a speech by President Barack Obama in April calling on the world to rid itself of atomic weapons, but also noted a nuclear test blast by North Korea in May.
"We, as human beings, now have two paths before us. While one can lead us to a world without nuclear weapons, the other will carry us toward annihilation, bringing us to suffer once again the destruction experienced in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago," he said.
The Japanese government recognizes a total of about 150,000 victims of the atomic attack on Nagasaki, including those who have died from related injuries and illness in the years since.
Nagasaki was attacked three days after an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, in which 140,000 people were killed or died within months. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, ending World War II.
At Sunday's ceremony, a moment of silence was observed at the time of detonation 64 years earlier, while a large bell in the city's Peace Park was rung repeatedly. As Taue finished his speech, doves were released and circled over the park, where hundreds of brightly colored strings of origami cranes had been hung by local residents.
About 5,800, including dignitaries and representatives from 29 countries, attended the ceremony.
Taue had invited leaders of countries possessing nuclear arms, including Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, to travel to Nagasaki.
Prime Minister Taro Aso and other dignitaries, as well as local resident Ayako Okumura, who was a child in the city when it was bombed, also spoke at the ceremony.
"To avoid a repeat of the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must devote all of our energy in the pursuit of international peace," Aso said.
MY THOUGHTS: Sixty four years later we still have not figured out a way to convince countries that there must be a better way than building bigger and better bombs. If the truth is in the pudding, I guess there isn't. In fact what we have proved this very week is that we, the USA, have gotten better at delivering our missiles. We plunked off a terrorist from the roof of a building in Afghanistan in a selective target success.