Human decision making and 70 years of nuclear weapons

Mines Action Canada’s 70 quotes in 70 days counted down to the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th.  These 70 quotes came from around the world and all highlighted the need for nuclear disarmament. You can see all the quotes online here

The final quote on August 6th came from a member of the crew who dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.  This quote was chosen to be the final quote for a very specific reason.  Over the past 70 years a very sanitized and passive understanding of what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki has taken hold. “Hiroshima was destroyed.” “Nagasaki was bombed.” “Thousands of people were killed.”  It almost sounds as though the bombings were an unavoidable or freak occurrence akin to a tornado or an earthquake not a conscious decision made by humans.  

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So let us be clear, humans chose to use nuclear weapons on the men, women and children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was a human decision.

Once we recognize that the use of nuclear weapons was a human decision, we realize that as long as nuclear weapons continue to exist the decision to use them could easily be made again.  Even more frightening is the possibility of unintentional use; human error or technical malfunction could result in catastrophe.  The only way to ensure that no human ever makes the decision to use nuclear weapons again and no error results in their use is to negotiate a new treaty prohibiting the use, production, and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and then eliminate them.  Nuclear weapons are a human invention, their use 70 years ago was a human decision and human action can ban them now. 70 years is enough.

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