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East London Humanists Paul Kaufman wants an end to weapons of mass destruction

PUBLISHED: 10:50 09 September 2015

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This August has seen the commemoration of a particularly gruesome milestone in human history, the dropping of the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. Three days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

Tens of thousands of men women and children perished in the blink of an eye. Many more suffered an agonising death over the days and months that followed.

Some argue that dropping the bomb hastened the conclusion of the war against Japan and thus saved thousands of lives. Others say the same end could have been achieved by choosing targets which were not densely populated urban centres.

The central ethical question remains - what moral justification can there be for possessing weapons which, if used, cause indiscriminate death and mutilation on a mass scale? The argument that nuclear weapons make the world a safer place is increasingly hard to justify. The fundamental battleground today is the battle for ideas. This battle is not won by bombing or threatening to bomb people. Just ask those East Londoners who survived the Blitz. What possible use is the Bomb against ISIS?

Our government is ill-placed to argue that other countries shouldn’t possess the Bomb when it is intent on spending £100 billion on upgrading Trident, this country’s very own weapon of mass destruction. British moral authority has already been shot to pieces by the war on Iraq, and its frightful aftermath, based on the false allegation that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Government nuclear policy fuels the proliferation of this dreadful invention and offers no hope or vision. The surge in support for the SNP and for Jeremy Corbyn is of particular interest in this context. Whatever else you may think of their policies, it cannot be denied that their unequivocal call to scrap Trident appears to have done their cause no harm. It gives the lie to those who say nuclear disarmament is a vote loser. Perhaps the time has come for all political persuasions to rethink their position. More from Paul


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