There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind – rightly or wrongly the atom bomb brought an early end to the Second World War with Japan. In conjunction with the Americans we dropped two such nuclear bombs on Japan wiping out the cities of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Not dropped on military installations that we might imagine, but on innocent civilian populations, wiping-out a hundred and fifty thousand of them, and providing a radiation ill-heath legacy for their decedents and the populations of many miles of surrounding areas.
No question then that it caused the capitulation of a disgustingly cruel war machine and regime, and so saved many hundreds of the allies’ service peoples’ lives – but was it morally justified you might ask yourself? We talk these days in critical terms about the widespread elimination of innocent lives by warring factions that slaughter civilians including children by the thousands in pursuit of their particular objectives (Syria & Israel & Russia to mention some). Oh, yes we do that while studiously ignoring, with some kind of amnesia, our own behaviour in WW2 – bomber command in sustained aerial attacks totally blitzed, terrorised and obliterated the civilian populations of major cities like Hamburg & Dresden & Tokyo and other places – that taught the German buggers a just lesson for first bombing London, didn’t it? Let us not even mention the crass behaviour of the United States in Vietnam and the horrific use of napalm to destroy the jungles hiding the enemy but also home to civilian families who equally burned to death, didn’t they?
But now we come to a crucial and critical question, don’t we? Should Britain retain nuclear weapons?
There are some special parameters here though aren’t there? Primarily there is the matter of what we mean by nuclear weapons, isn’t there? Well first of all we need to understand that the atom bomb of the 1940s has long since gone and we now have thermonuclear hydrogen bombs of immense power (a thousand times the greater than an atom bomb) that can obliterate small counties not just cities. Next, having a nuclear weapon isn’t enough, you need to have a reliable delivery method you see, and an aeroplane just isn’t good enough in this day and age – they can easily be identified & eliminated. No, what is required nowadays is an intercontinental ballistic missile that can be pre-programmed with a target and can fly at such speed and altitude that it cannot be intercepted.
That then leads on to the next problem of where you store them and fire them from – on land that requires a large sophisticated launch pad facility placed in secret location of course, but therein lies another conundrum doesn’t it? How do you hide such a thing – it would tend to get noticed and indeed to be glaringly obvious from a spy satellite, wouldn’t it? The solution was to house the missiles on submarines that can roam the deep oceans of the world completely undetectable, and even fire their rockets from under the sea.
Britain got its initial such submarine system from America nearly fifty years ago – called Polaris, based on the Clyde, and successive governments secretly incurred huge expenditure updating it. That was replaced though by ultra-expensive Trident just before the start of the century. Based at Faslane on sea access Gare Loch – twenty-five miles from Glasgow
In the event of ANY kind of military conflict what is the first place that will be obliterated? Faslane & Glasgow of course – is it any wonder then that the Scots don’t want a nuclear submarine base in Scotland?
We never really get to know how much such things actually cost, as it is mostly kept hidden from us – thirty-five billion and a hundred and thirty billion to run?.
Trident itself is now all out-of-date of course, will be extended for say another thirty years at vast cost (£25billion?), but the UK is in the ‘assessment phase’ so is set to replace it in say twenty years with the latest American offering – Trident what?. It is all going to cost a pretty penny of course – or to be more worrying perhaps a hundred and fifty billion pounds? As a small Country we cannot afford that of course – not by a long chalk. But our politicians say we MUST have it. It is ESSENTIAL you see to secure our defence of our little island. But you see YOU don’t get a say – our politicians will decide AFTER the next election so you can wait five years to complain,
No matter what, Britain is likely to retain some form of nuclear weapons (unfortunately?) but it may be that we don’t retain the capability to drop a missile on say Russia or China or Iran or any other perceived future enemy in a country across the globe.
So exactly who do we have to defend ourselves against with such a nuclear missile? Why would any other party want to attack us here in this tiny island? Who would be deterred from such an assault by the threat of nuclear retaliation? What in hell’s name assets have we got left in this Country that haven’t been sold-off to foreigners already, that anybody would want to fight for? There is no sensible answers to any such questions are there? Oh yes, we might be able to boast of having the means of annihilating others, but does that really protect us, or does it simply encourage any potential adversary to take us out with a pre-emptive strike?
When there is a nuclear explosion it instantly generates a temperature of several million degrees centigrade, starting a fire storm and with a heat flash that simply vaporises all life. This is followed of course by a colossal blast that will collapse all structures and generates killer hurricane force winds. All oxygen will be totally consumed as well, so any initial survivors are also doomed. Within days radioactive fall-out starts its shattering impact and can spread far and wide – thousands of miles and across a whole continent no less. Radiation exposure has both short term and long-term severe untreatable health damage effects including cancers. Then there is the consequential damage to the environment where you can expect a dust cloud of indsecribable size and impact – possibly widespreadly wiping out all food production. So you can discount any practical operation of nuclear weapons can’t you – as you get a boomerang effect that wipes you out as well?
[As a nation can we really decently justify embarking on an even more fearsome weapon of mass destruction programme, and indeed would it even be in violation of our commitment to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons? Don’t worry though, we and America will get away with it anyway no matter what].