A Nuclear Weapons Free Future

August 6th 2019, By Paula Rogge MD

The Madison City Council is voting today on a Resolution which proclaims August 6, 2019 as Hiroshima Day and August 9, 2019 as Nagasaki Day to honor the thousands of innocent victims of the nuclear attacks on those cities. The Hiroshima bomb resulted in the immediate deaths of 65,000 people and severe injuries to another 65,000 people out of a population of 245,000. The survivors of these attacks experienced radiation effects years to decades later, including leukemia and cancers of the breast, lung and thyroid.

Today’s Resolution affirms Madison’s “Sister City” relationship with Obihiro, Japan and Madison’s 1983 ordinance specifying that Madison is a “nuclear free zone”. No nuclear weapons can be manufactured here. No nuclear bomb waste or nuclear reactor waste can be stored in city limits. It acknowledges that our former Mayor Soglin cosponsored a Back from the Brink nuclear disarmament resolution at the US Conference of Mayors a year ago. And it reminds us that our nation signed a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970, which committed our leaders to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.

In 2017, the United Nations passed a Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. But none of the 9 nuclear states signed the Treaty. So a grass roots campaign was organized in the US to take us “back from the brink” of nuclear war. It calls on our leaders to work towards nuclear disarmament and to take 4 immediate steps to prevent nuclear war:

  • to pledge never to use nuclear weapons first,

  • to limit the president’s ability to launch a nuclear weapon first without authorization of congress,

  • to take nuclear weapons off “hair-trigger alert” and to

  • stop the modernization and enhancement of US nuclear weapons.

To many residents on the East Side of Madison, the issue of nuclear disarmament is not an abstraction. There are plans to expand Truax Air Force Base so that F35 fighter jets, each designed to carry 2 nuclear bombs, can be stationed here. Aside from the issues of F-35 air, noise and water pollution, the F-35 nuclear bombs have been discussed as “first strike” weapons. The Wisconsin Air National Guard could be assigned by our president to drop these bombs on another country. And Madison could become a nuclear target.

We thank our City Council members for commemorating the lives lost in the Hiroshima Nagasaki bombings and reminding us of Madison’s historical commitment to peace and a nuclear weapons -free future. We look forward to working with them to pass a Back from the Brink Nuclear Disarmament-Divestment Resolution which outlines immediate steps our nation can take to prevent nuclear war and includes a commitment by the City to nuclear weapon free investments and contracts.

Brenda Konkel