Home > America used and Would use Weapons of Mass Destruction: With God on Its Side?

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With God on Its Side?

 by Jack L. Daniel - PUM Contributor 

            When it comes to America and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the very disturbing fact is that America used WMD to deliver the most lethal destruction devised by humans!  “On August 6th, 1945, at 8:15 A.M., Japanese time, a B-29 heavy bomber flying at high altitude dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. More than 4 square miles of the city were instantly and completely devastated. 66,000 people were killed, and 69,000 injured.  On August 9th, three days later, at 11:02 A.M., another B-29 dropped the second bomb on the industrial section of the city of Nagasaki, totally destroying 1 1/2 square miles of the city, killing 39,000 persons, and injuring 25,000 more.”http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/atomic/hiroshim/hiro_med.html.   



(Jack L. Daniel -pictured)


Just as if not more disturbing is the fact that America stands ready to use WMD as evidenced by the following account of America’s nuclear WMD. The US Defense Department maintains a stockpile of an estimated 4,650 nuclear warheads for delivery by more than 800 ballistic missiles and aircraft.” http://bos.sagepub.com/content/69/2/77.full.pdf.  The above and other American uses of WMD, along with America’s current nuclear arsenal, should be kept in mind as our political leaders deliberate what steps our country should take against Syria for its use of WMD.   Consider, for example, what America did in Viet Nam.

            The August 2011 Aspen Institute report indicated(http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/agent-orange/history “Agent Orange was one of a class of color-coded herbicides that U.S. forces sprayed over the rural landscape in Vietnam from 1961 to 1971 to defoliate trees and shrubs and kill food crops that were providing cover and food to opposition forces.  …it had a toxic contaminant, dioxin, that did not degrade as readily and is still causing health problems in Vietnam.  …TCDD is the most toxic of about 419 types of similar toxic compounds, which include PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).  … More than 43 million litres (11.4 million gallons) of it were used from 1962-1970.  …The concentrations were 20 to 55 times normal agricultural use for killing plants.  … The herbicides were sprayed over about 24 percent of southern Vietnam, destroying 5 million acres of upland and mangrove forests and about 500,000 acres of crops (a total area the size of Massachusetts). …some of the upland forests were sprayed more than four times. One study found that 3,181 villages were sprayed as well. Areas of Laos and Cambodia near the Vietnam border were also sprayed.

…The half-life of dioxin depends on its location. In human bodies the half-life is 11–15 years, though it can be as high as 20 years. …Dioxin buried or leached under the surface or deep in the sediment of rivers and other bodies of water can have a half-life of more than 100 years.”

- See more at: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/agent-orange/history#sthash.iTIOUxAL.dpuf

                After it consciously proceeded to deliver unfathomable destruction in a short period of time to Iraq (“Shock and Awe”), it was noted that “The US military’s use of depleted uranium in Iraq has led to a sharp increase in Leukemia and birth defects in the city of Najaf – and panicked residents are fearing for their health. Cancer is now more common than the flu, a local doctor (reported)...The city of Najaf saw one of the most severe military actions during the 2003 invasion.  … every residential street in several neighborhoods has seen multiple cases of families whose children are ill, as well as families who have lost children, and families who have many relatives suffering from cancer. 
Dr. Chris Busby has researched the effects of depleted uranium (DU) in detail. He says the only source of uranium in Iraq was used by American-led forces. “We went to Fallujah and we found the levels of cancer. We looked at the parents of children with congenital malformation and we did analysis of their hair to see what was inside their hair that might be genotoxic, that might be the sort of thing that can cause congenital malformation. The only thing that we found was uranium. We found uranium in the mothers of the children with congenital malformations,”

...At least 440,000kg of DU were used in Iraq, some ending up as DU dust, and some as corroding penetrators - leaving a still unknown number of sites with contaminated vehicles, buildings and soils, according to a Dutch report. http://rt.com/news/iraq-depleted-uranium-health-394/.

                If, as some claim, the primary concern is that the Syrian leaders’ use of chemicals is so morally reprehensible that an international response is mandated, then there are a number of factors that should be considered in addition to the fact that America used and would use WMD.  Why, for example, is it deemed justifiable for America to drop tons of bombs (“conventional weapons”) to kill thousands of people in Iraq, and, in the process kill innocent people who are “footnoted” as “collateral damage?”  As horrible as death from chemicals happens to be, is it really less horrible to kill exponentially more using “conventional” weapons?

            If it is deemed that putting people to death with chemicals merits whatever military response President Obama has in mind for America to take against Syria, then one is left to wonder why there isn’t an equal amount of exhortation to stop the American “arms of justice” from using chemicals to administer the death penalty.  By way of a brief summary, “Most states use a 3-drug combination for lethal injections: an anesthetic (either pentobarbital or, formerly, sodium thiopental), pancuronium bromide (a paralytic agent, also called Pavulon), and potassium chloride (stops the heart and causes death).   … Seven states have used a single-drug method for executions--a lethal dose of an anesthetic (Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington). Four other states have announced use of one-drug lethal injection protocols, but have not carried out such an execution (Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Missouri).…Thirteen states have used pentobarbital in executions: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. Three additional states plan to use pentobarbital: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Montana. Colorado includes pentobarbital as a backup drug in its lethal injection procedure.” In 2012, more than 40 Americans were put to death by lethal injection. (The 2012 “lethal injection” list can be found at http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/execution-list-2012.)   One might quibble with whether lethal injections for more than 40 people constitute a “mass,” but the fact remains that they were killed with chemicals. 

            It has been estimated that there were at least 1400 victims of Syria’s most recent use of WMD.  As many others have asked, why wasn’t there a “red line” drawn in the sand when Syria made other uses of  WMD?  Just how many victims constitute a “mass” killing that warrants military intervention?  If Americans use lethal injection to kill 1400 over several years, is that a “mass” albeit that the killings took place one victim at a time?  Perhaps there is no magical number.  Perhaps it is simply a pompous, pious, politically and economically motivated disposition along with disregard for historical truths that give some people the audacity to claim that America has God on its side when it comes to using “conventional weapons” and WMD. 


...The country I come from
Is called the Midwest.
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
That the land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh, the history books tell it,
They tell it so well:
The cavalries charged,
The Indians fell.
The cavalries charged,
The Indians died --
Oh, the country was young,
With God on its side.


The Spanish-American
War had its day,
And the Civil War, too, was
Soon laid away.
And the names of the heroes
I was made to memorize,
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.


the first World War boys,
It came and it went;
The reason for fighting
I never did get.
But I learned to accept it,
Accept it with pride;
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.


The Second World War, boys,
It came to an end.
We forgave the Germans,
And then we were friends.
Though they murdered six million,
In the ovens they fried,
The Germans now, too, have
God on their side.


In the1960s, came the Viet-Nam War;
Can somebody tell me
What we're fightin' for?
Too many young men died,
Too many young mothers cried;
So I ask the question,
Was God on our side?


I've learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life.
If another war comes,
It's them we must fight.
To hate them and fear them,
To run and to hide,
You never ask questions
When God's on your side.


But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust.
If fire them we're forced to,
Then fire them we must.
One push of the button,
And a shot the world wide;
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.


Through many a dark hour
I been thinkin' 'bout this,
How Jesus Christ was
Betrayed by a kiss.
But I can't think for you,
You have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot had
God on his side.

Now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell.
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell.
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor;
And if God is on our side,
He'll stop the next war.



Jack L. Daniel

Distinguished Service Professor

University of Pittsburgh

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