Over the next few weeks heads of state and foreign ministers from predatory imperialist countries and developing nations trying to defend their sovereignty will take the podium at the United Nations when the General Assembly convenes.
The corporate media are full of speculation about what representatives of Washington and Israel will say about the plan announced by the U.S. and Russia, and agreed to in principle by the Syrian government, to supposedly defuse the war crisis there by handing over stockpiles of poison gas to an international agency.
What conditions will the U.S. impose on Syria? Will Washington agree to end its support for the armed opposition, which continues to ravage the country? How will this affect the U.S. attitude toward Iran? It has suffered under severe economic sanctions for years, supposedly for developing the capability to make nuclear weapons, but recently has indicated a willingness to discuss its nuclear program.
The words “weapons of mass destruction” will be heard many times, hurled indignantly against Syria, Iran and others. But the most stunning feature of this media blitz is that the issue of U.S. and Israeli nuclear weapons never comes up.
Only one country in the world has used nuclear weapons. Just two U.S. bombs obliterated the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and hundreds of thousands of people in them, at the end of World War II.
This horrendous act, coming when Japan was preparing to surrender, is widely seen by historians as the opening shot of the Cold War against both the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communists, who had grown strong fighting Japanese imperialist invaders and China’s brutal landlords and capitalist collaborators.
The Brookings Institution estimates that the U.S. government, between 1940 and 1996, spent at least $8.52 trillion in present-day dollars to develop, test and build some 70,000 nuclear weapons.
The awful destruction wreaked by just two of these bombs has since forced countries that knew they could be in imperialism’s crosshairs to contemplate building their own defensive arsenals, despite the enormous expense.
Even after the fall of the USSR in 1991 and a U.S.-Russian agreement to decommission their nukes, the U.S. as of 2010 still maintained more than 5,000 nuclear warheads and the facilities for their construction and design.
The only state in the Middle East known to possess nuclear weapons is Israel. It neither confirms nor denies this, but it has not signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty so it’s not obligated to allow inspections.
According to professor Avner Cohen, of the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, who has written two books about Israel’s nuclear arsenal, it was ratified by the U.S. in a still-secret 1969 agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Richard Nixon, when Washington became sure Israel possessed nuclear bombs.
When Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu leaked information about the program to the media in 1986, he was kidnapped by Israeli agents in Italy, taken back to Israel for a secret trial, convicted and served 18 years in jail, mostly in solitary confinement. (“What about Israel’s Nuclear Weapons?” Washington Post, Aug. 31, 2012)
Iran, on the other hand, did sign the nonproliferation treaty and has agreed to periodic inspection of its facilities. But that is not enough for the imperialists.
While always speaking of peace, both the U.S. and Israel have many times used their formidable military to attack other countries that stand in the way of their aggressive capitalist expansionism.
These are the facts about the real “weapons of mass destruction” that threaten the world today.