On this day, seventy six years ago, the world was forever changed when the U.S. detonated the world’s first nuclear device in the Trinity nuclear test.
Conducted in the desert of southern New Mexico, it began the morally corrupt, racist, and lethal legacy of nuclear weapons. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “New Mexico residents were neither warned before the Trinity blast, informed of health hazards afterward, nor evacuated before, during, or after the test. Exposure rates in public areas from the world’s first nuclear explosion were measured at levels 10,000- times higher than currently allowed.” Sadly, it’s no surprise that the downwinders of Trinity were largely impoverished agricultural families, mostly Hispanic and Native.
While considered one of the dirtiest U.S. nuclear tests, for more than seventy years radiation exposure from inhalation and ingestion of water and food contaminated by the Trinity test fallout was never assessed. Today, we now know that infant death rates increased by over 20% percent in areas downwind beginning in the very same month of the test. In 2010 the CDC finally admitted that risks to newborns were especially heightened as “residents reported that fallout ‘snowed down’ for days after the blast, most had dairy cows and most collected rainwater off their roofs for drinking.”
Now seventy six years later, and despite their heinous legacy, the Pentagon is asking for new nuclear weapons to add to the U.S. arsenal. We need to tell Congress that the legacy of nuclear weapons must come to an end!
The Pentagon, and their pals at Northrup Grumman, have plans for a new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) carrying nuclear warheads. Dubbed the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), though we prefer to call it the Money Pit Missile, this exorbitant boondoggle is meant to replace the Minuteman III missiles housed in silos in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Montana and North Dakota. It comes with an estimated price tag of $264 billion, yet that’s sure to balloon even higher. Nuclear weapons like these are utterly useless against today’s real security threats, like catastrophic climate change and global health pandemics. Even worse, new nuclear weapons make us less secure by destabilizing the world and launching us into a new arms race.
Additionally, the Pentagon, with lobbying help from Raytheon, is asking for a new air-launched cruise missile called the Long Range Standoff (LSRO) program. Both the Money Pit Missile and the LSRO are carryovers from Trump’s nuclear weapons policies, and both are completely unnecessary and dangerous directions for the U.S. to go down. Bills to fund both of these weapons system will be coming through Congress in the very near future, and it’s imperative that we demonstrate to Congress in no uncertain terms that the American people do not support continuing to develop new nuclear weapons.
P.S. The military industrial complex is lobbying hard for these multi-billion dollar weapons systems. We need to make sure our voices are heard loudly that the terrible legacy of nuclear weapons must some to an end.