On Aug. 6, 1945 the United States killed over 100,000 men, women and children at Hiroshima, Japan with the newly invented atomic bomb. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki.
Some victims were incinerated into thin air, others fled in agony with their skin hanging from their bodies. Thousands more died in the weeks, months and years that followed.
The United States is still the only nation to use an atomic weapon on human beings. Keep that fact in mind when we are whipped into a frenzy of fear regarding the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon.
Every impartial observer of Iran's nuclear program agrees that it is at least five to 10 years away from attaining a nuclear weapons capability. You wouldn't know it to hear members of Congress, the lapdog press and the Israeli government.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinajed already had a bullseye on his head when he quoted the Ayatollah Khomeini's decades-old call to "wipe Israel off the map." Cooler heads know that Israel already has a nuclear capability. Estimates range from 75 nuclear warheads to 300. A country without nukes can't harm a country that has at least 75.
The numbers are only estimates because Israel has never acknowledged the existence of its nuclear weapons and has never submitted to the same international inspections that it demands of Iran. Iran is asignatoryoftheNon-Proliferation Treaty; Israel is not. Iran, without nukes, is called a threat to Israel, which is armed to the teeth with them.
While we are being propagandized into creating another human rights and foreign relations nightmare, it is the United States that has single-handedly killed nuclear nonproliferation with its recent deal to boost India's nuclear capability. India may keep China in check, so India gets the nuclear goodies.
The United States gives India, already a nuclear power, greater nuclear capability, but threatens war, death, the destruction of Iran's oil supply and a worldwide financial catastrophe if Iran dares to want the same thing. The United States created the nuclear world and now sustains it through rank cynicism.
Politicians and the press constantly make the case for war by declaring that Iran is run by "crazies." As usual, a history lesson is in order. The Iranians elected a secular democratic government in the early 1950s. Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh made the mistake of getting a little too uppity and had the gall to think he could nationalize oil production in his own country. The British and American governments weren't having any of it. They overthrew Mossadegh and installed the Shah.
The United States let the nuclear genie out of the bottle 60 years ago. The United States encourages the non-nuclear world to want to join the club. The lesson of the now 3-year-old occupation of Iraq is simple: Get the bomb and the Americans will leave you alone.
It would be wonderful to have a non-nuclear planet, but the nuclear have-nots are being rational when they want to change sides. North Korea may be called a "crazy" nation, but it is a nuclear nation and gets a little more respect.
When you watch Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., or a Democratic presidential hopeful foam at the mouth about the prospect of a nuclear Iran, don't fear the Iranians. Fear your own government instead. Its plans are always crazy.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly on www.blackcommentator.com.