March 8, 1963 – In an article published on this date in Life magazine titled, “Everybody Blows Up,” author David E. Scherman extolled the virtues of the best-selling book Red Alert by former RAF officer Peter George.  The book’s theme was a frighteningly realistic scenario of an unintended nuclear war.  In the following year, two U.S. motion pictures based on this novel were released to wide acclaim in the U.S. and abroad:  Director Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” a black comedy starring Peter Sellers and the more serious thriller “Fail Safe” starring Henry Fonda and directed by Sidney Lumet.  Comments:  Over the seven decades since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hollywood as well as independent producers have provided many more films, miniseries, and documentaries about the unfortunately all too real threat of nuclear war.  However, the still growing strength of the military-industrial-Congressional-nuclear weapons laboratories complex and the mainstream media’s reluctance to report anti-nuclear and anti-militarist stories has resulted in a decades-long trend of growing militarism in American society.  This is seen in a number of areas:  Congress’ rhetoric of “the nuclear option” in reference to budget debates, the strong association of military terms to entertainment, sporting, and political events, the growing popularity of the video-computer game industry with titles embracing nuclear conflict and post-apocalyptic “play scenarios,” and in many other segments of American life.  Fortunately, a growing proportion of Americans and world citizenry are increasingly cognizant that nuclear conflict is not a game and must be prevented at all costs if our global civilization is to survive.  (Sources:  Mainstream and alternative media sources including CNN, The New York Times, Democracy Now, and

March 9, 1945 – More than 25 years after the U.S. Army Air Force dropped 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs (containing napalm, thermite, and white phosphorus) on Tokyo destroying an area of some 16 square miles and killing 80,000 to 100,000 men, women, and children on this date, General Curtis Le May, in a filmed interview with the producers of an acclaimed BBC-TV documentary series “The World At War,” noted that, “It wasn’t until U.S. Army General Hap Arnold asked (me) the direct question, ‘How long’s the war going to last?’  And then we sat down and did some thinking about it.  And (our study) indicated that we would be pretty much out of targets by around the first of September (1945).  And with the targets gone, we couldn’t see much of any war going on at the time.”  Comments:  This statement by General Le May, a military hawk who later endorsed preemptive nuclear war against both the Soviets and Chinese and criticized President Kennedy for not bombing Cuba during the October 1962 missile crisis, almost single-handedly discredits the long-held assumption that a full-scale land invasion of Japan would have resulted in massive U.S. military casualties on the order of half a million Americans.  This flawed assumption justified the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during a time period that historians like Gar Alperovitz and others have proven that the Japanese were willing to accelerate their surrender declaration (if the U.S. had guaranteed that the Japanese emperor would not be put on trial).  However, Le May’s statement proves that the unnecessary use of this horrendous weapon was likely intended to intimidate the Soviet Union into accepting U.S. postwar global hegemony.  (Sources:  BBC-TV. “The World at War:  Episode 24:  The Bomb (Feb.-Sept.1945),” 1973  accessed February 11, 2016 and Gar Alperovitz.  “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb:  And the Architecture of An American Myth.”  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1995, pp. 3-6, 15, 672.)

March 11, 2011 – After a large magnitude earthquake and a powerful tsunami struck northeast Japan, three of the six nuclear reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-chi facility suffered partial meltdowns resulting in the evacuation of tens of thousands of nearby residents.  Five years later, the disaster which has claimed more than 15,000 lives so far is an ongoing catastrophe.  During a February 2016 press tour of the site, the plant’s director Akira Ono informed reporters that it may take another 40 years to complete the clean-up process.  Currently, at the facility, around 300-400 tons of contaminated water are generated each day as groundwater flows into the plant.  To contain this threat, TEPCO pumps the contaminated water into storage tanks.  There are now over 1,000 tanks that contain a total of more than 50,000 tons of radiated water.  Despite the continuing serious crisis and ever-growing concerns about the impact of radiation leaks on the population of the region, the government of Japan has approved TEPCO’s restart of a second nuclear plant.  Originally all of Japan’s nuclear power plants were shut down shortly after the accident and some spoke about the need to eliminate nuclear power in that nation.   But reactor restarts have proceeded despite public protests.  Comments:  In addition to the dangerous risk of nuclear power plant accidents like Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), and Fukushima, the tremendously out-of-control civilian and military nuclear waste sequestration, remediation, and permanent storage conundrum, as well as the terrorist targeting potential, the economic unsustainability of civilian nuclear power, and the potential for nuclear proliferation points logically to an accelerated phase-out of global civilian nuclear power plants over the next decade.  (Sources:  Eric Ozawa.  “Fukushima’s Invisible Crisis.”  The Nation, Aug. 19, 2013. and Yoko Wakatsuki and Elaine Yu.  “Japan:  Fukushima Clean-Up May Take Up to 40 Years, Plant’s Operator Says.”, Feb. 11, 2016. both accessed February 11, 2016.) 

March 12, 2013 – At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on a January 2013 Defense Science Board report titled, “Resilient Military Systems and the Advanced Cyber Threat,” that warned of the possible vulnerability of the military’s command-and-control of nuclear weapons to large-scale cyberattack, General C. Robert Kehler, head of U.S. STRATCOM, testified that in his opinion “no significant vulnerabilities exist.”  Nevertheless, General Kehler did report that he had ordered an “end-to-end comprehensive review” of the threat.  When asked if Russia and China was vulnerable to nuclear missile command-and-control cyberattack, he replied, “I don’t know.”  Comments:  Unfortunately the American public were unable to discover what was said on this extremely critical issue in the closed door, classified segment of this hearing.  Cyber threats might result not only in deactivating parts of or even the entirety of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, but theoretically could also result in the launch of unauthorized nuclear strikes anywhere in the world.  While many experts consider this possibility far-fetched, it nevertheless represents a current and future area of concern that must be addressed by all of the nuclear weapons states.  This is yet another reason why the global nuclear doomsday machine must be permanently dismantled before the unthinkable happens.  (Source:  U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense – Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.  Defense Science Board Task Force Report.  “Resilient Military Systems and the Advanced Cyber Threat.”  January 2013.  Washington, DC  20301-3140. , accessed February 12, 2016.)

March 14, 1961 – A U.S. B-52F-70 BW Stratofortress carrying two Mark-39 hydrogen bombs departed Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento, California and experienced an unexpected decompression event that caused it to fly at a lower altitude, miss its rendezvous with a tanker aircraft, and as a result run out of fuel much earlier than expected.  The aircrew was forced to eject only after steering the aircraft away from populated areas.  The aircraft crashed 24 kilometers west of Yuba City, California tearing the nuclear weapons from the plane on impact.  The nuclear weapons and the high explosive conventional charges jacketing the nuclear components did not explode due to failsafe protections installed on the bombs.  But it was never revealed how many fail safe switches were tripped in this Broken Arrow nuclear accident.  Comments:  Many of the hundreds if not thousands of nuclear accidents involving all nine nuclear weapons states still remain partially or completely classified and hidden from public scrutiny.  These near-nuclear catastrophes provide an additional justification for reducing dramatically and eventually eliminating global nuclear weapons arsenals.  (Source:  Elizabeth Hanes.  “Nine Tales of Broken Arrows:  Thermonuclear Near Misses Throughout History.”, May 22, 2012.   accessed February 11, 2016.)

March 21, 2007 – Two crew members of the Royal Navy’s Trafalgar class nuclear submarine, HMS Tireless, were killed and another crewman injured in an explosion in the forward compartment of the submarine in the onboard air purification equipment during the submarine’s cruise under the ice pack of the Arctic Ocean.  Although the Royal Navy promptly announced that the accident did not affect the ship’s nuclear reactor, many nuclear experts disagreed with this assertion arguing that any explosion onboard a nuclear-controlled submarine is a deadly serious scenario.  Comments:  In the past, at least eight nuclear submarines, two American and the others Soviet/Russian, have sunk with dozens of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles also lost at sea.  Some of the nuclear reactors and warheads in these and other sunken military vessels or aircraft are leaking highly radioactive toxins affecting not only the flora and fauna of the deep, but the health and well-being of millions of people.   (Sources:  BBC-TV America and other mainstream and alternative news media reports and William Arkin and Joshua Handler.  “Neptune Papers II:  Naval Nuclear Accidents at Sea.”  Greenpeace International, 1990.   accessed November 18, 2015.)

March 27, 1983 – Four days after President Ronald Reagan announced during a national television address that he wanted to see a world where nuclear weapons would be rendered “impotent and obsolete,” by means of a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) ballistic missile defense program (later dubbed “Star Wars” by the news media and critics), Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov responded in a speech published in Pravda, “Defenses against ballistic missiles might appear attractive to the layman, but those who are conversant in such matters could not view them in the same way…an inseparable relationship exists between offensive and defensive strategic systems and the implementation of Reagan’s SDI would open the flood gates in a runaway (nuclear arms) race including all types of strategic weapons – both offensive and defensive.”  Comments:  In the decades after President Reagan’s speech, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent by the U.S. and other nations to militarize and weaponize outer space despite an overwhelming global consensus against such wasteful, destabilizing, and unnecessary expense.  The member states of the United Nations General Assembly have voted at least twice against space militarization.  In 2000, the voting margin was 163-0 with the U.S. and Israel abstaining and six years later the final tally was 166-1 with only the United States opposed.  There is little doubt that, although the U.S. ramped down SDI significantly many years ago, missile defense (strategic and tactical systems) research and development funding but also continued deployments may be partially responsible for renewed Cold War II spending by the U.K., Russia, China, and other nations.  An appreciable part of the estimated one trillion dollars in increased U.S. military spending in the next 30 years, recently announced by the Obama Administration, will include nuclear weapons and missile defense systems.  (Sources:   Mainstream and alternative news media reports from CNN, PBS, Democracy Now, and, Gwyn Prins, editor.  “The Nuclear Crisis Reader.”   New York:  Vintage Books, 1984, p. 115, and Bob Preston, Dana J. Johnson, Sean J. A. Edwards, Michael Miller, and Calvin Shipbaugh.  “Space Weapons, Earth Wars.”  Santa Monica, Calif., Rand Corporation – Project Air Force, 2002.)