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Des Moines marks Hiroshima-Nagasaki anniversary

Des Moines Hiroshima observance 2014
Speaking at the 2014 Hiroshima-Nagasaki event in Des Moines are Sherry Hutchison, left, a member of Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting, and Erika McCroskey, Executive Director of Catholic Peace Ministry. Photo: Kathleen McQuillen / AFSC
Iowans take flowers to the Japanese Bell
Iowans take flowers to the Japanese Bell at the Capitol complex during the 2014 observance of the 69th anniversary of Hiroshima-Nagasaki. Photo: Kathleen McQuillen / AFSC

Kathleen McQuillen, AFSC Iowa Program Coordinator, read the following statement at the 2014 observance of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Anniversary.

Today is August 7, and we are called to remember, to regret, and to mourn the horrors of the US nuclear bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leaving in their wake the deaths of nearly 200,000 people.

So we mourn and we say No More nuclear weapons. No More – No Way.

But the Pentagon and the weapons dealers say not so fast.

Let me introduce you to ND-UCAV, also known as the Nuclear Dedicated Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle.

Welcome Dr. Strangelove to the 21st century.

Adam Lowther of the Air Force Research Institute at Maxwell Air Force base argues there’s a role for ND-UCAV in “penetrating defended air space with a nuclear weapons payload.” Lowther adds, “Going Unmanned is an affordable way to go…” -- only $150 million per aircraft.

Maybe that’s only an Air Force pipe dream. But then again, maybe it’s our future.

What we know now may very well be that our tomorrow will include the use of nuclear-powered drones.

A study from the US Sandia National Laboratories celebrates the wonders of such weapons:

  •                Hang time is much greater than current drones
  •                Greater capacity for weaponry
  •                Improved communication capabilities

There is, however, encouraging information. Progress on the development of nuclear-powered drones is delayed due to public opinion! The public understands that drones have much higher accident rates than other aircraft and see the nightmare scenarios unfold in the event of a nuclear-powered drone plunging to the ground.

Due to the work of international human rights organizations, the public also knows that drones hovering over communities, villages and families are causing severe mental trauma, disturbing children’s sleep and education, and disrupting food supplies.

The answer is not to increase “hang time” capacity through nuclear-powered drones, but rather to stop the drones program completely.

So, these early days of August call us to remember the victims of US nuclear bombs in Japan, and that remembrance demands that we say, Never Again. Not in Japan, not in Afghanistan, not with big bombs, not with small bombs, not in Pakistan, and not in Gaza.

Kathleen can be reached at