Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Militarized Pacific: An Anniversary Without End

Truthout | Op-Ed - Wednesday, 14 May 2014

By Jon Letman

March 1, the 60th anniversary of the Castle Bravo test - a nuclear detonation over a thousand times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima - has come and gone. Predictably, major decadal events, like a 15-megaton explosion over a Micronesian atoll, garner fleeting attention, but it's all the days between the anniversaries that tell the real story of those who live with the impacts.
For the people of the Marshall Islands, where Enewetak, Bikini and neighboring atolls were irradiated and rendered uninhabitable by 67 nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958, the brief anniversary recognition only underscores what little attention the Marshallese and, in a broader sense, millions of peoples of the Asia-Pacific are given by the US government and public.
The Marshallese, like people across the Pacific, live with impacts of plans devised at the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) headquarters in Hawaii. After the Pentagon, PACOM is one of the world's most far-reaching military command centers. With a self-proclaimed "Area of Responsibility" that absorbs half the world's population and covers roughly half the planet from the Arctic to the Antarctic, across the Indian Ocean and from Central Asia to the Central Pacific, it gives new meaning to the word "vast."

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