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."