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18 September 2005

Do you want my job?

Desperate to develop atomic weapons before the Nazis did, the United States and Britain focused only on building The Bomb. When the Nazis surrendered in the spring of 1945, the Allies had their A-Bomb ... and one enemy combatant left, Japan. The USA dropped two atomic bombs on two Japanese cities 60 years ago.

Within two years of the Japanese surrender, the USA and its democratic allies in Western Europe faced a new enemy: Their former war ally, the Soviet Union. By 1949, the Soviet Union had its own atomic bombs. Then the USA developed its own "Super," the hydrogen bomb, a fusion device hundreds of times more powerful and destructive than the fission bombs. And soon after, the Soviet Union had its own H-bombs.

Meanwhile, the industrialized world was hungry for the Secret of Economic Growth and Prosperity: Huge increases in electric power generation, based on "peaceful" fission reactors.

The Bomb Industry and the Nuclear Power Industry were and still are intimately linked. Fission reactors use enriched weapons-grade uranium for their controlled fission reactors, and the reactors transmute the uranium into weapons-grade plutonium as a biproduct. Peaceful energy demands and produces the stuff of more nuclear bombs.

And it all generated toxic, radioactive waste which remains toxic and fatally radioactive for thousands of years.

And from the beginning, in their desperation and greed, the Atomic Nations never really paused to figure out what to do with the ever-growing volumes of atomic waste -- the useless stuff that still radiates with cancer-causing ionizing radiation, but can't be used either to make bombs or generate elecricity.

First, the Atomic Nations just dumped the stuff into the oceans. The Arctic Ocean and the Irish Sea are among the most toxic, radioactively polluted bodies of water on Earth. There are other catastrophic radioactive Hot Spots scattered all over the planet's land areas. People will have to be kept far from these Poison Zones for millenia. Wild animals are not so lucky; they can't be kept away.

Pathetically, there is a modern "solution." Atomic nations like Japan -- no bombs, but an industrial ecomony heavily reliant on nuclear power generation -- now pay desperately poor Third World sovereign nations to become Radioactive Waste Dumps. International treaties to date only prohibit nuclear waste dumping in Antarctica. North Korea -- for the last decade on the brink of mass famine -- and Argentina, perpetually mired in national debt and plagued with hyperinflation -- are just two nations which take cash to become radioactive waste dumps. Russia also sees a profitable industry in taking nuclear waste from abroad and "reprocessing" it into material again useful for fission reactors.

The Industrial Powers -- the "civilized" nations -- have long starved the Third World into relying on cocaine and opium (heroin) growing and exporting as sources for cash, and have also driven the Third World into such profitable Western-forbidden activities as Child Sex Tourism (Thailand, Philippines).

Now the economic desperation -- the unimaginable gap between Entitled Prosperity and Permanent Poverty -- creates this new "opportunity" for cash in impoverished nations.

The American folksinger Ry Cooder sings this mournful song about a Caribbean island dockworker who unloads Japanese nuclear waste.


Do You Want My Job
by Ry Cooder
from the album "Little Village"

Cool breezes from the mountains blow

As I wake up and dress to go
On the island dawn is breaking

In the harbour tanker's waiting

From the Land of the Rising Sun
They bring their old plutonium
And we unload it in the bay

For two dollars forty cents a day

Do you want my job?

Do you want my job?

Do you want my job?
Do you want my job?

I hump the stuff
I take the cash

So my kids can wear Adidas

And if you live here -- home you know
We ain't got no place else to go

I remember when the air was sweet

And I brought home the fish to eat
Now we buy Spam from the grocery store

Cause you can't eat the fish no more

Do you want my job?
Do you want my job?
Do you want my job?

Do you want my job?


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