It’s Time for the Madness to Stop

Sometimes it’s hard to come to grips with the truth — especially if that truth is about our own country, and is in direct opposition to everything we’ve been taught since childhood. Patriotism is in our genes, and through the years it has been a national conviction that, if our country needed us, serving in the military to protect our freedom was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. We still believe that. We still leap to our feet at the first beat of a drum at a military parade, clutch our hearts at the sight of the Stars and Stripes, weep at the refrain of the National Anthem. However, far too many of us succumb to the pomp and pageantry of war — of mission accomplished — with little concern for the human beings who made that possible — what they went through, what they’re still going through — so we can maintain our arrogant national pride.

From the beginning, those in the military have served their country with unswerving loyalty. They continued to march even after Henry Kissinger belched out the truth that Duty–Honor–Country is a one-way street because, “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns for foreign policy. And, it has long been a dead-end street for those captured or left behind on foreign soil — for those who return from battlefields maimed both mentally and physically, and for those who are innocent victims of malicious life-destroying experiments who have no chance of the extent of their injuries being recognized and are refused the necessary health care.

The most ghastly experiment the military ever conducted was Operation Crossroads, a series of “Manhattan Project” tests requested by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1946 to study the effects of nuclear weapons on ships and equipment. After bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki the year before, US officials knew the effect of massive radiation on human beings and animals. They had to know. So what else were the thousands of navy personnel positioned on ships from five to eight miles from the Bikini Atoll bombsite in the central Pacific if not guinea pigs?

One young sailor stationed at the Bikini Atoll in 1946 was Anthony Guarisco who, like thousands of others, has suffered horribly for the last 63 years as a result of radiation poisoning and like those others, has been denied the proper health care. Guarisco is the founder of both the National and International Alliance of Atomic Veterans. In 1994, Academy Award-winning team Vivienne Verdon-Roe and Michael Porter produced a documentary, “Experimental Animals,” featuring Guarisco who, very calmly, describes the horrors of that 1946 July. (Note: Ecological Options Network has just re-released “Experimental Animals” on-line and as a DVD, because EON filmmaker/activist Jim Heddle says, “we think it’s as relevant today as it was when it was produced.”)

The first bomb — Able — was dropped from a B-29 on July 1. As a health precaution, military personnel in the area were told to “cover their eyes.” Guarisco said it was awesome. He said it immediately “came home to me what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I could see how 55-65 thousand people could die in one-and-a-half seconds.”

But the second one — Baker — was beyond awesome. Guarisco said it was detonated beneath the ocean from a depth of 90 feet, and “sucked a target array of approximately 100 ships into the air like little toys. I saw the U.S. Arkansas soar into the air about 200 feet and come down in two pieces. I saw aircraft carriers just flinging around as if they were toys.”

According to the Navy’s historical report, “The inability to complete inspections on much of the target fleet threatened the success of the operation after BAKER. A program of target vessel decontamination was begun in earnest about 1 August. This involved washing the ships’ exteriors using work crews drawn from the target ships’ companies under radiological supervision of monitors equipped with radiation detection and measurement devices. Initially, decontamination was slow as the safe time aboard the target ships was measured only in minutes. As time progressed, the support fleet itself had become contaminated by the low-level radioactivity in marine growth on the ships’ hulls and seawater piping systems.”

Ironically, although the ships were towed out of the area just 10 days after the blast where the work could be done in uncontaminated water, no warning was given to the human experimental animals, who were allowed to swim in contaminated water, walk barefoot on beaches and breathe poisonous air.

Guarisco said, “We went back into the ground zero area immediately after each of the detonations, and I spent a total of 67 days in the Bikini lagoon within one mile of the epicenter. And I became ill after the second detonation, approximately four or five days after that…I had symptoms similar to having a bad case of influenza. I had welts on my body — I broke out with welts — and it was scary for me. I was urinating blood, I was very sick.”

And Guarisco wasn’t the only one who became ill. In a 1998 National Radio Project interview with Michael O’Rourke, who monitors veterans health issues for the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Guarisco said, “Other people on my ship were also feeling very sick. And for many, many years I thought that, well, certainly if there was anything wrong surely they would let me know. But,” he said, “I found out many years later that’s not how it is. You know, the government and the U.S. military are not about to say anything about anybody who’s exposed to high levels or low levels of radiation. It was hard for me to come out of denial, to understand that I was dealing with people who really were not interested in anything else but waiting for me to die.”

Guarisco says that, in one — two — blinding flashes, “we saw what World War III will look like. We have seen the firestorm, we have been witness to the sacrilegious devastation that nuclear weapons put forth, and we have seen our brother and our sister veterans die from being exposed to this terribleness.” He says the bottom line of nuclear weapons is the bottom line of the profit margin — that “deterrent” or “first strike” are fear code words used to keep the population at bay and to pave the way for the nuclear industry to keep building more expensive (profitable) weapons.

In his March 2008 tribute to both of his parents, Guarisco’s son, Vincent, goes into greater detail about his father’s lifelong battle, not only with the effects of radiation but with the nuclear industry and government itself. For more than 60 years, both Anthony and Mary Guarisco were out there, militant activists armed with the truth, relentlessly attempting to derail the nuclear train before it goes over the cliff, taking human survival with it.

The United States has more nuclear weapons than any other nation. Although we have avoided the instant, negative repercussions of another Nagasaki or Hiroshima, we have nevertheless managed to contaminate most of the world with Depleted Uranium.

In 2006, Japanese professor Dr. K. Yagasaki, by using the known amount of uranium used in the Hiroshima bomb — about the size of a two-liter milk container — calculated that a ton of DU used on the battlefield results in the equivalent of 100 Hiroshima bombs worth of radiation released into the atmosphere. So, when it was reported that 2,000 tons of DU were dropped on Iraq from 2003 to 2006, we need to understand that what was released in the Iraqi atmosphere, and then spreading worldwide, was the equivalent of 200,000 Hiroshima bombs.

The total amount of DU the US has used since 1991 is approximately 4,600 tons (1,000 in the first Gulf War, 800 in Kosovo, 800 in Afghanistan and a further 2,000 tons in the second Iraq war.) This amounts to approximately 460,000 Hiroshima bombs, ten times the amount of radiation released into the atmosphere from all previous nuclear testing worldwide. And, it’s important to note this calculation was three years ago. Since that time, we’ve had three more years of non-stop DU bombing…

Throughout the ’60s, the US conducted numerous toxic and chemical weapons tests on its military personnel. In July 2008, Nic Maclellan, journalist, researcher and development worker in the Pacific, wrote:

Under Project SHAD, the US Navy conducted six tests in the Marshall Islands and off the coast of Hawai’i between 1964-68. Pentagon documents released in 2002 show the US Defense Department sprayed live nerve and biological agents on ships and sailors, and sprayed a germ toxin on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

“These Cold War-era experiments to test the Navy’s vulnerability to toxic warfare involved about 4,300 US military personnel, mostly from the Navy. Most were never informed that the tests were being conducted, breaching all ethical principles about informed consent for test subjects.

It’s time that we, as a nation, not only face the truth — but come to grips with it. Those who serve with such trust and loyalty cannot imagine that they are, at best, “experimental animals” to be used and cast aside by ruthless corporate thugs.

How many generations of Anthony Guariscos must we lose before we realize that “support the troops” means protect the troops? Like Guarisco said, we must stand up, stand together and demand the abolition of all nuclear weapons if human beings on this planet are to survive.

It’s time for the madness to stop. Before we are all atomic veterans.

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. She can be reached at: Read other articles by Sheila, or visit Sheila's website.

22 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Doug Page said on March 3rd, 2009 at 10:05am #

    Bravo Sheila!!!

  2. Jeff said on March 3rd, 2009 at 6:13pm #

    Sheila, the madness has yet to begin!

  3. Sheila Samples said on March 3rd, 2009 at 6:47pm #

    Thank you so much, Doug…and Jeff — I wish I could think of something that could prove you wrong, but I think you are exactly right.


  4. Fazal Maula Zahid said on March 4th, 2009 at 12:28am #

    It is this fact we are trying since long to tell you, as a nation, not only face the truth — but come to abide with it. Presently the lies are repeated cleverly and nakedly at all levels with its full strength, so that every one take that as truth. The author is very right in saying that those who serve with such trust and loyalty cannot imagine that they are, at best, “experimental animals” to be used and cast aside by ruthless corporate thugs. We therefore strongly appeal that it is time the madness should be stopped. Time will no more wait for us. We should stop more action that leads to brutality.
    Do you know that due to war on terror Swat Pakistan has been converted in to ruins and the heaven into hell. Internally displaced people, who survive from cruel death, are crossing the hills with their swollen legs and injuries, along their kids and ailing elders on their shoulders. They have lost their babies while their father, mother, sons, daughters and other beloved ones buried in their homes that have been reduced to ashes due to bombings and blasting. Do you have the heart to feel and the ear to hear about a mother holding in arms, the dead body of her son for continuous three days, wondering to know what wrong that kid had done to the govt and terrorists. Another woman found her hands empty losing her daughter in river Swat while crossing it to find a safe corner from bombing. Do the people at the helm of the affairs have moral courage to go and see the people shouldering dead bodies of their loved ones to exhibit the output of war on terrors, imposed by the US? And still they in turn expect that people should love America. My appeal to all friends is that to put maximum pressure on the US to stop this drama forthwith. We need education, approach to the services and a peaceful life. Nothing more nothing less. And it is time, not bad to repeat that IT IS TIME THE MADNESS SHOULD STOP
    Fazal maula zahid

  5. AaronG said on March 4th, 2009 at 5:44am #

    “From the beginning, those in the military have served their country with unswerving loyalty”

    The article painted a “support the troops” mantra, which I find dangerous. Grown men and women who enlist in the army know (or should know) that they are not going to work cutting flowers in a florist. They are joining a killing machine. If these young men and women did not enlist then old men couldn’t wage their wars. Period.

    It’s a supply and demand problem. We have to stop supplying the military machine with our sons and daughters.

  6. Josie Michel-Brüning said on March 4th, 2009 at 7:09am #

    As a modest voice from Germany, I would like to ask, why not joining each other? For instance with the following?

    A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
    National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
    New York City: 212-694-8720
    Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
    San Francisco: 415-821-6545
    Chicago: 773-463-0311

  7. Don Hawkins said on March 4th, 2009 at 8:40am #

    I am a Capitalist, Rush Limbaugh is a great man. The free market is the best past to prosperity and one of my favorite books is Atlas Shrugged. Climate change is a hoax and only a left wing conspiracy to gain power and distribute the wealth. Obama is a Socialist and isn’t a friend of the market or rich people. The fight is on and maybe we will not get all we WANT but we must make sure the other side Obama and the left and people who live in trailers and small houses and on the street don’t get what they NEED. We have most of the gold and we make the rules. USA USA USA go team go, go team go drill baby drill. We may not win but neither will the other side. Stay strong and listen to people who understand this and know the truth and how the World works. We will be back to normal very soon and we will all be happy and free as the Sun set’s in the East and the moon is made of green cheese with a few crackers to keep it together out there in space and I watch everything at the same time that I like to call the big picture.

    It’s time to stop the madness.

  8. Barry said on March 4th, 2009 at 12:05pm #

    Don – I knew you were a fraud when you said you were a capitalist. Or maybe fraud is not the word – just a capitalist…lackey.

  9. Shabnam said on March 4th, 2009 at 12:36pm #

    Barry: Don has exposed himself from the outset. Frankly, I don’t know why is he wasting his time on this site. He is not going to sell his broken philosophy to us, especially at this time that this philosophy and economic arrangement has lost ANY credibility it might have had among some who have enriched themselves robbing others.

  10. Don Hawkins said on March 4th, 2009 at 1:38pm #

    Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although, in practice, it is also found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement.[1] Although satire is usually meant to be funny, the purpose of satire is not primarily humour in itself so much as an attack on something of which the author strongly disapproves, using the weapon of wit.

  11. Tree said on March 4th, 2009 at 2:39pm #

    Don, you must be Very Very Serious at all times. Knock of the satire shit and start wagging your earnest, moralizing finger like some of the other commenters.

  12. Barry said on March 4th, 2009 at 3:24pm #

    I don’t use satire because my wit is not sharp enough to carry it off. What would happen is that my words would be mistaken for their precise opposite. In short, you have to be an Oscar Wilde or George Carlin to satirize things. And for obvious reasons they are unlikely to ever be posting on DV.

  13. Don Hawkins said on March 4th, 2009 at 3:32pm #

    and now some ball scores 6 to 5 and 9 to 3 and 0 to 0.

  14. AaronG said on March 4th, 2009 at 6:36pm #

    Don, the moon is NOT made of green cheese with a few crackers to keep it together out there in space. I’ve done some research and apparently the moon is made of rock and is held there by gravity.

    However, you may have been correct with the climate change thing. I called some guys at Halliburton and they agree with you – it IS a hoax according to them. I’m just checking your other assertion that “Rush Limbaugh is a great man”. I’ll let you know what my findings are……….

    Your Faithful Proofreader

  15. Jeff said on March 4th, 2009 at 7:00pm #

    What is regarded as a change in climate? Is it what ‘pundits’ say? Is it local or global? What is the failure of a civilization? Is it moral or commercial? Is it local or global? I have had the opportunity to travel within the ‘continental united states’! Is that the ‘america’ that I have had the privilege to experience? Should that be the case, I am both afraid and tantalized. Which way those americans approach the problem will no doubt steer the course of history. The United States of America MUST stay away from any and all conflicts. Failure to do so will lead to Armageddon!

  16. anthony innes said on March 4th, 2009 at 10:27pm #

    to the intellectual cripples who attacked Don’s satirical post.Get help.
    Really the academic posturing here is getting out of hand.Few raise any critical nuance or real links to information in reply to the articles .Its decent of Dissident Voice to provide this forum.Its a shame old lags here have so little to add like Josie MB.

  17. Tree said on March 5th, 2009 at 7:06am #

    The lack of humor here amuses me the most.

  18. Barry said on March 5th, 2009 at 7:43am #

    What satirical post?

  19. danny ray said on March 6th, 2009 at 6:46am #

    Don, life is truley sad when you have to define satire. do you not know that everybody here is to busy telling everyone else here how to live for humor?
    I on the other hand have nothing else to do but sit around dressed asa tree found it funny as hell.

    Lv Ya dude.

  20. Barry said on March 6th, 2009 at 7:01am #

    There was that New York magazine cover that showed Barak and Michelle Obama dressed menacingly as a kefiya-wearing Islamo-terrorist and dashiki wearing, Afro-sporting, Black-Power advocate. The magazine got called out on it. They defended themselves by calling it satire. It was pointed out that merely repeating the other side’s positions and fears is not satire.

  21. Tree said on March 6th, 2009 at 8:00am #

    The New Yorker cover was most definitely satire as it mocked the jingoism and fear mongering of the Right.
    Just because someone doesn’t get the humor, it doesn’t give them the right to accuse people of being racist.

  22. Max Shields said on March 6th, 2009 at 8:43am #

    Back then, with the hoopla of Obama and Michelle on the cover of New Yorker magazine, those were the good ol’ days. Laughed my ass off. What a riot. Loved the fists and Angela do. To this day the image gives me great pleasure. I think Remnick voted for Obama over a hundred times to make up for the mis-UNDERstanding.

    Now O is upping the ante in Afghanistan, the collapse of the financial sector is still reeling downward, unemployment is reaching toward 20%, the trillions for continued war making and the printing of money when such plain doesn’t work.

    Love when we can play Pinnacle on the deck of the Titanic. It’s so cool and posh.