How dangerous is military service, even if you aren’t assigned to a combat zone? Ask this question of the 318 sailors and Marines once assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan, now suffering from exposure to radiation during the time they provide humanitarian relief to the Japanese victims of the Fukushima nuclear plant melt-down. Today, these men are suffering from leukemia, ulcers, brain cancer, tumors, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, and stomach cancer. No matter what the future holds for these men, it won’t be very bright for them, or their loved ones.
Even if you detest the military, don’t smirk because millions of people around the world are now consuming dangerous amounts of radioactivity in the form of Cesium-134, which has become the fingerprint of the Fukushima disaster. The element has found its way into shell fish, sea bass, and salmon all along the West Coast of the United States and Canada. Scientists have also discovered significant contamination of sea lions, seals, and otters. Increasing numbers of polar bear have been found with skin lesions and tumors.
This is not a nutty rant about nuclear power or becoming better stewards of our planet, although I have a difficult time trusting scientists who, in the development of nuclear energy as a power source, never once considered what should happen to used-fuel rods. Apparently, there are idiots with advanced degrees who, unhappily, now advise Al Gore about global warming. At the same time, we need to understand that there are consequences to unfortunate circumstances. No one thinks that Japan could have prevented a tsunami; mother nature does what mother nature does, but one does wonder why a nuclear power plant was not constructed with secondary or tertiary cooling systems, and why these weren’t routinely tested. The one thing we know for certain about large bureaucracies is that they are always complacent.
As for the unfortunate 318 sailors and Marines, they remind me that no good turn goes unpunished. For people who enjoy a good sea bass or salmon, you might consider something from the South Atlantic, instead.