Nuclear Folly? Welcome to the Latter Day Nuclear Follies!
Mitt Romney has been talking about Iran’s nuclear folly. But when I hear the words “nuclear folly”, I can’t help but just think of global nuclear folly. Iran’s just trying to horn in on the act at the minute. The real folly is nuclear weapons, period. And then there’s the humongous folly of nuclear power plants. To me both military and “peaceful” nukes represent the ultimate human folly. Total, all out, bizarro world, potential apocalyptic folly.
Nuclear power plants are foolhardy because they are not safe, as we have seen in Russia, the United States and most recently in Japan. But perhaps even more importantly because we have no adequate means to deal with the nuclear wastes such plants produce and it seems unlikely that we will ever be able to deal with extremely deadly wastes with half lives in many thousands to millions of years. Uranium 234, used in power plants, has a half life of 246,000 years and we just can’t figure out where to put it. The ever popular Plutonium 239 used in weaponry has a relatively brief half life of 24,200 years.
Folly? For most of my life global military forces have possessed weapons that if used could end all life on earth (except maybe on the microbe level, which doesn’t hold much appeal.) Our strategy for many years was MAD. That stands for, and I’m not kidding, Mutually Assured Destruction.
There are presently fourteen countries with nuclear weapons in their hands. The United States, which has the largest arsenal, is the only country ever to employ nuclear weapons in war. Officially the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945 killed and wounded an estimated 225,000 persons, not considering the long term effects of radiation exposure. Officially the United States now possesses 2,200 strategic nuclear warheads, down from a peak of 31,225 at the height of the cold war in 1966. Russia, by treaty, has also theoretically limited its arsenal to 2,200 warheads. The nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union peaked in 1985 at about 45,000 warheads in 1985. That’s when they invented the word “overkill.”
Britain joined the nuclear club in 1952, France in 1960, and China in 1964. China’s strength is secret but it is estimated to have between 200 and 2000 warheads.
India detonated a “peaceful nuclear device” named “Smiling Buddha in 1974. It is now estimated to have approximately 100 nuclear warheads, and in 1998 conducted a series of nuclear tests under the moniker “Operation Shakti.” Shakti of course is the personification of divine feminine power.
Pakistan developed nuclear weapons after the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 under the initiative of its leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who said: “If India builds the bomb we will eat grass and leaves for a thousand years, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own. The Christians have the bomb, the Jews have the bomb and now the Hindus have the bomb. Why not the Muslims too have the bomb?”
By 1986, using a reactor acquired from Canada, Pakistan had enough nuclear material for a weapon. In 1998, in the face of Operation Shakti, Pakistan announced it had conducted five succesful nuclear tests of its own. As for the Jewish bomb, Israel has never announced the possession of nuclear weapons and it has long maintained a policy of “nuclear ambiguity,” but it is believed that Israel has had nuclear weapons since the 1960s, and that today it possesses several hundred nuclear warheads. Apparently Iran’s nuclear ambiguity—did you ever notice that nuclear is an anagram of unclear—is unacceptable to most Americans and Europeans while Israel’s possession of such weapons is permissible. Apparently this is due to a widespread perception of Muslims as religious fanatics by non-Muslims.
Israel has a long history of trying to keep the bomb away from Muslims. In June 1981, the Israeli Air Force bombed a nuclear reactor in Iraq, ten miles south of Baghdad.
In 2006 North Korea announced that it successfully tested a nuclear weapon. It was suspected that the North Koreans developed their weapons technology with help from Pakistan. NATO members Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey also have access to American nuclear weapons.
The Iranian bomb is the big bogeyman of the moment. The Israelis seemed determined to stop it by any means necessary and it seems that they’ve already tried a few. Early last November there was the mysterious explosion at a military facility that left 17 dead, including Hassan Moqaddam who has known as the architect of the Iranian missile program. Two weeks later there was another mystery blast that came from an Iranian nuclear facility.
Then there were the dead Iranian scientists. Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, a scientist who worked at an Iranian uranium enrichment facility was killed on January 11, 2012, by a bomb attached to his car by motorcyclists. In July 2011, research scientist Darioush Rezaeinejad was shot and killed in Teheran by two men on motorbikes while waiting for his child outside a kindergarten.
In November 2010, Fereydoon Abbasi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization was wounded when a motorcyclist detonated a magnetic bomb hidden under his car by remote control. On the same day, Masoud Ali Mohammadi, a nuclear physicist was killed by a bomb attached to his car by a motorcyclist. And then there was the computer worm called Stuxnet sabotaged the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz.
Israelis are pushing for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. Last week Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Iranian nuclear facilities were reaching a point where they would no longer be vulnerable to attack. “Those who say ‘later’ may find that later is too late.”
Mitt Romney isn’t going to let those fanatical Persians get nukes. He says: “Look, one thing you can know and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, they will not have a nuclear weapon. It’s worth putting in place crippling sanctions. It’s worth working with the insurgents in the country to encourage regime change. And if all else fails, if after all of the work we’ve done, there’s nothing else we could do besides take military action, then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. This term unacceptable has been applied by several presidents over history. And our current president has made it very clear that he’s not willing to do those things necessary to get Iran to be dissuaded from their nuclear folly.”
Romney ain’t the only one Republican ready to do what it takes to keep the Ayatollahs from going nucular. New Gingrich who recently stated that there’s no such thing as Palestians, says “First of all, have a maximum cover operation…” Yeah, he’s saying this on a national televised debate. “to block and disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, including taking out (ie. killing) their scientist, including breaking up their systems, all of it covertly, all of it deniable.” He really said this. Deniable. Who me?
And no Rick Santorum isn’t letting the madman Ahmedinijad go radioactive either, not on his watch. “We need to say very clearly that we will be conducting covert activity to do everything we can to stop their nuclear program. And that means using covert activity like may have occurred at the missile site recently in Iran, I would like to think the United States was involved in that, I’d like to think we had something to do with that. But given the president’s record, on, with Osama bin Laden, and not being able to keep a secret of anything good that he did for even more than 24 hours, I suspect we’d already know if we had something to do with that explosion. (Sorry I couldn’t help italicizing there.-G.) So secondly, with respect to covert activity, we need to be very clear: Any foreign scientists working in Iran on this nuclear program will be termed an enemy combatant and will be subject − like any other enemy combatant, like Osama bin Laden − to being taken out by the United States government as a threat to this country.”
Now not everyone in Israel thinks that it’s a great idea to bomb the shit out of Iran, as there are quite a few weapons, non-nuke to be sure but quite nasty nevertheless, aimed at Israel from Iran et al.. Undoubtedly retaliation for such a pre-emptive move might occur and things could get very ugly very fast. But there are many in Israel, and in the U.S. who say “Bring it on!”
For example, those American Christian who believe that Jesus is not coming back until the battle of Armageddon is fought. Many Jesus fans are saying “Bring it on!”
Thank God, they’re not fanatics.
Somehow we managed to get through the Mutually Assured Destruction era of my youth. In my opinion it may have had something to do with the Beatles, Swinging London, hipsterism, fashion, and rock and roll, which erupted as an almost atomic force at the height of our warhead acquisitiveness. But with nukes in the hands of believers, in the hands of those who believe that there’s another world somewhere in the sky, or that this whole thing is going to play out according to some prewritten script, well then it gets scary.
I can understand why Bhutto wanted the bomb. I can understand why Kim Il Jong wanted the bomb. He wanted to be taken seriously. The bomb is the ultimate in elevator shoes. It’s the big stick. It makes you equal. So maybe every country should have a bomb. Just one. Or else nobody should have a bomb. Because if some people have bombs and some people don’t then you wind up having special people, like master races and chosen peoples. Actually no nukes is the only sensible course, although I know it has no chance of success, at least until some crazy person has used one or more of them.
I don’t think the Iranians are actually crazy enough to want to use the bomb. I think comparatively few Israelis are crazy enough. And only a small minority of Americans (although probably a greater percentage in the Air Force) are willing to nuke for Christ. But I think everybody wants an ace in the hole. That’s just human.
There’s really only one solution. That’s Nuclear Folly. The great Lord Buckley, the supremely wise hipster comic came up with this solution. Nuclear weapons are all about fear. But if we can laugh at them, big time, en masse, they will lose their ability to explode. He did a great big in 1960 called H-Bomb, prophetic shit about the end of the big fear.
Take it your Lordship!
“Now the next scene is the Kremlin.
Khruschev has just returned from a very big visit shaking everyone up rattling the rocket and one thing and another. And they give him a big party in the Kremlin and what with Russian benzedrine and vodka and one thing and another he’s smashed out – he’s in the silk sacked out with a concrete wig – he’s in bad shape.
And Moly comes in. He says; “Khrusky!”
“Not now Moly! Some other time, please, not now! I’m a very sick man and I cannot talk now.”
“But Khrusky, something terrible has happened.”
“Vat vat vat vat vat terrible could happen?! Vat terrible?!
“But the Americans–”
“The Americans vat?!?!?!”
“The Americans are in the street laughing at the Bomb.”
“Vat!?!? This is terrible news! If we cannot scare them to death we cannot beat them. Give me a double shot of vodka right away. Ve give them back Poland see vat happens . . .”
Unfortunately, there is no film of Lord Buckley doing “H Bomb” but there is a nice performance of Rod Harrison performing it. www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyJv2khCEtE
Pass it on.
follow me on Twitter @lordrochester