Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Nuke Nightmare: Are We Running Out Of Luck?

The Nuclear Nightmare

We are running out of time and out of luck

By Douglas Mattern

The great playwright, Anton Chekhov, said if a gun hung on the wall in the first act of a play it would be fired by the third act. August 6th will mark the 58th year since the first atomic bomb laid waste the city of Hiroshima, and yet so little has changed in terms of national policies that a new nuclear crisis has placed humankind in the third act of the Nuclear Nightmare.

In addition to new members joining the macabre nuclear club, the Bush administration has embarked on a new preemptive war policy that threaten the use of nuclear weapons. Moreover the Bush team is considering a resumption of nuclear testing to develop new tactical nuclear weapons.

The resumption of production of plutonium parts for nuclear bombs has already begun at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Energy Department has plans for a new factory that could produce parts for hundreds of nuclear weapons a year.

In addition, a new RAND think-tank report gives a frightening assessment of Russian's strategic capabilities. The severity prompted former Senator Sam Nunn to state: "The risk has increased for a perfect storm in terms of a nuclear miscalculation or an accident."

The report states that U.S. and Russia maintain large nuclear forces on "hair-trigger" alert that could be launched in minutes and destroy both countries in an hour.

Three gruesome scenarios are presented that could erupt at any time:

* An intentional unauthorized nuclear weapon launch by a terrorists or rogue commander

* A missile launched by mistake

* An intentional launch of nuclear weapons based on incorrect or incomplete information.

As the nuclear crisis escalates, it behooves us to recall the words of General Douglas MacArthur: "The very triumph of scientific annihilation has destroyed the possibility of war being a medium of practical settlement of international differences...If you lose, you are annihilated. If you win, you stand only to lose. War contains the germs of double suicide..."

The nuclear policy makers have known the "double suicide" consequences of these weapons for decades.

In the 1960s, McGeorge Bundy, assistant to President Kennedy, said: "In the real world even one hydrogen bomb on one city would be a catastrophe; ten bombs on ten cities would be a disaster beyond history. A hundred, or even less, would be the end of civilization."

In this third year of the new millennium, over 30,000 nuclear weapons are stockpiled.

Robert McNamara acknowledged that during the Cuban missile crisis "we came within a hairbreadth of nuclear war without realizing it." McNamara said: "It's no credit to us that we missed nuclear war--at least we had to be lucky as well as wise."

There have been many close calls to nuclear annihilation over the years and luck has played a constant role, but luck does not endure.

Retired General George Lee Butler, former head of the Strategic Air Command, has joined the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons. He says there is no security in these weapons, and that, "It's a fools game."

Think about it! Most people in this country have lived all, or most of their lives, under the daily possibility of nuclear incineration.

It's utter madness; a "fools game" as General Butler calls it, but we are also "fools" for allowing it to continue and threaten the very survival of civilization.

It's imperative that we join together and declare that we are not going to take this nuclear terrorism any longer.

All U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads must be removed from the present hair-trigger alert status to avoid the "perfect storm" of nuclear disaster that Senator Nunn warns.

There is no conceivable rationale for keeping these genocidal weapons on a hair-trigger alert.

The larger goal is the elimination of all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth. Only then will humankind be liberated from the nightmare that began with the first mushroom cloud on August 6, 1945.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Using Scoop Professionally? Introducing ScoopPro

ScoopPro is a new offering aimed at ensuring professional users get the most out of Scoop and support us to continue improving it so that Scoop continues to exist as a public service for all New Zealanders. More>>


Don Rennie: Is It Time To Take ACC Back To First Principles?

The word “investing” has played a major part in the operations of the ACC since 1998... More>>

27-29 Sept: Social Enterprise World Forum Live Blog

1600+ delegates from more than 45 countries have came together to share wisdom, build networks and discuss how to create a more sustainable future using social enterprise as a vehicle. Attending the Forum were social enterprise practitioners, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, community leaders, investors, activists, academics and more from across the globe... More>>

HiveMind Report: A Universal Basic Income For Aotearoa NZ

Results from this HiveMind suggests that an overwhelming majority of Kiwis believe that due to changing circumstances and inefficiencies in the current system, we need a better system to take care of welfare of struggling members in our society. More>>


Scoop Hivemind: Medical Cannabis - Co-Creating A Policy For Aotearoa

Welcome to the fourth and final HiveMind for Scoop’s Opening the Election campaign for 2017. This HiveMind explores the question: what would a fair, humane and safe Medical Cannabis policy look like for Aotearoa, NZ in 2018? More>>