Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Defense of the Atom Bomb

If you have not already seen the trailers for “Countdown to Zero,” get ready, because after being dormant for over twenty years, the no nukes/nuclear freeze nuts are back with a vengeance. The same charlatans who brought us “An Inconvenient Truth” to convince us that mega-Hurricanes were about to swamp the United States in a mega-hot post-Katrina world. Remember that? Ok, even scientists can make mistakes, and that is the ultimate point of this new “documentary,” they made a huge one when they weaponized the power of nuclear fission, and then later nuclear fusion. Now we are to be dictated to by the likes of Jimmy Carter and Pervez Musharraf about bringing the total global number of nuclear weapons to zero. It is one of the most breathtaking examples of foolishness presented seriously I have seen in some time.

Nuclear weapons are alarming and breath-taking in their destructive capacity. It is possible to envision building enough of them to, if used, wipe out most of human civilization and make subsequent life on earth extremely difficult for the survivors. For Hollywood directors this idea presents interesting avenues for action/science fiction movies. For simpletons it is an alarming and realistic prospect. But nuclear weapons are the single greatest factor in preventing the second sequel to World War I and all other major wars in the period after their use at the end of World War II. War on a major scale between nuclear powers is inconceivable to all people involved, because winning seems completely impossible. Or if it is technically possible, it presents the most Pyrrhic of Pyrrhic victories. And so, after the bloodiest opening of any century in human history, the second half of the twentieth century was one dominated by wars in the third world that, while deadly and destructive, did not threaten to bring war between countries most capable of destroying the progress of civilized man.

That genie is irreversibly out of the bottle, for better or worse. It is not possible to dial back the clock. Nuclear power offers great enormous potential to generate cheap efficient power with rather minimal risks, and its development brings along the possibility of weaponization. That’s simply a fact of reality. Nuclear weapons are alarming in the hands of despots and psychotic criminal terrorists around the world, and that specific issue is worthy of combat, but disarming the United States of its defensive nuclear arsenal is criminal at best. No hostile forces and regimes around the world are ever going to listen to Jimmy Carter’s pathetic appeals to give up nuclear weapons. Just as criminals do not follow the law in acquiring illegal weapons, the world’s worst people will not break their designs for one minute even if the United States were to toss all of its nuclear weapons in the ocean tomorrow. We’ll be infinitely less safe, our allies will be infinitely less safe, and for what? The notion that it is possible or desirable to re-enter the pre-1945 world is horrifically nonsensical. The best that can be said for those who would seriously advocate that nuclear weapons be destroyed is that they are woefully disconnected from the reality of world affairs and human nature, not to mention all of human history. I will leave the worst that can be said for them to private utterance.

On a separate note I have just learned that cap and trade is dead for this legislative session: Huzzah!

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