crypto and public policy

On the Brink of Nuclear War?

Filed under: Policy May 27, 2005 @ 1:00 pm

When the Bush administration first talked tough on Iraq (2002), I wondered if (and hoped that) it was a bluff. An attempt to scare Iraq into accepting weapons inspectors back into the country to ensure they were not developing WMDs. When the weapons inspectors were allowed back in but the escalation of words continued, it became clear that it was no bluff at all. I won’t judge (in this post) whether the war was a good decision or not. Let’s just say the escalation might have been a darn good bluff, but it turned out to be much more than that.

So now the Bush administration is quietly developing “small” nuclear weapons. The softly-stated purpose is to attack Al Qaeda bunkers, as well Iran and North Korea’s nuclear weapon developments. Again, this may be a terrific bluff. If I were Kim Jung Il, I would seriously consider the possibility that Bush might use such weapons against North Korea. I might be forced back to the negotiation table. This could be a fantastic bluff.

But I don’t think it is. I think the Bush administration actually believes it will use these weapons. There’s talk of how these weapons will cause minimal casualties. They’re smart bombs after all. They’re small (as in, only 2/3 the detonation power of Hiroshima.) And they’ll only pollute 100 square kilometers with radiation, no big deal. Plus, we’re only going to use 5 or 6 against each target nation. This is not a bluff. This is a justification for actual use.

So let’s just clarify something. In the black and white world of “you’re either with us or against us,” there is no such thing as a small nuclear bomb. If we use a nuclear bomb, no matter how small or smart, then there’s no stopping any nation or group using a nuclear bomb against us. What will the argument be? You can’t develop and use large nuclear weapons, because we only use small ones? Or, better yet, does that imply that we’re okay with other nations developing similarly small nuclear bombs?

We’re afraid of other nations using nuclear bombs against us, but we’re seriously considering dropping a few ourselves? At what point do we finally take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves if maybe, just maybe, we’re hurting more than we’re helping. At what point do we stop this pseudo-patriotic BS of refusing to question our administration’s decisions. This is absolutely insane.

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