Posts Tagged ‘nuclear bomb’

Our Bombs Good, Their Bombs Bad

May 28, 2009

by Christopher Cooper |  CommonDreams.org, May 28, 2009

I woke Monday morning to the sound of BBC radio hyperventilating over North Korea’s latest underground test of a nuclear bomb. This concern was extended and amplified as the day progressed: radio, television, Internet and newspaper reports and discussion settled on pretty much the same two points: This is bad. Very bad. And it will not stand unanswered.Well, Ok, fine. There is no good reason North Korea should test or build or own nuclear weapons. It is a foolishness as preposterous as to allow the public to carry loaded concealed weapons in our national parks. But of course the motivation is the same and explains the nukes as nicely as the Smith and Wessons: We are afraid. Very afraid.

Oh, yes, and just a touch crazy, too, of course. Kim Jong Il and his dad Kim Il-sung before him (“Great Leader” and “Dear Leader” respectively) do not inspire the confidence we have come to expect from our conventionally coifed and suited Western presidents and prime ministers. We prefer the dull and somnolent, the plodding, cautious, reflective and slow-speaking. Donald Rumsfeld looked about right. And his calm assurances that we must and should bull ahead on the course he recommended was very reassuring. Wrong, of course. But comforting.

So let’s just agree that there is more than one way to be a crazy player in the great game of geopolitics, shall we? But the Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (among several other titles) is often described as a “saber-rattler”, and to return to an earlier point, no good will come of such a man rattling nuclear missiles instead of old ceremonial swords.

But what country should have nuclear weapons? Oh, yes, of course-we should. Because we do. We invented them. We have more of them than anybody else. We only keep the things around to deter other nations from using theirs. Such as Russia and other states once part of the Soviet Union, who have theirs, they say only to keep us from using ours. Not that we ever would. Use them, I mean. That would be unthinkable.

My mother used to threaten to “tear off your arm and beat you over the head with the bloody stump”, a frightening enough prospect to a young boy and a grievous overreaction to my own undoubtedly bad behavior. (I argued of course that she was misrepresenting which part of the appendage she might strike me with, the “stump” being still attached to my body, a distinction that only further infuriated the woman.) But it was all talk, we both knew it, and it therefore had no deterrent value whatsoever. So it is with nuclear weapons. In any event mom never acted on her threat and I believe the practice has now been banned in all states except Texas.

President Obama said “North Korea is directly and recklessly challenging the international community.” Yes. Precisely. With all the finesse of an eight-year-old amusing himself at mother’s expense, Kim seeks to provoke by his bad behavior. Shortly after the bomb test he lobbed another missile or two a hundred kilometers or so into the Sea of Japan, just to show he had a delivery system of a sort too. (A recent long-range missile test also went with the fishes, which should ease tensions somewhat in Seattle and San Francisco.}

The United Nations Security Council “condemned” the test. It will now work on a “Resolution.” Well, I guess you have to do something. Or do you? If all our agitation changes nothing, why raise our own blood pressure so precipitously?

Agreeing that we need to better understand what fears and instabilities and regional imbalances and personal nuttiness have set Great Leader on this course, and that every reasonable effort ought be made to convince him to redirect his energies toward peaceful and productive purposes, I still do not understand the high level of international agitation.

North Korea, of course, was once a part of the boy president George W. Bush’s “Axis Of Evil”, but let’s not think any more about our own ludicrous and unbalanced leaders, shall we?

Let’s just look for a moment at the history of nuclear weapons on planet Earth. There are thousands of them loose in our world. The United States has ten or eleven thousand, Russia a similar number. France and China own about four hundred each, Israel and England a couple hundred. Pakistan (now there’s a stable, solid, well-run nation for you-no axis of evil there) has raised a dozen or two. So, all together, more than twenty thousand atomic bombs. North Korea is testing some. Iran might well want a few. All for deterrent purposes only, of course.

Of course. Agreed. Wouldn’t have it any other way. Only one nation has ever used a nuclear weapon in war. Twice. On civilians. You know-women, children, housepets, museums, churches, ginkgo trees and koi. Taught those Jap bastards quite a lesson, didn’t we? And how does that fact go down around the world? All is not always as it seems from the point of view put forth in our own newsreels and textbooks and history classes and churches.

Last month a week to ten days was given over to beating the small news of the dreaded swine flu (quickly re-introduced as H1N1-2009 strain to make the pig-butchers happier). This week North Korea scares us half to death. At least there was plenty of gasoline available over the holiday weekend. Keep driving. See the USA in your Chevrolet (or Toyota or Hyundai.) Later or sooner the unraveling climate will come to the attention of the public and the news analysts perhaps, and we’ll see what a real problem looks like.

Come back with me to 1965, and Tom Lehrer’s introduction to his song “Who’s Next?”: “One of the big news items of the past year concerned the fact that China, which we call “Red China,” exploded a nuclear bomb, which we called a device. Then Indonesia announced that it was going to have one soon, and proliferation became the word of the day. Here’s a song about that.” Get out your old vinyl LP.

There’s more wisdom and proportion in the old math professor’s song than I’ve heard all week from Congress, the White House, the press or the troubled undercurrent of fear and ignorance that underlies most of what we think and what we have allowed ourselves to become.

Tuesday morning the BBC people revealed that Twitter may be ruined by SPAM. Now there’s a bit of unalloyed good news at last-one blight destroying another.

Regular readers will know that Mr. Cooper has no answers, no solutions to the issues that vex you and him. He has no faith, places no hope in any change promised by any major party politician, and he does not exhort anyone to write their legislators. All any of us can do is to live honest, decent lives, raise our children to be better than we are, and to speak and write bluntly and honestly in every forum available. To this end he abuses the space afforded him in The Wiscasset Newspaper. He fights the status quo and the annual blackfly plague in Alna, Maine, where he may be engaged at coop@tidewater.net.
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French FM warns Israel plans Iran strike

October 6, 2008
Global Research, October 5, 2008
Press TV
Kouchner evokes the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says Israel would strike Iran, under the pretext that the country is seeking nuclear bombs.

Israel has long alleged that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential ‘threat’ to Tel Aviv, accusing Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of seeking weapons of mass destruction.

The UN nuclear watchdog said in its latest report on Iran that it could not find any ‘components of a nuclear weapon’ or ‘related nuclear physics studies’ in the country.

In a Haaretz interview published on Sunday, Kouchner said a nuclear weapon would not ‘give any immunity to Iran’.

“Israel has always said it will not wait for the bomb to be ready,” he added.

The outspoken French minister, who is on a two-day visit to the Middle East, said Tel Aviv would ‘eat’ Iran before the ‘bomb’ is ready.

He later released a statement saying that he had been misquoted by the paper and that he had used the word ‘hit’ not ‘eat’.

Kouchner, however, confirmed that he did ‘indeed evoke the possibility of Israeli strikes to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon’.

Kouchner’s remarks are in line with French President Nicolas Sarkozy warning in early September that the pursuance of a nuclear program by Iran could lead to an Israel-waged war on the country.

“We could find one morning that Israel has struck (Iran),” the French president said, adding that no one would question the legitimacy of such an act of aggression.

Iran says its nuclear activities are directed at the civilian application of the technology, such as generating electricity for its growing population.

During his late September visit to New York, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that ‘the era of nuclear bombs has ended’, stressing that weapons of mass destruction have no place on Iran’s defensive doctrine.

Israel, meanwhile, is widely believed to have acquired some 200-300 nuclear warheads. Former US president Jimmy Carter confirmed in late May that Israel is the possessor of the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East.

Iran, the Arab League and the one-hundred-eighteen Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members, sought to put the dossier of ‘Israel’s nuclear capabilities’ on the agenda of the annual UN nuclear watchdog meeting in Vienna.

In a vote on Saturday, Israel – backed by the US and EU – managed to evade a link between its nuclear program to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

Israel mulls military option for Iran nukes

August 7, 2008

Israel beefs up strike capability, confident it could deal setback to Iran nuclear program

STEVEN GUTKIN
AP News

Aug 06, 2008 17:21 EST

Israel is building up its strike capabilities amid growing anxiety over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and appears confident that a military attack would cripple Tehran’s atomic program, even if it can’t destroy it.

Such talk could be more threat than reality. However, Iran’s refusal to accept Western conditions is worrying Israel as is the perception that Washington now prefers diplomacy over confrontation with Tehran.

The Jewish state has purchased 90 F-16I fighter planes that can carry enough fuel to reach Iran, and will receive 11 more by the end of next year. It has bought two new Dolphin submarines from Germany reportedly capable of firing nuclear-armed warheads — in addition to the three it already has.

And this summer it carried out air maneuvers in the Mediterranean that touched off an international debate over whether they were a “dress rehearsal” for an imminent attack, a stern warning to Iran or a just a way to get allies to step up the pressure on Tehran to stop building nukes.

According to foreign media reports, Israeli intelligence is active inside Iranian territory. Israel’s military censor, who can impose a range of legal sanctions against journalists operating in the country, does not permit publication of details of such information in news reports written from Israel.

The issue of Iran’s nuclear program took on new urgency this week after U.S. officials rejected Tehran’s response to an incentives package aimed at getting it to stop sensitive nuclear activity — setting the stage for a fourth round of international sanctions against the country.

Israel, itself an undeclared nuclear power, sees an atomic bomb in Iranian hands as a direct threat to its existence.

Israel believes Tehran will have enriched enough uranium for a nuclear bomb by next year or 2010 at the latest. The United States has trimmed its estimate that Iran is several years or as much as a decade away from being able to field a bomb, but has not been precise about a timetable. In general U.S. officials think Iran isn’t as close to a bomb as Israel claims, but are concerned that Iran is working faster than anticipated to add centrifuges, the workhorses of uranium enrichment.

“If Israeli, U.S., or European intelligence gets proof that Iran has succeeded in developing nuclear weapons technology, then Israel will respond in a manner reflecting the existential threat posed by such a weapon,” said Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, speaking at a policy forum in Washington last week.

Continued . . .


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