Is it the end of the world as we know it? It very well could be. And, with nuclear war a possibility, the United States is preparing for the worst. But, is the creation of new weapons really the answer?
The Sept. 11 attacks that jolted our nation just over six months ago have caused the Bush administration, and the nation, to see that a superpower is not the only threat to our homeland. Individuals are still a little wary about what each day may bring, and while everyone has their own ideas about how they might handle the events leading to the end of the world, pentagon officials have devised a plan about what they think is necessary to keep things in order.
Unfortunately, their plan could end up backfiring. Nuclear strategy now seems to be viewed through the lens of last year’s assault on our nation, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
The Los Angeles Times managed to obtain a highly confidential, “still-classified” Pentagon document called the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). This document details specific governmental plans for using nuclear weapons. In a recent article, the Times reported that, “the Bush administration has directed the military to prepare contingency plans to use nuclear weapons against at least seven countries and to build smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield situations.”
The Times continued, “the secret report, which was provided to Congress on Jan. 8, says the Pentagon needs to be prepared to use nuclear weapons against China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. It says the weapons could be used in three types of situations: against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack; in retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons; or ‘in the event of surprising military developments.’
Let’s get this straight — the Bush administration is against abortion, but willing to use nuclear weapons, the ultimate tools of mass destruction, against these other nations?
Seemingly at the opposite ends of the spectrum, are the innocent victims who would be lost in the crossfire any less important than that of an innocent newborn?
It may be naive to think world peace will happen overnight, but should we give up on it all together?
Nuclear weapons should really only be used as a last resort, if even then. John Isaacs, president of the Council for a Livable World agrees. “They’re trying to find new uses for nuclear weapons, when their uses should be limited to deterrence,” he told the Times. “This is very, very dangerous talk … Dr. Strangelove is clearly still alive in the Pentagon.”
Creating such highly volatile paraphernalia may dangerously destabilize the world, which is already attempting to recover from the tragedy of last year. All of the efforts to establish peace will be undermined, and the other countries may believe that in order to stay ahead in the game, they too should develop nuclear weapons. Is this really the message we want to convey?
Venturing a guess, no would be the obvious answer.
Why would we want to encourage our enemies, or our allies for that matter, to build up a better defense system? “Ending Nuclear Terror,” a 1998 article by Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers, discusses the consequences of expanding our assortment of nuclear weapons.
“Should the size of the nuclear club grow by even one … the risk of a new and destabilizing arms race may become reality,” Kimball said.
“Some argue that the United States should retain its nuclear weapons for this very reason,” he added. “But this path leads only to a dangerous and unstable chain of events: should the United States and other nuclear weapons powers choose to retain (or even, perhaps, expand) their nuclear weapons stockpiles, other states will seek and, over time, acquire nuclear weapons.
The key to breaking this vicious cycle is for existing nuclear states to take steps that de-legitimize nuclear weapons and reaffirm their commitment, already embodied in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to ultimately eliminating them.”
We should be working together to try and avoid such a catastrophic event. The ramifications of a nuclear war would be devastating.
Even though it could happen, our efforts would best be served trying to discover non-violent means of conflict resolution and working toward achieving social justice in a sustainable world.
The Nuclear Age has been evolving since before the 1930s, and by Dec. 2, 1942, a Manhattan Project team produced the first artificial fission reaction at the University of Chicago. Three years after its inception, the Manhattan Project achieved its goal of developing an atomic weapon. And in August 1945, nuclear weapons were used to destroy the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending World War II. For the next 45 years, the United States and the Soviet Union battled for nuclear supremacy, yet neither ever used their vast arsenals.
Since the advent of the atomic bomb, humanity has been threatened with nuclear holocaust. Repeating the mistakes of the past could mean our extinction.
Killing is wrong. Period. The Bible tells us that, and so should common sense. Besides, killing someone simply gives the attacker the easy way out. If a heinous, inhumane act is committed toward another human being — or a whole population — the culprit, or culprits, should be dealt with accordingly. They should be forced to forever pay for their crime, and face the families of their victims.
Isn’t God supposed to be the only one who has control over who should live and who should die? And, aren’t we playing God when we flirt with the idea of nuclear war? It is frightening to even grapple with the fact that World War III may occur, but couldn’t it be avoided?
March 21, 2002