Democrats & Liberals Archives

Not With a Bang but a Whimper

I’m in the middle of Nevil Shute’s, “On the Beach”. I remember the omnipresent fear of global nuclear war, so it’s nostalgic for me, in a way. But it’s also still disturbingly relevant. The book presents a scenario where Albania nukes Naples, then Egypt uses the confusion to send Russian-built bombers to take out London and Washington, causing the US to mistakenly retaliate against Russia, which fires back at the US and also China, which then wipes out Russia…

The scientist said, "The trouble is, the damned things got too cheap. The original uranium bomb only cost about fifty thousand quid towards the end. Every little pipsqueak country like Albania could have a stockpile of them, and every little country that had that, thought it could defeat the major countries in a surprise attack. That was the real trouble."

"Another was the aeroplanes," the captain said. "The Russians had been giving the Egyptians aeroplanes for years. So had Britain, for that matter, and to Israel, and to Jordan. The big mistake was ever to have given them a long-range aeroplane."

Maybe you can see where I'm going with this. During the presidential campaign, John Kerry tried to make an issue of the Bush administration's half-assed attempt to secure all the loose nuclear bombs, "...there's an enormous undone job to protect the loose nuclear materials in the world that are able to get to terrorists. ...the president will not secure the loose material in the Soviet Union - former Soviet Union for 13 years. I'm going to do it in four years. And we're going to keep it out of the hands of terrorists."

While Social Security paying out a mere 80% of benefits fifty years from now is tragic, it's not tragic in the same sense as a nuclear bomb going off in New York Harbor, or Norfolk, or Savannah, or Miami, or New Orleans, or Seattle, or San Francisco, or Los Angeles.

Then there's President Bush's plan to sell nuclear-capable F-16's to Pakistan. Seriously, if a President Kerry had authorized the sale of a nuclear delivery system to a fundamentalist Islamic country ruled by a military junta, he'd have been crucified - and rightly so.

I've heard Bush-fans say it's OK because the situation in Pakistan has changed. And it has, but not in a good way. Back when the embargo was put in place, we only suspected Pakistan might have nukes, today we know for sure that they do. Back then, Pakistan had a democratically elected leader, now it's ruled by a military dictator: the man who armed the Taliban and supported their conquest of Afghanistan, who allowed the A. Q. Khan network to spread nuclear weapons technology to other Islamic states, and who still refuses to allow US troops, agents, or reconnaissance planes to search for Osama bin Laden (remember him?) where he's hiding out... in Pakistan for Christ's sake!

It's stupid for the Bush administration to sell nuclear delivery systems to a fundamentalist Islamic military junta in return for a few tidbits of questionable intelligence on al-Qaeda. And if Bush is just doing it as quid pro quo for some help getting re-elected, it's absolutely criminal.

Posted by American Pundit at March 28, 2005 8:17 AM