We've waited for someone else to bring it up because we hate to be the ones to bring bad news. No one's brought it up, but we've got a feeling that it's been on a lot of people's minds, just like it used to be. Though no one mentions it, it's a vital issue in the 2004 presidential campaign. It has to do with international security, technology, and warfare.
No, it's not terrorism. This is bigger than terrorism. This is badder than the attacks of September 11, 2001.
We're talking about nuclear war.
Mushroom clouds. Giant fireballs. Vaporization of people walking down the street. Radioactive fallout settling all over your sport utility vehicle. The end of cable television for months, if not years.
Oh, it's been a while, I know. The whole nuclear war issue was supposed to have gone away over a decade ago.
Remember the times when the Soviet Union was dismantled, and we all learned words like "Perestroika", and listened to songs like "Winds of Change"? People talked about the Peace Dividend, and an end to the threat of nuclear annihilation. Americans felt a kind of unity with Europeans.
For a while, under Bill Clinton, we creeped toward that great vision. We saw a little bit of that Peace Dividend. Some of the Soviet nuclear arsenal was destroyed, and some of ours were decommissioned. Our tense shoulders relaxed. Then... oops, we forgot all about the problem.
Lucky us, George W. Bush has brought the problem back. Under his watch, the threat of nuclear war is once again growing stronger.
No, it doesn't have a thing to do with Osama Bin Laden, or Iraq. Al Quaida has never been anywhere close to having anything approaching a nuclear weapon, and neither has Iraq. Iraq stopped its nuclear research program back in the early 1990s, and never got close to building a nuclear weapon, in spite of all the empty hype and frantic running around in circles by Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney, who wanted Americans to believe that Iraq was about to blow up an American city in a great act of terrorism.
People from the White House and from the big news agencies like to use phrases like "in this post-September-11 world..." and "in the wake of 9-11..." as if the mere mention of the date September 11, 2001 should instantly remind us all that nothing can ever be more important than the ambiguous "war on terror" and the killing of "evildoers". Nothing else is ever supposed to matter any more.
In spite of the hype, some things do matter more than giving fame and glory to a bunch of rag tag criminals by declaring them to be the number one evil on the planet. The truth is that we've got bigger bugs to squash than Osama Bin Laden.
The destruction of two skyscrapers is nothing compared to what would happen as a result of a nuclear attack. Imagine every single building on Manhattan destroyed, the Statue of Liberty blown off its foundation and sinking into steaming ocean water, and all the surrounding areas on fire with no NYFD heroes left to put out the blaze. Imagine the same thing happening in five, ten or more of your favorite American cities.
Imagine nuclear war.
Yes, the time has come for you to imagine nuclear war again. It's no fun, but the threat is here, and it's getting ready to come to a boil.
Growing Threats, Ignored By Bush
Thanks to the simplistic moral vision of George W. Bush and his gung-ho cadre of adventuring Cold Warriors, the world is growing more vulnerable to the threat of nuclear warfare.
It's not Iraq that we have to worry about. It's not even Iran that's the problem. Of course, there's North Korea, which either has or is on the brink of owning nuclear weapons, but the North Koreans are in such a tight squeeze that they have little ability to seriously threaten us, for now.
The Axis of Evil is small pancakes. The most serious problem comes from those countries that George W. Bush calls "allies". The problem is Bush's Axis of Amigos.
Yes, there's Russia, which appears to be sliding back towards an opaque totalitarianism with all of the malice of the Soviet Union and none of its formal structure. Russia still has more than enough nuclear weaponry to annihilate the entire United States.
However, even more threatening are nations like Pakistan. Yes, this is the same Pakistan that is supposed to be our great ally in the "war on terror". As with other claims of the Bush Administration, the identification of Pakistan as an ally should be taken with a big lump of salt.
General Pervez Musharraf, the so-called "President" of Pakistan is, in fact, nothing more than a military dictator who seized power through a coup d'etat that overthrew a democratically elected government. When Musharraf took over Pakistan, he destroyed all democratic institutions and claimed all national power for himself. As an accent to the totalitarian nature of his rule, under Musharraf's dictatorship, Pakistan provided substantial assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has developed nuclear weapons, and is in a tense standoff with India, which also possesses a nuclear arsenal. Bush has done nothing to disarm Pakistan and India.
Indeed, at the same time that George W. Bush has offered glowing descriptions of Pakistan's fight against "evildoers", the Pakistani government shared nuclear weapons technology with nations like Libya and North Korea.
When George W. Bush decided to become buddies with Pakistan, he hid these problems there under an afghan blanket. Bush simply pretends that these problems do not exist. Bush says that Iraq, Iran and North Korea are "evil" for trying to make nuclear weapons, but he says nothing about Pakistan's certain possession of nuclear weapons, or its efforts to spread those weapons around the world.
Digging the Hole Deeper
There's an old saying that if you find yourself trapped in a hole, the first thing you ought to do is stop digging it deeper.
Of course, George W. Bush has a surprising way of turning common sense upside down. So, now that it's becoming clear that nuclear weapons are spreading in a dangerous way across the world, what is Bush's solution? Why, Bush suggests that we build more nuclear weapons, of course!
Oh, how we wish that we were making this up: George W. Bush has said that in order to protect the world from the threat of weapons of mass destruction, America needs to make more weapons of mass destruction! George W. Bush has pushed Congress to give him the money to make more and more nuclear weapons. Specifically, Bush wants nuclear weapons that have an enhanced tactical use, a new generation of American weapons of mass destruction.
Note to parents: The following sentence contains an instance of irony that may cause children to question authority. George W. Bush's policy of preemptive attacks includes giving him the freedom to drop nuclear bombs on other countries, in order to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons. Yes, you read that right. Bush says that in order to prevent other countries from developing nuclear weapons, we have to be willing to bomb them with nuclear weapons.
George W. Bush has not just ordered the American military to build more nuclear weapons, he has also lowered the threshold for using nuclear weapons. Bush has his finger on the button, and can launch a nuclear attack whenever he wants to.
The Choice in 2004: Who's Holding the Bomb?
The ultimate question of the 2004 presidential election is this: Who do you trust more with a nuclear bomb, John Kerry or George W. Bush?
John Kerry has repeatedly demonstrated that he is able to exercise wisdom and restraint. George W. Bush, on the other hand, has repeatedly demonstrated an eagerness to rush to war regardless of the facts of the matter, and regardless of the consequences.
I trust John Kerry to manage and intelligently reduce America's nuclear arsenal. I cannot imagine trusting George W. Bush with the proper care of my son's pet turtle, much less a nuclear bomb.
At presidential rallies, Republicans often chant, "Four more years! Four more years!" Yes, I agree with them. I'm all for four more years. The trouble is, with George W. Bush in the White House making new enemies in foreign countries almost every single day, I worry that America might not survive four more years.
Under Bush, America is edging closer and closer to a nuclear war. It's time for America to move back from the edge, and solve the old problem of its own nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Until we face our own nuclear addiction, America will have no choice but to live in fear, no matter how hard we try to shut our eyes.
Denial is not security. It is long past time for America to ban the bomb.
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