HUMANS AS ENDANGERED SPECIES
President Obama’s speech calling for a two state solution to the Israeli and Palestine tension has angered many entrenched in religious dogma and those who blindly oppose anything Obama.
The world is more dangerous today than at any time in our history. The fanaticism of the Middle East combined with the advances in nuclear weaponry has created a scenario of destruction that is unfathomable.
Our danger comes from the theocratic Moslem world and the Israelis who keep pushing the envelope by expanding into Palestinian territory. This danger has been present for a number of decades, but President Bush accelerated the danger by invading Iraq and Afganistan.
Russia and the United States coexisted during the Regan era with the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction. If Russia preempted a nuclear attack they were assured we would respond in kind (and vice-versa.) To a religious Moslem death in a nuclear counter attack would be welcomed as an immediate path to a prominent place in heaven. Add to that the accomplishment of a nuclear first strike against a populated Israeli target and their glory would be increased exponentially.
If necessary we need to be capable of a decisive counterstrike against Moslem jihadist. The big question is how? When you are dealing with a nation of men who crave death through jihad there is little that offensive tactics can accomplish; but, we definitely should not entertain the occupation of a Moslem theocratic country as that acerbates and increases our risk.
OUR NUCLEAR STRIKE ABILITY.
As my grandmother and Adrian Monk would say, it’s a blessing…and a curse.
In 1939 three Jewish scientist, (Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner) who had fled to the United States in fear of Nazi persecution, wrote a joint letter to President Franklin Roosevelt waning him that scientist in Nazi Germany were working on the possibility of using uranium to produce an atomic bomb.
In 1942 President Roosevelt named J. Robert Oppenheimer as director of our Atomic Research Laboratory and tasked him with the development of our first nuclear weapon. Oppenheimer’s team of physicist included a number of Jews and Germans escaping Nazi aggression.
Producing a supercritical mass chain reaction from enriched uranium was an untested area of research. Scientist knew that if they used too little enriched uranium the neutrons would escape with out producing the chain reaction; but, they feared that too much uranium might produce a chain reaction that would destroy the entire research facility at Los Alamos and its nearly six thousand workers.
The bomb produced was six feet long, two feet in diameter and weighed four tons. On July 16th, 1945, at 5:30 a.m. Mountain Time, the bomb was detonated. The explosion was equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT. The temperature produced was hundreds of times hotter than the surface of the sun – the 100 foot steal tower the bomb had been mounted on was vaporized – the blast created a crater 1200 feet wide and 10 feet deep. Three miles of desert sand was turned to glass.
Today this bomb would be considered a toy. Thermonuclear bombs are many thousands of times more powerful than the early atomic bombs. New fission bomb technology has the potential of unlimited destruction, and the Neutron bomb is designed to kill all life while leaving structures intact. Science is capable today of building a single bomb that could destroy worlds.
MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION or just ASSURED DESTRUCTION?
We live in the most dangerous time since humans first stepped out of the trees and walked across the savannas. Our atmosphere is polluted; direct sun rays are becoming dangerous; our natural resources are dwindling; our water supply is depleting; our population is increasing toward saturation; religious fanaticism is destabilizing our coexistence; and, nuclear weaponry is becoming a holy grail of national militaries.
We are a little late to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Nuclear test band treaties have been an attempt to keep other nations from catching up with our nuclear capabilities. Even in our own hands nuclear weapons are not safe. With our nuclear code in the hands of a president that believes in a biblical Armageddon or a president that is experiencing dementia (or any number of scenarios) we could find ourselves in the middle of a Dr. Strangelove experience.
The only answer I can see is for us not to be the world leader but a leader as a member of the world community. Nationalism must give way to world membership. If we are to sustain this world for awhile longer the problems we are facing can only be solved through the combined cooperation of states in a democratic world authority. Perhaps this is idealism, and if that’s the case perhaps there is no hope. But one thing is certain – continuing on the present trajectory of national divisions and dissensions will be disastrous.
But, before we get to self-righteous we should remember that we are the only nation to ever have used nuclear weapons – and we used them against a civilian populous. We lost three-thousand people in 9-11 but we killed one quarter of a million men women and children in 1945 – and no birds sang.