Imagine your adult daughter is a recovering alcoholic
who has been sober for five years. You notice lately that, when you go out to
dinner with her she reads the restaurant's wine list, when she walks past a
liquor store her pace slows and she stares at the window, and you worry. Recently,
she started talking about attending wine-tasting parties and going to happy
hour with friends. What should you do?
- Try to get the local restaurant association to do away with wine lists
- Try to get the city council to close down all liquor stores and bars in
- Try to get law enforcement to bust all wine-tasting parties?
- Try to get all your daughter's friends and acquaintances to stop drinking
alcohol so your daughter won't be tempted?
If you really care about your daughter, you will not waste your time, money,
and energy doing any of the above. Instead you will focus on urgently helping
her to get the necessary support so that she does not have a single drink again.
You will encourage her and help her to go to
AA meetings, get
a sponsor, and seek psychological help. You will discourage her from going
to bars and wine-tasting parties and from associating with heavy drinkers. If
all else fails, you may try an "intervention"
to persuade her to check herself into a residential treatment facility.
Because you know and she knows and all recovering alcoholics know that if
she has just one little drink, it's all over.
Five years of abstinence go down the drain, and she has to start from scratch.
And each time it is harder than the last. And you know what
alcoholics and other substance-abusers figured out long ago: "It's
easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world."
The United States is a recovering nucleo-holic. It used 60 years ago and has miraculously stayed "sober" ever since. But lately it has been drifting dangerously close to using again.
When it does, it will not matter whether it is a strong vodka or a mild cider,
a Hiroshima-type bomb or a low-yield nuclear bunker buster. The instant the U.S. uses
a nuclear weapon again, 60 years of nonuse go down the drain and we have to
start from scratch with abstinence. And it will be that much harder to stay
sober the second time around.
If you really love your daughter and wish her well, you will do everything
you can to help her avoid drinking again. But suppose instead you secretly want
her to resume drinking, for whatever devious reason, and yet you want to look
like you are a good parent. Then you will pretend that you are trying
to help your daughter, by campaigning for the
reduction and ultimate
elimination of all alcohol from the world, and for the
nonproliferation of alcoholic beverages among your daughter's friends and
acquaintances; you will oppose the development of new and better-tasting alcoholic
beverages; you will advocate
restrict the display of alcoholic beverages in liquor-store windows and
loose wine lists; and you will
lobby to get
wine-tasting events outlawed. Meanwhile, your daughter will be drifting
toward having that single glass of alcohol that will lead her into the abyss,
well before you achieve any of your grandiose goals.
That, in a nutshell, is the folly of "anti-nuclear efforts" in the
United States, by foolishness or by design, by individual policymakers and by
anti-nuclear organizations (check out 40+ on this list). They focus on nonproliferation,
arms reduction, test bans, the
ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, even ending all wars. And while
they pursue these lofty and mostly utopian goals they largely ignore the key
question: how do we keep our country, the only country that has ever used
nuclear weapons in war, from using its nuclear weapons again?
Why the U.S. Will Use Again
Sixty years is a long time. That is why the nuclear
hawks want the U.S. to cross the nuclear threshold again now and use
a nuclear weapon, no matter how small. The goal is to shift the nuclear line
from 60 years ago to the present. Like a recovering alcoholic, the longer you
stay sober the safer you are from
relapse. And conversely, you are much more likely to relapse if your last
use was recently. And that is precisely why a new U.S. nuclear use is
so important to the hawks.
Five years from now, a nuclear threat from the U.S. will be much more credible
if the last U.S. use of nuclear weapons was five years earlier rather than 65
years earlier. And a stronger U.S. nuclear deterrent makes for a safer world
[.pdf], according to U.S. policymakers. That is why the U.S. is planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran imminently.
But it's not just the hawks. U.S. liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, and hawks and doves agree on this.
The U.S. nuclear policy is based on the concept of "deterrence" [.pdf]. Nuclear weapons are there not to be used, but to threaten, in order to "deter"
other countries from doing things that the U.S. doesn't like. According to the
Nuclear Posture Review of 2001, "Nuclear weapons play a critical role in
the defense capabilities of the United States, its allies and friends. They
provide credible military options to deter a wide range of threats, including
WMD and large-scale conventional military force." The key word is credible.
Doves and hawks agree that U.S. nuclear weapons as a "deterrent" are OK. It
is only over actual usage that they disagree. But at least the hawks' stance is consistent, while the doves' stance is not.
Nuclear weapons cannot be a credible "deterrent" unless you are prepared to
use them. The doves don't want to use them, yet they do not take a strong stand
for taking them off the table, not even against non-nuclear nations. The subject
security assurances" is almost taboo at even the most progressive U.S. forums
discussing the dangers of nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament, and nonproliferation.
At best, it is only given lip service in passing. Instead, it should be center-stage.
It is elementary that the strongest incentive for non-nuclear countries to remain
non-nuclear would be an ironclad unconditional guarantee by the U.S. and other
nuclear nations that nuclear weapons will not be used against them.
There will be a huge outcry from the nuclear "doves" when "crazy"
Bush crosses the line. They will loudly deplore it and condemn it. But they
will be consoled by the knowledge that the rest of the world will have taken
notice. And as a consequence it will result in a strengthened and more credible
deterrent" [.pdf] in the coming years, to ensure peace in our time.
If Sen. Dianne Feinstein were serious about
her opposition to the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons against Iran,
she would not oppose it on the grounds that "nuclear 'bunker busters' would
kill tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people across the Middle
East." Because she must know that a sufficiently small bunker buster will only kill hundreds
of people [.pdf].
Rep. Ed Markey were serious about
his opposition to Bush dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran, he would not talk
about Iran being "a nation that is on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapon"
when there is zero evidence for it.
Rep. David Hobson and
Sen. Ted Kennedy and others were serious about their opposition to nuclear
bunker busters, they would also oppose the fact that there has been a nuclear bunker buster in the stockpile since
2001, the B61-11, ready to be used.
And they would not oppose bunker busters on the grounds that they do not penetrate enough to contain
the radiation, or that we don't have good enough information to know where to
drop them. Because it is easy to take care of those objections.
If Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Ellen Tauscher and others were serious about their opposition to
"low-yield" nuclear weapons, they would point out that any nuclear weapons
designer "know[s] how to give you most of those [low] yields today with a
pair of wire cutters and a wrench." Information on existing nuclear weapons
yields is classified, and the administration will not tell them how
many low-yield nukes we already have, or can make at a moment's notice.
If all these "anti-nuclear" members of Congress were sincere in
their concerns, they would oppose the threat and use of nuclear weapons by the
U.S. on principle, and focus on the fact that the president
today has sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons against anybody,
and that he will not ask them for permission.
Congressional representatives must know that writing pleading letters of deep
concern to the president , , ,  [.pdf] doesn't really accomplish anything. They must know
that to really accomplish something they have to pass legislation. They know
that they could legislate
away the authority of the president to order the use of nuclear weapons
against non-nuclear countries: they could make it an impeachable offense. They
legislation that made torture illegal.
At the very least, if they were serious they would call for hearings and demand that Rumsfeld and Bush clarify
publicly under which conditions the United States will use nuclear weapons against Iran, before they approve a single penny
of the next defense appropriations bill.
They will not do it, though, because it would "undermine deterrence."
Anti-Nuclear Organizations' Folly
Take the 24 national organizations focusing on "arms control, nuclear nonproliferation,
peace, and security" that recently presented an award to Rep. Markey for his
"leadership in the area of arms control and nonproliferation."
Or the 93 national and international organizations that endorse the
Nuclear Disarmament" [.pdf] that calls for our elected leaders to "dismantle
our nuclear arsenal in concert with other nuclear powers."
They should know that it will happen when pigs fly.
How many of these anti-nuclear organizations forcefully call for our elected
representatives to outlaw a first use of nuclear weapons? Or at least to outlaw
the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries?
How many of these organizations have asked President Bush to take the nuclear strike option against Iran "off the table"?
You can count them with the fingers of one hand.
Visit the Web sites of these 40+ organizations that have anti-nuclear agendas.
Find one of them that makes "negative
security assurances" the centerpiece of their efforts. There is none.
Reducing nuclear arsenals from 10,000 to 5,000 or 2,000 warheads
achieves nothing to reduce the nuclear danger. An ironclad guarantee
that your country will not use nuclear weapons does.
At the very least, how about a legal
safeguard that would require other elected representatives besides the president
and his hand-picked advisers to be part of a decision that will
change the future of America and humanity?
It is not just that the goals of these anti-nuclear organizations are unachievable.
Their members' motives may be heartfelt and sincere. But by pursuing these goals
and advertising their efforts, they create a smokescreen that diverts from the
real issue, the usage of nuclear weapons. The general public is deceived
into believing that there are serious efforts under way to reduce the nuclear
danger, hence it is deceived into complacency about the status quo.
And the status quo is that the U.S. president can legally, single-handedly
decide tomorrow to use a nuclear weapon, big or small, against anybody he wishes.
And the groundwork has been laid by the speeches [.pdf], documents, and changes in policy to prepare the country for a nuclear
attack to happen.
Help your loved one avoid alcohol relapse: abolish all alcohol!
Mainstream Media's Hypocrisy
When the Nuclear Posture Review of 2001 came to light, setting the stage
for the preemptive use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, the media
were up in arms:
They also published numerous op-eds expressing dismay and opposition
to the new nuclear plans.
Four years later, multiple new indicators confirm that the new posture is not just saber-rattling, but is about
to be put into practice in a confrontation with Iran, e.g.:
Given the indications that we are much closer to the actual implementation
of the policies that the mainstream media opposed in 2002, you would naturally
expect a far stronger outcry in those media. Instead, they are silent. There are
no editorials and barely any op-eds published on this issue, and this is likely
not because no op-eds are submitted for publication.
Thirteen of the nation's most prominent physicists (physicists are the ones that invented nuclear weapons) recently
wrote an op-ed/open letter to President Bush opposing this plan. Not one of 12 major U.S. newspapers agreed to publish it.
The only logical interpretation is that in 2002 mainstream media were safe
in stating opposition to a hypothetical plan. Today, the media would be opposing
a real, concrete, imminent plan, and strong opposition could have
a chance to derail it, thus undermining "deterrence." So the time for self-serving
posturing has passed.
Just like alcohol kills alcoholics, nuclear weapons will
kill America. Death from alcohol is not the sudden result of a single drink. But
drinking alcoholics are locked in an irreversible path of self-destruction, becoming
increasingly detached from reality, their internal organs progressively damaged
by the killing substance until death occurs from liver failure, cardiac arrest,
or nervous system breakdown.
Similarly, once the "nuclear taboo" [.pdf] is gone, the use of nuclear weapons will
spread; terrorists will use them against America, and we will
preempt and retaliate in kind against states suspected of harboring terrorists.
Other countries will join the nuclear free-for-all, and nuclear weapons will
eventually destroy America and the rest of the world in the process. The existing nuclear arsenals have the power of over 300,000 Hiroshimas, a bomb that killed over 100,000 people. Hence the existing nuclear arsenals
can kill over five times the entire population of the earth. And it is a straightforward
matter for the U.S. and other nuclear weapons states to increase the size and
lethality of their nuclear weapons arsenals in short order, during or before
a nuclear conflict.
To an alcoholic, alcohol feels like a good thing initially. A couple of drinks
will cheer you up, make you feel more relaxed and relate better to others. Similarly,
in a limited conflict the use of a nuclear weapon could help terminate the conflict
more rapidly and save lives. The Pentagon draft document Doctrine
for Joint Nuclear Operations calls for using nuclear weapons "for rapid
and favorable war termination on U.S. terms," and "to demonstrate U.S.
intent and capability to use nuclear weapons to deter adversary use of WMD."
Using nuclear weapons preemptively may deter an adversary from using real or
suspected chemical or biological weapons that could potentially take thousands
of U.S. lives. And one might even argue that a U.S. massive response to an adversary's
WMD attack would cause many more enemy casualties than a preemptive U.S. low-yield
nuclear attack, thus making the latter the more "humane" course of action.
Such arguments are profoundly deceiving. They ignore the fact that nuclear
weapons are the only true weapons of mass destruction, against which no protection
nor mitigation exists, and that they have the power to destroy all life on the
planet. So the issue is not that by using nuclear weapons today we may
save 5,000 lives at the cost of only 500. The issue is that once you start on
this path there is no return.
Like recovering alcoholics, we should stay away from circumstances
that will make it easier to start using again. But if you need to be around
liquor, it is better that it be hard liquor rather than a banana daiquiri, because
the former will be easier to resist. Similarly, America should stay away from
nuclear weapons that make it easier to cross the line, like low-yield, highly
accurate nuclear bombs or mini-bunker-busters, that supposedly cause "reduced
collateral damage." If you need to have nuclear weapons, let them be the
biggest and most powerful. Because they epitomize what nuclear weapons are all
And we should stay away from policies that lower the bar for the use of nuclear
weapons. Recovering alcoholics know about "slippery slopes."
They know that there are things other than the actual drinking that should be avoided
because of the danger they entail.
An escalating nuclear conflict cannot be stopped and will lead to the destruction
of humanity. The only way to stop it is before it starts.
The Way Forward
Let us learn from the successes of self-help alcohol
and drug abuse organizations. Forget about nuclear arms reduction, nonproliferation,
and test bans; they are diversions. Focus on individual usage and how to prevent
it. Usage against nuclear countries is not the danger, because of mutual deterrence. Proliferation is not the danger, because
no country will risk nuclear retaliation by the U.S. Nuclear terrorism is not
danger that we will deter by brandishing our nuclear weapons; rather, we
will enhance it.
If each individual alcoholic stops drinking, there is no more alcohol problem.
We don't need to ban nor eliminate all alcohol. It will wither by itself.
All nuclear weapon countries should clearly, unequivocally, and unconditionally
renounce the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon countries.
That is the single anti-nuclear goal worth fighting for. Citizens of each nuclear
country should focus their efforts on their own country, not on others'.
How is that goal achieved? By changing the laws and the constitution of each
nuclear country. Citizens can elect lawmakers and administrations committed
to such a path, and shun those that don't.
And citizens of non-nuclear countries can help by deciding that they do not want
any dealings with those nuclear countries that do not adopt an ironclad
commitment renouncing their use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries.
The United States took
the lead in developing and using nuclear weapons and in building up nuclear arsenals [.pdf]. In recent years, it took the lead in lowering the bar for the renewed use of nuclear
weapons. A new U.S. use of nuclear weapons is imminent.
We should also take the lead in averting the danger. Do 300 million Americans
want to commit national suicide?