Friday, January 13, 2006

How I Learned to, If Not Love, Then At Least Not Worry Too Much About the Bomb

So, Iran is going ahead with their nuclear plans, which frightens the bejesus out of a lot of people. One of the many reasons the Bush Administration gave for invading Iraq was their weapons of mass destruction-related programs, and the incredibly tenuous link to terrorists.

Well, Iran actually has real links to terrorists, unlike Iraq did, and also has real weapons of mass destruction-related programs that are nearly complete, as opposed to a wistful dream of someday.

But just as Saddam -- that is, if he'd had a real nuclear program anywhere near completion and any real links to terrorists -- wouldn't have shared the nukes for the danger they could have presented to himself and his own country, I don't think Iran would use or share nukes, for nukes also present a potential danger to themselves or their friendly neighbors.

Consider the coerced testimony -- for what it's worth -- of a waterboarded prisoner, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
As part of his initial proposal for the attack on America, he had "considered targeting a nuclear power plant," KSM said. But al-Qaida chieftain Osama bin Laden "decided to drop that idea," evidently concerned about a Chernobyl-type fallout that might threaten countries adjacent to the United States.

It kind of makes me sick to think OBL has enough humanity to consider the safety of Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and the other Caribbean nations. It's a lot easier to think of him as an insane, soulless monster.

But even soulless monsters have a sense of self-preservation (though it's true the insane ones don't necessarily make life-preserving decisions). I highly doubt OBL would have ever strapped a bomb to himself. That's for the expendable foot soldiers. Though he may have found plenty of people willing to kill themselves in a nuclear blast, OBL still had himself to consider. Just having, storing, hiding a nuclear weapon is a dangerous and difficult thing.

So it may actually have been a helpful preventative measure to have done something so apparently irrational as to have attacked Iraq. It showed the leaders of other countries and terrorist organizations that we don't really care where the attack came from; we will use the opportunity to lash out at those who are on our shit list. And a nuclear attack which could harm surrounding countries could mean a nuclear response which could also harm surrounding countries.

Nope, Iran will keep its technology to itself. Nukes are not a good striking weapon since they are so destructive and so many other people have them. But they are a good fear and intimidation weapon, giving a country or organization power and leverage. Which, frankly, is still a good reason to keep them out of some people's hands.

But I don't think I'll lose any sleep like I did in the 80s after watching The Day After. We won't be suffering a nuclear winter anytime soon.

Progressive Women's Blog Ring
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