Living with the Bomb

by ALAN CARUBA August 6, 2008

On August 6, 1945, in order to end the war with the Empire of Japan, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, thus launching the atomic age. The Japanese warlords did not respond with a notice of surrender, so the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Japan surrendered unconditionally.

That's the way wars used to be fought. By that time, Germany had been so thoroughly destroyed with conventional bombs that its cities laid in ruins. Over a half century ago, wars were not waged with concerns for "collateral damage", i.e., civilian deaths. It was understood that the civilian population had to be killed to the point where there was simply no capability to proceed.

For a short time the U.S. was the only nation with a nuclear capacity, but thanks to having infiltrated much of the government with a vast spy network, the Soviet Union was able to develop its own atomic bomb.

At that point American children were taught to hide under their school desks or gather in the hallways to avoid the affect of an atomic bomb blast. This was, of course, ridiculous because a nuclear bomb would flatten any school, along with much of the city in which it was located.

In 1965 Herman Kahn of the Rand Corporation published On Escalation in which he postulated the concept of MAD, mutually assured destruction, as the only rational solution to another nation's nuclear weapons program. Red China joined the nuclear club and, in time, others such as Pakistan and India as well. Both of these nations developed their nuclear programs in secret. North Korea hasn't even bothered to keep it a secret, nor has Iran.

Today, in the Middle East, Israel has long had nuclear weapons in response to the many conventional wars waged against it and in anticipation of a nation like Iran that is led by lunatics who repeatedly tell the world that they intend to "wipe Israel off the map."

Although no nuclear weapon has been used in war since August 6, 1945, the likelihood that Iran will use one is too great to ignore. There are reports that Iran has tested launching presumably nuclear-tipped missiles from ships. This would be a means to attack the United States.

What is Sen. Barack Hussein Obama's response to the threat of a nuclear attack on America?

On October 2, 2007, Sen. Obama gave a speech at Chicago's DePaul University in which he declared "A New Beginning." He said, "America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons." While he said he did not intend to pursue unilateral disarmament, he proposed "a global ban on the production of fissile material for weapons."

For all the treaties that have been signed since the dawn of the Atomic Age, the one thing we know for sure is that nations, if they want, will simply ignore them. Iran, for example is a signatory to the United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the same time its president brags of adding thousands of gas centrifuges for the creation of fissile materials.

Presumably, Sen. Obama, if elected President, will use his charm and diplomatic skills to talk Iran's mad mullahs into ending their nuclear weapons program. He is on record as saying he would meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but has since "refined" that statement saying such a meeting would have pre-conditions, et cetera.

"When I'm president," Sen. Obama now says, "we'll strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that nations that don't comply will automatically face strong international sanctions." Meanwhile, Germany has just signed a deal to purchase natural gas from Iran.

There is a simple reason that nations have nuclear weapons. Their neighbors and their perceived enemies have them. Treaties are nice, but useless. Sanctions are useless. The United Nations is useless.

My generation, born prior to or during the era of World War II has learned to live with the bomb. Every President since Harry Truman has wanted to outlaw nuclear weapons and none has come close.

You cannot un-invent such lethal technology. You cannot assume some madman will not want to use it. The only prevention of such use is to destroy the capability to use it. Israel destroyed Saddam Hussein's nuclear facilities on June 7, 1981. It has more recently destroyed such facilities in Syria. When the Israelis say "Never again", they mean it.

Sen. Obama has surrounded himself with advisors with known anti-Israel views and he continues to blather away about some form of disarmament. He has laid out a program by which America's military defense would be severely reduced, including weapon development.

History teaches that only strength can deter aggression. Waiting to be attacked is folly. Expecting nations led by men with evil intentions to respond rationally is folly.

Mutually Assured Destruction only works when leaders care enough to not sacrifice their people, but Iran's leaders are eager for the return of the Twelfth Imam, a mythical Islamic figure who would impose Islam on the entire world.

Sixty-three years since the first and only atomic bombs were used to end a war that had cost millions of lives we are still living with the bomb. The immediate question is whether we will witness its use against Israel and the United States.

If elected, Sen. Obama's policies will amount to unconditional surrender in the face of a very real threat. Contributing Editor Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. He blogs at Warning Signs.

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