Monday, November 13, 2006

Unsurvivable Weapons - Nuclear by Louis Evan Palmer


Herman Kahn wrote a book a while ago which he called "Thinking about the Unthinkable" and one of the basic premises it examined is that a war using nuclear weapons could be fought & won. We know, but have seemingly forgotten, that this is not true.

Part of the reason we know it's untrue is because while waiting for a Martian dust storm to clear, the scientists tending to a 1971 Mariner 9 space probe decided to do some extra-curricular investigations. Their resultant calculations highlighted that the dust blocked enough sunlight to significantly lower the temperature on the martian surface. Similar conclusions were reached by German scientists a decade later regarding raging global forest fires that would be caused by nuclear blasts. This led to a concerted effort to study the phenomenon of atmospheric particulates and their effects, especially on sunlight reaching the surface and the life dependent on it. Gwynn Dyer talks about this in the latest edition of his book "War".

In this context, the bottom line was that a nuclear exchange of more than 100 missiles in the 1 megaton range that was targeted on major cities (a likely scenario) would be enough to plunge the world into a nuclear winter with a massive post-explosion loss of life - plant, animal, human.

This is not the hundreds of millions who would die from the bombs themselves which has always been the main focus - this is the billions who survived. It could be the extinction of humans. It would certainly be a mass extinction of plant & animal life. It would also destroy the ozone layer which would render the surface uninhabitable. It would poison the entire world which would not allow it to sustain life. This is a horrible possibility which must be dealt with in the swiftest, most unequivocal manner.

This means that nuclear weapons are unsurvivable which means that they are unusable. The only solution to protecting ourselves against unusable, unsurvivable weapons is for their banning, destruction and subsequent & unrelenting prevention measures up to, if necessary, a prohibition on nuclear (fission) power .

To be clear, unsurvivable means that even if a country launched a completely successful first strike and there was no retaliation whatsoever, everyone on the planet would still die.

If a defensive posture is offered, let it stand as unchallenged that there is no shield imaginable that could stop all the missiles. For this reason, retaliation has always been part of the "defense". The only thing that a anti-missile defense opens the way to is a first strike or, the recurring dream of war planners, a tactical strike.

A tactical strike is such a ludicrous proposition that it defies reason to have it as an option. Does anyone in their right mind think that dropping a few tactical nuclear bombs on the fringes of Russia will not result in a counter-strike? Russia has made it abundantly clear that any nuclear strike against any part of its territory will result in a massive response - not a tit for tat - a full retaliatory counter-strike. What part of that don't we understand? Or, is this possibly a bluff in some catastrophic poker game where the ante is all life on the planet.

This then means that tactical strikes would be reserved for smaller, less powerful non-nuclear countries - which, of course, leads to a tremendous push in these assorted countries for these very weapons; this, in turn, pushes the whole world closer to the brink with each country that joins the "club".

Think about it - we're looking at a situation where India nuclear-fighting Pakistan could destroy the entire planet. Not Russia, China or America - India versus Pakistan. Israel, if it has the 200-400 nukes, it is reputed to have, could also destroy the whole globe if it launched all its missiles at major cities. The game is out-of-control.

The other option which seems to be rearing its venomous head is that of micro-nukes which can be disguised for public consumption as regular high-yield bombs. How many micro-nukes equal the damage of a major nuke? How long would it take to get to that point given the mind-numbing amount of ordinance being hurled at small countries like Afghanistan and Iraq? Does it matter if you're poisoned quickly or over a longer period?

The only reasonable path is an outright ban - immediate, complete, enforceable, and rigorous. Press your government for this, press the U.N. While the soonest possible disarmament is ideal, safety may dictate a slower, paced reduction but it must start now and continue unabated until nuclear weapons are a footnote in the history books.

If it feels like Time is short then it is!

Unsurvivable Weapons - Nuclear, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is a test message