Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Final Countdown

"Countdown to Zero – or to War on Iran?

by John V. Walsh, August 23, 2010

Countdown to Zero is now playing in a theater near you, at least if you live in a very “blue state” or a “blue neighborhood,” for example, Cambridge, Mass., my hometown, or San Francisco. The movie is aimed squarely at the antiwar, anti-nuclear, pro-Obama audience, which dwells therein and is all too susceptible to the “humanitarian” streak of imperialism.

The film is divided roughly into two parts, the first warning of “nuclear terrorism,” emanating mainly from the brown-skinned world of Arabs and Muslims, although a few seconds are devoted to Japanese terrorists. The second part considers the possibility of an accidental nuclear war and the very fallible command-and-control systems for these instruments of mass murder. The problem is that these two issues are equated. A “terrorist” nuclear attack with one or even a few nuclear bombs would be a crime against humanity on the scale of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But terrible as this threat is, it is quite different from the existential danger posed by the U.S. and Russia, each with thousands of nukes on hair-trigger alert, subject to all the vagaries of technical failure, misjudgment, and miscalculation. An accidental or ill-considered nuclear exchange of this magnitude is of an entirely different scale, a slaughter worse than all the previous ones in human history combined, and a threat to the very existence of the species, given the real possibility of a nuclear winter. Osama bin Laden looks like a pesky mosquito compared to this danger. Countdown fails completely to draw that distinction....

Coming at this time, Countdown appears designed in large part to scare those who are likely to be antiwar into supporting further moves by the Obama administration against Iran. The hoax of weapons of mass destruction, most notably nuclear weapons, was employed to frighten the American public into a war on Iraq. And now the same is being done with Iran. As George W. Bush told us, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….” Well, you know.