Give a Nuke the Nobel prize

Want Peace? Give a Nuke the Nobel


During the 31 years leading up to the first atomic bomb, the world without nuclear weapons engaged in two global wars resulting in the deaths of an estimated 78 million to 95 million people, uniformed and civilian. The world wars were the hideous expression of what happens when the human tendency toward conflict hooks up with the violent possibilities of the industrial age. The version of this story we are most familiar with is the Nazi death machinery, and we are often tempted to think that if Hitler had not happened, we would never have encountered assembly-line murder.

The truth is that industrial killing was practiced by many nations in the old world without nuclear weapons. Soldiers were gassed and machine-gunned by the hundreds of thousands in the trenches of World War I, when Hitler was just another corporal in the Kaiser's army. By World War II, countries on both sides of the war used airplanes and artillery to rain death on battlefields as well as cities, until the number killed around the world was so huge that the best estimates of the total number lost diverge by some 16 million souls. The dead numbered 62 million or 78 million — somewhere in there.

So when last we saw a world without nuclear weapons, human beings were killing one another with such feverish efficiency that they couldn't keep track of the victims to the nearest 15 million. Over three decades of industrialized war, the planet averaged about 3 million dead per year. Why did that stop happening?

Is it because people no longer found reasons to fight? Hundreds if not thousands of wars, small and large, have been fought since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Is it because nations and tribes found a conscience regarding mass death? Clearly not — the slaughter in China during the Cultural Revolution, in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and in Rwanda between Hutu and Tutsi all offer bloody proof. Is it the U.N.? Um, no. Is it globalism and the web of commerce that increasingly connects the interests of the major powers? Yes, that certainly has an impact. But the global economy is a creation of the nuclear age. Major powers find ways to get along because the cost of armed conflict between them has become unthinkably high.

A world with nuclear weapons in it is a scary, scary place to think about. The industrialized world without nuclear weapons was a scary, scary place for real. But there is no way to un-ring the nuclear bell. The science and technology of nuclear weapons is widespread, and if nukes are outlawed someday, only outlaws will have nukes.

Comment: Like the final sentence!

1 comment:

  1. Nuclear bombs, or rather the people setting them off, are responsible for many earthquakes and therefore the resultant deaths. Don't expect to see this in the mainstream media, but information about the topic is available on the internet.

    I am telling the world about this because it is a tragedy beyond a tragedy that almost no one knows this is happening besides the people responsible, who are clearly irresponsible.


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