Tuesday, June 21, 2016

COUNSELORS OF WAR

By Ronald T. Fox


Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
-- Albert Einstein


“A nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.” The speaker of these words was not an anti-war activist or a utopian dreamer. He was none other than Ronald Reagan, who uttered these words in 1985 in a face-to-face meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Reagan was not an expert on nuclear weapons--far from it. He came to this conclusion through simple common sense. So did a number of notable scientists who were experts on atomic weapons. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the widely-acknowledged “father of the atomic bomb,” mused after watching the explosion of the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” Noted physicist Albert Einstein famously said: "Our world faces a crisis as yet unperceived by those possessing power to make great decisions for good or evil. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

What these men shared in common was an understanding that nuclear bombs were not weapons that could be used to fight wars.  Unfortunately the brilliant men who have shaped US nuclear weapons policy did think of atomic bombs as usable weapons; apparently so do our current crop of strategic planners.  We are living the consequences of their folly.
 
The fundamental truth about atomic weapons was stated early in the nuclear age by the pioneering Rand Corporation nuclear strategist Bernard Brodie, who wrote in 1946: “Everything about the atomic bomb is overshadowed by the twin facts that it exists and that its destruction power is fantastically great.” The story of the nuclear age from that moment on has been a story about intellectuals trying to outmaneuver this fundamental truth, trying to make nuclear bombs manageable, controllable, usable for military purposes. They developed esoteric theories and war-fighting strategies that belied common sense, and in the process moved the United States closer to Armageddon.  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

MAY 2016 BONEHEAD ABSURDITY OF THE MONTH


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NOTE: I’ve been in Italy for the month of May, so this month’s absurdities are being posted a bit late.  Despite my Italian preoccupation, I was still able to find some worthy candidates.
 
1. GOP Representative Louie Gohmert. America's Dumbest Congressman is still alive. We hadn't heard from him in a while, so I was worried we were going to find his corpse in a snowy parking lot somewhere, his tongue still firmly frozen to a lamppost.
 
Last month on “Washington Watch,” Gohmert railed against “the hate crimes by this administration” against conservative Christians, such as the nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor. "Washington Watch" is a program of the Tony Perkins hate group Family Research Council, and yes Republicans still continue to genuflect to the hate group leader because it's the right kind of hate group. The kind that will host America's Dumbest Congressman to fret about how this administration is rounding up Christians and, hell if I know, taking their good Christian ammo. He's not exactly the most coherent of our legislators.
 
The two also blasted an Obama administration's effort to fight hate crimes directed at Muslim-Americans. Gohmert dismissed concerns about such hate crimes while saying that the White House is ignoring crimes against Christians and Jews throughout the world because “we have a United States leadership that will not protect Christians [and] puts a real prize on protecting Muslims.”
 
For those of you who don't remember, our primary purpose in highlighting the stylings of America's Dumbest Congressman is to point out that this person is actually in charge of writing our nation's laws. And he, like a great many of his compatriots, is a stone-cold moron. A lunatic. A crackpot. A man who in any other country would likely have to be content holding up badly spelled rants on cardboard signs--but in America we elect these people to Congress, apparently because states like Texas think it’s funny.
 
The congressman then quoted from the book of Hosea to suggest that America is facing God’s wrath because “nations are made to account when they put leaders in place that persecute those who are trying to follow the words of God.”
 
It’s always fun to look in on Rep. Louie Gohmert from time to time to make sure he is not sticking forks in wall outlets or trying to swallow one of his own socks. Phronesis will continue to watch over him as best we can, at least until the eventual Republican nominee declares him their vice presidential pick. After that, he's their problem.