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Here a Nuke, There a Nuke, Everywhere a Nuke, Nuke
By Mike Talley October 19, 2004

Duck and cover will not help you. Living in the middle of Idaho might. East Coast? West Coast? Forget it. You're toast. Live near a military base? That will cost you. Gulf Coast? Nope, several ports and lots of off shore oil rigs. Kind of scary isn't it?

I know that the title of this essay has already clued you in that I am talking about a nuclear blast and the places where they are likely to occur. Of course I am assuming the worst case of actual missiles hitting the continental US. We could get lucky and only have a brief case bomb or container bomb go off in some town or port only killing a few hundred thousand or so. Or as General Buck Turgidson famously said in Dr. Strangelove "I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mused. But I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed. Tops. Depending on the breaks." We might get even luckier. Some other poor country could be wiped off the face of the earth instead of us. Can you say Israel?

There are several places where these rouge nukes can come from. There are the knowns: India, Pakistan, Former Soviet Republics, Israel. These are known threats as India is one war with Pakistan away from using nukes, Pakistan is just a bullet away from falling into an Afghanistan style theocracy headed by Western Hating clerics, no one knows what security the Russians are able to afford and Israel is one Yom Kippur away from being wiped off the face of the earth. At least these are known sources. Steps can be taken to keep these nukes contained. Plus all the current leaders of these countries are Western leaning, intending to use their nukes as deterrence instead of killing Americans. For that we should be grateful and can sleep with some relative assurance that containment will work for those countries.

But.

Are you losing sleep over Iran and North Korea? You're not? You should be.

North Korea and Iran will have nuclear weapons in the near future if something is not done to stop them. Some would argue that it is OK for them to have nukes. These people will say that the US and others have no right to be the only nuclear powers. If the little guy can afford to get the bomb, more power to them. Plus it checks US hegemony in the region. To these people, that is a good thing. There is a difference though.

Other countries that have gotten the bomb have been responsible with them and have developed them for purely defensive reasons. Why do Iran and North Korea want the bomb?

What does Iran need the bomb for? To protect against Saddam Hussein? President Bush dealt with that threat already. To protect against Israel? Contrary to what you may have been lead to believe, the Israelis are not war mongering, brain eating Zionist hell bent on dominating the entire world. I could go on, but I won't. But Iran would LOVE to have the bomb to knock down the US and Israel. Something every Arab country has wanted to do for the past 50 years.

The Iranians are mad at the US for being our usual decadent selves and for past "wrongs" that we committed against them. Namely, that we supported Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. They hate Israel because, well they do not need a reason, they are Arabs, thus, they are born hating Israel. Can you imagine how cool the leader of Iran would be to the rest of the Arab world if he nuked Israel? Well, the memory of him would be cool, as he himself would be a crispy bit of charcoal after the counter strike by Israel.

Even if they did not nuke Israel, they could take over Iraq and probably Saudi Arabia. Which would put them in control of most of the world's oil. What could the US or anyone do about it? The Iranians would start juggling their nukes like a drunken circus performer while laughing hysterically. That will be enough for the countries of the world to pull their pants down and bend over.

North Korea is the wild eyed, schizophrenic cousin that everyone keeps one eye on during family reunions. You never know what he is going to do next and it is just safest to stay on guard and to keep small animals and children away from him. As one of the last countries still under a Stalinist style communist system and being the only country ever defeated (1) by an actual UN army, these guys suffer from a severe inferiority complex. I mean come on, having the United Nations actually field an army that kicked your ass out of South Korea? That has got to sting. For the last fifty years these guys have been stewing in their juices, just waiting for the moment when they could show the world that they are a force to be reckoned with.

There have been several roadblocks to making this dream a reality, namely crushing poverty and total isolation. The Norks, as they have been dubbed, have placed enough artillery on the boarder with South Korea that if they all fired at once, Seoul would be leveled with hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded. That would give them a nice warm and fuzzy feeling for about a few hours before the MASSIVE South Korean and US response would carpet bomb them into the Stone Age. But wait, they are already in the Stone Age. I will need to work on a better analogy, but the point is made: any attack by the Norks would be met with a swift and terrible response. However, if they had a bunch of nukes, well then, that changes things. Instead of shelling Seoul, they could just lob a bunch of nukes at the city. Totally leveling it and throwing the entire country into a panic. They would keep a few nukes in reserve and announce to the world that South Korea has 30 days to surrender unconditionally or they will lob a few nukes at Japan. Any attempt by the world to intervene would also trigger the attack on Japan. Hell, they may even nuke Japan just to get back for all the women that the Japanese raped during WWII. What would the world be able to do? What if the Chinese or Russians sell them missiles capable of hitting the US?

If Iran and North Korea acquire nuclear weapons, the odds of them using them for no apparent reason are greater than them using the weapons as deterrence. I know that seems unthinkable, but the point needs to be pondered. Both countries have shown nothing but total disdain for their fellow countrymen and would be perfectly willing to sacrifice everything to redeem their honor.

What are we going to do about it? As I have previously written, the UN is a toothless dog that doesn't even bark anymore. Negotiate? I dare someone, anyone, to show me a time where negotiations diplomacy actually accomplished what they were supposed to accomplish. When the police or the military negotiate with an armed hostage taker, they know that they will never uphold their end of the deal. They are just stalling for time. The same is true in negotiations between countries. Yes, some negotiations seem towork out, mainly regarding trade and monetary policy, but even then both sides keep the thought in the back of their mind that if they get mistreated, they will slap on tariffs or other things to hurt the other side. Will Rogers said it best, "Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock." You can not negotiate with people who are irrational or who have no concern for their own citizens.

I will ask the question again, what are we going to do about it? This question should be answered by both John Kerry and George Bush. Here is how I would ask the question. First to John Kerry:

Me: Senator Kerry, how do you propose keeping Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons?

JK: I will work with our friends and allies to convince them that continuing development is not in their best interest. I would get the UN involved as well.

Me: No offence Sir, but what will you do when, not if, but when the Iranians and the Norks promptly tell you and your community of nations to go straight to hell?

JK: I will work with the Security Council of the UN to get a tough resolution passed that will impose harsh sanctions on them if they continue.

Me: Sorry for the laughter, but I found it humorous that you actually believe that France, Germany and Russia will actually pass a tough resolution. But I digress. So, you get your "resolution" passed, then what will you do when they continue to flip the UN the bird while mouthing "F*** Y**"?

JK: We will work with the community of nations to impose the mandated sanctions. I will work with China and Japan to pressure the North Koreans and I will work with Russia and other neighbors of Iran to pressure them.

Me: --hysterical laughter-Oh, Man that was a good one! I have not laughed that hard in years…… Sorry, back to the interview. And what will that accomplish? Aren't there already tough sanctions in place against North Korea and Iran? Haven't these sanctions been in place for decades? How will this change anything?

JK: Some of those sanctions are US only sanctions. If we can work with our friends and allies, we can get broader restrictions in place.

Me: Ok fair enough, but the process you have just laid out will take at least a year if not two years. During that time both countries will have continued to develop their capabilities. Your intelligence as well as the worlds intelligence tells you that each country is close to producing nuclear weapons. You know that both countries are unstable and will most likely use the weapons themselves or pawn them off to terrorist. What will you do then Sir?

JK: I will go back to the Security Council of the UN to get a resolution that demands both countries stop developing these weapons. The resolution will set a timeline and will have language that will allow the UN to take any means necessary to halt the development of these types of weapons.

Me: You're joking right? You're not? Well ok. So now you have a tough resolution that has certain demands and the use of force has been authorized. What will you do when they continue to develop nukes?

JK: I will gather together a coalition of nations to take any means necessary to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Me: Oh, well what if Russia, Germany and France decide not to join your coalition? Will you still proceed?

JK: Yes, it is vital to the security of our nation and of each region that these countries do not possess nuclear weapons.

Me: So you would go to war without some principle allies, based on UN resolutions, based on US and other countries intelligence that these countries have not ceased developing nukes and that they represent a grave threat to the US and the world?

JK: Yes. If that is what it takes. But we have confidence that each country will see the folly of continuing developing these types of weapons.

Me: Isn't that what President Bush did in regards to Iraq? I mean US and other countries intelligence showed huge stockpiles of illicit weapons, Saddam had a history of attacking his neighbors, he was in defiance of numerous UN resolution, the last one stating that their would be grave consequences if he did not comply and some of our principle allies refused to go along with the US.

JK: Yes, that is about the gist of what happened.

Me: I see. Thank you Senator Kerry for your time.

Now here is how the interview with President Bush would go:

Me: Mr. President, how do you propose keeping Iran and North Korea for developing nuclear weapons?

GWB: I will continue to work with the UN and our allies to pressure both countries to cease developing these weapons.

Me: What will you do when both countries refuse to comply with UN resolutions or refuse to negotiate in good faith?

GWB: I will make it clear to both sides that the US will not tolerate a nuclear Iran or North Korea.

Me: How will you make it clear to them?

GWB: I will state that the US will take any and all means necessary to prevent nuclear weapons from being developed and built.

Me: Will that mean a pre-emptive attack?

GWB: I am not saying that. But I will say that we have done that in the past and would keep that as an option.

Me: Could you please elaborate?

GWB: All I will say is that Iran and North Korea will not have nukes.

Me: Thank you Mister President for your time.

I hope you see the difference. It is black and white; while the press would have you believe that this issue is really a grey issue. I do not want to ponder what will happen if these countries are allowed to produce nukes. The world will be a much scarier place. You can talk about a subject forever. You can make clever speeches and pass nice concise resolutions, but no one will abide by them. The ultimate question, and I confess that I do not know the full answer, is what will we do when diplomacy fails and nukes are only months away from production? What if they both have them already?

I am of the opinion that we can not wait until mushroom clouds are over Seoul, or Tokyo or San Francisco or LA or New York. Then it will be too late and the cost will be much higher than if we had done something about it sooner. The solutions to these problems are not pretty, in fact they are pretty grim and there will be a high cost to them. But the cost of inaction will be much, much higher both in terms of lives lost and actual dollars spent.


1. I know, I know. The Korean War technically is not over and the result was basically a stalemate. But the UN forces did kick the Norks out of the South and almost kicked them out of the North itself. That is until about a billion Chinese poured over the boarder.

Copyright © 2004 by Mike Talley


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