FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Nukes on the Loose

by David Krieger

The images of the hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Center are nightmare images of unspeakable horror that will forever be a part of our reality.

Imagine, however, another nightmare — that of a mushroom cloud rising over an American city. This is a threat we can no longer ignore. Perhaps today citizens and leaders alike will better understand the seriousness of the nuclear threat.

Our leaders have failed to grasp that our present nuclear weapons policies contribute to the possibility of nuclear terrorism against our country. Large nuclear arsenals do not protect us any more than a missile shield would have prevented the attacks against the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.

In 1998 India and Pakistan both demonstrated their nuclear capabilities. Pakistan, which borders on Afghanistan, is now the only country in the world to recognize the Taliban regime. Should there be a US led war in Afghanistan, it is possible that the Pakistani government could fall to extremists linked to the Taliban, thus putting nuclear weapons into the hands of a regime that might well support and harbor terrorists.

Up to now, the Bush Administration’s primary response to the nuclear threat has been to push for a national missile shield costing billions of dollars, the technology of which is unproven, and which would at best be years away from implementation. A missile shield would likely do irreparable harm to our relations with other countries, countries that we need to join us in the fight against international terrorism, including Russia.

The mad nuclear arms race during the Cold War, and the paltry steps taken to reverse it since the end of the Cold War, have left tens of thousands of nuclear weapons potentially available to terrorists. Today there is no accurate inventory of the world’s nuclear arsenals or weapons-grade fissile materials suitable for making nuclear weapons. Estimates have it, however, that there are currently some 30,000 nuclear weapons in the world. We simply don’t know whether these weapons are adequately controlled, or whether some could already have fallen into the hands of terrorists.

A US blue ribbon commission, headed by former Senate majority leader Howard Baker, has called for spending $3 billion a year over the next ten years to maintain control of the nuclear weapons, nuclear materials and nuclear scientists in the former Soviet Union. The Bush administration had planned to cut funding for this program from $1.2 billion to $800 million next year.

The US government was put on notice that the World Trade Center was a target of attack by terrorists after an unsuccessful attempt to topple the Trade Center towers in 1993. Yet, despite this previous attempt to destroy the World Trade Center, our intelligence services were ineffectual in protecting it in the face of determined and suicidal terrorists.

Can we continue to ignore the determination of those who hate this country? Is there any reason to believe that they would not seek to attack the United States with nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction if they could obtain them?

More than ten years after the end of the Cold War we and the Russians still have more than 10,000 nuclear weapons each with a total of some 4,500 of them on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired in moments. The Russians have been urging the US to move faster in reducing the size of the nuclear arsenals in both countries, while we have been largely indifferent to their entreaties.

Since the inauguration of the Bush presidency, the US has been increasing its unilateralism, demonstrating its disregard for international law. But we cannot combat terrorism unilaterally, and our disregard for the rule of law will only cause others to follow in our footsteps, making the world an even more dangerous place.

Our response to the despicable terrorism perpetrated against us must be multilateral and consistent with the rule of international law. We should urge the United Nations to convene a World Peace Conference of leaders of all nations to find solutions to the outstanding problems of war and other forms of violence. Unless these problems are solved we will never be able to eradicate terrorism.

Our vulnerability demands that we hear from and respond to all who have grievances. We need justice under the law, but acts of vengeance will only make matters worse, leading to even greater threat. “The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., “or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” None of us wants to awaken to see the image of a mushroom cloud and know that one of our cities has been destroyed. The destruction of the World Trade Center should send powerful warning signals.

The elimination of nuclear weapons can no longer be a back-burner issue. The danger of the use of nuclear weapons has actually increased in the wake of the terrorist threats. We must act to reduce and eliminate the nuclear arsenals of the world as if our very futures depended upon it because it is clear that they do. CP

David Krieger, an attorney and political scientist, is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. For further perspectives on the terrorist attacks and ideas on waging peace, visit the Foundation’s web site.

More articles by:

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
 North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail