No longer is it safe to bury your treasure or your weapons or your head in the sand. Because the National Nuclear Security Administration is setting up design teams at three nuclear labs –Sandia, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore –to explore possible designs for a new nuclear weapon called the “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator.” Unlike the bigger nuclear weapons, designed to obliterate entire cities, the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator will merely demolish parts of cities –specifically underground parts –like hidden foreign storage facilities, command bunkers [No! of course not our bunkered shadow government, silly. Theirs.] It could even hit, say, a basement day care center.
The new darling in America’s ever-growing arsenal is a teensy weensy mini-nuke. It’s kind of like a mini-corn dog, only coming up with its design alone will cost approximately $14,999,999.75 more than it cost to come up with the time-tested stick-up-the-middle corn dog design. And to its credit, unlike the mini or maxi corn dog, it promises to perform without the need for mustard of any kind.
Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator…Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator. Say it out loud and trill that first “R.” Sexy! Let’s think about it for a minute. The guys whose job it is to name bombs and things thought merely calling it the Nuclear Earth Penetrator wasn’t intimidating enough. It seems the word “nuclear” does not pack a big enough punch for them, so they felt the need to enhance it with the word “robust.” I don’t know about you, but just saying the word “nuclear” out loud takes six and three quarters years off my life. It’s a pretty robust word all on its own–I’d even go so far as to call it feisty.
Not to worry, it’s a low yielding nuclear bomb you say. What? Exactly just how low yielding can a nuclear weapon be? And, if it’s so low yielding, why not just use some of the high yielding non-nuclear weapons like those Daisy Cutters that spill out jellied gasoline on impact and then suck the air out of a quarter mile radius or whatever it is that they do. That sounds pretty damn Rrrrrobust to me. That’d save us a few gazillion or so bucks. And besides isn’t the whole point of a nuclear weapon the fact that it is so mind-bogglingly high yielding? Isn’t that why they are supposedly such a deterrent to all those evil axes out there?
Perhaps calling this nukelette “robust” was to compensate for the “Flaccid Nuclear Earth Penetrator-We-Hope, -But-Can’t-Promise-Anything” ones they spent 72 trillion of our tax dollars on last year. You didn’t hear about them, because, well, they didn’t exactly perform –just wilted right over in their little missile silos. Not even a moment’s stand at attention. At least they didn’t promise.
Hmmm…robust penetration…robust penetration…why would a bunch of mostly aging men sit around talking about robust penetration? Someone get Freud on the phone. I can see a Pentagon/Energy Department meeting now:
“This impressive weapon is a model of stealth and precision. It provides ultimate penetration, gentlemen. It knows what it has to do, makes the first move and takes no prisoners. And it’s guaranteed to perform every time. It can penetrate even the tightest opening, plunging hard and long, deeper and deeper into its forbidden dark, cavernous target until…oh yeah…payload delivered and Mission. Accomplished.”
[A quivering silence.]
“Uh…General, Sir, I’m sorry, but you can’t smoke in here. It’s against regulations. Sir?”
“What? Oh…yes, of course. Well, gentlemen, this is the newest in military offensives.”
Yes, Sir, offensive it most certainly is.
I can think of lots of things that could use a little robust penetration, some of which I won’t go into here, but how about the Robust Economic Disparity Penetrator or the Robust Truth About Enron Penetrator or the Robust Skewed National Budget Priorities Penetrator or even in my city, at the very least, we could really use a Robust San Francisco Fog Penetrator. But, we definitely don’t need anything else nuclear and we certainly need to stop violating the Earth because, honestly, haven’t she been screwed enough already?
Carol Norris is a freelance writer and psychotherapist living in San Francisco. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org