The Nuclear Option
Now’s the perfect time to assess our nuclear option. (We would have said “re-assess,” but for most of us a critical assessment hasn’t ever happened.) Now’s the time to make a big change. A series of scandals involving our nuclear weapons force has spurred leading war-makers, like Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel, to call for an overhaul, one that will cost, for now, an estimated $12 billion. The Strangelovian details of the scandals — a maintenance wrench required for fastening warheads to missiles was FedExed between three bases, because there was only one wrench — the absurd folly of how we handle the most dangerous items on Earth served as catalytic alarm, apparently, because now it’s been decided we’re going handle our nuclear arms the right way. We’re going to polish them up and guard them with the best watchers money can buy.
And then they’re going to do what they always do: sit in a silo, doing nothing excepting slowly amortizing the money we spent to build and maintain something we hope to never use.
This is not a good use of taxpayer funds.
From a rational, game theory-derived strategic outlook, we have two logical choices. One might be financially cheaper than the other, but both choices are better than our current course of “dig a hole and throw money into it.”
Our first and best choice, and the one This Space enthusiastically endorses, is to scrap our entire nuclear program. Dismantle it. Terminate it. Unilaterally, without Russian cooperation. (Or Israeli or Pakistani, etc.) Lead the world. Show the way. Declare to all humanity that this is the first important step in disarming our planet, of disabusing ourselves of barbaric weapons and the crimes against humanity they perpetrate. Stop the War Machine. Start the Peace Machine.
Since almost everyone has been bamboozled into believing the Big Lie — the one that says that we’re fundamentally different, separate, unrelated, disconnected, and differentiated tribes and not One Giant Family of Man — ignorance-driven fear of the dreaded “other,” the enemy you’ll never really know or be bothered to meet, leads us two the other logical choice. Our next best option is to exhaust our current nuclear stockpiles, getting maximum value and return on investment of the jillions of dollars we’ve spent on making and maintaining then. The best use would be to bomb countries that don’t possess nuclear weapons and, therefore, can’t engage in mutually assured destruction, just their own destruction. Instead of putting our brave boys and girls in harm’s way chasing after some camel-fucker in Iraq, we could simply drop a load on the Islamic State. And every other place terrorists who threaten our beautiful way-of-life hide in the shadows.
Will there be collateral damage? Will millions of civilians and the structures that once housed them be extinguished? Yes, of course. That’s the point of nuclear weaponry, a point that was made with tremendous clarity in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Given our track record as a nation, keeping unarmed civilians safe has never been a top priority. For every “high value” target taken out by one of our drones, several dozen “low value” targets go down in flames. As they say in NASCAR, that’s a tough deal. War is hell, etcetera.
As anyone whose had a rat or roach or termite infestation knows, even when you kill them “all” some survive and, eventually, they regroup and return and must be exterminated anew. Think of all the bad guys out there as so many rodents, their unshaven beards emblematic of mouse fur. By wiping out an entire generation of Persistent Threats, we’ll buy ourselves at least a decade or two of peace and quiet. We might even be able to leave our shoes on at the airport.
Now wouldn’t that be better than getting absolutely nothing out of our aging arsenal?