Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

Drill

October 26th, 2018

There were several ways they used to do it.  One depended on our being small enough, so I assume it was used only on younger kids, in the early grades.  The crackly voice would come on the school public address system and we would slide off our seats onto the floor, under our desks, where we would crouch in silence, the teacher standing silently in front of the room by her desk, until the crackly voice told us it was okay to emerge.  I wonder now what the teacher was thinking.  Unlike us, she did not hide under her desk.  How did she feel about that?

It was like the shooter drills they subject kids to, these days, except we weren’t hiding from some potential random lunatic with a gun who might or might not exist and who might, if he or she existed, kill or wound some of us.  We were hiding from the mutual assured destruction that was the explicit policy of the great powers that ruled our world, from the universal total incineration of which only governments are capable.

Another way they did it, that I remember (and surely there were more, given the ingenuity of those who devise these systems of child abuse), was to march us in single file out into the hall.  It was colder there, the floor gleaming.  We’d curl up against the brown lockers on our knees, their metal doors cool against our foreheads, our hands clasped over our heads as if to shield us from something.  We weren’t allowed to look up, but I wondered, if I looked up would I see the acoustic tiles from the ceiling come crumbling down at me.  Would I see the light burning through.  Would I feel anything.

What I feel, now that Donald Trump and John Bolton have announced their intention to withdraw from the intermediate range nuclear forces treaty, one of the most successful arms control agreements in history, thus rekindling the arms race that blighted my childhood, is a level of loathing and anger that I never have experienced before for any politician.  It goes way beyond “may they rot in hell,” although that is included.  Am I alone in this?  I don’t like to say that anything is intolerable or unbearable, because after all, if you can say something was intolerable or unbearable, you tolerated it, you bore it.  But the thought of a world plunged back into that darkness for my children, for their children, is close to intolerable.  It is close to unbearable.  I know that millions of people of my generation shared my experience.  Am I alone in feeling that the wound, which I had thought long healed, has been ripped freshly open, and in feeling utter revulsion for those who would do it?

If I am not alone, this November may our collective anger at what we had to endure, at what he would have our children endure, scorch Donald Trump to the ground, reduce him to ash floating on the uncaring breeze, and erase him from any further ability to inflict his evil upon the world.

An open letter to President Obama about Iran

March 10th, 2012

Iranian Queen, about 500 B.C.E.

Dear President Obama,
I am distressed to read reports that the United States is considering Israel’s request to provide it with armaments to destroy Iran’s hardened nuclear facilities.  The request should have been rejected outright.  Despite suspicions, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that Iran is engaged in making a nuclear weapon.  Even if Iran were doing so, the existence of such a weapon would not pose an existential threat to Israel, which has sufficient capacity of its own to render any attack suicidal.  Nor would the existence of such a weapon pose any threat at all to the United States, for similar reasons.  Slanderous allegations to the contrary, Iran’s government is not insane, and is unlikely to make nuclear weapons technology available to terrorists, knowing as well as anybody that what goes around comes around.  The thousands and thousands of Irani innocents who would die and be injured as a proximate result of an Israeli or American attack, the others who would be injured and would die as the result of Iran’s legally justifiable actions in self defense, the environmental devastation to Iran and beyond, the catastrophic impact upon the world economy, all speak against encouraging Israeli bellicosity.  There is nothing to gain, except perhaps a temporary disruption of Irani developments in nuclear technology, and incalculably much to lose.  In this case, as in many others, the Israeli right-wing government’s conception of its interest is contrary to the national interest of America, not congruent with it.  Prime Minister Netanyahu should have been slapped down when he said “You are us.”  No we’re not.  (I’m Jewish, by the way, for what it’s worth.  An American Jew.)  “I have your back, no matter what” is nice language for the schoolyard, and it sounds good in buddy movies, and I can understand the political calculations that make it an attractive thing to say to AIPAC, but it is inconsistent with your primary responsibility to safeguard American lives, property, and national interest.  It is most certainly not consistent with these goals to launch unprovoked wars of aggression in unstable parts of the world, as George Bush found out to all of our chagrin.

Sincerely,

Seth Steinzor