Saturday, January 13, 2007

Resetting the Doomsday Clock

Most Americans were not even born yet when the U.S. successfully detonated the first hydrogen bomb in the Ivy Mike test in 1952. That test, along with similar Soviet tests, haunted people's dreams like a nightmare for years afterward. The following year the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists set their "Doomsday Clock" the latest it's ever been -- 2 minutes to midnight. But over the years, a mass amnesia gradually set in.

This sense of denial is what the organization is trying to break through by resetting the clock next Wednesday.
The symbolic clock, maintained by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, currently is set at seven minutes to midnight, with midnight marking global catastrophe.

The group did not say in which direction the hands would move. But in a news release previewing an event next Wednesday, they said the change was based on "worsening nuclear, climate threats" to the world.

"The major new step reflects growing concerns about a 'Second Nuclear Age' marked by grave threats, including: nuclear ambitions in Iran and North Korea, unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere, the continuing 'launch-ready' status of 2,000 of the 25,000 nuclear weapons held by the U.S. and Russia, escalating terrorism, and new pressure from climate change for expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks," the release reads.
The proponents of using nuclear bunker busters against Iran's nuclear installations portray them as precision weapons that can be precisely targeted and set to explode deep underground, where most of the blast and radiation would be contained. Maybe. Maybe not -- Iraq was also going to be a "cakewalk." In any event, overcoming the nuclear first strike taboo for the first time since 1945 would greatly increase the probability that the first time would not be the last time. Nothing can justify that.

H/t to TRex.


Anonymous said...

You're quite right. Nothing -- and I mean NOTHING -- can justify a first strike with a nuclear weapon, and I don't care what they say about "precision" nukes. I wrote a similar post back in September regarding the use of nuclear weapons and Bush's threat of using one in Iran. It's here:

Great post. I hope we're not just whistling into the wind.

renew said...

Smart Bombs stay at home. :-)

Madison Guy said...

As long as they don't make babies.