Saturday, June 16, 2007

Did we learn nothing?

From Nukes on a Blog comes this note:

According to a June 7, 2007 press release from Nuclear Watch New Mexico, “The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has invited Members of Congress to ‘celebrate’ on July 2 its production of its first certified plutonium trigger (AKA ‘pit’ or ‘primary’) … produced by the U.S. certified for deployment to the nuclear stockpile since 1989.”

So…a party to celebrate the first new plutonium pit certified for deployment to the stockpile since the year the FBI raided and closed the old plutonium pit facility?

If the scientists are claiming the existing stockpile of pits are stable and will work for the foreseeable future, why do we need more? Clearly, regardless of what they SAY about non-proliferation, this administration intends to create a system by which the U.S. is actually building MORE nukes, not just replacing the old ones, as they claim they want to do with the RRW program.
One question: If they don't yet have Congressional funding for RRW (recently zeroed-out), where is the money coming from for the new pits for those weapons we aren't building?
Another question: Who benefits? As the old saying goes, follow the money ... and we'll see who is really behind this push for new nukes, when many military people recognize they aren't practically useful.
Of course, practicality has never mattered much to this administration. All they care about is politics and image, and nukes are excellent for that purpose -- they look strong (if sold properly, which this admin is terrible at), but they're impotent because they can never be USED. Having nukes is a lot like having AIDS -- if you know it, you should be responsible enough to stop transmitting it, because you know it will eventually KILL you and your partner(s).


Bringing Aug. 6, 1945 home

It hasn't gotten a lot of coverage yet, but hopefully it will:

Steven Leeper, the American who was recently appointed to run the Hiroshima Peace Museum, is trying to find people across the U.S. to help him display photos, artifacts, and so forth in an effort to remind people just how nasty nuclear weapons really are.

An L.A. Times article is here.
The museum's site is here.

I intend to help Leeper's effort, and could use any help from my readers as possible, especially if you're in MA or CT and/or can pass the message on far & wide. His initial note to me read:

Thank you for contacting me and your offer to help with the exhibitions. Very soon, we will be sending out a letter to potential allies in this effort. You will be on the list. After you receive the letter, you will probably still have some questions. Please write to me at this address and I will be happy to tell you everything I know.

We do need allies, but we have lots of them in MA. Can you do CT? Or Rhode Island?

Anyway, please wait for the letter, then respond quickly and we will be underway.

Thanks again,

I'll keep everyone informed of progress.
My idea at this point is to use whatever he has in mind as a centerpiece for a display that also features art, poetry and other materials by local people, educational efforts in the local schools, and so forth. It's still in an embryonic stage, obviously.

One thing I DON'T want is for it to include a broader critique of nuclear power. While that issue certainly has problems -- primarily surrounding disposal -- that desperately need to be dealt with, including it here only muddies the water. To me, nuke power still has the potential to be a good thing, if used properly, and we can solve the problems by thinking creatively. But nuke weapons have no redeeming value at all -- they ARE the problem.
We've all seen a definite increase in the frequency of nuclear disaster references in the popular media -- repeats of "The Day After," the series "Jericho," specials on Hiroshima specifically and cataclysmic disasters generally, new books like Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," political blathering from all over, and even an episode of the cartoon "King of the Hill." To me, it seems like the atmosphere today is beginning to be as "nuclearized" as it was back in the 1980s, with one major difference ... There's not enough political outcry from the people-at-large. I hope helping an exhibit like this will change that.