In Case You Think Things are Bad Now


#1

I’d take the threat of ISIS any day, compared to the threat of complete world nuclear holocaust we once blithely called the “Cold War”. My children have no concept of what it was like to live knowing that, at any given moment, all human civilization could come to an abrupt end.

The text below is excerpted from [I]Maritime Executive[/I], commemorating atom bomb testing conducted 70 years ago at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific. After using nuclear weapons to win the Pacific War of WW2, the Pentagon conducted testing on the effects of such weapons, by detonating atom bombs near entire fleets of anchored surplus naval ships (my wife would call this “Boys With Too Many Toys Syndrome”). The Bikini tests used two bombs, called “Able” and “Baker”. These were atom bombs–popguns compared to modern hydrogen bombs:

[I] “The first test, Able…sank two transports, a cruiser and two destroyer, and the shock wave badly damaged 14 other vessels. Even vessels which were far enough away to survive the blast without damage would have suffered loss of life from the initial burst of radiation…[/I][I]Test Baker[s]…shock wave and the following tsunami sank ten ships, including two battleships and an aircraft carrier, and damaged many more (including three that would have sank if they had not been beached). It also threw two million tons of radioactive water into the air, which fell back and created a 900-foot-tall rolling wave of mist, contaminating all remaining vessels within range. [/I][I] Test animals were on board the target vessels for both tests. Survival in Able was good, at about two thirds. None of the hundreds of pigs placed on the range survived Baker.[/I]
[I] Decontamination efforts in the days following showed that none of the ways the Navy thought to clean off radioactive fallout were effective… The workers cleaning the vessels even contaminated their own living quarters when they returned to the support ships. After days of warnings, Colonel Stafford Warren, the Army officer in charge of radiation safety, famously convinced the Navy to halt the cleaning and any further tests by showing the deputy chief of naval operations an x-ray of a fish from the atoll’s lagoon – a self-x-ray, with radiation from the fish enough to create an image…[/I]
[I] The majority of the surviving target ships were too radioactive to remediate and were scuttled. In a top secret report that was kept classified for the next 30 years, the Navy concluded that contamination of the type produced by Baker could not be remediated, and, further, could even be used to"depopulate vast areas of the earth’s surface, leaving only vestigial remnants of man’s material works.”

[/I]


#2

Au Contraire:

In 1990the “Doomsday Clock” was 10 minutes 'til midnight. Over the past decade it’s crept back up so that we are now at 3 minutes. If you look at the full timeline it’s pretty interesting.

http://thebulletin.org/timeline


#3

[QUOTE=LI_Domer;187913]Au Contraire:

In 1990the “Doomsday Clock” was 10 minutes 'til midnight. Over the past decade it’s crept back up so that we are now at 3 minutes. If you look at the full timeline it’s pretty interesting.

http://thebulletin.org/timeline[/QUOTE]

Does this mean we have to practice diving under desks again? (As if that was going to save us from a nuclear blast and its aftermath.)


#4

[QUOTE=LI_Domer;187913]Au Contraire:[/QUOTE]
I truly don’t think most people worry about the complete and near-instantaneous extinction of all human life on Earth, the way many of us used to. The threat of a single nuclear weapon in the wrong hands, or of a dirty bomb, is one thing, and frightening enough in and of itself. But what I remember is the U.S. and the Soviet Union ready to push the button and launch [I]thousands[/I] of nuclear warheads all around the world simultaneously. The policy had the best acronym ever. Remember? MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction.
That seems a dim–even quaint-- prospect now. It is only my opinion, but it seems the greatest danger from nuclear arsenals now is having the weapons stolen by non-state actors. Which paradoxically puts Pakistan–a 3rd World nation with a handful of nukes-- at the top of the list of most dangerous nuclear powers.
On a slight different note: I recall reading a biography of the British novelist Robert Graves. He had fought in the trenches through WW1, and was severely wounded. His oldest boy died in battle in WW2. In the 1960’s Graves was having a party with some young people who voiced their fear and anger over nuclear weapons. Graves quite hotly argued he was all for nuclear weapons. He had seen firsthand the horrors of war in the trenches, and had lost a son in the deserts of Libya (the body was never found). Graves was quite done with “world wars”. If nuclear weapons prevented world wars he was all in favor of them.
I remember reading that, and coming to the realization that the point of view of a soldier was likely to be more practical than that of a person who had never fired a shot.


#5

Well isn’t this a pleasant thread?

I agree with the post above. We do not need to worry about a full exchange with China or Russia. They value their lives as much as we do.

It’s the bit players who may someday, somehow acquire a nuke, smuggle it on a freighter and light it off in New York harbor.

Sadly, there are many in the world (or already in the USA) who would volunteer for the mission.


#6

We got close a couple of times, once thanks to Norway.


#7

[QUOTE=Jetryder223;187986]Well isn’t this a pleasant thread?

I agree with the post above. We do not need to worry about a full exchange with China or Russia. They value their lives as much as we do.

It’s the bit players who may someday, somehow acquire a nuke, smuggle it on a freighter and light it off in New York harbor.

Sadly, there are many in the world (or already in the USA) who would volunteer for the mission.[/QUOTE]

No, there are still enough nuclear weapons on hand in the world to kill as all at least twice.
The biggest worry now is that a madman is put in charge of one of these arsenals and nobody has the guts to stop him killing as all.


#8

[QUOTE=ombugge;187989]No, there are still enough nuclear weapons on hand in the world to kill as all at least twice.
The biggest worry now is that a madman is put in charge of one of these arsenals and nobody has the guts to stop him killing as all.[/QUOTE]

Ombugge,
You wouldn’t be hinting about our present U.S. presidential election cycle, would you?


#9

[QUOTE=freighterman;187993]Ombugge,
You wouldn’t be hinting about our present U.S. presidential election cycle, would you?[/QUOTE]

If the madman wins, most of us should be safe. Except for Mexico and CHIna, he doesn’t even know we’re here. And if some smart-ass adviser manages to convince him that we do exist, then we’re going to build a wall and make him pay for it.

Seriously, though. I’m scared shitless. I only lived through about 10 years of the cold war, but I well remember the fear.


#10

Amazing that you aren’t frightened of the current administration as they are doing all they can to antagonize and poke the “Bear”, with Canada’s help no less.


#11

I would say the threat of someone launching a nuke (accidental or on purpose) is significantly lower. The threat of a dirty bomb or some type of CBRN is a lot higher. So in all likelihood instead of everyone blowing up the world in less then an hour and most of us die without even knowing what happened, we could see a large scale Chem, Bio, or Radiation attack in a major city which would lead to some serious government and world destabilization.


#12

[QUOTE=lm1883;187996]Amazing that you aren’t frightened of the current administration as they are doing all they can to antagonize and poke the “Bear”, with Canada’s help no less.[/QUOTE]

??? Details???


#13

I remember how bad Pierre was in Canada. His boy, Justin, is going to be even worse.

It’s doesn’t matter who is President in the US. There is so much bureaucratic inertia built into the system of government that no President can make big sweeping changes. Only small incremental changes over time, most of which have little effect until he is out of office. Most of what a good President can accomplish is just to hold back the rate at which things go to hell by just a little bit.

A great many people are involved in actually launching nukes and there is a strong built in bias against it. No one man can make that decision on his own. No dozen men can. It would be very difficult for any President to do, and then only with the cooperation of many other people. The built in systemic bias against launching nukes is so strong, not to mention anti-launch human factors, that it is doubtful whether we would actually launch a counter strike after a nuclear attack on us.

I see the same fearmomgering about nukes today that was unjustifiably and disgustingly used against Barry Goldwater in the 50’s and early 60’s. I see exactly the same kind of loose talk about neo-facism, and neo-nazism that was disgustingly used against Reagan in 1980.

For anyone a little older who compares the candidates of today, to the candidates of the 50’s and 60’s, all the candidates today are über social liberals, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and advocates for gender equality in comparison to Presidents like Ike, Jack, Lyndon, or Tricky Dick.

The one thing that most people want from government, but too often don’t get, is for it to simply stay out of our way and leave us alone. Most of us want the government to tax somebody else and keep its grubby hands off our wallet, and to keep its nose out of our bedroom.

But some people want to use the power of government to shove their social or religious preferences down everyone else’s throat. Some people want Big Brother to provide everything for them. Some people want the US government to solve every social and economic problem everywhere in the world.


#14

[QUOTE=freighterman;187993]Ombugge,
You wouldn’t be hinting about our present U.S. presidential election cycle, would you?[/QUOTE]

Of course not. I have been told that this is not a forum for political comments.

Besides, if I did I could risk being branded as anti-American. Even worst, I could be accused of meddling in things American, which as a Norwegian, I could not possibly know anything about.


#15

[QUOTE=tugsailor;188017]It’s doesn’t matter who is President in the US. There is so much bureaucratic inertia built into the system of government that no President can make big sweeping changes. Only small incremental changes over time, most of which have little effect until he is out of office. [/QUOTE]
Really? Because if memory serves I remember the president in office 15 years ago decided to spearhead a foreign war that has cost us, at minimum, $2 trillion dollars, killed 100,000’s of people (2,000 of them ours), maimed and mutilated untold numbers, and pretty much set us down the road to unzipping the entire Middle East. The latter consequence, by the way, was predicted at the time by Middle East experts, so it wasn’t like nobody was warning us what would happen.But keep to the money: $2 trillion dollars! Helluva “small incremental change”. My grandchildren’s grandchildren will be paying for that war.

Not to single out that president (who I voted for, to my eternal shame and damnation). President Johnson chose to expand the Vietnam War into open conflict. There was a lot of pressure on him to do so. But it was his decision, and see how that worked out for us. (I find it darkly amusing that many young Vietnamese now admire Bill Gates more than Ho Chi Minh. Talk about the most useless war on record. And people are still dying from the landmines).

But let’s not stay negative. President Kennedy sent us to the Moon in 10 years, a project which ushered in all sorts of technical advances throughout society, from computing to Velcro,and cemented our dominance as an aerospace power. Use your GPS lately? President Roosevelt: well, he only saved the nation a couple of times running, from social disintegration and world war, but who’s counting?

So, with respect, I’m going to have to take exception with your “small, incremental changes” statement. It is demonstrably false. And my opinion is that leadership of the world’s only superpower and greatest economy is the gravest responsibility. The person put into that responsibility had better be a known quantity, not a loose cannon. One little mistake, one little gaffe, and people die, and billions go wasted. Even the most admired and gifted of leaders make grave mistakes. Reagan your man? Remember Lebanon and Iran-Contra? Fancy Churchill? Look up Gallipoli. And those were known quantities with governmental expertise.

Also, while you are entitled to your view of the World in general, as evidenced by your comment “Most of what a good President can accomplish is just to hold back [B]the rate at which things go to hell by just a little bit[/B]…”: I may be taking your comment out of context. I apologize if I am. But I must say that never in the history of Mankind have people been fatter, been better educated, better traveled, had bigger houses, more TVs, fancier cars, had better health care, more teeth in their mouth when they do kick the bucket, owned more guns and yet been shot at less than they are today, had so much crap they needed to rent room to store it, had more ways to communicate with their fellows and yet spend it in petty tirades (like this one). For most of human history reaching the age of 40 was a struggle. Never have people lived longer than today. And yet it is my considered opinion that never in the history of Mankind have people whined more, over less.(Not you, tugsailor, I’m just being rhetorical).


#16

[QUOTE=tugsailor;188017]…For anyone a little older who compares the candidates of today, to the candidates of the 50’s and 60’s, all the candidates today are über social liberals, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and advocates for gender equality in comparison to Presidents like Ike, Jack, Lyndon, or Tricky Dick…[/QUOTE]

I think the opposite is true. Reagan would be left of center by current “conservative” standards, and Nixon would be branded a liberal, he created two of the agencies most Republicans want to get rid of.

I am also old enough to remember from before the 21st century. Newspapers published a full list of members of Congress and how they voted on a bill, now you just need to mention the very small number (if any) that didn’t vote the party line. Republican and conservative, and Democrat and liberal were not the synonyms. New York had a multi-term senator who ran as a Republican and a liberal (Javits).


#17

[QUOTE=freighterman;188038]

So, with respect, I’m going to have to take exception with your “small, incremental changes” statement. It is demonstrably false. And my opinion is that leadership of the world’s only superpower and greatest economy is the gravest responsibility. The person put into that responsibility had better be a known quantity, not a loose cannon. One little mistake, one little gaffe, and people die, and billions go wasted.[/QUOTE]

While the POTUS isn’t all-powerful, it is widely considered to be the most important job on planet earth, which is my favourite planet.


#18

No President can take the country into a significant war without very significant Congressional support. Johnson didn’t. Neither did Shrub. No President can sustain a war without popular support.

Wars are almost always a bad idea and best avoided. A war is totally pointless without a commitment to do whatever it takes to win it promptly.

Nixon created the EPA and wanted to be remembered as the Environmental President. I suspect that he was horrified by how large and intrusive the EPA became. We need the EPA, but it needs to be pruned back considerably to focus on major issues.


#19

[QUOTE=tugsailor;188072]No President can take the country into a significant war without very significant Congressional support. Johnson didn’t. Neither did Shrub. No President can sustain a war without popular support.[/QUOTE]
I agree with you. Hence the importance to elect sober, judicious, [I]leaders with wisdom[/I] as presidents. Because once they begin to [I]lead[/I], other people follow. The bully-pulpit of the presidency is so powerful that, given the correct circumstances,the partisan nature of politics, and the gullibility of the public,a president can sway entire Congresses and a good bit of the public to Glory, or down a rathole. In either case, the president is the impetus. Truman said it best: “The buck stops here”.


#20

[QUOTE=freighterman;188038]Really? Because if memory serves I remember the president in office 15 years ago decided to spearhead a foreign war that has cost us, at minimum, $2 trillion dollars, killed 100,000’s of people (2,000 of them ours), maimed and mutilated untold numbers, and pretty much set us down the road to unzipping the entire Middle East. The latter consequence, by the way, was predicted at the time by Middle East experts, so it wasn’t like nobody was warning us what would happen.But keep to the money: $2 trillion dollars! Helluva “small incremental change”. My grandchildren’s grandchildren will be paying for that war.
[/QUOTE]

Yes, our unfunded war. No wonder we are running a severe deficit. Time to start selling war bonds. Or raise taxes the corporations with significant war profits. You can’t go into a war without a war chest.