This I Believe

malcolm - fountain, Colorado
Entered on March 7, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: war

Growing up the term “nuclear war” was horrifying beyond my comprehension. As children, we would pass around stories, both reported and imagined, about the affects of such a war, and I found the only way I could deal with my fear was to deny that it would ever truly happen.

North Korea and Iran are reported to have interest in nuclear power. For the record, both say they are interested in nuclear development for energy reasons. Yes, ahem, energy reasons. They now have my undivided if not “deniable ready” attention, and by the looks of it, our country is paying attention too. A definite windfall from their “energy exploration” is diplomacy revisited by the U.S., and our country waiting humbly on their doorstep, gifts in hand. I used to think money was power, and it is, but based on these developments, I must give Nuclear power its due. If the right amount of money will convince me to bark like a dog, and it will, nuclear power is proving to wield the same clout. Ruff-ruff!

We are the most dominant country in the world, and coincidentally, the only country to have detonated a nuclear weapon as an implement of warfare. Was it justified, did it save lives, was it a good idea? Many have wrestled with that question. With history not yet complete, the answer is in limbo. If Armageddon happens tomorrow, the data will change.

While not fair, I have harbored resentment toward those who helped usher in the nuclear age, and toward those who decided to drop the first bombs. I have asked myself why they could not leave well enough alone, why they insisted we go forward in spite of the perilous consequences. They real truth, of course, is they alone are not responsible for my angst, or our predicament. Humanity develops as a group effort. I am as guilty as the next one, if guilt is even proper to assign. Nuclear power and potential nuclear annihilation would seem fated. Specific individuals and their expeditious prompting were vehicles to be sure, but human kind so often finds a way.

The ramifications of nuclear strikes are mind-boggling. Since our use of nuclear weaponry to facilitate the end of World War II with Japan, the threat posed by similar weapons in the hands of our enemies is at times debilitating, and like my days as a youth, incomprehensible. I lived through The Cold War and the phobia it produced. As an elementary student in the sixties, I remember vividly the monthly trips to the bomb shelter. So too, the worry and anxiety created by the rift between super powers.

Since then or because of it, rules have been forged, limitations have been introduced, and codes of conduct have been implemented to allay those fears. North Korea and Iran do not appear to have read the memo, and I am preparing to bury my head in the sand again. Hopefully, reasonable minds and rational thinkers will prevail.