Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

No, give me deeper darkness.

Money is not made in the light.

That is a quote from Shaw's Heartbreak House, set on the eve of WWI, whose protagonist holds off the doom of his estate and idle rich family by inventing weapons.

Jonathan Schell, among other important insights, discusses the strange darkness which envelops the reality of nuclear weapons. I highly recommend the entire interview, which reminds us of matters of great urgency which are simply never discussed in public.

The incompetent, pathologically dishonest and quite possibly insane individual who occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue never says anything that is true and sensible, but one of his latest utterances is even more delusional than the norm. Yet the corporate media, as always, have allowed it to pass unremarked upon. He says that Iran cannot be permitted to have the knowledge needed to build a nuclear weapon.

At the center of Schell's discussion is precisely the bizarre disconnect between such thinking and reality. Mr. Bush's idea, that nuclear weapons technology can be kept secret, and monopolized by a few powers, is preposterous. I have the knowledge needed to build a nuclear weapon. That knowledge is as commonplace as the knowledge needed to make an automobile or a dishwasher. There are dozens of countries that could manufacture nuclear weapons within a few years or even months if they chose to do so. Iran cannot possibly be denied that knowledge, even by murdering every physicist and engineer in the country and continuing to murder them systematically as they graduate.

As I posted a few weeks ago, you can download designs for nuclear weapons from publicly available web sites. If I had enough highly enriched uranium, I could make a nuclear bomb in my basement. Making one that will fit on the tip of a missile is more difficult, but well within the capability of any nation with moderate industrial capacity.

As I said then, and Schell says now, the way to stop Iran from making nuclear weapons is the way, the only way, to stop proliferation in general, and that is abolition. That we are having this discussion about Iran without ever mentioning the nuclear arsenals of other nations -- including most relevantly those of Israel, the United States, and Sunni Pakistan, all of which are hostile or potentially hostile to Iran -- is just demented. We need to go beyond the delusion of non-proliferation and embrace the chance of disarmament. Our only chance. The last chance of humanity.

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