Monday, May 14, 2012

Nukes, a Drawing, Iran, and Nowhere Near Enough Information

It's been about two thirds of a century since nuclear weapons were used in a war. I'm not happy about the people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On the other hand, I'm not going to do the conventional hand-wringing, and apologize for an action that hastened the end of World War II. I've been over this sort of thing before. (October 16, 2009)

I'm also not going to express regret that so many people didn't get killed in a protracted land war in Japan: surviving to have children in the years following that war. Myself, and a great many folks in Japan, included.

Good News, Bad News, and Iran

The good news is that problems do get resolved. The Soviet Union bowed out of history a little before the 20th century ended, leaving Russia and nations under Soviet control with - a new set of problems.

Some of the bad news is that on September 11, 2001, airliners hit New York City; the Pentagon; and, due to the heroism of Flight 93's passengers and crew, another airliner crashed before reaching its target. Thousands of people were killed that day. Considering how many could have not made it out of New York City's World Trade Center, that 'bad news' could have been much worse.

Then there's North Korea's nuclear weapons program; Syria's whatever-it-was that Israel hit; and Iran's nuclear program that we're supposed to believe has nothing at all to do with weapons development.

Nuclear Wannabes

As Al Qaeda demonstrated in 2001, quite a lot of damage can be done without using nuclear bombs. But if someone wanted to make most of a city disappear in a single bright flash, a fission bomb is probably the easiest way to get the job done.

Of those three nuclear wannabes, I think Iran is the most obviously serious threat. North Korea's got a new leader, but the last I heard it's the same dynasty: with the same monumental economic issues. Someone in North Korea might start believing their own propaganda, might have a working nuclear bomb, and might have a missile that could send it to Japan, Hawaii, Siberia, or Alaska: but I think the odds are low. Syria may not be as much of a mess as North Korea: but leadership there has problems, too.

Iran, on the other hand, has economic problems: but not, apparently, crippling ones. The Ayatollahs, Ahmadinejad, and others, may not be quite on the same page: but Iran does have a functioning government.

Ordinarily, I'd say that's good news: but since Iran also has a dubiously-innocuous nuclear program and a habit of blaming the Jews and the 'great Satan America' for problems? Iran's government might, maybe, decide to launch nukes instead of words one of these days.

Two Thirds of a Century: Never Again?

I hope that nuclear weapons never get used in warfare again. While I'm at it, I'll hope that war ends right now.

An end to war - forever - will require some major retooling of habits and attitudes. I think it's a good goal: but I also think we're a long, long, way from anything resembling Tennyson's "Federation of the world." I've discussed that sort of thing in another blog:
I hope I'm wrong about this: but my guess is that, sooner or later, someone with a nuclear bomb is going to decide that it should be used to kill people. Lots of people. Right now, one of the outfits that I think is least-unlikely to use a nuke against people is Iran's leadership.

Religious Crazies and Nukes

I don't have the conventional notion that all people with religious convictions are mass-murderers just waiting to go off. But Iran's leadership has the sort of 'criticizing me is attacking God' attitude it might take to launch a nuclear attack. I'm not making up that 'attacking God' thing, by the way:I noticed something in the news yesterday: it's an architectural rendering of a room with a whacking great machine that looks like part of a nuclear weapons testing system. That, and some vague - but plausible - information about a specific site in Iran is all that I've seen.

I really, sincerely, hope that whoever wins the American election this November has the good sense to realize that there are some folks with very dodgy attitudes out there: who may very soon have nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to remote targets.

Here's what got me started:
"Drawing may provide insight into Iran's nuclear intentions"
Associated Press, via (May 13, 2012)

This undated rendering said to come from inside Iran' Parchin military site and obtained by The Associated Press from an official of a country tracking Iran's nuclear activities, shows a chamber of the type needed for nuclear arms-related tests that U.N. inspectors suspect Tehran has conducted at the site. (AP) Used w/o permission"A drawing based on information from inside an Iranian military site shows an explosives containment chamber of the type needed for nuclear arms-related tests that U.N. inspectors suspect Tehran has conducted there. Iran denies such testing and has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of such a chamber.

"The computer-generated drawing was provided to The Associated Press by an official of a country tracking Iran's nuclear program who said it proves the structure exists, despite Tehran's refusal to acknowledge it.

" That official said the image is based on information from a person who had seen the chamber at the Parchin military site, adding that going into detail would endanger the life of that informant. The official comes from an IAEA member country that is severely critical of Iran's assertions that its nuclear activities are peaceful and asserts they are a springboard for making atomic arms.

"A former senior IAEA official said he believes the drawing is accurate. Olli Heinonen, until last year the U.N. nuclear agency's deputy director general in charge of the Iran file, said it was 'very similar' to a photo he recently saw that he believes to be the pressure chamber the IAEA suspects is at Parchin.

"He said even the colors of the computer-generated drawing matched that of the photo he had but declined to go into the origins of the photo to protect his source...."
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1 comment:

Brian H. Gill said...


Oops. Right. Fixed. Thanks!

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.