If one reads the news, it seems the world is only filled with violence and conflict. But though it rarely makes the front page, peace is breaking through in large and small ways. Here are the rumors of peace for this week:
“Peace comes through strength.”
A falsity, no matter how old or how often it is spoken, still remains untrue. The redemption of such a statement requires a redefining what one means by “peace” and “strength.”
Especially as exemplified by the sacrificial Love and Life of the suffering Christ.
The cause was cancer
Forever in pain
He showed his scars to the world
As witness for peace
I hear his question
When all survivors are dead
Who will remember?
Keeper of the bomb ~
To destroy is not power~
Tis only hubris
Mutually Assured Destruction as its acronym implies is MAD.
As I was engaging in an earlier discussion on another blog, I had some thoughts around the issue which I wanted to explore further here. Mutually Assured Destruction of course is the term most generally used to describe the reason behind the Cold War nuclear arms race. In other words, nuclear weapons serve as a deterrent to your enemy because if you both use them you will both die. I find the idea abhorrent quite frankly. MAD is often used as a justification to continue to stockpile these ludicrous weapons and there is really no proof that it works. An Air Force Colonel discusses this question in the article Mutually Assured Destruction Revisited at http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj97/win97/parrin.html Here’s a quote from the article: “Nuclear weapons have been no more useful in stopping war than the vaunted Maginot line at stopping Hitler.”
Why must our ideas appeal to the baser side of the human spirit? Were we not made a “little lower than the angels?” Yet, we act as if we are barely above the animals. Where is our creativity and imagination?
Why not a policy of Mutually Assured CONSTRUCTION? A policy that appeals to the positive yearnings in all of us. I believe that if we treat everyone with dignity and respect, it will be reciprocated. The Golden Rule applied on an international level.
As Theodore Roszack once said, “People try nonviolence for a week and when it ‘doesn’t work’ they go back to violence which hasn’t worked for centuries.”
We can do better, people. If we are a little lower than the angels, I think it’s time we started acting like it.
On Sunday, November 20, 1983, the world ended.
At least it seemed that way to the 100 million or so Americans gathered around their TV screens to watch “The Day After.”
Our small group of Mennonite diaspora in Mississippi, meeting together as a Bible study, decided to spend our evening watching the nuclear apocalypse and having a discussion afterwards.
I was 16, and I have never seen the world in the same way since, as can be attested by the substantial amount of my writings on the subject of a post-nuclear Holocaust. (Search Cold War Kid in my blog)
Most of the books I read in high school for book reports were about the same. (Except for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and that had its own apocalyptic theme).
And then there were the movies, which advocated (long before the Gipper) a peaceful end to the Cold War.
Rocky IV (!).
“I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”
Oh, and Wargames.
“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”
Yet it seems the leaders of this world can’t help but keep playing thus strange game. There have been hopeful signs, but there are still far too many nuclear weapons around.
The reduction of WMDs is a laudable goal, but the change that needs to occur is more of an internal thing I think. A heart and mind reconstruction. Call it a Hubris Nonproliferation Treaty. A greater sense of what we have in common. Less walls between us, not more.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved the doomsday clock to 3 minutes to midnight to represent how close we are to self-destruction.
Like David and the Giants sang, “It’s almost midnight.”
Yet, I don’t think they were talking about this.
So here I am, over 30 years later, sitting like I did that Sunday long ago, watching the world go by, wondering if the human race will run itself right out of existence.
As we approach the 70th anniversary of the US dropping the atomic bomb on Japan, the following information, as gleaned from a recent article in the Washington Post, is an attempt to correct some commonly held myths.
1) The bomb ended the war
Actually Japan was more afraid of an attack by the Soviet Union which dissolved its nonaggression pact with Japan and entered the war against it on August 8.
2) The bomb saved 500,000 lives.
The US Joint War Plan Committee in June 1945 estimated that an invasion would cause 193,000 US casualties, including 40,000 deaths. A high number, yes, but not even close to the number often quoted.
3) The bomb was the only alternative to an invasion.
Not so. Other alternatives included a demonstration of the bomb to Japanese observers at a test site or accepting a conditional surrender by Japan which would not shame the Emperor.
4) The bomb was dropped only after the Japanese were warned ahead of time.
The US did not forewarn the Japanese which cities were to be bombed for the simple reason that they did not want the planes carrying the bombs to be shot down.
5) The bomb gave the US a diplomatic advantage over the Russians.
The timing of the bombing was because the bombs were ready, not to prevent Russia from further engagement in the war. The bombings gave the US no advantage over a stubborn Russia in post-war negotiations.
I found the above information helpful in clearing up some misconceptions I had around these incidents. I hope you will find them helpful as well.
Regardless, let us use this time to prayerfully remember.
Let us also redouble our efforts to obliterate the bomb and all of its current kin from the face of this dear and precious earth.
Many years ago at our annual Christmas gathering, my cousins and I started singing “Bomb Iran” to the tune of “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys. We were having loads of fun coming up with various violent verses when my Dad and an uncle or two came into the room to give us a gentle yet firm reprimand.
We were just kids, but we knew better. In a brief unguarded moment, we had allowed the current mainstream warlike attitude of the country to usurp our pacifist Mennonite values. Even more unfortunate is that even to this day I can recall many of the so-called “fun” lyrics we came up with that day.
So it came as a pleasant surprise all of these years later to witness the recent nuclear weapons agreement between Iran and the US (and other countries). In a nutshell, Iran will not pursue the development of nuclear weapons in exchange for the gradual lifting of economic sanctions. While of course there are the usual naysayers and there are details to be worked out, most experts agree that this is a good deal.
Even for Israel, the principal opponent to the deal.
President Obama rather bluntly stated that war had been avoided, which in my opinion is always a good thing. Benjamin Franklin, as Ambassador to France, writing to an acquaintance in 1783, agreed:
I JOIN with you most cordially in rejoicing at the return of peace. I hope it will be lasting, and that mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable creatures, have reason enough to settle their differences without cutting throats; for, in my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace. What vast additions to the conveniences and comforts of life might mankind have acquired, if the money spent in wars had been employed in works of utility!
Imagine my dismay then to read an article yesterday detailing a new nuclear smart bomb, the B61-12, being developed by the US military. As the article states:
“The concern over the B61-12 — and the thing that could make it the most dangerous bomb in the US arsenal — is that such an accurate and usable nuclear weapon could encourage military thinkers to start imagining a wider variety of situations in which the use of nuclear weapons would be acceptable. “
“Once the B61-12 is fully tested and deployed, it will be integrated into existing NATO forces and the F-35 in order to enhance the alliance’s nuclear posture in Europe. “
The entire article is found here.
So with one hand the US makes deals to stop nuclear weapons proliferation while at the same time it continues to develop nuclear-enhanced weapons. What is even more alarming about the B61-12 is that as stated above it may make the use of nuclear weapons “more acceptable” in combat. Not only is this a horrible idea from the standpoint of greater loss of life, especially collateral, but this could set off an entirely new and different kind of nuclear arms race as other nations follow suit.
The B61-12 is just the latest in a whole series of smart bombs, but its development, to put it mildly, is just plain dumb.
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I just finished watching the 1983 movie WarGames. Having grown up a Cold War Kid, I find myself wondering why so little has changed. Why in the world are there still nuclear weapons in the world?
The US cannot claim the high ground when it supports some nations that have nuclear weapons, like Israel, Pakistan, India, and gets upset at other nations like North Korea and Iran which may/may not have or are/aren’t pursuing them? The message here is it’s okay to have nuclear weapons as long as you are a friend of the US. What is wrong with this picture?
Nuclear weapons are not toys, but it seems like some of our military and political leaders still think the world is their very own personal sand box.
I think it is important that we hear again the words that Joshua speaks at the end of the movie.
A STRANGE GAME.
THE ONLY WINNING MOVE IS
NOT TO PLAY.