Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9, 2009

     Lots of worrying aloud these days about why Iran mustn't become a nuclear power, let alone a power with a nuclear bomb.  Well, why shouldn't it?
     The United States, of course, is the only country that's ever used nukes in a war.  It was World War Two, a long time ago, and then-president Harry Truman had good reasons for using it against Japan:  he'd been told that a regular invasion--landing craft, troops on the beaches--might cost a million American casualties.  The bomb seemed better than that, and in fact, it ended the war.
     The nuclear club has grown since then.  Russia, China, France, Britain, India, Pakistan--a mostly Muslim country, it's worth noting--have all joined and I've probably left someone out. Dangerous?  Of course.  A Roman Catholic cardinal named Joseph Bernardin noted a generation ago that man, for the first time, had the power to destroy God's created order.  He was quite right. But we've managed not to do it.
     I'm not quite sure how;  our record of restraint and prudence in other areas leaves much to be desired.  But we haven't blown up the planet.  It's entirely possible the Iranians won't either.
     In any case, it's very hard to limit technology.  If Iran wants the bomb enough, it can hire or bribe it way into getting it.  Our best hope is probably to talk to them, try to understand them and help them understand it so that, if and when they do get the bomb, they won't be an more inclined than the rest of us have been to use it. 

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