Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rocketship of Fools

foolsThis ran in the Times Online yesterday, and I haven't seen a whisper of it in the NYTimes:
THE SPECTRE of a nuclear race in the Middle East was raised yesterday when six Arab states announced that they were embarking on programmes to master atomic technology.

The move, which follows the failure by the West to curb Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, could see a rapid spread of nuclear reactors in one of the world’s most unstable regions, stretching from the Gulf to the Levant and into North Africa.

The countries involved were named by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Tunisia and the UAE have also shown interest.

All want to build civilian nuclear energy programmes, as they are permitted to under international law. But the sudden rush to nuclear power has raised suspicions that the real intention is to acquire nuclear technology which could be used for the first Arab atomic bomb.
I blame the Bush administration for this. The casually arrogant way that Bush and his apparatchiks have castrated the American diplomatic culture, their blithe, hypocritical disregard of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaties, and their doofus stick-poking into Arab affairs masquerading as "policy" (hands off Lebanon, hands off Gaza, hands all over Iraq, rattle the swords at Syria as the CIA's latest disappeareds are dumped off in dungeons for some not-torture, and do a one-eighty on democracy when the result turns embarassing). I didn't need the NIE to tell me these long years of malfeasance and ineptitude were putting us, and the rest of the world, at greater risk.

In times like these, it's hard to invent anything as ridiculous as these real-life media vignettes building up to the perfect nightmare, but it's still possible (and desirable) to escape into fantasy.

Read the script of Dr. Strangelove:
Have you read much about the disarmament
talks, Major?

Well, I know they've been going on for
years, and they haven't gotten any place.

Not yet, Major. Not yet.

And I guess they won't until they agree to
let us inspect inside their country.

You're very naive, Major. Don't they say
they want disarmament?

Yes, sir. But so do we.

But we mean it because we are a peace-
loving country. Are they a peace-loving
country, Major.

I don't know, sir. But they're just as
anxious to avoid a nuclear war as we are.
War just doesn't make sense any more, for

But war doesn't make sense precisely because
the weapons can kill an entire country -- right?


(the prosecutor makes
his point)
Then don't you realize the Bomb gives us
Peace not War? And, if that's the case, I
ask you again: Why do they want disarmament?

Well, sir, like I said, for the same reasons
we do. I mean, all the experts say the most
likely way for War to start nowadays is by
an accident, or a mistake, or by some mentally
unbalanced person --
(lets his voice trail off)

MANDRAKE's discretion was unnecessary for it would never occur
to GENERAL RIPPER that anyone would think him mentally unbalanced.
Juxta, George Bush.

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