[ RadSafe ] News: Physicists denounce aggressive nuclear policy]

Maury Siskel maurysis at ev1.net
Sat Nov 5 18:52:38 CST 2005

Hi John,
I wish I could offer some new profound insight as a response to your 
question, but I cannot. You know or at least have heard nearly all of 
the arguments about deterrence, defensive retaliation, and so on. These 
arguments have been made since the dawn 60 years ago of the nuclear age. 
In fact, I'm convinced that the tribal cave fathers made these same 
arguments over their supply of arrows -- gratefully, petitions on stone 
tablets were very difficult.

There is no realistic quarrel with the group of physicists preparing and 
submitting their petition. I do, however, quarrel with an implied 
suggestion or promotion that they have accomplished something 
politically constructive by their action.

Like most other tools (including weapons) , the reasons for 'saving' 
them are:
1. any possible deterrent value they might have is exercised and,
2. they are available if their ultimate use is deemed necessary.

Obviously, the devil is in the details; i.e., what are the conditions 
and contingencies that attend those two reasons. The Geiest-Hirsch 
petition purports to address only one simple condition and idealism. If 
an adversary attacks with biological weapons, then one cannot be 
expected to respond only with biological weapons; if a nation is 
attacked by a force brandishing only small arms, then that nation is not 
sensibly restricted from responding with artillery or cruise missiles. 
One simply tries to make the opponent stop by whatever means are available!

I submit that such a petition belittles the submitting organization 
because it lacks maturity, is presumptuous, and can hardly be regarded 
seriously. It is almost a whimpering 'why can't we all just get along' 
plea which can have no plausible effect on national policy (unless 
another group of 700 world physicists may be submitting a petition 
opposing this futility). A more effective individual action might be a 
brief letter to one or more national leaders from each of the 700 
signatories -- compose an email; then instead of pressing Send, print 
the email, sign it, and mail it in a genuine, stamped envelope.

In summary, John, we save them for no new reasons beyond 'saving' them 
like any other weapon -- be it a bow and arrow in your cave, a pistol in 
your home, or a cruise missile holstered in one of your B-52's.
Maury&Dog  (maurysis at ev1.net)

John Jacobus wrote:

> Maury,
> I think that we have to look at the associated politics. While there 
> had been talk of using nuclear weapons in the Korean War and in Viet 
> Nam, they were not. So, what are [we] saving them for?
> ____________________________
> --- maurysis at ev1.net <maurysis at ev1.net> wrote:
> <><>Hi John,
> The Hirsch comment is an interesting rationale that does not seem very 
> rational .... It has been noted that the only way to make sure that 
> government doesn't abuse its power is to not grant it in the firs 
> tplace. The nuclear genie has long since departed. A nation without 
> nuclear weapons can render citizens or a society equally dead by a 
> wide variety of methods.
>> Cheers,
>> Maury&Dog
>> =================
>> John Jacobus wrote:
>> <>Nature 438, 13 (3 November 2005)
>> Physicists denounce aggressive nuclear policy
>> More than 700 physicists from around the world have signed a petition 
>> opposing a US policy that would permit the use of nuclear weapons 
>> against non-nuclear nations.
> <>Spawned during a lunchtime talk at the University of California, San 
> Diego (UCSD), the petition is being submitted to US government 
> leaders. Eight Nobel
> laureates have signed the petition, which was startedy UCSD physicists 
> Kim Griest and Jorge Hirsch.

The administration of President George W. Bush has said that, if 
provoked, it would consider using nuclear bombs on a country without 
such weapons.

> <><>
> "Physicists were responsible for these weapons," says Hirsch, a native 
> of Argentina. "We need to speak out more." The petitioners hope to win 
> the support of the American Physical Society and the International
> Atomic Energy Agency at board meetings later this month.
>>> http://physics.ucsd.edu/petition
>>> +++++++++++++++++++
>>> On Oct. 5, 1947, in the first televised White House address, 
>>> President Truman asked Americans to refrain from eating meat on 
>>> Tuesdays and poultry on Thursdaysto help stockpile grain for 
>>> starving people in Europe.
>          -- John

>>> John Jacobus, MS
>>> Certified Health Physicist
>>> e-mail: crispy_bird at yahoo.com

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