Monday, April 12, 2010

The Big Bomb

Nuclear Weapons in Our Own Time
by Charlie Leck

I have a few readers out there who go back with me to Chester P.S. and our bomb shelter exercises. Other readers remember going through the same dang thing.

Our little school was about 50 miles from New York City and there was genuine concern about the Rooskies getting a big A-weapon delivered into New York. So, a significant number of homes in our area included specially constructed bomb shelters equipped with water, food and toileting provisions. We all laugh about it now, but the fear was very real back then.

The exercises at our particular school, however, were no more than totally worthless. While a member of one grade level, I remember sheltering in the basement dining room that had small windows up by the ceiling and an egress doorway out to our ground level playground. In another grade, our class was assigned to assemble in the boiler room. It would have been a wonderful place to be if an atomic attack caused the boiler system to explode.

What brings these memories back to mind this morning? Answer = an email that arrived recently from the Union of Concerned Scientists regarding Nuclear Weapons & Global Security.

The email sent me to a web page loaded with significant information about the current state of nuclear weapons in the world today (or as George W use to say, “nukuler weapons!”).

For example, do you know that there are a total of approximately (and it’s very close to exact) 25,441 big bang weapons around the world. That nation which hates us one moment and loves us the next, Russia, has over 15,000 of those. That’s not too comforting. Our own nation has about 9,500. That only leaves about 1,000 of the little buggers for seven (7) other nations.

France has 300
China has 240
The UK has 200
Israel has 80
Pakistan has 80
India has 50

Crazy, unstable and fidgety North Korea has somewhere between 5 and 15.

How does the song go? “It’s a great big, wonderful world we live in!” Oh, indeed it is. Iran is trying to get in the little arms race. That makes Israel extremely nervous and causes its trigger finger to itch. Can you imagine what a nation that believes in total retaliation for attacks waged on it could do with those 80 weapons?

So, our very own President has arrived at an agreement with Russia to seriously downsize the amount of big-boom weapons each of us holds. As the “Concerned Scientists” say on their web page, “It’s a modest, first step…”

Here’s the problem and here’s why I’m writing this today. The treaty that Russia and the U.S. has signed, now has to be ratified by our Senate. The Tea Party has already begun a campaign against such a reduction in arms and both Ms. Palin and our own Mrs. Bachmann have been riling up the Tea Party members against the treaty.

You need to go on record with your U.S. Senator, urging him/her to support this important, modest treaty. You can find many reasons why you should do so on the web page of the Union of Concerned Scientists regarding Nuclear Weapons & Global Security.

I’m asking you nicely: Please ask your U.S. Senator to support this treaty between Russia and the United States.

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