July 21, 2004
As a child of the 1960s I grew up under the image of a mushroom cloud, casting a shadow over every aspect of our Cold War lives. Now the Soviet Union is gone, and we have al Qaeda to worry about. The mushroom cloud has morphed from a promise of world war and mutually assured destruction, to a potential weapon of terrorism. The nuclear nightmare continues with a new villain. Dozens of countries possess quantities of weapons-grade uranium, and Russia has a basket-case of a nuclear weapons program and staggering quantities of the most dangerous stuff on the planet. Add to the mix Pakistan, our ally in the war on terrorism, and its export of nuclear weapons technology to an unknown number of WMD aspirants. Aside from invading Iraq, what has the U.S. done about this threat? "The U.S. has...decided it wants to research and develop and even prototype a new generation of nuclear weapons," says Jim Walsh, Executive Director of the Managing The Atom Project at the Kennedy School Of Government, Harvard University, "including bunker-busters and small battlefield nuclear weapons." There might even be a good argument for an upgraded nuclear arsenel. What's harder to explain is why we are fighting a war on terror without making every effort to eliminate access to nuclear weapons technology and materials. I invite you to listen to David Inge's interview with Jim Walsh, which aired this morning at 10 on Focus 580. Here's the RealAudio archive, and here's the MP3 download. Better pay attention...as somebody said, we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.
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