United States North Central Louisiana / No Longer A Resident of the Shreveport/Bossier City Area Louisiana
> Excerpt from the Tuesday, January 10, 2012 Reuters news story by Rodney Joyce entitled:
Doomsday Clock a Minute Closer to Midnight
(Reuters) - The symbolic Doomsday Clock calculated by a group of scientists was moved a minute closer to midnight on Tuesday, with the group citing inadequate progress on nuclear weapons reduction and climate change.
The clock was moved to five minutes to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said, the first adjustment since the beginning of 2010, when it was moved back one minute to six minutes from midnight -- or "Doomsday".
"Two years ago, it appeared that world leaders might address the truly global threats that we face. In many cases, that trend has not continued or been reversed," the group said in a statement.
The Bulletin (www.thebulletin.org) is a periodical founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project.
They created the Doomsday Clock two years later to symbolize how close humanity was to self-annihilation, with an initial setting of seven minutes to midnight.
Initially the clock was focused on nuclear war, but it has been broadened in recent years as the scientists, who include a range of Nobel laureates, added other risks to humanity.
The scientists said world leaders had failed to sustain the progress in nuclear disarmament that had seen them move the hands back on the clock two years ago.
As well, the major global challenge now was a warmer climate that threatens to bring droughts, famine, water scarcity and rising seas, said Allison Macfarlane, an associated professor at George Mason University near Washington, who chairs the group's committee that helps set the clock....
"The global community may be near a point of no return in efforts to prevent catastrophe from changes in Earth's atmosphere," Macfarlane said in the statement.
The last time the group moved the hands closer to midnight was in 2007, by two minutes due to a North Korean nuclear weapon test, Iranian nuclear ambitions and a renewed U.S. emphasis at the time of the military utility of nuclear weapons.
The closest the clock ever came to midnight was 1953, the year of the first test of a hydrogen bomb by the United States.
Could the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have been influenced to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock one minute closer to nuclear midnight because of both the would-be threat posed by the Iranian extremists' acquisition of an atomic bomb and the threats raised by Republican presidential candidates calling for bombing of those nuclear facilities in Iran whose resultant fallout would pose a danger not only for the immediate area in Iran but also for the regions and countries downwind of them?
In either case, the fact that the Doomsday Clock's minute hand was moved 1 minute closer to nuclear midnight on the very day of the Republican Party's first Presidential primary day in New Hampshire seems awfully ironic.
Indeed, the fact that the Doomsday Clock's minute hand was moved one minute closer to midnight would most likely be considered an encouraging development to those "Armageddon Now!" rightwing evangelicals and Christian Zionists in the Republican Party. Yes indeed, I imagine they're absolutely enraptured by this news.
> Excerpt from the January 5, 2012 story entitled "Rick Santorum Protects the Freedom of Con-Men" on the Politics Blog of political reporter Charles P. Pierce of Esquire Magazine Online:
You can also tell [Rick Santorum's] energized because he's not at all shy about taking his more outre views out for a walk [when speaking to audiences on the campaign trail].
"Take Iran, for a moment. Did you know that the Iranians are building their nuclear weapons in Qom?" (Santorum couches a lot of his answers this way, in the manner of a middle-school civics teacher who's read Time twice this month.) "Do you know why?" Well, he's going to tell you: "Qom is a holy city to the Shi'a population of Iran." (The return of the 12th Imam is mixed up in this somewhere, too.) "It is a very important town dealing with the end times for Shi'a Islam," he says.
In other words, Rick Santorum believes that the current Iranian regime is building a nuclear weapon not merely as leverage for power in that region and the world, and not merely to defend itself, and not merely, as he himself says, "to protect itself from retaliation while it engages in acts of terrorism." He believes it is building a bomb, and is more than likely to use it, in order to bring on the end times and the return of the 12th Imam.
(And you are not incorrect in wondering at this point how he feels about those millions of evangelical Christians over here who encourage belligerence on the part of Israel because of their desire to see the big show open on the plains of Megiddo, starring the famous Disemboweling Christ, action hero of the Left Behind novels. Rather not have those folks influencing nuclear policy myself.)
United States North Central Louisiana / No Longer A Resident of the Shreveport/Bossier City Area Louisiana
I think that James' point is more like this, BJ...
A vote for a Republican is a vote for NUCLEAR WAR!!!!!.
*Actually,* that would be a vote for certain Republican Presidential candidates would be tantamount to a vote for more neocon military adventurism, not excluding nuclear strikes.
*However,* I defer to the opinion of the Doomsday-Clock scientists' on this matter as well as those of already-stated news stories and opinion columns on this matter to date, a sampling of which I present here below:
> Excerpt from the January 10, 2012 editorial by Micah Zenko and Emma Welch for the Los Angeles Times entitled:
TOUGH TALK ON IRAN FROM GOP CANDIDATES GOP candidates are rattling sabers. How would they carry out their threats?
Listening to the Republican presidential candidates, one would believe there is no foreign policy challenge more threatening to the United States than a nuclear Iran. As the remaining candidates attempt to distance themselves from President Obama and one another, all but one (Ron Paul) has described the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability as "unacceptable" and endorsed the use of military force if that were necessary to prevent an Iranian bomb.
The most troubling aspect of this default position held by most of the Republican candidates is the complete absence of any details on how the use of force could accomplish this ambitious objective. Consider the sketchy logic offered by each:
Mitt Romney sets the tone, arguing that the Obama administration has been weak in managing an increasingly intransigent and confrontational Iranian regime. "If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon," Romney stated unequivocally. "And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon." He has called for regime change in Iran and, when pressed on how a President Romney would achieve his goals, has said he supports both "covert and overt" actions, including military action if necessary, though he rules out "boots on the ground."
Rick Santorum has repeatedly called for a preemptive bombing strike on Iranian nuclear facilities as part of his "plan." He has implied that he would expand the use of covert operations, possibly including targeted killings, against Iranian nuclear scientists: "I will say to any foreign scientist that's going into Iran to help on their [nuclear] program: You will be treated like an enemy combatant, like an Al Qaeda member."
Rick Perry has not proposed specific unilateral steps, but when asked in an interview with ABC's Christiane Amanpour whether he would support a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, he said: "We find ourselves with two really bad positions. We're either going to allow this madman to have become in control of a nuclear device, or we are going to have a … military strike to keep that from occurring." He has endorsed a joint U.S.-Israel preemptive strike: "I've said we will support Israel in every way that we can, whether it's diplomatic, whether it's economic sanctions, whether it's overt or covert operations up to and including military action." Perry has also indicated that during the civilian protests in Iran in 2009, the Obama administration should have been "actively involved in taking that oppressive regime out of control of Iran."
Newt Gingrich explicitly advocates regime change by whatever means necessary. In the short term, he has called for increased sanctions and covert operations to "break the Iranian regime" within a year by "cutting off the gasoline supply to Iran and then, frankly, sabotaging the only refinery they have." However, he also has said he would support military force as a last resort: "Unless they disarm their entire system, we are going to replace their regime."
Jon Huntsman Jr., often portrayed as a sober foreign policy hand, is as hard-line on Iran as any of the candidates. When asked if he would deploy U.S. troops to stop a nuclear weapon, the former governor replied: "I can't live with the implications of not doing it.... You got to have all options on the table. You got to be prepared to use all elements of national power."
The strategies put forth by the candidates all rest on the assumption that U.S. military action could eliminate Iran's nuclear program. For military force to be effective, however, there are three core requirements the candidates have not addressed.
First, does the U.S. intelligence community know where every weapons-related nuclear facility is located? As demonstrated by the revelation of a potential hidden uranium enrichment facility near the city of Qom in 2009, it is impossible to know whether Iran is concealing other nuclear facilities.
Second, can airstrikes alone eliminate all nuclear facilities? Even Gingrich acknowledged: "The idea that you're going to wage a bombing campaign that accurately takes out all the Iranian nuclear program … is a fantasy."
Last, but certainly not least, have senior leaders in Iran decided to pursue nuclear weapons? Last February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted: "We do not know … if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons."
Initiating a preemptive military strike against Iran to eliminate its suspected nuclear weapons capability would be an enormously significant — and potentially disastrous — foreign policy decision. As the Republican presidential campaign continues, the media and prospective voters must challenge the candidates for greater explanation on this application of military force. In Iraq, the U.S. discovered the enormous costs and consequences of trying to disarm a country through regime change. It is crucial, therefore, that we demand that those running for president clearly articulate a realistic strategy for preventing an Iranian bomb before placing "all options on the table."
(Micah Zenko is a fellow and Emma Welch is a research associate with the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.)
In the opening paragraph of his January 8, 2012 opinion column for Forbes magazine entitled "You Can't Price Stocks Without The Fallout From Politics And Economics", staff writer Robert Lenzner writes: "A bombing of the Iranian nuclear sites will drive the price of oil to record peaks and throw the world into recession. Are you willing to own any equities but oil producers under that scenario? Better not. Even a blockade of the Hormuz Straits will destroy the chances for moderate growth rebound in the global economy. The price of oil in Europe is $110 a barrel -- double the $50 a barrel in 2007 when all was more or less well. This is geopolitics talking, cutting into the profits of every user of petroleum by-products and hurting the economies of all but the oil producers."
Special Note: The following excerpt from the January 6, 2007 news story by Sherwood Ross for the Center on Research of Globalization think tank reflects evidence of neocon pressure in the waning years of the Bush/Cheney administration to go to war with Iran -- which Vice President Cheney and some of his Project for the New American Century cohorts in the Bush Administration were agitating for, as illustrated in both Bush and Cheney's own recent memoirs of those last years (only Cheney also wanted to take on Syria, too):
Nuclear War: US or Israeli Attack on Iran could contaminate Middle East
If the U.S. or Israel attack Iranian nuclear power facilities "huge amounts of radioactive material will be lofted into the air to contaminate the people of Iran and surrounding countries," an eminent international authority on nuclear weapons warns.
"This fallout will induce cancers, leukemia, and genetic disease in these populations for years to come, both a medical catastrophe and a war crime of immense proportions," Dr. Helen Caldicott writes in her new book, "Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer," published by The New Press.
Dr. Caldicott said the Pentagon has met with its Israeli counterparts "to discuss the participation of Israel in plans to attack Iran" even though President Bush said "this notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous."
Citing the accidental meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine in April, 1986, as an example of what can happen when radioactivity is released, she termed it a "medical catastrophe (that) will continue to plague much of Russia, Belarus, the Ukraine, and Europe for the rest of time." Between 5,000 and 10,000 people have died prematurely to date, she said.
Between 1986 and 2001, Belarus suffered 8,358 cases of thyroid cancer as a result of the Chernobyl meltdown, and most of the afflicted have had their thyroids surgically removed, leaving them dependent on thyroid medications for the rest of their lives, said Dr. Caldicott, a physician and anti-nuclear activist. She writes the areas of Europe, and its populations, afflicted by the Chernobyl accident will suffer from its impact "for thousands of years."
So, Darillian and those who thumbs-upped your post, you may now return to sniffing your daisies as long as they doesn't become contaminated with Strontium 90. Otherwise, we'll all risk end up pushing up daisies in the long run.
> Edit: Changed my smiley emoticon above from to in honor of Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove."
P.S. If I myself were going to design a one-minute political commercial for 2012 along the lines of warning against the potential needless, wreckless and wanton nuclear mayhem that would likely result if we acted on those Republican candidates' threats to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, I'd license the footage below from the end of the "Dr. Strangelove" movie and use select relevant audio verbatim self-compromising quotes from the guilty Republican Presidential candidates in question and play them as voiceover audio as the scene below plays out to its inevitable end.
And yes, I'd be sure to time-sequence Rick Perry's voice-over audio quotes to play during the sequence where actor Slim Pickens as Major Kong is a-whoopin' it up as he rides the nuclear bomb to obliviion.
Last edited Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:05 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)