mad in pursuit journal
3.6.04 The Bomb
I'm not one of those people who has ever worried much about The Bomb. At the height of the arms race with the Soviet Union, we Catholic school kids were taught to be more afraid of the "godless" part of communism than of annihilation. And I decided early on that if Satan existed, so did God and, since God invented Satan the balance would probably tip in God's favor.
When the Axis of Evil was conceived by the Bushies, they conceptualized a nice classic scare. Bad guys with bombs. Only The Bomb became Weapons of Mass Destruction. These are more sinister because they can take any form -- nuclear, chemical, biological. (Nevermind that the Trade Towers were felled with box cutters and a plan.)
But the administration is still seeing threats from nations with evil leaders. To fight evil, the U.S. must conquer those nations. It's such a comforting 20th century thought.
But what we haven't fully confronted yet is that the bad guys don't need nations anymore. Haven't we learned anything yet from al-Qaeda? After 9/11 and bin Laden's name came up, the first question I had was how the heck did they organize to get the job done? I sent for a report that described al-Qaeda.
What is disconcerting is that we are still using hammers to kill crab grass.
In the 3/8/04 New Yorker, Seymour M. Hersh ("The Deal") describes how AQ Khan, father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, has confessed that he has been solely responsible for operating an international black market in nuclear-weapon materials. His confession was accepted, everyone was shocked, shocked, and then he was immediately pardoned. Hersh explores the usual tangle of strange-bedfellow politics that makes that ok with the Bushies.
What scared me in this article is that we can no longer rest assured that Bombs belong to nations and that the usual combination of diplomacy and war between nations will keep the lid on.
Another self-organizing federation like al-Qaeda. The Bomb is anywhere and everywhere.
It almost makes you want to dive under your desk.