“Shithole” is now perfectly acceptable in public discourse. Utter the term “nuclear disarmament,” however, and you’re a crazed lunatic who should be put under the care of the state. From Robert Koehler at antiwar.com:
Uh . . . pardon me while I interrupt this false alarm to quote Martin Luther King:
“Science investigates,” he says in The Strength To Love, “religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”
These words stopped me in my tracks on MLK Day. They seemed to fill a hole in the breaking news, which never quite manages to balance power with wisdom, or even acknowledge the distinction.
Our relationship to power is unquestioned, e.g.: “In the United States itself, there are around [nuclear] 4,500 warheads, of which approximately 1,740 are deployed,” Karthika Sasikumar writes at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. “Even more worrying, around 900 of these are on hair-trigger alert, which means that they could be launched within 10 minutes of receiving a warning (which could turn out to be a false alarm). . . .
“The threat to the United States is very real, but fattening the nuclear arsenal is not a rational response. The United States already has 100 times as many warheads as North Korea. . . .”
The U.S. has enormous power, but so what? Such data is almost never addressed in the mainstream media – certainly not in the context of . . . disarmament. That concept is sealed shut, barred from the consciousness of generals and news anchors. Certainly it didn’t come up in the coverage of what happened last Saturday in Hawaii, when an employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency hit the wrong link on his computer screen during a shift change and an incoming-missile alert went statewide, throwing residents and tourists into 38 minutes of panic: “Children going down manholes, stores closing their doors to those seeking shelter and cars driving at high speeds . . .”
Nor did it come up three days later, when a false missile alert went off in Japan, a country with a few memories of the real thing: “Within 10 seconds the fire that wiped out the city came after us at full speed. Everyone was naked. Bodies were swelling up. Some people were so deformed I couldn’t tell if they were male or female. People died screaming, ‘Please give me water!’”
To continue reading: Nuclear Annihilation and the Wisdom of Mass Salvation