Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Open Letter to Mark Towner

Dear Mark,

I enjoy back-pedaling and flip-flopping as much as the next citizen, sir (which is to say not much). But the comment posted yesterday on your blog suggesting use of a nuclear weapon at high altitude to "fry" everything electrical via EMP surge without killing anybody seems to be just that.

As a reminder, Mark, the original "solution" cited in your post was, and I quote, "using the bigest [sic] and most powerfull [sic] nuclear weapons available, we must destroy every military and nuclear facility in the country". Hope you don't mind the spelling corrections, Mark. We've all been guilty of a typo. But to anybody with a brain, do you believe your post sounded like a call for the U.S. to bring Iran to its' knees with a great big power surge? Or do you think it might have instead sounded as you originally intended it to: Let's launch nuclear weapons toward military and nuclear targets on the ground and--as you so succintly put it--destroy them? Well, I have a brain, and I'm afraid I had to take your post to mean the latter of the two.

This is not just semantics, Mark. This is the difference between a call to inconvenience Iranians with the inability to heat up their morning coffee and a call to expedite a potential scenario that the US has taken every effort to avoid since WWII. Do you recall the Cuban Missile Crisis? The Cold War, maybe? While the threat of future atomic bombings did indeed compel the Japanese government to surrender during WWII, you cannot completely disregard historic events since that time. Nor should you be so quick to forget remarks like those delivered by British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who replaced Winston Churchill, when he read a statement prepared by his predecessor to British MP's which concluded, "We must indeed pray that these awful agencies will be made to conduce peace among the nations and that instead of wreaking measureless havoc upon the entire globe they become a perennial fountain of world prosperity."

The tragic realization that nearly 200,000 Japanese citizens--some military personnel, but the vast majority innocent civilians--died as a result of the attacks, compelled Churchill and Attlee to invoke prayers that use of such weapons would never be necessary again. Your reference to Churchill instead implies that if alive today, he would merrily drop atomic bombs on any of Britain's enemies again. I think the comment speaks for itself, and speaks to the contrary of your assertion that nuclear war has a real upside to it.

Getting back to the Cold War, Mark, you might remember the U.S. making the aforementioned efforts to avoid nuclear conflicts with Cuba and Russia. With the increase of nuclear power and arsenal size throughout the Cold War, the result of one government or the other caving to the temptation to launch a nuclear strike likely have been the decimation of our country, even our very planet. Though fictional, the AI system from the movie "Wargames" summed it up best. After calculating all possible outcomes of a nuclear conflict, it simply realized: "The only way to win is not to play".

Your comment that conventional bombing killed more civilians in Germany and Japan than the two atomic bombs that were dropped in Japan is accurate. But, Mark, if you're ready to justify killing hundreds of thousands of more human beings because millions have already been killed, well then, we'll just have to "agree to disagree" on that, too. World History is already rife with war and inhumane acts of all kinds. I would prefer to learn from our history and not repeat those same mistakes. And I would prefer that our political and other prominent leaders be like-minded. As opposed to, say, perpetuators of your views.

Mark, if there's one thing I find scarier than somebody advocating nuclear war, it's somebody who believes nuclear war is inevitable because the Bible speaks of the end of the world, and a nuke is a possible--even probable--catalyst to bring that about. People like yourself that assert others need to get on the right side of the "line" so God will save them while those same people drop deadly bombs on others is as ridiculous as it is inexcusably hipocritical. Especially coming from somebody with your degree of political influence. But I'll leave it up to you to decide if you agree you should take some responsibility for the things you say. And if you decide you don't, well then, I'll be here to disagree.



  1. Fair enough Jeff,

    Time will tell us all how things will work out in the end.

    Lets have a recap in 10 years OK



  2. Mark,

    Agreed. Let's just both hope that we're around in 10 years to recap. If we jump headlong into nuclear war with Iran, who knows whether we, or our children, will be around to discuss it?