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Barack Obama is the most important person whose conflicted/conflicting views on another type of war, a type the US is experiencing right now, have been of no interest to the media. Unless I'm mistaken, those views of Obama's have been especially of no interest to that member of the media whose opinions (and methods of examination and inquiry, should we have gotten that far) we would've taken especially seriously--because he, that expert, qualifies to be a Harold Willens Peace Fellow at The Nation Institute.

If Sarah Palin can be seen to represent a jobs program (a miniature Einzatsgruppen, if you will) for journalists who are certain that they're working for the left, then Barack Obama's sudden active interest in nukes (or in anything else) can be a jobs program, too, and one designed with the very same job applicants in mind.

What reason has the reader to believe that Obama will do any better with nukes and such questions as whether and when they should be deployed than he did with the question of whatever is the name of the standard-issue weapon that most US soldiers were using when Obama changed his mind about the right use of that weapon? If the difference between the two types of weapons is one of time (nuclear weapons being able to kill more of us faster than conventional weapons), the truth about us all is that we'd all be dead if Obama, when he was running for the presidency, hadn't found reason to change his mind about whether war with Iraq was in our interest.

But there's this: Obama, like everyone else, possesses no evidence in favor of our having gone to war against Iraq. And there's this, too: given enough time, conventional war can take as many lives as a nuclear war would. Ask any Jew.

We're being asked (not to "trust," for we already made it plain, in the last election, that we do trust, but) to laud someone whose best quality is that he makes it up (about himself) as he goes along. Obama, though, is neither the person who disseminates that information (about himself) nor the one who causes it to remain where it lodges after it is disseminated.

What kind of commander-in-chief was Barack Obama during the fight for healthcare? Victory for most of us was a one-payer system, with the minority of us--that small body of folks who've proven themselves able to get most of the money--not wrongly being made to contribute the most. And what did we get instead: the same system we had before, but one that now demands of each of us that we be satisfied with being only as healthy as any item on any of 3,000 pages of specially-made-for-it earmarks allows us to be.

Nobody who is serving in the US military today can say what I say here without his or her rightly being accused of attempting to commit the gravest of crimes. But each of them knows, and would be willing to admit, that he or she is the only good thing existing between you and the enemy. I say that they are being ignored, their lives and their deaths taken for granted--in a way that they never could have been ignored or taken for granted by John McCain, because he had been one of them.

This is the point in the debate at which every would-be liberal, if he isn't a Jonathan Schell, cries out in shock--shock, I tell you--at the image of all those innocent Iraqis who by now would've been wiped out by John McCain. (If you're a Schell and in the employ of an Obama, you switch the subject to one of weaponry.) I say to all of you who would win a debate in such a way that if you don't care any more than that about your own, it doesn't matter to me what you claim to care about others, or how numerous those others can be said (or even proven) to be.

J.E. Bernecky

Westover, PA

Apr 7 2010 - 9:41am

Web Letter

While nuclear weapons have never been a part of my job description. I worked as a munitions specialist in the Air Force stationed in England and for a short period in France, from March of 1956 through May of 1959. My job involved conventional munitions that were used by the Air Force at that time.

While SAC had bases in England, I am not sure how many nuclear weapons (bombs) were there. Missiles were still in the development stage. However, I am sure there were no tactical nuclear weapons (bombs) in England at that time. However, I did see one near the flight line in France, and I believe they went to England from France, when de Gaulle kicked us out of France.

Military organizations have always had a fascination with firepower, particularly when they are outnumbered by opposing forces. SAC nuclear-armed aircraft and later intercontinental ballistic missiles were strategic deterrent weapons against an attack on the USA. NATO was opposed by and outnumbered by the Warsaw Pact, and tactical nuclear weapons acted as a deterrent against a ground attack on Western Europe .

Nuclear deterrents are only useful when they prevent war between two nuclear powers. If one is attacked, the other has a second-strike capacity for retaliation. When two opposing nations border each other or near each other, a pre-emptive strike will mean the attacking force will suffer suicidal collateral damage from such an attack. Nuclear weapons make no sense at all for Iran, Israel, North Korea or any of their neighbors as a weapons system against one another.

These things are useful only as deterrents against other nuclear powers, and cause collateral damage well beyond the country targeted. God help the world if you hit nuclear power stations.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Apr 1 2010 - 4:58pm

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