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Talking Points for a Nuclear Strike | The Nation

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Talking Points for a Nuclear Strike

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Seymour Hersh's news that the United States is readying to drop an atom bomb or two on Iran was received with relief and satisfaction by thinking people everywhere. That excludes knee-jerkers of various persuasions who are back in the paleolithic Dr. Strangelove era, when people joked about loving the bomb but did not mean it.

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Nicholas von Hoffman
Nicholas von Hoffman, a veteran newspaper, radio and TV reporter and columnist, is the author, most recently, of...

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Dropping a nuclear device on Iran means war. Need you be reminded that America has been without a new war for three years now? The Afghanistan war is so unimportant you rarely hear it mentioned these days. Iraqis, except when they do those really disgusting things to each other with long knives, are a back-of-the-book item.

As a nation we have lost our fighting edge and need a new conflict to freshen us up. Hollywood liberals and their confederates may object on the grounds of tidiness--finish one war before you start another--but that is lame thinking.

Three wars are good. Think about the triangle. There is nothing in mathematics, engineering or nature stronger and more aesthetically pleasing than a triangle. Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, it's a natural. We may not get a chance to wage a three-sided war again for eons.

War is good in that it unites people. It will certainly unite the country, which is good because we are the "united" states, if you catch my drift. The Iranians, if news reports are right, could stand a little uniting themselves. They have ethnicity issues, poor things.

Here's another argument for bomb droppage. It's a historical fact that every people subjected to heavy aerial bombardment has come together, usually in a common hatred of their tormentors--which might mean that Iranians would hate us, even though they secretly yearn for democracy and would like to copy ours.

But those who hate us on Monday love us on Tuesday. After the war we come in with our "public diplomacy," as we call it, to help the natives build a "civil society," and we give them chocolate bars and tell them we are going to give them economic aid and pep up their infrastructures. This makes them love us.

You can do those things faster with a nuclear device than you can with the old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground approach, which Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld does not think much of. To understand the beauty of bombing Iran, you have to think twenty-first century. You have to open yourself to new ideas.

Another important reason for letting go with a radioactive bunker-buster or two is that there are fewer and fewer people around who are old enough to remember the last time we dropped an atom bomb on somebody. Without firsthand experience, how are people going to react to endless talk about "should we do it or shouldn't we do it"?

Who is there to make the thing come alive and personalize it? There are still a few of those elderly Japanese who were at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They trot out for the cameras every so often, but they are a poor advertisement for nuclear action.

Our new devices are nothing like that. They just go right down where we want them to go, and they don't hurt anybody--not really, just bad guys, who the Iranians actually want to get rid of themselves. It's humane, it's modern and when they do it everybody in the world can watch it on their cell phones.

Cool, huh?

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