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Asleep on a bomb!

Every night the whole world goes to sleep aboard a huge multi-megaton bomb — fully capable
of exterminating every man, woman and child from the face of this earth.
Yet most people — focusing only on their own day-to-day concerns and how to eke out a "good life"
in the midst of economic uncertainty — seem oblivious to the awesome and frightening significance of nuclear proliferation.


During the Korean War, I was stationed on a U.S. naval aircraft carrier just offshore Korea. On board were huge "blockbuster" type bombs weighing up to 2,000 pounds. I used to help lower them into their bins with pulleys. Between loadings we would sometimes take time out for a little catnap. I would actually stretch myself out on the back of one of those great big bombs and go serenely off to sleep. After all, it didn't have a fuse in it. I felt just about as safe as if I'd been in my bunk.

After a few days of personal acquaintanceship with big bombs and guns, they don't look so deadly anymore. You tend to think of them as completely safe and harmless — you never think of one suddenly going off.

Human beings learn to readily adapt their lives to very dangerous circumstances. People just don't think of spaceship earth in terms of an enormous arsenal of thermonuclear weaponry both buried underground in missile silos and in underwater submarines.


Opening Pandora's Box

When man began to tamper with the makeup of matter and to split the atom, he was dealing with the very building blocks of the universe and intruding into an area of unknown consequences. The bomb he finally built, it was feared, would feed on mankind's very environment — the air, the ground, people, horses, animals, buildings — everything would explode and be changed into instant energy in a gigantic chain reaction.

Man had succeeded in finding a key with which he could unlock just a tiny bit of the energy contained in matter. The final result is this spaceship called earth is currently harboring a giant, unwanted stowaway capable of rendering all life into just so many tons of pure energy.

We began living in this kind of world in 1945. Incredibly, it was then possible for the first time in history for one bomber — high in the stratosphere — to carry enough destructive force to obliterate an entire city. Some thirty years later, it is now possible for one bomber to carry sufficient firepower to represent the entire destructive force unleashed by all participants in World War II — including the atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We have come to the point where the United States and the Soviet Union possess enough nuclear stockpiles to annihilate all human life of many, many separate worlds like ours. This kind of nuclear overkill defies human description — it boggles the mind!


How It All Came To Be

About five years ago, on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the dropping of the first two atomic bombs, an editorial by David Lawrence, the late editor of U.S. News & World Report, appeared in that popular American news weekly. It was actually a verbatim reprint of the editorial he had written on August 6, 1945, following the destruction of the two Japanese cities.

It began: "Man has at last brought forth a weapon that reduces war to an absurdity. Man has discovered that a means of destroying whole nations is available out of the minerals of the earth and that no people can hope to remain secure against the atomic bombs of another people no matter how distant one country may be from another. A single airplane riding high in the stratosphere, unobserved and undetected because of its great speed, propelled by this new energy, can appear suddenly over London or Washington or Detroit or Pittsburgh . . . and destroy human lives by the hundreds of thousands in just a few seconds."

Remember, this editorial was originally written in 1945, before the present age of missiles and spacecraft.

Later in the article, Mr. Lawrence continued: "All the world knows that the secrets of the atomic bomb cannot long be withheld from the scientists of nations large and small. The tiniest nation with a laboratory and certain raw materials will 'have a weapon that can be used to destroy its neighbors."

How prophetic that was! We've come a long way since "Little Boy" was dumped out of a B-29 bomb bay over Hiroshima. Now forty nations are ready to join the nuclear club — each one able, perhaps by 1985, to make a few bombs of the low-yield kiloton range — the type that destroyed Nagasaki at the ushering in of the nuclear age.

India already has the bomb. It has been commonly reported that Israel has the bomb. The Arab world has nuclear reactors. In the Middle East, where passions and continual threats of war are potentially explosive, billions of dollars of arms are being stockpiled. History has taught us nothing.

Has the world gone completely mad?

Yerucham Amitai, former deputy chief of the Israeli Air Force, is quoted as saying: "In the end, we may have to choose between action that might pull down the Temple of Humanity itself rather than surrender even a single member of the family to the executioners" (quoted from 90 Minutes to Entebbe, by William Stevenson).

"Pull down the Temple of Humanity"! What an electrifying statement! What implications! You can draw your own conclusions. What Amitai may well have meant, in this 1970 conversation with author Stevenson, is that Israel has the bomb, and that she would be willing to use it if the nation were ever again threatened with extinction. Will Israel plunge the world into a nuclear holocaust rather than accept destruction by her enemies? Only time will tell — perhaps less time than we think!

Amitai only put into words the true feelings and intentions of many nations. Probably others will not be as honest and forward about admitting it. But, in truth, this world is much closer to World War III, to be fought with nuclear arms, than most people realize.

Has there ever been a weapon from time immemorial that has not been used? You name it: knives, spear, Gatling gun, machine gun, torpedo, atomic bomb — all have been used! Have the scientists and the military geniuses — with all their ingenuity in searching forever greater and more effective methods of dispensing with human flesh — ever failed to eventually use the weapons and systems they've designed?

In the next few years, when. 40 nations have the bomb; the likelihood of nuclear war will be that much greater!


What Will Man Do?

Editor Lawrence asked toward the conclusion of his remarkable editorial: "What will man say to this? Will he foolishly toy with the new weapon; build huge factories, and husband supplies of atomic energy against potential enemies?"

That is exactly what man has done! Only he wasn't satisfied with mere atom bombs — they were but the match it took to produce the heat required to cause the fusion of the hydrogen-helium process which brought about the hydrogen bomb. Finally came multi-megaton nuclear warheads incorporated into a missile system that can deliver destruction to cities half a world away in less than 45 minutes.

Will man husband supplies of atomic weapons? Oh, yes. They're stockpiled around the world in caves, caverns, ordnance depots and nuclear submarines. Many are deep in the bowels of mountains. The United States has its own private arsenal and the Soviet Union possesses perhaps even more sophisticated nuclear weaponry.

Until a matter of a very few months ago, we all thought in terms of a nuclear stalemate — more or less a bomb-for-bomb, missile-for-missile standoff between Russia and the United States. Previously it was almost universally agreed that the U.S. nuclear striking force could eradicate most major Russian population and industrial centers — all of which rendered any possible Soviet adventurism as unthinkable. But this idea was based on the concept that our Minuteman land-based system would hit its many targets in the Soviet Union; likewise our Poseidon submarines.