News Media's Love-Hate for Nuclear Weapons
By Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 07 August 2006
Since the Soviet Union collapsed a decade and a half ago, nuclear weaponry has been mostly relegated to back pages and mental back burners in the United States. A big media uproar about nuclear weapons is apt to happen only when the man in the Oval Office has chosen to make an issue of them.
During the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration went into The White House publicly obsessed about an Iraqi nuclear-weapons program that .
In sharp contrast, really seems to have a nuclear warhead or two. And because the Pyongyang regime is apparently nuclear-armed, Bush isn't likely to order an attack on that country, as he did against Iraq and as he has been not-too-subtly threatening to do against Iran.
By all credible accounts, is at least several years - and probably more like a full decade - away from acquiring a nuclear bomb. But America's top officials and leading pundits have been .
Judging from the frequent denunciations of some countries for alleged plans to build a nuclear arsenal, you might think that the US media are down on nuclear weapons. Not so.
- since the nuclear age went public 61 years ago with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
On August 9, 1945, President Harry Truman told the public this
Actually, the - in Hiroshima on August 6 and in Nagasaki on August 9. As a result of those two bombings, hundreds of thousands of civilians died, immediately or eventually. If Truman's conscience had been clear, it's doubtful he would have felt compelled to engage in such a basic distortion at the dawn of the nuclear era.
The scientific know-how of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb was headquartered at the secret Los Alamos laboratory in northern New Mexico beginning in the spring of 1943. Today, that one laboratory has a $2 billion annual budget, with most of the money devoted to the lab's key role in helping to maintain the "reliability and safety" of the
Until the moment when events prove otherwise, the policy of deploying an array of nuclear weapons with the rationale of "deterrence" can convince the faithful that the nuclear priesthood in Washington is worthy of our trust.
But, going deeper than nationalistic blind faith, some important questions should be considered. Last week, the Latin American writer Eduardo Galeano asked two of them:
The paperback edition of Norman Solomon's latest book, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, was published this summer. For information, go to: WarMadeEasy.com.