Nuclear effects

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Last week in this column, I discussed building tensions over a potential nuclear conflict between North Korea and the U.S.

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, continues his threats of a nuclear attack on the U.S. or its allies. Those of us who lived through the confrontations of the Cold War can remember times when incidents made the threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union very real. That reality was enforced with television shows, movies, newspaper and magazine articles, fictional books like “On The Beach” or books about an accidental war such as “The Bedford Incident.” Nuclear-war drills in schools and civil-defense storage facilities reinforced the reality of the situation.

To the average citizen, the threat of nuclear war went into hibernation with the end of the Soviet Union in December 1991. What they do not realize is the military continued to train personnel in nuclear warfare to include nuclear defense. Still, the motivating threat was the potential use of nuclear weapons by former Soviet Union countries who still have those weapons. While the theft and illegal sale of those nuclear weapons complicates securing them, the building of those weapons and components for sale is an even greater concern. Intelligence agencies believe North Korea is selling nukes to Syria. There are no controls on who will get these illegal weapons, so stopping the transport of them is critical.

There are nations and terrorist organizations who would have no compunctions regarding the use of nukes. Intelligence to identify when nukes are being moved is the key to stopping this trade. When a ship is found to be carrying this cargo, the crew should be imprisoned, and the ship should be sunk. Whatever actions are taken, it must be remembered that these people are distributing weapons each of which could kill hundreds of thousands. Those who do not die from thermal injuries caused by the blast would suffer different diseases caused by radiation from the nuclear weapons.

The world is continuing to change, and our responses to evils must be adjusted to adequately meet those changes and discourage more. Those supplying illegal nukes are enemies of the civilized world and are not worthy of mercy.

Jack Dragoni attended Boston College and served in the U.S. Army in Berlin and Vietnam. He lives in Chaffee, Missouri.

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