If you tend to curl up in terror when confronted by the evil that is militarism and nationalism, you may want to skip this post. See also: [stderr]
Richard Rhodes has written a number of really good books on nuclear weapons history, including a fairly optimistic one called The Twilight of The Bombs [amazn]. There is also an excellent documentary (hard to find) by the Long Now Foundation, entitled the same (UPC: 885444842245) It starts off with an art movie by Isao Hashimoto:
There are various test-ban treaties, which the US (and probably Russia) is almost certainly violating, or planning to violate. Meanwhile, the US will scream about North Korea’s tiny arsenal, or Iran’s potential tiny arsenal. One of the clever hacks the US has come up with is declaring that it is not making “new” nuclear weapons – it is just “remanufacturing” old ones. And, in the process, equipping them with newer detonators that allow them to be targeted much more precisely – which means that the US arsenal is capable of destroying more stuff with the same number of warheads (no need to plan for “overkill” on hard targets) which means that, effectively, the US arsenal just got twice as powerful without getting larger.
Think about that – the US is screaming about Iran maybe violating an agreement not to enrich uranium, while simultaneously making it much more likely that it will use nuclear weapons because they’re more accurate and deadly, and violating the spirit, if not the letter, of arms limitation treaties. The US has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty so there’s a question whether the US is obligated to obey it or not. Got that? The North Koreans properly withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 before they re-ignited their nuclear weapons program. Test treaties appear to be a whole lot of “do as I say not as I do” from the nuclear superpowers.
Some idiot once said in my presence, “nobody wins a nuclear war.” To which I replied, “ask a Japanese.”
One think you can conclude from the video is that the US Government really hates the west coast of the US. ‘Cuz they nuked the living shit out of it.
How do you “remanufacture” a nuclear weapon? Simple: you make a new one then you call it the old one and break the old one down for spare parts. The US military has been using this trick in a lot of ways – unlike the US Airforce and US Navy that publicly and foolishly started “Our new submarine!” or “F-35!” programs, the US Army has undergone a process of versioning and refinement on the M-1 Abrams tank, to the point where it bears only an external resemblance to the 1970s M-1 tank – but they still call it the M-1, so they haven’t spent any money on a new tank. I’m still driving the car I bought in college – naturally, I have replaced every part of it a dozen or so times over, but it’s still the same car. That old car looked like a Ford Maverick (I know, I know..) and now it looks like a Honda CRV but, you know, “upgrades.”