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Thread: Use of Nuclear or Other Terrible Weapons

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Use of Nuclear or Other Terrible Weapons

    My Dear Friend.

    It may be interesting to you to know how I came to invent the gun which bears my name; I will tell you: In 1861, during the opening events of the war, (residing at that time in Indianapolis, md.,) I witnessed almost daily the departure of troops to the front and the return of the wounded, sick, and dead. The most of the latter lost their lives, not in battle, but by sickness and exposure incident to the service. It occurred to me if I could invent a machine--a gun-- which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a great extent, supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease be greatly diminished. I thought over the subject and finally this idea took practical form in the invention of the Gatling Gun.

    Yours truly,
    R.J. Gatling
    Mr. Gatling was, of course, the fellow who invented the first practical machine gun and claimed to have devised it so as to make large scale conflict too horrible to contemplate waging - he did not live to see WWI. When will we ever learn? Humanity, on a global scale, has consistently demonstrated that if a weapon is conceived - someone will use it. Trouble is that when we start talking about nuclear or biological weapons, we're dealing with indiscriminant killers - they kill the guilty and the innocent alike, typically taking a far larger toll on the latter.

    On the other hand, the world has not seen a major conflict since the advent of nuclear weapons. Have we learned our lesson? Is the world ultimately safer for having built these weapons or has there only been relative peace until such time as rival nuclear powers feel they have gained parity or advantage to the point they would contemplate their use? Is there any logic/sense behind any nation pursuing a biological weapons program - would posession of such weapons confer any advantage in conflict (wouldn't they be as likely to harm your troops as an enemy's?)
    Discuss.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    You can't hug someone with nuclear arms.

    I'd also:Like to buy the World a Coke...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Interesting thread.

    All through "the cold war" it was a nuke standoff between the Soviets and the Americans. We certainly came close, such as the Cuban Missle Crisis. Russian field commanders were given the authority to use battlefield nukes and probably would have had the Americans invaded Cuba. We joked about MAD (mutual assured destruction) but it actually worked.

    Odd that the stability we expected when the USSR crashed and burned has escaped us.....thanks to fundamentalist regimes. We all know that the USA could take out all of the "bad guys" in a few hours......but our history, our culture, our respect for human life keeps us from doing just that. (If we did, wouldn't we have crawled to a new low?)

    Concerning biological weapons.....those in power often don't really care about the front line "grunts". They are expendable.....if we have to lose them to wipe out the enemy's front line, so be it. War is so sad. Where's Michael Rennie when you need him?

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  4. #4
    The Hutu tribe of Rwanda killed more people with sharp knives in one hundred days than the total number of people killed by nuclear weapons throughout history.

    The weapon of mass destruction is not a machine, it is man.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    That's a startling quote you gave from Gatling - that he thought it might prevent the need for so many soldiers to face combat. He only succeeded in automating the leisurely slaughter of musket warfare to that of a meat grinder.
    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    On the other hand, the world has not seen a major conflict since the advent of nuclear weapons. Have we learned our lesson? Is the world ultimately safer for having built these weapons or has there only been relative peace until such time as rival nuclear powers feel they have gained parity or advantage to the point they would contemplate their use?
    I think it is arguable that if the U.S. had forgone use of the A-Bomb, and finished the job in Japan with conventional warfare, some nation in the six decades since would probably have used one at some point. It was a coming of age for America as the most powerful country in the world, and the U.S. has sought ever since to maintain that power through a monopoly on the use of nuclear weapons in warfare - albeit one that was only exercised on two occaisions against a single enemy.

    As a sort of "supermarket to the world" when it comes to armaments, the U.S. has found it perhaps more profitable to foment conflict in developing nations through the sale of conventional weapons, rather than nukes - the use of which would eliminate future demand for more weapons sales. Sort of like cigarettes, I guess. People know cigarettes will kill you, but the cigarette companies are happy to make it a slow and expensive form of premature death.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

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