Posted by: distributorcap | August 13, 2008

Hands on the Button

There are many things President Bush has accomplished in his eight year Reign of Mismanagement. A worthless dollar, a collapsing economy, debt up the kazoo, a more divided nation, an illegal and immmoral war, the shredding of constitutional rights – are just a few of the jewels in his crown. All of these problems are going to be long-lasting and very hard (or maybe close to impossible) to fix. But correcting the strayed course is up to us and our will to do the right things.

Another page in the legacy book of President Bush is how scary a place he has made this world. That we cannot fix ourselves. His saber-rattling, arrogance and military debacle has shown many in the world that we may be nothing more than a Paper Tiger. A paper tiger with a lot of nuculuar weapons.

Let’s take a look at the history of President Nuculuar’s favorite toy.

  • The first nuclear test was the explosion of the bomb Trinity in New Mexico on July 16, 1945
  • Less than 2 months later, 2 nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan. One on Hiroshima (Little Boy) on 8/6/45 and one on Nagasaki (Fat Man) three days later. Over 150,000 people died.
  • The USSR exploded its first atomic bomb on August 29, 1949
  • Great Britain was next on October 3, 1952
  • The US brought the thermonuclear age to reality, when the first hydrogen bomb was detonated on November 1, 1952
  • France joined the club on December 3, 1960
  • On October 31, 1961, the USSR decided to really treat the world to its tricks when it exploded the most powerful atomic weapon ever – the Tsar Bomb – in Novaya Zemlya. It had the power of 50 megatons of TNT, nearly 4000 times stronger than Hiroshima at 13 kilotons.
  • China became member number 5 on October 16, 1964
  • The world was surprised when India exploded a nuclear device on May 18, 1974.
  • Afraid of its neighbor, Pakistan began developing its own weaon and tested its first on May 30, 1998.
  • Finally North Korea allegedly detonated a weapon in 2006.

Sources vary as to the number of atomic bomb tests there have been. Here is one list I found.

# Tests Last
USA 1151 1992
USSR 728 1990
France 210 1996
China 45 1996
Gr Britain 45 1991
India 6 1998
Pakistan 2 1998
No Korea 2 2006

Other nations suspected of having or developing atomic weapons include South Africa, Israel, Libya, Iran, Argentina, and Brazil. The former republics of the Soviet Union are supposed to have turned over all their weapons to Russia after the USSR collapsed in 1991.

Nuclear weapon test explosions have been carried out in all environments: above ground, underground, and underwater. They have occurred on the top of towers and buildings, onboard barges, suspended from balloons, on the earth’s surface, underwater to depths of 2,000 feet, underground to depths of more than 8,000 feet, and in horizontal tunnels. Test bombs also have been dropped by aircraft and fired by rockets up to 200 miles into the atmosphere.

Testing sites in the US have included the Nevada desert, Alamogordo; New Mexico; Carlsbad, New Mexico; Hattiesberg, Mississippi; Grand Valley, Colorado; Rifle, Colorado; Farmington, New Mexico; Amchitka, Alaska. The US has also tested on several Pacific Islands, including the Bikini Atoll

Exploding nuclear devices is not a clean operation. There is fallout, waste and pollution. Approximately 3,830 kilograms of plutonium has been left in the ground as a result of all underground nuclear testing and some 4,200 kilograms of plutonium has been discharged into the atmosphere as a result of atmospheric nuclear testing. That is a lot of dangerous material floating around.

Wherever nuclear weapons testing has occurred for whatever reasons there have been environmental problems. Radioactivity has leaked into the environment from underground nuclear tests, large areas of land are uninhabitable as a result of atmospheric and underground nuclear testing, and people who live near test sites, their children and their children’s children’s health and livelihoods have been affected by nuclear weapons tests – often by cancers.

One of the more infamous results of atomic testing in the US occured during the shooting of the movie The Conqueror in 1956. Filming was done very close to the nuclear site Upshot Knothole in Nevada while testing was going on. There is a picture (which I could not find) of John Wayne holding a geiger counter during production. By 1984, 91 of the 220 cast and crew members had developed cancer. Epidemiologists call this rate (over 40%) an epidemic. The expected rate would be 30 out of 220. 46 died from cancer including stars Dick Powell, Susan Hayward, John Wayne and Agnes Morehead. Coincidence or cause?

On September 22, 1979, a US Vela Satellite picked up a strong flash of light over the Indian Ocean. Tests have never been able to conclude what caused the “Vela Incident,” but speculation includes a joint nuclear test between South Africa and Israel.

There have been three major nuclear treaties signed.

On August 6, 1963, the US, Great Britain and the USSR signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The Treaty prohibits nuclear weapons tests or other nuclear explosions under water, in the atmosphere, or in outer space allows underground nuclear tests as long as no radioactive debris falls outside the boundaries of the nation conducting the testpledges signatories to work towards complete disarmament, an end to the armaments race, and an end to the contamination of the environment by radioactive substances.

The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty was sign in 1968. Under this treaty countries that did not possess nuclear weapon states were prohibited from possessing, manufacturing or acquiring nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. All signatories, including the states with nuclear weapon were committed to the goal of total nuclear disarmament and the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Pakistan, Israel and Indian did not sign. North Korea and Iran have signed. North Korea pulled out of the pact in 2003.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear explosions in all environments, for military or civilian purposes. Two notable non-signees are China and the US.

Indeed this is a scary world, scary when the likes of George W. Bush continues to say “all options are on the table” when he doesn’t get what he wants. The man whose legacy will be completely dishonorable and trashed still has hands on the buttons.

What is not on the table is impeachment.


  1. Indeed this is a scary world, scary when the likes of George W. Bush continues to say “all options are on the table” when he doesn’t get what he wants…you said it, and as the situation between Georgia and Russia continues to simmer, it looks like things may get even scarier before they get better.

  2. The idea that anything nuclear is on the table is terrifying, especially since I grew up in the 50’s when the threat of nuclear annihilation was never far from our minds. (Speaking of the good old days, I am looking forward to reading your previous post and savoring it when I have more time!).In the meantime I’m also wishing you a belated happy birthday, thanks to Fran’s post!

  3. Happy belated birthday too.Impeachment should be on the table period. GWB should have his hands in cuffs and not on any nuclear buttons. Great post about an important topic that many people seem to disregard anymore.

  4. When I was in the Navy, we were never supposed to know whether or not our Destroyer had Nuclear weapons on board. They were really clever about this…We would have a truck pull up loaded with missiles and the dock workers would load them on board the ship. Then, later on in the middle of the night, a Marine truck with a ton of guards would pull up and load just a few on board.These of course were not any different than the first batch…

  5. W won’t push the button. His masters like being unbelievably wealthy and even they know that a nuclear winter would suck. They want us to live in fear, to control us. It works.

  6. Hi Cap;Now, with Georgia on my mind and George W. and Condi’s refusal to acknowledge that little “Democratic” state started this mess they’re in George and Condi are turning up the rhetoric. Unfortunately, unlike Reagan or JFK, these too have lost all credibility in this world including Russia, who really isn’t going to kowtow to the munt.This is probably not going to go too far, no one is that stupid, I think.But were are going to face this very real possibility in the future when the economy, drought and fresh water supplies push people to the brink.

  7. Happy belated Birthday! Yeah-don’t remind me-I hate that my state is known for the development and the proliferation of such a terrible weapon. It’s embarassing-not a proud thing like some of the loons think around here!I know of several relatives/friends who live or lived near Los Alamos who have developed different and often rare forms of cancer.

  8. DistributorCap;It was your birthday on Monday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DARLING. I hope you had a divine celebration. May this year bring you all of the happiness in the world. I just found out about your b-day today via Frannylish. You’re such a good kid. You deserve the world, ya know that. I hope this year brings everything your sweet heart desires.

  9. Christian Conservatives (Reagan, Bush I, Bush II) embrace a dogma radically different from you and me.For them, nuclear annihilation of humanity is part of Biblical prophecy. They are, quite literally, insane.When Dr. Susan Caldicott — the esteemed anti-nuclear weapons advocate met with Reagan to discuss the subject (the meeting was arranged by Reagan’s wayward daughter, Patty) she wrote of a man totally lacking in fear of what the destruction of humanity meant.For Christian Conservatives, nuclear annihilation wasn’t the end, but a beginning. Nuclear annihilation would herald the return of Christ to walk on earth and the chosen few would live with him for eternity.This type of lunatic thinking is why Christian Conservatives say it’s OK for nations like Israel, South Africa and Brazil to have atomic weapons, but it isn’t OK for nations like Iran, Pakistan and India to have the same weapons.One more example of the unimaginably flawed thinking of people who embrace Scripture over logic and reason and science.

  10. There’s no room on the table for impeachment because of all that fallout. Someone wanna pass the plutonium? This chicken is a little dry.Oh yeah, and happy birthday and all that. I posted on sports in your honor. 😉

  11. Christopher;I totally agree with your whole analysis. “When Dr. Susan Caldicott — the esteemed anti-nuclear weapons advocate met with Reagan to discuss the subject (the meeting was arranged by Reagan’s wayward daughter, Patty) she wrote of a man totally lacking in fear of what the destruction of humanity meant.””Totally lacking in fear” if he doesn’t have to live it. That is another problem. The individuals who start these events called wars rarely if ever have to endure the horror that their citizens, military and civilians, have to live through.

  12. Happy Belated Birthday!Just this morning, my son asked me what would happen if we really pissed off Russia. “Do we need to think about nuclear war?” was his concern.Here we go all over again. Thanks to the Republicans and neo-cons.

  13. And there is no comfort in the possibility of Johnny Bomb Bomb’s itchy trigger finger on the button.Too bad us Amurikins can’t see what a little tyrant this privileged elitist aristocrat truly is. The anointed son of the military industrial complex is salivating for the opportunity to prove himself a glorious war president

  14. Nice synopsis.My understanding is that the US H-bomb test in 1952 was really a laboratory shot, in that the bomb that was detonated was part of a lab. The Soviets tested the first usable H-bomb.The Tsar Bomb was designed by Sakharov to go to 100 MT. The third stage of the weapon was filled with lead, not with fissile material. Supposedly concerns that it would be possible to drop the weapon on other than a suicide flight resulted in it being downrated to “only” 50 MT. Either way, the Tsar Bomb was physically so large that it was not capable of being delivered any great distances.

  15. What Christopher said. It is what I have been saying for about the last 20 years, and most people I say it to think I am paranoid, but as William S. Burroughs said, “A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.” I am in 100% agreement that the Armageddonists don’t give a shit about anything except who is going to be “left behind” or not. The fact that “Left Behind” series author Tim LaHaye is a spiritual advisor to Dumbya should speak volumes. The American Christian conservatives decry Islamic fundamentalism but fail to understand what their own brand of fundamentalism might do to the world.Good post about nookyular weapons, Distributorcap! The more that people know about the subject, the better. I wonder how much political play the neotards are going to give the Russian-Georgian conflict during the next 10-12 weeks?

  16. They can threaten impeachment in Pakistan, and the President resigns, but our Congress can’t muster up the courage to do it here. And we’re supposed to be the model of justice around the world.

  17. great post…sadly dead on….and yeah…why it is dangerous to have someone incompetent at the helm…

  18. Thanks for that post but I am praying Bush gets tried in the Hague. He deserves the same Saddam got.

  19. Excellent post, Dcap, and truly a red alert for all of us.There’s a record of Cheney and Rumsfeld’s love of playing ‘shadow government’. The idea it is so easy to teeter into fascism given the right Pearl Harbor moment. You just have to prep the ground a little: Fox News’s 24 to break the taboo of torture; showing the use of nuclear bombs in a really badly written movie to break that taboo that occurred after WWII.These guys like torture. They really really want to use the bomb. I will be surprised (but oh so relieved) if we make it to Obama’s inauguration without Cheney nuking Iran.

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