January 1992 (vol. 8, #2) 1601 N Tucson Blvd #9,
Tucson AZ 85716 c 1992 Physicians for Civil Defense
The Evil Empire has fallen, ``leaving America in the lurch,'' wrote columnist Russell Baker in celebrating New Year's. He claims that America has spent a quarter of its lifetime cultivating an ``enemy habit,'' and has now become suddenly desperate, ``like a cigarette fiend in need of a smoke.''
Mr. Baker's diagnosis is slightly off target. Americans seldom sat in front of the television screen to see visions of evil Communists. The vision was of a nuclear apocalypse.
What America needs is a substitute apocalypse. The
one prophesied by St. John will not do. John, unlike Paul Ehrlich,
has not been proved wrong, but he lacks credibility, having no
Ph.D. in an earthy science. Furthermore, John's Apocalypse is
not preventable through the exertions of the Peace Movement (now
the Peace, Ecology, and Social Justice Movement).
The Real Enemy
As Helen Caldicott and other aspiring Messiahs have pointed out, ``We have met the enemy, and he is us.'' And what does the enemy threaten? It threatens our Patient the ``one patient none of us can afford to lose.'' The Patient has ``more than five billion dependents'' and might wear a hospital armband with the name Terra Firma, age 5,000,000,000 years, address Solar System 3rd Orbit (according to an advertisement for the PSR Quarterly). Each of us threatens the Patient daily by disposing of our toxic and radioactive waste directly into the sewer. Perhaps we use whipped cream from a spray can that is not labeled ``ozone friendly.'' Or we may fail to recycle our cardboard even though we could earn $0.75 by bringing a truckload to the recycling center.
The damage to the Planet is accumulating relentlessly, threatening a fatal outcome within the next decade. The mechanism of death will be indirect perhaps through destruction of the ozone although the details have not yet been worked out. We don't understand how heavy molecules like chlorofluorocarbons manage to get into the stratosphere in high enough concentrations to zap the ozone layer. But we know they're there, even if we haven't measured them.
There's not enough time for research to see whether a megaton of prevention will work an ounce of cure. Instead of an arms race, we need a ``race to save the Planet,'' which can replace the Cold War. The New Earth Order will transcend national sovereignty, but even that is not enough to stave off the environmental apocalypse.
``We must redraw the line between owner and community,''
said New York Times columnist Eric Freyfogle, lecturing to some
Iowa farmers who are mired in 18th century ideology. ``Property
is a malleable, evolving institution, something the community
ought to regularly reshape to reflect its knowledge and needs.''
He tried to quiet the farmers' ``exaggerated fears'' by assuring
them that some choices would still be open to them. They could
still post a ``No Trespassing Sign'' to ``keep other humans at
bay'' [except the ones telling them how to manage their crops].
He hopes they will soon ``join the dialogue'' because ``the land
cannot wait much longer'' (Ariz Daily Star 1/10/92).
Banning the (Population) Bomb
Previously, the environmentalist lobby was too fearful of the right-to-life movement to speak forthrightly. But last May, leaders of more than 100 environmental organizations joined leading population control advocates in calling for an urgent response to global overpopulation (Science 252:1247, 1991).
The ``carrying capacity'' of Planet Earth is being strained, in their view. The food supply is not the limiting factor, Paul Ehrlich's predictions of the Famines of 1974, 1985, and 2001 notwithstanding. Only Africa now suffers widespread famine, and only because of ``a network of social and political factors that could be corrected'' (Science 254:790, 1991). According to a Hudson Institute report, the globe could now feed another two billion people on good land diverted from crops by government policy in the US and Argentina, and another four billion if high-yield farming technologies were more widely adopted in the Third World (Wall St J 9/19/91).
The problem is, according to a National Academy of Science report on global warming, that population growth is the ``biggest single driver of atmospheric pollution.'' Increasing numbers and, more importantly, better living conditions, lead to increased energy consumption.
``The conspicuous doubling of the average lifespan of whole populations...over the past 100 years is linked to the progressively increasing energy flow through society over the same time....The recent rise of energy consumption by Homo sapiens to levels 10-20 times above the basic metabolic rate is glaringly beneficial to the species.'' Therefore, ``there will be no voluntary way back from a high-energy to a low-energy economy,'' according to Manfred Schidlowski of the Max Planck Institut für Chemie (Nature 9/26/91).
The ban-the-(atomic)-bomb movement accomplished the banning of strategic defense and the rejection of bomb shelters. Only because of this, nuclear weapons had (and have) the power to cause a near-apocalyptic destruction of our undefended industrialized society.
In the guise of averting another apocalypse (global warming, ozone destruction, acid rain, etc.) which, unlike nuclear weapons effects, is purely hypothetical the environmentalists could achieve the actual destruction of our industrialized society.
The Earth First! Wilderness System Preserve would ban man from 32% of the USA (except for ``indigenous peoples living a traditional pre-European-contact lifestyle''). Other regulations would ordain a similar lifestyle for the surviving remnant, and the final defeat of the Enemy which is us.
At first, Iraq declared that it had no biological weapons nor related activities. Later, officials admitted to work on anthrax and botulinum toxin. The inspection team found facilities for fermentation, production, aerosol testing, and storage. The Salman site was capable of producing 200 liters of anthrax per week. No facility for filling weapons was discovered, but the site had been damaged extensively by bombardment and the ``recent physical removal by the Iraqis of key buildings.''
Just before the inspection team departed, the Iraqis handed over materials that could be used to develop biological warfare agents, including brucellosis and tularemia. At the same time, they stated that they would cease development.
Three vaccine production facilities were inspected. The team concluded that they had the capacity to produce sufficient quantities of biological agents to meet weapons requirements.
In Kuwait City, a 500-gallon tank apparently containing mustard gas was discovered beneath a building that had been occupied by Iraqi forces.
The third UN chemical inspection team found some 6,000 empty aluminum containers intended for filling with nerve gas and insertion into 122-mm rocket warheads. This installation, at Al Taji, had been declared for ballistic missiles but not for chemical munitions.
By October 25, Iraq had acknowledged possession of 46,000 pieces of munitions filled with chemical warfare agents, 79,000 unfilled munitions, and over 600 tons of chemical warfare agents. The munitions included large stores of rifle grenades, artillery shells, and bombs containing sarin nerve gas. Destruction of filled munitions and bulk agents was sched-uled to begin early in 1992 and continue into 1993.
Though not widely reported, Iraq's chemical weapons program had been accident-prone. According to Iraqi sources, there were about 100 incidents per year, of which ten were major.
On November 26, the British House of Commons received a report stating that sodium sulfide (65 tons) and sodium cyanide, both on the CW precursor control list, had been shipped from the United Kingdom to Iraq since 1988.
[Chemical Weapons Convention Bulletin, Dec 1991]
From reports confiscated by UN inspectors, Western scientists have concluded that Iraq was attempting to make a Nagasaki-style atomic bomb with a core made of enriched uranium rather than plutonium (Science 254:644-645, 1991). German companies sold Iraq parts needed to build up to 10,000 centrifuges for making enriched uranium, and inspectors found a centrifuge production plant capable of manufacturing 1,000 centrifuges per year. The IAEA checks for the diversion of nuclear reactor fuel, but uranium need never go through a power reactor and can be obtained as easily as cocaine.
North Korea's missile development program began in 1976. The nation has become one of the world's leading missile proliferators, selling SCUDs to Syria, Iran, and Libya, and missile-production technology to Egypt and Iran. The latest model, the SCUD-D, has an estimated range of 1,100 km, sufficient to reach any target in South Korea or Japan (Ariz Republic 11/19/91).
Iran. Through secret deals with Russia, North Korea, and other countries, Iran is conducting a multi-billion dollar military build-up. In conventional weapons, it has already achieved parity with Iraq. Soon, it will begin mass production of surface-to-surface missiles and will launch its second submarine. ``Nuclear research''-details unspecified-is included in the program. The Bush Administration notes that Iran still supports terrorism, but it also supports factions that oppose Saddam Hussein. (Previously, the Bush Administration supported Saddam Hussein because he opposed Iran.)
Syria. Israeli Housing Minister Ariel Sharon stated that the world's third largest arsenal of chemical weapons is owned by Syria. Syria is buying improved SCUD missiles with a range of 600 miles. The US State Department has protested Israeli overflights that monitor these shipments.
Syrian nuclear capabilities are ``as unknown as were Saddam's; the only thing one can say is that the nuclear programs of any Third World country have always been underestimated and when discovered have taken the West by surprise'' (Access to Energy, Feb. 1992).
Soviet Ex-Union. Third World countries are snapping up modern Soviet weapons at bargain prices. Iran is rumored to have bought multimillion-dollar T-72 tanks for $50,000 each. The Bush Administration is confident that existing controls over Soviet nuclear weapons are adequate to prevent their diversion. However, stopping the outflow of Soviet nuclear experts is another question. The Lebedev Physics Institute in Moscow has already lost 20% of its theoretical physicists. Scientists' paychecks are late as the government rushes to print rubles, and all but the most prominent scientists spend hours in line to obtain basic foods (Science 254:1716-1719, 1991).
CIA Director Robert Gates estimates that 900,000 people work in the Soviet nuclear weapons industry, and 3,000 to 5,000 have worked in uranium enrichment or plutonium production (Ariz Daily Star 1/2/92).
U.S. ``After Iraq, Nukes Can Be Junked,'' wrote Paul Nitze, former presidential arms-control advisor (Wall St J 12/24/9-1).