Energy secretary pushes to ramp up U.S. ability to test nuke bombs

“Although scientists continue work on simulating nuclear bomb tests by computer, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Tuesday that the Nevada Test Site’s ability to resume actual underground warhead detonations must be enhanced.

The Bush administration’s commitment to step up preparations for a potential resumption of nuclear bomb testing in southern Nevada comes less than a week after the Utah Senate unanimously approved a House-passed resolution that urged the federal government not to ‘return to the mistakes and miscalculations of the past which have marred many Utahns’ and that would create ‘a new generation of downwinders.'” (Salt Lake Tribune)

Navy Commissions Attack Submarine Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter was the only US president to have qualified in submarines.This news release from the Dept of Defense crows over the upcoming commissioning of the newest nuclear attack sub in the US fleet in his name.

I wonder, however, if Carter will welcome this, or if the US Navy would take note if he did not. The peace and disarmament movement has always been graced by the ‘conversion’ of former heads of state and senior military officers. It is an often-observed phenomenon that, once freed of the pressures of their leadership positions which do not allow them to take a position of conscience, they can be exceedingly persuasive opponents of their country’s potential to unleash mass destruction, having once had their finger on the trigger. I am not certain that the statesman-like Nobel Peace Prize winner Carter has joined those who are freed to become anti-militarists — perhaps some of you readers know — but I assume so, given his outspoken post-presidential diplomatic and humanitarian concerns. The article mentions that Rosalynn and Amy Carter will participate in the launch of the USS Carter, but mention of the ex-president’s intention to attend is conspicuous for its absence.

Even the most modern of these monstrous weapons, armed with MIRVed ICBMs with massive warheads tactical Cruise missiles, are outmoded relics of the Cold War, designed to fight a war too terrible to comprehend against an enemy who no longer represents a threat. The press release boasts that the USS Carter is the largest submarine in its class, with “enhanced payload capacity” and advances enabling it to “develop and test a new generation of weapons.” It is an obscenity to build these things, an obscenity to rob legitimate human needs of the cost of building this thing, an obscenity to reactivate the nuclear arms race and reverse the previous decade’s progress in averting the nuclear threat as the Bush administration is doing, and an obscenity to name this WMD after the American president who most nearly deserves being called a peacemaker. His values are as antithetical to the aims and means of the current administration as can be. It is an obscenity to unleash this against the world in my name as an American citizen as well.

Besides, I thought we did not commemorate the famous by naming monumental works after them while they are still alive. The first time I saw that principle violated was with Reagan, but he was effectively gone for many years before his physical demise, as his Alzheimer’s Disease took his mind.

It brings up a related concern. Will there be any antiemetic strong enough for how I feel when they start naming things after George W. Bush?

‘My Addicted Son’

This anguished piece from the New York Times Magazine by a California writer about his son’s devastation by methamphetamine addiction ends on a hopeful note, but just barely. As someone who treats detoxing substance users on my psychiatric hospital unit, it is useful for me to have a window into the experience at least some of their loved ones might have. When my ability to be compassionate to one of my patients is frayed, one of the mantras I use to get back to where I want to be in caring for them is to remind myself that this is someone’s son or daughter, that this patient was once a babe in arms cuddled and loved by some mother or father.

But it also makes me desperate to go and hug my sleeping children, still too young to have been exposed to drugs, and never let go.