What was once unthinkable
is now playing out in theatres all summer long.
NUKES GO MAINSTREAM
In 1984 it was a small nuke that introduced Big Brother to England. Winston remembers that "an atomic bomb was dropped on Colchester" (a town near London) and that "after that Big Brother revolutionized with force... Hundreds of bombs were dropped on industrial centers, chiefly in European Russia, Western Europe, and North America" until the three Super-States were set up and Big Brother was on top of the world. Then the citizens of Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia lived amongst the rubble, all being ruled in the same tyrannical way.
Another thing Orwell told us is that the Brotherhood behind Big Brother was trying to figure out "how to kill several hundred million people". Big Brother wanted the citizens of the world to be manageable in number, to help ensure limited resistence. After that, continuous warfare and population control would keep whoever was left in check. Actually, a movie that came out in the '70s - Executive Action - said the powers-that-be wanted to bring the population of the world down to 500,000,000.
Since so much of what Orwell warned about in 1984 has already occurred or is happening now, we would be wise to trust that he's probably right about nuclear bombs as well. There seems to be no doubt that the powers-that-be are softening us up for nukes (in other words, conditioning us to be prepared for nukes).
The powers-that-be have been introducing the concept of "suit-case nukes" and telling us they could be coming from anywhere - mentioning Russia, China, Korea, India, Pakistan and many smaller nations that could perceivably be buying "dirty bombs" from the aforementioned nations. Heck, the United States has threatened on numerous occassions to use nukes as "bunker busters" to rout out "evil doers".
And so too are the powers-that-be getting themselves ready for a nuke attack. They've admitted to us that they have very sophisticated bunkers underground to which they will immediately go should they feel a nuke attack coming on. They can live underground for years, they say.
But that doesn't help the rest of us too much. We're told to stock up on duct-tape. It's a far cry from when President Kennedy was alive. His government encouraged people to be realistically prepared by building legitimate bomb shelters. And then, once the crisis was over, he used his charm to calm the Russian Bear into sharing his desire for an end to nuclear proliferation. JFK was murdered five months after announcing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The powers-that-be didn't like him very much at all. The day after JFK was buried the stand-in President repealed his order to withdraw troops from Vietnam. The rest, as they say, is history.
It's becoming obvious that nukes are indeed a part of our future, albeit smaller ones than what were used on Japan and in tests in Bikini & New Mexico etc. Iraq is probably going to be their proving ground. The writer of the following movie review is having similar thoughts about nukes. He's noticed that Hollywood seems to be promoting them as the weapon of choice in big box-office and video game productions. This is no doubt another example of the powers-that-be using Hollywood to introduce their ideas; just as Big Brother used the Ministry of Truth in "1984". ~ Jackie Jura
From 'no nukes' to 'go nukes!'
In Hollywood's new disaster flicks, nuclear bombs save the day
Adam Sternbergh, National Post, March 29, 2003
The Earth's core has stopped spinning. The Golden Gate bridge has melted to slag and the Roman Coliseum's exploded, hurtling chunks of rock at startled tourists. The fate of humanity hangs in the hands of a small, brave crew of adventurers. They tunnel toward the centre of the planet, armed with the only thing that can reactivate the Earth's core and save the world from destruction: nuclear weapons.
Thanks, nuclear weapons!
This, roughly, is the premise of The Core, a B-grade action flick that slipped into theatres this weekend. Depending on your outlook, The Core is either a few months early -- getting a jump on summer, the hot season for popcorn-flavoured disasters -- or a few years late, trailing the recent wave of millennial apocalypse flicks: Armageddon, Deep Impact, End of Days, Dante's Peak and Volcano.
The Core is also the latest entry in a burgeoning disaster-film sub-genre: Call it the nuclear-weapons-will-save-us-all film. In Armageddon, for example, a crew of roughneck oil-drillers are shot into space so they can intercept a huge asteroid, fill it full of nukes and blow it to pieces. In Deep Impact, a team attempts a similar mission to divert an equally menacing chunk of space rock, but fails. (Their nuke manages only to split the rock into two, smaller rocks.) Now we have The Core. Given this mini-trend, the conspiracy-minded among us might wonder if there isn't a secretive pro-nukes lobby, doling out bonuses for screenplays in which ICBMs carry the day.
Twenty years ago, as you may recall, nuclear weapons were portrayed very differently in pop culture. During the Cold War, nukes didn't solve the problems; they were the problem.
Films such as 1983's WarGames, the TV movie The Day After, or the unsettling documentary If You Love This Planet all depicted nuclear detonation as unequivocally devastating, and nuclear war as a zero-sum proposition. As the tic-tac-toe-playing computer in WarGames eventually deduced, playing with nukes was a game with no possible winners.
Perhaps the most telling indication of how we once regarded nuclear weapons came in the form of a video game, not a movie. In Missile Command, an Eighties-era arcade classic, nukes rained down on a series of defenceless cities. Your task was to shoot them out of the air before they reached their targets. The better you were, the faster the missiles came: Eventually, even the most adept player would be overwhelmed by the onslaught. The game was literally impossible to win. Armageddon was the only outcome.
Those, of course, were different times. Back then, in the age of stalemated superpowers and the ticking of the doomsday clock, the public spent much more time worrying about nuclear war than we do now. When the Cold War ended, nukes were supplanted in our cultural psyche by other, less realistic, more enigmatic, and thus more frightening threats: for example, jungle-bred viruses that liquefy the guts of every monkey in the lab. By the turn of the millennium, natural disasters became the new pop-culture bogeyman: Giant asteroids, tidal waves and volcanoes were Hollywood's anxiety attacks of choice. We no longer worried that we were our own worst enemy.
Then again, Hollywood always lags behind a little in chronicling our fears, as The Core demonstrates. It's doubtful many people these days are preoccupied with a geologically improbable work stoppage at the Earth's core. Terrorists and dirty bombs are the current anxiety. Yes, we still have nuclear-related jitters, but now these fears come in suitcase-sized packages, rather than in the form of missiles sleeping in silos. Never mind that most of these missiles are still in their silos, undisturbed.
In fact, if pop culture is any indication, there's been a notable scaling-down of our anxieties about nukes. In video games, the Missile Command model was long ago abandoned; now, in games such as Mech Warrior and Starcraft, nukes are just one more weapon in the available arsenal. They're the ultimate smart bomb, the sharpest arrow in your quiver. No longer do we think of them as wreaking unspeakable devastation. In fact, a new version of Starcraft, titled Starcraft Ghost, boasts "more realistic" game play; for example, if your character calls down a nuclear strike, she'll have to run away to avoid being caught in the explosion. Here's hoping she's a fast runner.
At the movies, we've gone from WarGames to The Sum of All Fears, a film in which a cabal of mincing bad guys conspire to nuke Baltimore with a bomb the size of a coin-op pop machine. They succeed, though it turns out to be no big whoop. Sure, a few windows get blown out, and Ben Affleck scampers among rows of groaning casualties on stretchers. But, in the end, he's picnicking with his fiancée on the White House lawn with nary a staggering nuclear mutant in sight. A thousand years of nuclear winter are apparently not in the forecast.
In fact, in some recent films, nukes prove not to be devastating or even powerful, but ineffectual and essentially harmless. We lobbed them at the aliens in Independence Day, and look where that got us. The missiles bounced off their spaceships like spent sunflower-seed shells. (Of course, you'd hate to live in whatever town that nuclear debris fell down on, though that subplot wasn't explored.) Finally, we had to stop those alien invaders with a computer virus. This, then, is what it's come down to: We're now more frightened by tainted downloads than by nuclear missiles.
This new attitude toward nukes might seem like little more than a Hollywood oddity, if not for its parallels in the off-screen world. Moviemakers, it seems, aren't the only ones with a new outlook on the possibilities of nukes.
Last year, the Bush administration was left with some fast talking to do, after a plan about nukes was leaked to the press. The plan explored the use of tactical nuclear strikes as a response to a chemical- or biological-weapon attack. Seven different countries were named as possible targets; no doubt they were all pleased to know they're now considered to be as potentially dangerous to U.S. interests as a hurtling chunk of space debris.
Similarly, The Washington Post reported this year that the Pentagon was studying the viability of dismantling Cold War-era nuclear missiles into smaller, "low-yield" nuclear bombs, possibly for use as bunker busters. To paraphrase Homer Simpson's famous rumination on doughnuts: Nuclear weapons -- is there anything they can't do? Meteor hurtling toward us from outer space? Nuke it! Foreign country has chemical weapons? Nuke it! Osama's slithered into a particularly bothersome underground hideaway? Nuke it!
Battlefield nukes may be just another Pentagon pipe dream. But our collective nuclear anxieties have definitely been downgraded. And our shift in thinking may have larger implications than simply a few more bad disaster flicks in which great tourist destinations are laid to waste. Fear of nuclear weapons has always been a primary deterrent for their use. During the Cold War, the only thing that made nuclear war seem improbable was that, on some level, it was unthinkable. This was part of the rationale behind MAD -- the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction. Point enough nukes at each other, then, as Sting put it so poignantly, hope that the Russians love their children, too.
We might cling to similar assurances today, when we read about Pentagon studies into battlefield nuclear bombs. Sure, someone might imagine using "low-yield" nukes to root out stubborn bunkers, but no one would ever actually do that, right? Nukes will never become just another weapon at our disposal; the very idea is unthinkable. Except that it's not, obviously: Just look up on the movie screen. What was once unthinkable is now playing out in theatres all summer long.
Russia foothold in USA uranium production (the Russians are coming) & USA approves Russia takeover Canada uranium (Russia controls USA nuclear supply chain). StockBlog/FinTimes, Dec 9, 2010. Go to BYE BYE AMERICAN PIE
Physicist helped build first Atomic-bomb (admitted involved in Communist Party). Telegraph, Apr 29, 2005. Go to 13.Weapons & 6.Superstates & 35.Brotherhood & ATOMIC-BOMB SCIENTIST COMMUNIST
Russia nuke-attacks USA & UK (in practice for real thing). Rense.com, May 16, 2003. Go to 13.Weapons & 6.Super-States & ARMING OUR ENEMIES
Congress backs tactical nukes (and underground testing). BBC, May 13, 2003 & Police may shoot public (who try to leave scene after a nuke attack). Telegraph, May 13, 2003. Go to ANIMAL FARM DOGS
Huge Homeland Security Drill (TOPOFF 2 is dirty nuke bomb causing flu like symptoms). Wash Post, May 5, 2003. Go to HEALTH CRUSADERS: ACT V
Bush approves nuclear response. Wash Times, Mar 29, 2003
35.The Brotherhood & DR STRANGELOVE IN CHARGE
On this day in 1954 (USA tests hydrogen bomb in Bikini). BBC, Mar 1, 2003. Go to HISTORY OF BIKINI ATOLL
THE AREA 51 BASE (What is it and what's inside?)
Atom bomb-proof bunkers (keep leaders safe underground). Scotsman, Mar 29, 2003
EXECUTIVE ACTION (accurate portrayal of assassination of President Kennedy) and MOVIE REVIEWS
JFK'S "STRATEGY OF PEACE" SPEECH, June 10, 1963 (announcing Nuclear Test Ban Treaty)
JFK & KHRUSHCHEV
4.Old World Destruction and 13.Weapons
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~