Let me state something very clearly: I do not want a U.S. city (or any other city for that matter) wiped out by a nuclear bomb. Having said that,
we the hawks among us have lost all sense of historical perspective when it comes to Iran. When you compare the Cold War to what ever it is that we have going on with Iran, it’s obvious that the existential threat of Iran isn’t even in the same league:
1) Had only a fraction of the nuclear arsenals on either side been unleashed, human civilization would probably come to a screeching halt (to think, no internets!).
2) Leaving aside the nutjobs on both sides who believed a nuclear war was ‘winable’, there was always the chance that we could blow civilization to hell by accident. This nearly happened at least twice.
3) All the grownups think the soonest Iran could have a nuclear weapon is ten years. Not a massive planet-shattering arsenal–a single weapon. Ten years, if ever.
4) What is the point of maintaining our massive nuclear arsenal if it doesn’t even scare people into not using their nuclear weapons? (Got Peace Dividend?)
Seriously, you don’t have to be that old to get this. Josh Marshall does:
As you’ve probably seen, Yoo has now taken to arguing that the restraints on presidential power enshrined in the 1970s came about largely because the US faced no serious national security threats during that era. (George McGovern must be kicking himself, right?) And it occurs to me, considering this, that even at the relatively young age of 37, I and those my age are probably the last people who have any meaningful living memory of what the Cold War was like. Or in other words, what it was like living in a world where the primary geopolitical antagonism was between the United States and the Soviet Union and a full escalation of that conflict would result, for all practical purposes, in the end of the world.
So, perhaps folks in their twenties and early thirties have some excuse for this dingbat historical amnesia, but what’s the excuse of anyone over 40?
Terrorism is scary. More so if you live in a major city like New York. But life’s hard. And compared to nuclear holocaust it’s really pretty much a walk in the park, isn’t it?