Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan would cause worldwide destruction

Two items:

One from New Scientist.

And another courtesy of Wired Science.

In a nutshell:

Apart from the human devastation, a small-scale nuclear war between India and Pakistan would destroy much of the ozone layer, leaving the DNA of humans and other organisms at risk of damage from the Sun's rays, say researchers.

My take:

There is no such thing as 'limited' nuclear war. Any use of nuclear weapons, tactical, strategic or terrorist, clean or dirty, would be catastrophic. Along with environmental damage and human suffering, the global economy, international and cultural relations and the human psyche would all likely take dark turns. You think 9-11 changed everything? Nuclear war would be a whole new kettle of steaming awfulness.

I cannot fathom how someone could consider otherwise. I can understand how scientists and strategists would need to evaluate various scenarios, but to consider any of them as a workable option is insanity.

This may be the most important message science has delivered to us in recent years. By averting nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, we seem to have dodged a deadlier bullet than we had imagined.

In this post-Cold War and post-September 11 era we need to be ever wary of attitudes and policies that might leave this door unbarred.

It is to our credit that we haven't used nuclear weapons in anger since 1945. We should be proud and somewhat amazed. Let's keep the streak, and the planet alive.

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