This is reprinted from one of my favorite blogs Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist.
Newt Gingrich: Look what you’ve been covering: North Korea firing missiles. We say there’ll be consequences, there are none. The North Koreans fire seven missiles on our Fourth of July; bombs going off in Mumbai, India; a war in Afghanistan with sanctuaries in Pakistan. As I said a minute ago, the, the Iran/Syria/Hamas/Hezbollah alliance. A war in Iraq funded largely from Saudi Arabia and supplied largely from Syria and Iran. The British home secretary saying that there are 20 terrorist groups with 1200 terrorists in Britain. Seven people in Miami videotaped pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda, and 18 people in Canada being picked up with twice the explosives that were used in Oklahoma City, with an explicit threat to bomb the Canadian parliament, and saying they’d like to behead the Canadian prime minister. And finally, in New York City, reports that in three different countries people were plotting to destroy the tunnels of New York.
I mean, we, we are in the early stages of what I would describe as the third world war….
Tim Russert: This is World War III?
Newt Gingrich: I, I believe if you take all the countries I just listed, that you’ve been covering, put them on a map, look at all the different connectivity, you’d have to say to yourself this is, in fact, World War III.
Although this is probably just an exercise in hyperbole, it does tend to concentrate one’s attention on the dynamics of a third world war, if did occur some time in the future. As was the case in WWI, events tend to spiral out of control very rapidly. Of course, unlike WWI, a new war that is truly global in character will very likely involve the use of nuclear weapons and destroy civilization as we know it.
There is a tendency to downplay such dangers because the threat of “mutually assured destruction” during the Cold War meant that using nuclear weapons was virtually unimaginable. With the capitalist transformation of the USSR, however, there is no longer a counter-balance to the U.S. and the world’s number one super-power surely must feel the temptation to use its advantage against weaker adversaries.
The Pentagon began reviewing its options in 2001 and decided that the old rules no longer applied. A white paper signed by Rumsfeld said, “nuclear weapons could be employed against targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack (for example, deep underground bunkers or bioweapon facilities).” There was a genuine worry that such weapons might have been used against the Iraqi military in the run-up to the invasion.
One wonders if the top brass in the Israeli army might be thinking along similar lines in light of the fact that a 20 tons of explosives was not sufficient to penetrate Hezbollah’s bunkers in south Beirut and kill its leader Hassan Nasrallah, who commented after the abortive strike: “I can confirm, without exaggerating or using psychological warfare, that we have not been harmed.” If anything, the Hezbollah missiles might even be harder to destroy based on the conclusions of a former Lebanese army officer cited in a July 21 FT report. He said the longest range rockets were buried in the south and in the eastern Bekaa valley, “so deep that bombs cannot reach them and guarded by suicide commandos”.
If Hezbollah can withstand 20 tons of explosives, perhaps they can be destroyed with a tactical nuclear weapon rated at 100 tons. Nuclear weapons experts define such bombs as having a range between 100 tons and one million tons. Hiroshima was destroyed by a 120,000 ton device. But that would be overkill. A nicely placed junior bomb of a mere 100 tons would be more than up to the task.
The Israel nuclear program grew out of a conviction that anything was justified to guarantee its survival, including nuclear weapons. It is of course ironic that the term nuclear holocaust gained currency in the 1950s. As is frequently the case with the Zionist state, threats and outright demonstrations of inhumanity are legitimized by past injustices.
The Federation of Atomic Scientists estimates that Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons. Israel developed the bomb over 30 years ago but never referred to it publicly until the year 2000 when Knesset member Issam Mahoul–a member of the predominantly Arab communist party Hadash–filed a motion to debate the nuclear issue. The motion was prompted by selections from the first-ever publication of the transcript of the trial of Mordechai Vanunu, imprisoned in 1986 for revealing the existence of Israel’s bomb program.
Vanunu, as opposed to the gangsters running Israel, demonstrates a commitment to true Jewish values as these remarks to a 2005 press conference after his release from prison demonstrate:
“I have no more secrets to tell and have not set foot in Dimona for more than 18 years. I have been out of prison, although not free, for one year. Despite the illegal restrictions on my speech, I have again and again spoken out against the use of nuclear weapons anywhere and by any nation. I have given away no sensitive secrets because I have none. I have not acted against the interests of Israel nor do I wish to. I have been investigated by the police again and again, and re-arrested twice, but they have found nothing. I have done nothing but speak for peace and world safety from a nuclear disaster… I did not seek to harm Israel, but rather to warn of an enormous danger. I do not seek to harm Israel now. I want to work for world peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. I want the human race to survive.”
In 1959, Hollywood released “On the Beach,” a film about WWIII based on Neville Shute’s best-seller. It was a memorable film that detailed the last days on earth of a group of survivors who are driven to the Arctic Circle to escape the radiation that has engulfed the planet. All of them die. The war began after Egypt bombed Great Britain using Russian-made planes, which the British interpreted as a Soviet attack. It was surely plausible then, as it is now, that the Middle East would spawn a nuclear war.
In the year 70 AD, there was a Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire led by the “Zealots” who objected to Roman rule just as Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank object to Jewish rule today. Under the leadership of Elazar ben Ya’ir, the Zealots seized control of Masada from the Roman garrison stationed there.
In the fight to defend Masada from Roman assault, the Jews decided to kill themselves rather than relinquish control. Today Masada is used by the Israel Defense Forces and youth movements for swearing-in ceremonies, where participants swear the oath that “Masada shall never fall again.”