In 1972, Randy Newman wrote a song about nuclear war in which he sings:
We give them money
But are they grateful?
No, they’re spiteful
And they’re hateful
They don’t respect us
So let’s surprise them
We’ll drop the big one
And pulverize them. . .
Boom goes London.
Bang Paree. . .
Newman called the song Political Science.
A shrewd title, reflecting the fact that once we see the mushroom cloud, it will be too late. We will be left asking – what did I do to prevent nuclear catastrophe?
And yes kids, a nuclear war means more than just losing your internet access.
We’re talking about the end of humanity.
The nuclear weapons of today are far more destructive than the ones we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A major strike on New York means the end of life as we know it, from Berkeley Springs to Boston and beyond.
As President Joseph Biden said last week, the risk of nuclear Armageddon is the greatest it has been since the Cuban missile crisis.
It was sixty years ago today that President John F. Kennedy took to the airwaves to inform the nation that the Soviet Union had put missiles in Cuba, an existential threat to the United States just 90 miles away.
Kennedy believed that the risk of nuclear war was at the time greater than one in three. A nuclear war would have meant the deaths of hundreds of millions of people.
But while Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba, he also opened direct negotiations with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
During the 13 days of the Cuban missile crisis, both leaders were intent on finding off ramps. Things initially did not go well. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara went home after one day long session saying to himself – “Well, this may be my last night.”
But in the end, because of the negotiations, a deal was struck. The United States would not invade Cuba. The Soviet Union would remove the missiles from Cuba. And what was not revealed until years later, the United States would remove nuclear tipped Jupiter missiles from Turkey. Nuclear war was averted.
Where are the voices for peace and negotiations in the United States today?
Only on the fringes of society.
What would such a voice look like?
Let’s take Clare Daly, a member of the European Parliament from Ireland.
In responding to a move to escalate tensions by calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, Daly said that “state sponsorship of terrorism is a term of US law.”
“It doesn’t exist in EU law, but a (Ukraine President Volodymyr) Zelensky advisor called for it in the Parliament magazine. And here we are again reporting for duty. And all it will do is make peace harder to achieve.”
“Exactly, of course, what the extremists want. No peace. No off ramps, all bridges burning and Ukraine a permanent abattoir in a suicidal holy crusade against Russia.”
“So, if you want to start naming state sponsors of terrorism, let’s do it.”
“European sponsorship of Israeli terrorism in Palestine.”
“Western sponsorship of Saudi terror in Yemen.”
“ISIS, the product of French, American, British, Turkish and Gulf sponsorship in Syria and Iraq.”
“Decades of right-wing US-backed terrorism against the Cuban Revolution.”
“The Contras in Nicaragua, death squads in Guatemala, in El Salvador.”
“Remember Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, horror after horror, terror after terror.”
“There’s nothing constructive about the pot calling the kettle black, would ye ever cop on, start championing peace, an end to the war which is patently in the interests of the EU, Ukrainian, and Russian citizens.”
No member of the Democratic Party in Congress would ever challenge the military industrial complex the way Daly does.
Not one – not Bernie Sanders, not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not Rashida Tlaib. Not one voted against the tens of billions of dollars in arms we are sending to fuel the war in Ukraine. Not one.
And if they did, they would be considered persona non grata by the party establishment.
Take the case of Geoff Young, who earlier this year, after a years of trying, won the Democratic party primary for Congress in Lexington, Kentucky. He will face off in November against Republican five term Congressman Andy Barr.
And because Young is anti-war, the Democratic Party wants nothing to do with him. This in a year when control of the House might come down to one or two seats.
Young says his number one priority is to avert nuclear war.
He would impeach President Biden for risking World War III with Russia and China.
He would also abolish the CIA.
“Ever since the CIA was founded in 1947 it has gotten us into one illegal, immoral war after another,” Young says.
At home, he’s for getting big money out of politics and for single payer national health insurance.
The Democratic establishment wants nothing to do with him.
Because he’s for peace and against the corporate establishment of both parties.
In Berkeley Springs, any talk of peace is met with liberals crying for war over Ukraine.
Boom goes London.