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Wellerstein-Trinity1-690At 69 I like most of the people alive I  have lived with the threat of nuclear weapons  all of my life.  Less than 10 months before I was born the first nuclear weapon was detonated in New Mexico.  It was code named Trinity.

The light of a nuclear explosion is unlike anything else on Earth. This is because the heat of a nuclear explosion is unlike anything else on Earth. Seventy years ago today, when the first atomic weapon was tested, they called its light cosmic. Where else, except in the interiors of stars, do the temperatures reach into the tens of millions of degrees? It is that blistering radiation, released in a reaction that takes about a millionth of a second to complete, that makes the light so unearthly, that gives it the strength to burn through photographic paper and wound human eyes. The heat is such that the air around it becomes luminous and incandescent and then opaque; for a moment, the brightness hides itself. Then the air expands outward, shedding its energy at the speed of sound-the blast wave that destroys houses, hospitals, schools, cities.

A few weeks latter the United States dropped two of these hellish weapons on Japan killing nearly a quarter of a million people. When I was in grade school in the 50s I vividly remember going to the basement of my school for drills where we sat on the floor and put our heads between our legs or as Jimmy Buffet so poetically put it in one of his songs " put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye,"   I also remember the Cuban missile crisis.  I was old enough then to be really frightened.

These are facts we should consider when looking at the Iranian nuclear program.  Would Iran use nuclear weapons against Israel?  Unlikely since the the collateral damage from radiation would impact their allies in the region.  In addition Israel is a small country and the Iranians already have the ability to destroy it with conventional weapons but they realize they would  pay a price that was too much too much.  Unlike what the neocons would like you to believe Iran is a rational  player.  I only wish I could say the same thing about Israel with it's estimated 200 hundred nuclear weapons.

The greatest threat to humanity  is not nuclear but climate change.  It's not uranium but carbon that threatens our very existence.

Note: My mother's cousin, Richard Nelson, was the radio operator on the Enola Gay.  I knew him well and although he always claimed dropping the bomb was justified  he lived with the hell of that moment the rest of his life.