Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hub Man Dies In N Blast

In the 1980s, two New Englanders produced a parody issue of the Boston Globe that included the perfect satire of the Globe's hub-centric parochialism. One news story detailed the fate of a Boston man who died in a nuclear explosion that also happened to destroy the City of New York.

"He didn't seem like the kind of guy to die in a nuclear explosion," a friend was quoted as saying.

It was dead-on funny. But last Sunday the real Globe gave the parody a run for its money:
Arab states explore nuclear power options

Two years ago, the leaders of Saudi Arabia told international atomic regulators that they could foresee no need for the kingdom to develop nuclear power. Today, they are scrambling to hire atomic contractors, buy nuclear hardware and build support for a regional system of reactors.

Wow, nuclear power must be a good deal if oil-rich countries like the Saudis are building them. The story goes on like that until the forth paragraph:

The Middle East states say they only want atomic power. Some probably do. But United States government and private analysts say they believe that the rush of activity is also intended to counter the threat of a nuclear Iran.

Talk about burying the lead! which is about the start of a nuclear arms race in the middle east.

In the ecosystem of spin and denial that sustains the nuclear industry, perhaps no talking point is more peculiar than the dogmatic assertion that nuclear power is peaceful and separate from nuclear weapons.

This point has been muted in light of recent events in North Korea and Iran, which demonstrate that the uranium-enrichment technology used to make nuclear fuel is, as the analyst say, "dual use." It can be used to enrich uranium for bombs as well.

The article, which also ran in the New York Times the same day under a slightly less misleading headline, includes the following rare admission:

By nature, the underlying technologies of nuclear power can make electricity or, with more effort, warheads, as nations have demonstrated over the decades by turning ostensibly civilian programs into sources of bomb fuel. Iran’s uneasy neighbors, analysts say, may be positioning themselves to do the same.

By nature. Maybe they are getting it.

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