Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm Not a Censor

The following letter was published in the Waterbury Observer, November 2007. The Observer published the letter as if it was written without separating paragraphs. It is not known whether that was deliberate or not.

I wish to correct two misstatements made about me by Marilyn Aligata in her October column, "Abolish Nuclear Weapons."

Marilyn falsely referred to Henry Grenier and me as her "hardnosed censors." She also falsely implied that I favor "using military aggression to deal with the world."

I cannot speak for Mr. Grenier, never having met the man, but I can assure you I am not Marilyn's censor. She has certainly never paid me to be her censor; nor has the Observer nor any other person or entity paid me to be her censor. Although I believe it is foolish for any newspaper to publish what Mr. Grenier correctly refers to as her "drivel," I am strongly opposed to censorship.

Also contrary to Marilyn's implication, I am not in favor of military aggression. Indeed, I'm not fond of any kind of aggression.

Marilyn's column did touch upon the gravest near-term problem facing the world today, the spread of nuclear weapons. In an ideal world, there would be no nuclear weapons; indeed, in an ideal world, there would be no weapons of any kind.

Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world and there is zero chance of eliminating nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future. We've been fortunate that until recently the nations possessing nuclear weapons were reasonably responsible, at least regarding their policies regarding those weapons if not in some other spheres.

This fortunate circumstance will change dramatically if Iran succeeds in its quest to develop nuclear weapons, with the probability of nuclear weapons being used increasing exponentially. As has been pointed out many times, the policy of mutual assured destruction (MAD) was a deterrent during the Cold War, but for the mullahs in charge of Iran, it would be an incentive.

I for one certainly hope force is never needed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It would be disastrous if we or any other nation resorted to force and, near term, I can think of only one worse disaster - standing by while Iran acquired nuclear weapons.

Long term, the problem of global warming dramatized by Al Gore in "An Inconvenient Truth" is actually just one aspect of a far more inconvenient truth that few are considering yet: the human population is probably already greater than what this planet can sustain over the long term and the earth certainly cannot indefinitely sustain continued population growth.

While letting Iran get the bomb might very well obviate our ever having to deal with that very inconvenient truth, I personally prefer less dramatic solutions.

Alan Stein

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