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Delaney: Nuclear Gambling

When I was a boy, newspapers were important to almost all of us, and remained so. Even after television arrived on the scene, we got our news from the daily paper. As a young teenager I even did some empirical research on the omnipresence of the daily paper – though I didn’t think of it as research at the time.

You see, I was a paper boy. I had a route and delivered to just about every home on the route. Almost everyone had a subscription.

My early appreciation of a good newspaper has stayed with me. To my mind, nothing quite beats the morning paper, a cup of steaming “joe”, and some delicious quiet. When major events call for notice and understanding, I follow the unraveling day by day, nuance by nuance. I look for all the facts and think about the opinions. I’ll even follow a story with clippings in an effort to learn all I can about a given story.

And so it was several weeks ago when the news hit the papers that a number of Western powers were preparing to discuss with Iranian officials, that country’s feverish haste to manufacture nuclear bombs.

Two words that always seize my attention are ‘nuclear weapons’ or ‘nuclear bombs.’ They’ve carved a lexicon niche for themselves over several decades, but I wonder if their constant repetition has to some extent obscured their awful meaning. It reminds me of a barnyard after a snowfall. Everything is white and beautiful but underneath the snow there’s still likely to be a manure pile.

Closely related to the words “nuclear bomb” is the fearsome word “annihilation”, because that’s what nuclear bombs are for. A single one of them can bring a civilization to its knees.

So I’ve been following the unfolding story about efforts to meet and negotiate with Iranian officials. I cheered over my coffee and paper at one point when French diplomats refused to sign a preliminary agreement because they thought it didn’t take a tough enough stand on Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
Vive la France I say, because the word used in the newspapers to describe the talks with the Iranians was “gamble.” Nations that insist on building nuclear weapons are gambling with the future of the world’s children – or so my daily papers keep reminding me.

And that’s why I have such a strong interest in these talks. I’m a grandfather, and that is a high calling. When I look at the faces of children - in my home or anywhere - I wonder and worry what the world will be like for them 50 years from now. I want it to be bright, promising, and welcoming but I worry that today’s hate will turn into tomorrow’s action – that nuclear weapons will be let loose and future generations will instead inherit the dead landscapes of a moribund civilization.

Dennis Delaney is a former Republican State Senator.
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