In July 1945, J. Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist from UC Berkeley, saw his work on the Manhattan Project culminate with the test of the first nuclear bomb. The genie was let out of the bottle, and, ever since then, world leaders have been trying to put the genie back in … with great difficulty. The new documentary Countdown to Zero, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, traces the history of the atomic bomb and makes the case for worldwide nuclear disarmament – a timely issue given that the US Senate has been debating the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (aka New START). The “featurette” above, excerpted from the film, gives you a quick and somewhat haunting introduction to Oppenheimer, the man behind the bomb.
I cannot fathom the argument for “worldwide nuclear disarmament”. Can anyone make the case — with a straight face — that the world would be better off if the US were not the overwhelming superpower on the Earth? The fact is, when stable democracies possess vastly superior weaponry, the world is made safer from the thugs who would otherwise seek to wreak more death and destruction than they already do. Let’s remember that Hitler’s rise occurred when “disarmament” was the theme throughout the rest of Europe. It is also the case that the atom bombs dropped on Japan ended the war, saving countless lives that inevitably would have been lost in an invasion of Japan. Why is it that, given the many mass murderers who have blighted this planet throughout history, some people still have difficulty understanding that there are, and will be, truly evil people in the world, and that weakness only invites their aggression and brutality?
Fantastic biography of Oppenheimer – American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer – check out the website: http://www.americanprometheus.org/Home.htm