Saddam Hussein is a little man in every sense of the word, but he does have the world's attention, the United States' in particular, as we wait to see if he truly has an atomic bomb and if he will indeed use it if does possess it. That such a little man in a little country could threaten the United States and cause its citizens to fear him makes one wonder, doesn't it? It is appalling that our obsession with weapons of destruction has come this far; the fate of thousands, if not millions, lies in the hands of a crazed warmonger in a far-off land.
The weapon that would put an end to World War II has also put into motion so many other conflicts. Mistrust, fear and threats are all that have resulted from our warm and fuzzy little invention, the atomic bomb. The A-bomb doesn't hold any loyalty to one country over another, it just does what it is meant to do: destroy. The atomic bomb, whether in the hands of an esteemed leader or a madman, will kill anyone and anything in its path indiscriminately. Whoever holds the A-bomb before him or her holds the fate of countless people in their hands, whether they have the "right" to or not.
How many nights has Hussein lain awake in his impenetrable little German fortress and dreamt of slaughtering people from afar in the name of his own skewed morality? How many times has he envisioned himself to be as powerful as the weapons he is rumored to possess? The A-bomb gives the illusion of strength and unquestionable sovereignty to those who control its secrets. It is not difficult to see how Hussein could have grown heady and intoxicated with the thought of controlling that kind of power. Like a leech bloated on immense ego trip, he has made it seem right in his mind that he should hold the lives of others within his hands.
In our harnessing of atomic power, we have yet to control who holds the reins to govern its use. It is no longer an elusive mystery, only to be known by our world's leaders. If one has the means, it is not out of reach. Hussein is the perfect example. He seems a narrow-minded and spoiled child, coveting his forbidden plaything. He has proclaimed himself mighty and because of what? Not any supreme physical or mental attribute, surely, but only because he can kill. Those who know how to use such a weapon "constructively" are dangerous enough; those who manipulate its usage through their own biased reality or morality are worse.
Where are we going with all this? It's hard to say. I wish it could be as easy as making everyone destroy their doomsday devices and play nice, but that will never happen. Such an idea is too simplistic to ever be realized in a world such as the one we live. Unfortunately, the escalation of the arms race seems to be the only way to stop such men like Hussein. The atomic bomb, seen by some as made to create and enforce peace, has only sprung more windows for its unauthorized exploitation through its usage. But face it Ÿ when something is set into motion through the manipulation of fear, fear is all that will ever come from it. Now it is the United States and other major world powers who fear for the safety of humanity, where once it was they who instilled such fear. It all comes home to roost.
I have a feeling that the atomic bomb may go away some day. Don't be fooled, though, for a weapon of more devastating impact will take its place. And maybe they will ban the A-bomb finally. Then, when A-bombs are outlawed, only outlaws will have A-bombs. The cycle seems never-ending.
And what will come of our enchantment with creating weapons of such awesome destructiveness? Who knows.
For now, all we can do is wait and see what will happen in the Middle East, if human life as we know it will end there in some regions. If Hussein does indeed posses an atomic bomb, only when it is too late will we know for certain. And when it is all over, who's to say that our own beloved country will not be the next target?
Denise R. Frank is an English senior who hopes the race for arms will end with two broken ones Ÿ the two attached to Saddam Hussein.
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