Category Archives: War


In the entire universe plutonium is found above trace amounts at one location and one location only: planet Earth. Plutonium went extinct due to radioactive decay billions of years ago. It can be created during rare cosmic events, but the bomb-making kind—Pu 239—is a manufactured element that does not occur in nature. It is a by-product of nuclear fission reactions. It hides itself within the matrix of elements that make up the remnants of spent fuel rods.
Plutonium is among the most poisonous substances known. The speck of plutonium dust that kills you, you will likely never see. Some scientists today have downplayed the lethality of plutonium 239. My advice is to be skeptical whenever vast amounts of money and power fuel a controversy.
[…] By this time next year the Japanese will have accumulated enough high-grade Pu 239 to make as many as 12,000 atomic bombs. Should it make that choice, Japan would possess the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.
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It’s hard to say who is worse off during these mass-casualty events, the dead or the wounded or those who witness the violence up close and personal. So many people are traumatized for no good reason. I suspect that even viewers of television coverage get a sick feeling in their stomachs when these horrors occur. I know I do. Continue reading

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Begging For It

The point is, we aren’t listening to the North or South Koreans. Most want the peninsula unified. We don’t. Most folks want to live in a safe and fair place where billionaires don’t reduce the average person to poverty. South Korea doesn’t want us to sacrifice millions of its own citizens in a military strike, possibly a nuclear conflagration, to make a point. It’s simple, really. 
The only sensible solution is to leave Korea and to assist reunification as best as we can, if we are invited to do so. Continue reading

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Our Navy is a mess. Everyone knows it. The optics of powerful warships limping into port under the power of a dozen or so tugboats emboldens our enemies and demoralizes our patriotic fighting men and women. We have the wrong ships, designed the wrong way, for the wrong wars, for the wrong reasons. And our Navy is overworked to the max. We all know it’s true. Continue reading

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Flying Blind

It’s possible to feel the air disappear beneath your wings and freefall—even tumble—thousands of feet, time after time, dozens of times, recover the aircraft, and keep on flying. It’s possible for clouds to be impenetrable, lightning to be relentless and unceasing, rain to be thick as waterfalls—with a vomiting passenger in the seat next to you—and keep your wits, keep your senses, keep your fear in check, keep your focus, and keep flying. Continue reading

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Killing Frenzy

Can killing people ever be a good thing? The Catholic Church has developed theories of Just War, which permit good people to kill the wicked under certain carefully worked-out conditions, such as proportionality, just cause and last resort. Continue reading

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Hey, Guevara…

Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, more than any other two people, were responsible for throwing the Mafia out of Cuba in 1959. White (i.e.non-black) gangsters ran Cuba, you may recall. Watch the second Godfather movie, if you don’t believe it.

Race relations were terrible. One-third of Cuba’s six-million people were non-white, poor and disenfranchised. Beaches were whites-only. Restaurants, clubs, casinos, hotels and other businesses were off-limits to black families.

Castro racially-integrated the Revolution by asking blacks to play prominent roles, which some did, like the military commanders Juan Almeida Bosque and Calixto Garcia. Non-whites made up one-half of the volunteer-soldiers in the Revolutionary Army. Cuba became the first predominately non-black country in the Western Hemisphere to include black people in leadership. Continue reading

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The Cuban revolution was one of the most exciting news events of my childhood. Our family moved to Key West, ninety miles from Cuba, in 1960, shortly after the transfer of power.

My dad’s job was to run HS-1, the Navy helicopter squadron that defended southern Florida from attack by Russian submarines. Some of these subs were hanging-out around Cuba, Dad said, so I took an interest in what was going on there.

People born in the 1960s and later have no easy way to know that U.S. media once portrayed Fidel Castro and Che Guevara as heroes—at least during the early phases of their risky and dangerous attempt to unseat Cuban President, Fulgencio Batista. The two revolutionaries and ten of their close friends led the volunteers of an army they called Movimiento 26 de Julio to success on New Year’s Day, 1959, a month before my eleventh birthday. Continue reading

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