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Colbert Nails Nuclear Logic

By Max Bergmann on December 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm

"Colbert Nails Nuclear Logic"


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Last night on the Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert — in his “35,000″-part series “Better Know A Lobby” — interviewed Joe Cirincione the President of the Ploughshares Fund (“the fighting non-fighters!”), which is devoted to reducing the threat from nuclear weapons. In the segment, Colbert and Cirncione agreed that the U.S. should reduce its nuclear arsenal. Cirincione noted that the world possesses enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet several thousand times. Colbert jokingly responded that we need enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet at least once. In doing so, Colbert nailed the insane logic of those opposing reductions in US nuclear arsenals, by pointing out that possessing such a capability is akin to threatening to commit suicide:

COLBERT: Let’s get it down to only being able to destroy the world once, anything above that you’re being greedy. [...]

CIRINCIONE: We don’t even need that. […] Why would you want to have an arsenal that could destroy the planet?

COLBERT: In case somebody else wants to destroy it first. Like maybe somebody we don’t know has developed a bomb that can destroy the world and we say don’t do that or else we’ll do it. See.

CIRINCIONE: That is the logic of the Cold War and it was an insane logic.

COLBERT: It is not an insane logic. Let’s say you want to kill me. You have a gun. I have a gun. Now I could point my gun at you – that’s mutually assured destruction. Okay, now you point your gun at me and I point my gun at my own head. I take away your motivation to kill me.

Colbert also gives one of the best impressions of a nuclear explosion ever — until Cirincione made it “ugly.” Watch it:

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