“Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness.” -President John F. Kennedy, 1961
By Eileen Fleming
The “sword of Damocles” is an ancient parable and the modern expression of impending doom or catastrophic threat.
On the Thursday before Christmas, Donald Trump tweeted:
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
The original “sword of Damocles” comes from the writings of the Roman politician, orator, and philosopher Cicero (106-43 BC).
Many claim Cicero’s point was be happy and not judge people until you’ve walked in their shoes.
Others argue that the story was really a suggestion to Julius Caesar that he needed to avoid the pitfalls of tyranny: the denial of a spiritual life and the lack of true friends.
In Cicero’s book [45 B.C.] Tusculan Disputations, the moral parable centers on Dionysius II, a tyrannical king who once ruled over the Sicilian city of Syracuse during the fourth and fifth centuries B.C. The rich and powerful Dionysius II was also supremely unhappy.
Evan Andrews explains in “What was the sword of Damocles?” that Dionysius II’s:
Iron-fisted rule had made him many enemies, and he was tormented by fears of assassination—so much so that he slept in a bedchamber surrounded by a moat and only trusted his daughters to shave his beard with a razor.
As Cicero tells it, the king’s dissatisfaction came to a head one day after a court flatterer named Damocles showered him with compliments and remarked how blissful his life must be.
“Since this life delights you,” an annoyed Dionysius replied, “do you wish to taste it yourself and make a trial of my good fortune?”
When Damocles agreed, Dionysius seated him on a golden couch and ordered a host of servants wait on him.
He was treated to succulent cuts of meat and lavished with scented perfumes and ointments. Damocles couldn’t believe his luck, but just as he was starting to enjoy the life of a king, he noticed that Dionysius had also hung a razor-sharp sword from the ceiling.
It was positioned over Damocles’ head, suspended only by a single strand of horsehair.
From then on, the courtier’s fear for his life made it impossible for him to savor the opulence of the feast or enjoy the servants.
After casting several nervous glances at the blade dangling above him, he asked to be excused, saying he no longer wished to be so fortunate.
For Cicero, the tale of Dionysius and Damocles represented the idea that those in power always labor under the specter of anxiety and death, and that “there can be no happiness for one who is under constant apprehensions.”
The parable later became a common motif in medieval literature, and the phrase “sword of Damocles” is now commonly used to describe a looming danger.
On January 20, the military officer carrying the codes for America’s nuclear arsenal will follow President Barack Obama for the last time. The officer will then follow President Trump.
Candidate Trump stated, “If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them.”
God only knows if Trump will launch a nuclear attack but the simple truth is if he does NO ONE will be able to stop him!
In the time it takes Trump to write a tweet he could also launch one or one-thousand nuclear warheads without a vote or any consideration of consequences.
One USA nuclear missile could kill millions and once launched, nuclear weapons cannot be recalled.
President Obama has one last chance to earn his Nobel Peace Prize with the stroke of a presidential pen, he can take US nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert so Trump could be delayed use of USA nukes for a few hours or days.
Taking nuclear weapons off high alert would not impede America’s ability to launch a nuclear holocaust or “defend itself” with its nuclear arsenal.
However by removing nukes from hair-trigger alert it could buy time for cooler heads to prevail to the #TweeterInChief because when he becomes President Trump he has the power to launch 140 warheads in the time it takes to write 140 characters.
A tweet can be deleted, but once launched a nuclear warhead cannot be recalled.
On 2 October 2009, The Washington Times reported that Obama agreed to keep Israel’s nukes ‘secret’ and reaffirmed a 4-decade-old understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections.
Three officials spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing private conversations, but all said Obama pledged to maintain the agreement when he first hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in May 2009.
Under the understanding, the U.S. has not pressured Israel to disclose its nuclear weapons or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs.
During my 2005 interviews with Israel’s nuclear whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu I asked him:
Have you ever considered the idea that the anti-Christ may not be a man at all? I keep thinking how nuclear weapons are promoted by governments as instruments of peace, but they only bring destruction. I can’t imagine that God intended for man to blow up this planet, but instead, to learn how to share it.
The only way to peace is peace; the only way is nonviolence. The only answer to Israeli nuclear weapons, their aggression, occupation and oppression, and the wall and refugee camps is to answer them with truth and a peaceful voice. When I became the spy for the world, I did it all for the people of the world. If governments do not report the truth, and if the media does not report the truth, then all we can do is follow our consciences. Daniel Ellsberg did, the woman from Enron did, and I did.
Learn more about USA collusion in Israel’s nuclear deceptions and latest news regarding Vanunu’s human rights struggle HERE
Contact Eileen Fleming, Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for TheArabDailyNews.com HERE
- Vanunu still has more nuclear secrets to spill, Israeli court declares - December 29, 2021
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- Mordechai Vanunu: Final Annual Update and this Writers Next Steps - June 19, 2021