Roger’s Rules

Is a nuclear attack on Washington Inevitable?

Is this helpful? A nuclear attack on Washington, DC is “inevitable” according to Cham E. Dallas, director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia, who spoke before a Senate Committee on Homeland Security. “I think it’s wistful to think that it won’t happen by 20 years.” (H/T Instapundit.)

Maybe it’s wistful, i.e. “full of melancholy yearning, longing pensively” to think otherwise. But does even the director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense know that such a horror is “inevitable,” i.e., “incapable of being avoided or prevented”? Of course not. Of course, it might happen. And I’d even agree with Mr. Dallas that the proliferation of nuclear weapons increases the odds. But “inevitable” is a strong, indeed an irresponsible word, a word that smacks of fear-mongering and unhelpful scare tactics. I suspect Mr. Dallas is like a doctor who looks at the world through the eyes of his speciality: if your a dermatologist of a certain temperament, all of humanity looks like a skin disease waiting to happen. And if you are a director of an Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense, you are likely to over estimate the chances of mass destruction. Sure, we should prepare for the worst, but we should also realize that historical inevitability is a Hegelian-Marxist fantasy, unbecoming of adult speculation about the real world.