On Saturday, July 31, a friend and I attended a screening of Countdown to Zero (site, imdb). If I’d paid more attention to what it was going to be about, I might have stayed home. To me, most anti-nuclear films seem to be needless scare propaganda funded by babyboomers who feel jipped about never experiencing an attack after numerous air-raid drills during the Cold War. It’s as if they want to insure that successive generations live in the same constant fear they had growing up.
Considering the main arguments and proposed solutions, the film seriously lacks real value, but if anyone needs a beautiful example of argumentum ad populum, please look it up. In addition, the silence regarding opposing views was absolutely deafening. I don’t recall anything being presented even for the purpose of refuting it.
However, I don’t regret viewing the film because I finally managed to pinpoint what had bothered me for years about discussions concerning nuclear weapons, pro or con. Carefully avoided is any indication that there might be ways for a country to defend itself against ballistic missile attacks.
Here I should mention that I’ve spent a good two-thirds of my life hearing about the Ballistic Missile Defense System. If anyone is unreasonably unafraid of a nuclear attack, it is I. Yet this is a solution that needs a public voice. For a generation raised on cartoons and video games featuring “force shields” and the like, there is no need to make them paranoid. They have the imagination and means to do something about the threat, regardless of whether or not we approach zero.