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Edward Teller: Father of the Hydrogen Bomb

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the bouncing-baby-bomb dept.

Politics 352

pigrabbitbear writes "Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb, had a thing for nuclear bombs. He wanted them bigger, smaller, faster, used in ways that no one had thought of before or since, and always more of them. He suffered no fools, and though he would be more vilified than any other American scientist in the 20th century, he always dismissed his critics as lacking in common sense or patriotism. Amid Cold War paranoia and fears of the Soviet nuclear program, the stakes were simply too high: for the free world, building the most powerful weapon in history was a matter of life and horrible death."

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Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284261)

Now that Iran wants to have nuke, what would the opinion of Mr. Teller be?

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (5, Funny)

starfire83 (923483) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284273)

Bomb them.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284309)

From orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284325)

Bomb them

Who bombs who ?

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (5, Funny)

starfire83 (923483) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284351)

They bomb them.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284943)

No, that was Gen. Curtis LeMay...

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284317)

If Iran ever dared to use such a weapon against anyone, it would be the last thing it ever did. China and Russia will tolerate the Ayatollahs to a point, but to actually launch an attack against anyone else, that would be intolerable even by their standards. All support would end instantly and Israel and the United States would be given carte blanche to deal with Iran as they chose. The Iranian airforce and navy would be wiped out, most of its military installations of any size would be destroyed, it would be left with an army and a bunch of poorly armed Basij who are only useful as cannon fodder, except the cannons would be bombing from 40,000 feet. I suspect the Ayatollahs' regime wouldn't last a month. The regular army, who has no great love for the Basij or the Revolutionary Guard, would probably arrest or just simply start shooting them, because the very few nuclear weapons that Iran would have would be useless, or worse than useless, once the necessary infrastructure to launch attacks was crippled or turned to slag.

The fact is that as nasty as an attack by a second rate power like Iran would be, it's not something that could be repeated. Places like North Korea and Iran do not have the resources to build vast stockpiles of nukes. Once the oil dries up, they won't even be able to afford to maintain what they've built by that point.

Salami tactics (4, Interesting)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284377)

If Iran ever dared to use such a weapon against anyone, it would be the last thing it ever did.

Not necessarily. Suppose Iran used a nuke against North Korea? Would the world approve or disapprove? China would disapprove, but America might not. The UK probably would approve. Who would retaliate against Iran? Who would be allowed to bomb or even nuke Teheran? Overall, the question is difficult to answer, and that means there's a shade of gray.

Now let's say Iran used a nuke on some slightly less evil place, but still evil. Would that turn the *whole* world against Iran, or would the support be divided, with slightly more countries against than if it was North Korea?

At what point would the *whole* world unanimously support wiping Iran off the map? If Iran attacked America? If Iran attacked one of the former Soviet states? What if Iran attacked Zimbabwe?

Re:Salami tactics (4, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284449)

the rules of MAD are still in place i think. nuke anyone at all, and you're as good as nuked yourself.

countries with nukes are diverse enough that you couldn't bomb one ideology without pissing off some nuclear power. we have communists (China), mafia states (sadly Russia), capitalist states (USA, UK), social democracies (France, sort of), Islamic states (Pakistan), and India which is kinda a bit of everything. then there's Israel... the whole political spectrum in all it's shades of madness and reason have nukes.

Re:Salami tactics (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284743)

Not necessarily. Suppose Iran used a nuke against North Korea?

If Israel sees a missile launched from any of the nuclear sites in Iran, I doubt they're going to wait to see where it's aimed before striking with all they've got.

Re:Salami tactics (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284899)

Not necessarily. Suppose Iran used a nuke against North Korea? Would the world approve or disapprove?

At that point, no one would object to retaliation. The only question would be if anyone wanted to retaliate. But if they did, then no one would stand in their way.

Re:Salami tactics (4, Insightful)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285241)

Not necessarily. Suppose Iran used a nuke against North Korea? Would the world approve or disapprove?

You're missing the point.

The point is:

Why in the world would Iran want to nuke anyone? It makes absolutely zero military sense Do you really think Ahmadinejad or the Ayatollahs are that stupid?

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284397)

If Iran ever dared to use such a weapon against anyone, it would be the last thing it ever did

Iran's regime may be crazy, but they ain't dummies

They will build the bombs and they will use the bombs, no, they won't bomb anyone, but rather, they will use the bombs they have accumulated to blackmail the world

Without physically bombing anyone, the world will have no excuse to retaliate - Iranians know that

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284631)

They will build the bombs and they will use the bombs, no, they won't bomb anyone, but rather, they will use the bombs they have accumulated to blackmail the world

Blackmail the world into... ...not invading them? ...letting them build nuclear bombs? ...letting their politicians be dicks and say outrageous things?

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284837)

Blackmail the world into... ...not invading them? ...letting them build nuclear bombs? ...letting their politicians be dicks and say outrageous things?

Oh, I am sure the Iranians have given it a lot of thought

They could blackmail the world to give them other high-tech stuffs that they do not currently enjoy - such as space technology

They could blackmail the world to give them the veto power on the UN security council

They could do much much more than what you and I can ever imagine, if they were to own nukes

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (2)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284647)

That kind of blackmail only works if you're the only country with a nuclear bomb. If they aren't "dummies" as you say then they will also realize that they can't actually use it either. So, back to square one with the normal, everyday brutality of "regular" war that people on this planet seem to love so much.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (2)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284903)

Well... if it was an existential threat to their system, their power and even possibly their lives, they might well launch. The Soviets had their empire, there was no need to nuke NATO unless something drastically changed, but be aware, at least some of the Soviet military leaders were known to have believed a nuclear war was winnable.

Now take Iran, which is probably a lot less pragmatic than the Soviets were, and give them a bomb. I agree, their possession would not mean they'd launch at the first opportunity, but they could parlay that new influence into a situation were they could make Iran immune from an actual conventional attack. In turn, that could mean that Iran would be a safer haven for all sorts of very ruthless and ambitious sorts who were like-minded with the current regime.

And let's not underestimate the crazy factor. The Iranian people, in general, are not crazy or even particularly evil. The problem is, the Iranian people don't have any practical control over their government at all. In that situation, all it takes is a (bigger) nut-job to make it into power there, and they've got the regime all set up to allow a launch to be feasible. In the US, the President would likely be obeyed if he ordered a retaliatory launch, but if it was for something other than pure defense, he might well find himself disobeyed and someone might finally dredge up the whole "Congress declares wars clause" and there's nothing that says "war" like an ICBM. In Iran, the government doesn't have checks and balances, it has a blank check to do whatever it wants, as long as the Supreme Leader signs it. And the Supreme Leader is a religious fanatic.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (4, Insightful)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285291)

Well... if it was an existential threat to their system, their power and even possibly their lives, they might well launch.

And wouldn't they have ever right to?

The Soviets had their empire, there was no need to nuke NATO unless something drastically changed, but be aware, at least some of the Soviet military leaders were known to have believed a nuclear war was winnable.

Just as many Americans also believed. Yet a nuclear war never did happen. Why is that?

Now take Iran, which is probably a lot less pragmatic than the Soviets were

Why? Because our government and their friends want you to believe so? Do you really think Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs have maintained control for so long by being stupid? Do you really think they want to "end it all" and be nuked into oblivion, which would be the clearly inevitable result of using a nuke against another country?

The problem is, the Iranian people don't have any practical control over their government at all. [...] In Iran, the government doesn't have checks and balances, it has a blank check to do whatever it wants, as long as the Supreme Leader signs it.

Just like the United States!

In the US, the President would likely be obeyed if he ordered a retaliatory launch, but if it was for something other than pure defense, he might well find himself disobeyed

Ever heard of "plausible deniability"? It's a product of U.S. politics! Of course the President can't just launch nukes at will. But if the missile detection system malfunctions, as it is later determined, signalling an incoming attack, and the President orders an all-out retaliatory strike based on this data......well, who can blame him right?

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284461)

That's the point why Iran wants nuke in first place. If it would acquire it, it'll be guaranteed from Iraq fate.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284473)

While that scenario sounds very plausible and rational, you failed to take into account one major aspect in all this. Iran's leadership is being driven with radical religious convictions. Or so we're lead to believe. The upper echelon espouses the 12th Imam (2nd coming of Christ) and them providing the instruments by which to make that happen. Talk is talk and power is power. So who really knows if these are heart felt convictions or just a ruse by which to project political power and authority above and beyond religious talk. But when Iran makes threats, don't simply brush them aside. At the very least, they may just settle for the effects of an EMP. That alone would be devastating to anyone's infrastructure in place.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284547)

If you want my personal opinion, Iran is a thinly veiled military dictatorship that uses religion as its unifying ideology much as the Soviets and the Chinese use(d) Communism. The Basij are all very swirly eyed, but I don't get the feeling the country is actually run by similar types.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284641)

If you want my personal opinion, Iran is a thinly veiled military dictatorship that uses religion as its unifying ideology much as the Soviets and the Chinese use(d) Communism. The Basij are all very swirly eyed, but I don't get the feeling the country is actually run by similar types.

Leaders who promote suicide bombings rarely wear the vest themselves.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284847)

Leaders who promote suicide bombings rarely wear the vest themselves

To be more precise --- it is the old geezers who were behind the suicide bombing, but it is the young ones who end up blowing themselves to bits

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (3, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284729)

If Iran ever dared to use such a weapon against anyone, it would be the last thing it ever did.

Most likely true, but what if we're in a situation where the Iranian regime is already facing its end? For example, I believe they have another election coming up. I expect it will be stolen just like the last one. And perhaps like the last one, there will be widespread protests. So far, pretty reasonable, right?

But let's say that the protestors, inspired by the Arab Spring events, push harder this time, and actually get close to toppling the regime. Given Iran's abuses of its own people last time, I doubt they'd hesitate to employ the same tactics used in Syria and Lebanon - outright war against anyone opposing them.

There could be no help from the international community if they had nukes, because if the regime thought they were really going to fall and that their rulers would end up like Gaddafi, they have no reason not to pull out all the stops. If you're really facing down an angry mob that wants to tear you limb from limb, using a nuke is a GREAT option -- it is the ultimate punishment for those who have done this to you, and it buys you time while your enemies regroup. Time which you can use to try to get out of the country, or at least surrender to the International Criminal Court (which does not employ capital punishment, unlike your former subjects).

All the fear-mongering about them nuking Israel is a ruse. The Middle Eastern dictators need Israel as a bogeyman to scare their citizens, and Israel plays right into their hands by acting the part quite regularly. Tehran wants a nuke to ensure the survival of their regime, nothing more, nothing less. The Iranian people would be wise to oppose such a development, not that their opposition is liable to have any effect.

Sucks to be Russia in that fantasy (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284845)

So if it played out they would make sure it also sucks for somebody else.
You've also ignored pretty well everything that somebody paying a tiny bit of attention to recent history would have noticed, such as the long running horrific war of attrition between Iran and Iraq which has left Iran with the majority of it's population under 25.
What happens in Iraq is pretty well a race between the younger generation taking control and the old men (as in too old to have fought in that war 20 years ago) getting nukes before they die. How the US and Israel would deal with Iran using a nuke is also not clear. Genocidal fascists in Israel are not going to be in control forever because their very existance is an uncomfortable reminder of exactly what Israel is not meant to be - so it's not even a given that Israel would hit Iran with all it's nukes if Iran started making nuclear threats (eg. nice island you've got there Bahrain - pity if something happened to it). Iran nuking Israel will never be to the benefit of Iran due to never being able to claim any territory over there and due to it creating another threat (response of Israeli allies) instead of removal of a threat.

I suspect the Ayatollahs' regime wouldn't last a month

Even if that were the case have you learnt nothing from the last decade in the middle east? It's not actually over until everybody stops shooting.

Dumb hawks that made sure they never went anywhere on the same continent as a shooting war have shaped too many opinions with "cold war warrior" bullshit.
The last time the US had military engagements with Iran they lost a lot of people due to political stuffups, choosing the wrong ally who killed a lot of sailors and having a horse judge for a captain that shot down a lot of civilians resulting in Iran financing terrorist payback on a Pan Am 747. War isn't simple and going into it condemns some of your own to death so it needs a very good reason.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284895)

You just described all nuclear war. It is generally an all or nothing proposition, so if Iran did start it the attack would be all out and Israel would be gone too.

They wont start it though. They are not mad, just religious fundamentalists. They know they can't win. The point is defense, nukes being the only thing that can deter Israel and the US.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284389)

Now that Iran wants to have nuke, what would the opinion of Mr. Teller be?

Sorry, love/peace/other-hippy-garbage doesn't trump Mr. Teller's premise: we need to be the top power on Earth in order to be capable of defending our interests. Logically the same applies to Iran as well (arguably more so given the mid-east has been the degenerate cease-pool of Humanity since the Arab scientific revolution ended - several thousand years ago) - and it is right for us to prevent new powers of such scale from arising.

How ? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284485)

it is right for us to prevent new powers of such scale from arising

The big question is : How you are to achieve that goal?

In what way you can disarm Iran, with peaceful mean?

Re:How ? (-1, Troll)

NicknameAvailable (2581237) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284629)

In what way you can disarm Iran, with peaceful mean?

Perhaps my dislike of the Mideast didn't quite come through clearly by citing the region as "the degenerate cease-pool of Humanity since the Arab scientific revolution ended - several thousand years ago" - why on Earth does it need to be peaceful? Fight fire with fire, nuke the bastards until all the "holy land" is a glass parking lot and sleep easy at night knowing the Human race improved significantly.

Re:How ? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284863)

Perhaps my dislike of the Mideast didn't quite come through clearly by citing the region as "the degenerate cease-pool of Humanity since the Arab scientific revolution ended - several thousand years ago" - why on Earth does it need to be peaceful? Fight fire with fire, nuke the bastards until all the "holy land" is a glass parking lot and sleep easy at night knowing the Human race improved significantly

I read it quite loud and clear, actually

But I do reckon one thing that you may have missed --- America and the West still need the OIL from the Middle East

If you successful turning the entire region into vast area of glass parking lots, you ain't gonna get any oil there either

Re:How ? (1)

NicknameAvailable (2581237) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285289)

I read it quite loud and clear, actually

But I do reckon one thing that you may have missed --- America and the West still need the OIL from the Middle East

If you successful turning the entire region into vast area of glass parking lots, you ain't gonna get any oil there either

We don't need the oil we want the oil. We have hybrid and electric transportation, we have enough oil to last a few decades just out of Alaska and the Gulf, we have proven effective routes to biodiesel synthesis that can be expanded to large scale use, and we have nuclear power - we would need to build more reactors and improve the infrastructure - but we do at this moment have the technology and the means to get off our oil dependency as slowly as is required. In the long run their causing us nothing but problems both in terms of the increased oil use and their death throws, attempting feverishly and futilely to find a way to sustain when they have no more oil to sell yet have a populace to brainwashed through religious ideals to defend it that the best future they have in store is that of N. Korea - too irrational and overzealous for anyone to want to help them and too uneducated to help themselves.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284537)

Unfortunately being the top power on Earth takes money, something the USA no longer has.

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (2)

NicknameAvailable (2581237) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284781)

Unfortunately being the top power on Earth takes money, something the USA no longer has.

Technically money is a construct no country on Earth has (other than China) - and it's only a pretty good approximation of labor to begin with. The USA has (for the moment) the freest civilization on Earth, and thereby the best place for innovative minds to go. Our labor defines us, and we are, by and large, the intellectuals that created the modern technological age. Whether that is a self-defeating system that dies due to the powers granted to a few bad people by new technological innovations, the complacency of the average voter, a combination of the two or something loosely related remains to be seen - but currently the USA is still on top (even in regard to China, they manufacture a lot, we design most of it - all the USA has to do to maintain it's lead is be free introduce harsh tariffs on exported labor).

Re:Wonder what Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285187)

The USA has (for the moment) the freest civilization on Earth, and thereby the best place for innovative minds to go................

Lol...most of the people who created the technical age are European. The USA took a whopping 12 people to the moon I'll give them that, but apart from weapons and a few gadgets that make nice iThings, not much has come out of US minds. Garbage in = garbage out

Listening to Americans who so cleary believe the nonsense they are force fed is the closest thing I can think of to a living tragic comedy.

Re:Mr. Teller thinks of Iran? Irans are patriotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284841)

Reading the comments below this is a little funny.. I worry about Iran gaining this bomb, and I think right now with the embargo's there thoughts maybe "fuck it" lets build it then go back to the negotiating table and get are way. It does not matter to the Iran Government what happens to its people in the process, including perhaps allies deciding to wipe out Iran if Iran decides to use the bomb. And depending on the area attacked by allies oil prices will be much much higher, if they could still use the oil.

The other problem with anyone who decides to attack Iran using the bomb is the fallout to surrounding countries plus now the allies have giving more fuel toward those extreme Muslim groups and now they lash out with weapons just as destructive, or flat out increase there attacks on any-and-everyone. It is not very smart for people to just yell out fuck it drop the bomb.

Iran seems hell bent on building the bomb, and the embargo's do not seem to matter to them. Attacking there nuclear hideouts, or facilities seems to be the only way to end it now or disrupt there plans..

Mr.Teller is one of those insane scientists that for some reason never gave a shit or really put no thought into the end result of what this weapon would bring. He seems to be a under developed scientist compared to Einstein, who actually seemed to care and had concern for his fellow man/woman..

They Saved The World (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284265)

The fact is that without the atomic bomb, WWIII most certainly would have happened between the West and the USSR. The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki raised the stakes of another general war between the remaining Great Powers so enormously that a war like WWII would no longer be possible.

As horrible as these weapons are, they stopped the most terrible war the world would have ever known.

Re:They Saved The World (2, Insightful)

dankasak (2393356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284289)

Actually the Japanese were trying desperately to negotiate a surrender even before the FIRST use of WMD against them. The idea that WMD somehow prevented deaths or suffering is total bullshit. It was a matter of the US asserting itself as the dominant military power, and Japan was a soft enough target to cop 2 WMD attacks. Interesting how the victors frame their attrocities.

Re:They Saved The World (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284337)

Do you have a reputable link for that fact, or is it just something you heard once? Negotiating a surrender on terms that make it more like suing for peace doesn't really count if that's what you are referring to.

Re:They Saved The World (3, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284339)

Revisionist crap. The Japanese were hellbent on taking the pacific to a lesser extent, a large chunk of China. They managed to capture its east cost pretty well. Now that I think about it. Diplomatically, I really wonder how the Chinese government thinks of America in this regards. We bloody well saved their ass!

Re:They Saved The World (4, Informative)

profplump (309017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284375)

It's not the same China. The government that we saved in WWII lost control of the mainland in 1949. The government that we saved is now commonly known as Taiwan, and in comparison to the PRC they are quite friendly.

Re:They Saved The World (4, Insightful)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284965)

Sorry, but reality is a bit more complicated. China was basically in a civil war at the beginning of WWII. Japan had basically already taken over Manchuria (there was a movie about this "the last emperor"). To help keep Japan in check, first we gave money and supplies to the KMT (basically chiang kai-shek govt) to help them fight the Japanese, but they turned out to be incompetent, so then we gave money to CCP (basically mao and his supporters of the communist party). W/o money from the US, it is likely that both "governments" would have been defeated by the japanese. Of course that's a bit simplification, but when a countries is in a civil war and fighing the Soviet Union & Japan at the same time (ironically, germany was allied with china for a short time, until they flipped sides joined with Japan against the Soviet Union, but I digress), it isn't very simple...

As you mentioned, the KMT is now one of the parties in Taiwan (currently holding power), but the DPP is a taiwan opposition party which breifly held the presidency from 2000-2008. So in many respects, the KMT, DPP and CCP are really sort parties, not "governments", per-se. Nominally, you'd think the DPP would be the most friendly to the US, but since the DPP supports taiwan independence, we are oddly more aligned with the KMT (and the CCP in mainland china) on this issue. Politics makes strange bedfellows...

Re:They Saved The World (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284403)

The Chinese admired the Americans quite a lot. Even Mao tried to make overtures, not wanting to be totally reliant on the Soviets, but the Americans had this bizarre fixation on Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuomintang (Churchill made special note of this unreasonable obsession in his History of WWII), even after the Communists had driven them off the mainland. The strict anti-Communist stance lead the Americans to miss an opportunity at rapprochement and drove Mao completely into the Soviet sphere, and continued support for the Kuomintang, who weren't exactly all that pleasant when they were running China, pissed a lot of Chinese off.

Re:They Saved The World (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284869)

but the Americans had this bizarre fixation on Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuomintang

Just like with Indonesia bribing the right person set the US foreign policy agenga.

Re:They Saved The World (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284475)

Revisionist crap. The Japanese were hellbent on taking the pacific to a lesser extent, a large chunk of China. They managed to capture its east cost pretty well. Now that I think about it. Diplomatically, I really wonder how the Chinese government thinks of America in this regards. We bloody well saved their ass!

Nationalism keeps people from saying that other countries saved them, and before long no one remembers.

How many people in the USA remember that the French made the American revolution possible? Lafayette St in Durham NC is named after the French general who volunteered to travel from France to Virginia to fight the British at his own expense. In the height of the build-up the Iraq war, I was in a restaurant a few blocks away from that street. People at another table made a big show of ordering "freedom fries".

Re:They Saved The World (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284663)

Revisionist crap. The Japanese were hellbent on taking the pacific to a lesser extent, a large chunk of China. They managed to capture its east cost pretty well. Now that I think about it. Diplomatically, I really wonder how the Chinese government thinks of America in this regards. We bloody well saved their ass!

Nationalism keeps people from saying that other countries saved them, and before long no one remembers.

How many people in the USA remember that the French made the American revolution possible? Lafayette St in Durham NC is named after the French general who volunteered to travel from France to Virginia to fight the British at his own expense. In the height of the build-up the Iraq war, I was in a restaurant a few blocks away from that street. People at another table made a big show of ordering "freedom fries".

Yeah, people are dicks.

However, I wouldn't assume that French support for the US rebellion was a matter of charity or pre-Revolutionary enlightenment. France and England had been trying to gouge each other's eyes out since... oh, shortly after 1066.

It took the unification of Germany to convince them they could get into the same bed together.

Re:They Saved The World (2)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285033)

Yeah, people are dicks.

However, I wouldn't assume that French support for the US rebellion was a matter of charity or pre-Revolutionary enlightenment. France and England had been trying to gouge each other's eyes out since... oh, shortly after 1066.

It took the unification of Germany to convince them they could get into the same bed together.

Completely true. But let's be realistic here, when was the last time a country went to war as a matter of charity or enlightenment again? Wars are waged for territories, resources or influence one way or the other. One party has an aggressive policy of resource gathering or conquest, diplomacy fails, it escalates and eventually provides a casus belli to one or the other party. Of course, to sell it to Joe Sixpack, it is faster to wrap it with religion or moral.

Re:They Saved The World (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284801)

The French ARISTOS volunteered to help America. Not the assholes who created a machine designed to efficiently lop off heads. Bring the aristos back and we'll talk.

Re:They Saved The World (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284343)

It served two purposes:

1. It demonstrated to the Soviets, who had massive forces amassed in Eastern and Central Europe that the West now possessed a weapon deliverable by high altitude bomber that could kill thousands.

2. It prevented the Soviets from seizing large parts of Japan by forcing a quick surrender to the Americans. An invasion of the main islands would most certainly have taken long enough that the Soviets could have moved to occupy Japan themselves. As it was, the Russians seized the northernmost parts of the Empire proper and hold them to this very day.

3. It stopped the war very quickly and forced an unconditional surrender. There was even less game-playing that the fragments of the Third Reich had tried to play.

As to the larger point you try to make, the Japanese leadership's actions even after the first H bomb were hardly singular in wanting to surrender.

Wrong bomb (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284413)

As to the larger point you try to make, the Japanese leadership's actions even after the first H bomb were hardly singular in wanting to surrender.

A bomb != H bomb. The U.S. dropped two fission bombs on Japan. Thank heavens we haven't dropped any Tellar-Ulam, a.k.a. fission-fusion, a.k.a. hydrogen bombs on anyone.

Re:Wrong bomb (1)

drkim (1559875) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284887)

Actually we dropped 4 on Spain in 1966. (Mk28 hydrogen bombs)

Re:They Saved The World (3, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284447)

2. It prevented the Soviets from seizing large parts of Japan by forcing a quick surrender to the Americans.

As early as 1944 the Japanese began sending out feelers for peace, a conditional surrender were the Japanese terms. The big mistake was sending their envoy's through the Soviet union which wanted no peace between the Allies and the Japanese.

I highly doubt it would have come to a prolonged attack on the Japanese home islands before a conditional surrender was hammered out. Japan had no desire to become part of the greater Soviet Union and would have surrendered to the Americans before that happened and the Americans did not want the casualties from a prolonged fight. Also, the Soviets were very reluctant to get involved in China. The Soviets only began their campaign against parts of Japanese held China and Mongolia on 8 August 1945, a major part of this was that it was a requirement for the Soviets to join the Pacific war in order to keep territories annexed in Eastern Europe (agreed to by Stalin, Churchill and Truman at Yalta, they cut up Europe before the war ended), The Instrument of surrender was signed on 8 September 1945, less then a month after the Soviets joined the war.

Not that I question the decision of the US at the time, The soviets prevented the Americans from even knowing that Japan was talking of surrender but the Soviets would never have been a real part of the Japanese invasion, for no other reason then logistics most of the transports the Soviets had were American Liberty ships and no landing ships to speak of.

Re:They Saved The World (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284583)

Actually, none of the three points in g'parent post stand up to historical scrutiny. The main reason that the atomic bombs were dropped is because the allies had them, so they used them. And they had them not because of Japan, but because they thought the Germans were developing one and they were afraid Germany would hold out long enough to use it.
No matter how you twist it, there was no rational reason for dropping the atom bombs on Japan. The reason the allies used them, is because they could. People like heroes, and since our parents and grandparents won WWII and since the Nazis were so evil we really really want "us" to be the good guys. Yet the US didn't get involved until Pearl Harbor and the allies were quite happy to knowingly bomb civilians that didn't support the Nazis, carefully selecting the drop target based on population density and using the most gruesome bombs imaginable.
A good starter text on the material is Among the Dead Cities. Not a "fun" read, but a necessary one for those interested in WWII.

Re:They Saved The World (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284949)

The problem is you deliberately targeted civilians in both cases. There were plenty of military only options, plenty of sparsely habited areas that would have been equally effective demonstrations.

Those civilians were innocent. Caught up in a war they didn't want. Their slaughter cannot be justified.

Re:They Saved The World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284383)

This is an old, thoroughly debunked myth.

Re:They Saved The World (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284409)

No kidding. The Japanese government didn't even surrender after Hiroshima.

Re:They Saved The World (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284681)

No kidding. The Japanese government didn't even surrender after Hiroshima.

And even after the second bomb, the warlords only surrendered because the Emperor told them to.

And even then they still managed to swing one exception to the Allies' demand for unconditional surrender.

Re:They Saved The World (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284423)

No. Japan was losing the war badly, but vowed to fight to the last person rather than surrender. I'm no fan of nuclear weapons but I have to admit that the overwhelming show of force saved millions of lives.

Re:They Saved The World (3, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284699)

No. Japan was losing the war badly, but vowed to fight to the last person rather than surrender. I'm no fan of nuclear weapons but I have to admit that the overwhelming show of force saved millions of lives.

Yeah, after seeing the movies of Japanese civilians on the islands (Saipan?) jump off cliffs with their babies to avoid capture by the Americans, the thought of an invasion of the home islands really makes you shudder.

And the Japanese were reinforcing the area where the landings were planned, bringing a number of divisions back from the mainland, IIRC.

Tradition says the US was expecting to take a million casualties. Heaven knows how many they would have inflicted.

Re:They Saved The World (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284497)

Actually the Japanese were trying desperately to negotiate a surrender even before the FIRST use of WMD against them.

The surrender effort didn't have credibility. Sure, some Japanese were trying desperately to negotiate a surrender, but other Japanese with more considerable authority were preparing for a brutal and bloody defense of the Japanese homeland at almost any cost. Those who would surrender not only had to negotiate with the US, they had to do so with their own people who advocated a war of attrition.

The atomic bombs tipped the scale decisively in favor of those who advocated surrender. The US demonstrated a weapon that could kill countless Japanese soldiers and civilians at little cost to the US. No war of attrition could succeed against that.

And one sees a difference in results. Instead of powerless officials making secret and irrelevant appeals through diplomatic back channels, the Emperor of Japan radioed a nationwide order to cease fighting and lay down their arms, and that order was obeyed. That's the difference that the use of those two atomic bombs wrought.

Re:They Saved The World (1, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284971)

Speculation. Had the bombs been used on uninhabited areas or purely military targets first we would know if they would have surrendered. Instead you went straight to nuking innocent civilians and then tried to retroactively justify it.

The bombings were tests on human subjects as much as strategic attacks.

Re:They Saved The World (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285273)

Says the person who knows absolutely NOTHING about the actual history. The decision to surrender was far from unanimous even AFTER the two atomic bombings, even AFTER the Russia declared war. There was basically an almost open military revolt after the Emperor agreed to surrender, and had the atomic bombs not been dropped the revolt would have gotten much more support, and the war would have dragged on, probably inducing massive starvation not only in Japan, but in even worse in it's colonies as Japan was shipping out as much food as it could from Korea, Taiwan and elsewhere.

Also, there were no "purely military" targets. The defense for the planned invasion of Kyushu was almost entirely civilian, and any military production facilities were generally located well within city limits, so again, you show you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, but feel it necessary to be self-righteous anyway.

Re:They Saved The World (2)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284607)

Wow, that's amazing. If Japan wanted to surrender, it wouldn't have taken TWO atom bombs to make them do so.

Re:They Saved The World (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284711)

Wow, that's amazing. If Japan wanted to surrender, it wouldn't have taken TWO atom bombs to make them do so.

Sure it would... they needed to see the parity bit.

My grandfather was killed by the Japanese (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284617)

Disclaimer:

My grandfather was killed by the Japanese

He suffered severe torture before he was beheaded

The Japanese killed my grandfather 2 weeks after they have signed the "surrender letter" on board an American warship

And - this is important --- my grandfather was not the only one who was murdered by the Japanese occupation force after they supposed to have surrendered

Your assertion that "Actually the Japanese were trying desperately to negotiate a surrender even before the FIRST use of WMD against them" is nothing but hogwash to those who suffered under the Japanese

Re:They Saved The World (2)

rockout (1039072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284747)

Complete lie. You could make an argument that Japan would've surrendered after the first bomb, and the bombing of Nagasaki wasn't necessary (we made no attempt to secure a surrender in the few days in between). However, to say they were looking to surrender before the bombing of Hiroshima is a fabrication, plain and simple. You deserved to get modded down for that and I'm glad you were.

Re:They Saved The World (1)

EnempE (709151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284901)

I am not sure why that comment was modded down like that. It isn't a diplomatically worded comment, but then this is /.

I did some hunting, and he is not alone in this assessment of things.

Re:They Saved The World (3, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284727)

This is quite far from a "fact", in fact, the facts point in the completely opposite direction. By the end of WWII, the USSR was not in a position to fight another world war, or even a local war. It was, in fact, not in a position to fight any wars except proxy skirmishes until about the end of the 1970s. The evilness of the regime towards its people aside, the country was devastated by WWII, its male population decimated or worse, its infrastructure heavily dependent on Western aid, and on top of that the USSR had to support extending communism in half of Europe. If you believe that was free, you're wrong.

By many accounts, the real reason for the huge nuclear buildup on both sides of the iron curtain had, after a while, not so much to do with the threat that was addressed by the nuclear weapons, but more to do with the prestige and the resource allocation benefits that manufacturing nuclear weapons brought. In other words, it was a classical case of a principal-agent problem where the goal of the principal (maximizing safety) was not aligned to the goal of the agents (maximizing power of nuclear arsenal).

I believe this is also known as not allowing a mineshaft gap.

Re:They Saved The World (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284809)

How is that, saving - the world -.

It might have saved the people living at the time from participating in another war.

It might have saved you from surrendering to the other side and being forced to adopt thier system of government.

And yes, it "save the world" from all the pollution your wars make -- but only with the potential for destroying and polluting a large portion of it.

Of course, you could surrender to the other side immediately -- instead.

(what exactly are the qualifications for insighful here.)

Re:They Saved The World (1)

ks*nut (985334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284851)

Or they'll lead to a more terrible war. Despite the end of the Cold War there are huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons. And there are countries like India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel and perhaps Iran that are part of the nuclear "club."

Teller and Oppenheimer (5, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284295)

Teller destroyed the career of Robert Oppenheimer for no damn good reason, after which his own graduate students shunned him.

I have no interest in anything to do about him.

Re:Teller and Oppenheimer (1)

manoweb (1993306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284373)

For no good reason? Oppenheimer did NOT want to build the H-bomb! What was he thinking?

Re:Teller and Oppenheimer (4, Informative)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284421)

First of all, even if he opposed it that doesn't mean you get to accuse him of being a communist.

But in reality the situation was more complicated than that. Oppenheimer (and others) also opposed Teller's design because they thought it wouldn't work. Teller took it personally and set out to destroy them. But those others were right and in the end the H-bomb that Teller help built was based on a design of Ulam's.

Re:Teller and Oppenheimer (-1, Troll)

NicknameAvailable (2581237) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284443)

Teller destroyed the career of Robert Oppenheimer for no damn good reason, after which his own graduate students shunned him.

I have no interest in anything to do about him.

A) Oppenheimer was a Communist and we were fighting the communists. B) Oppenheimer tried to get the atomic bomb into civilian control whereas Teller pushed for air force (IE military) control. Either A or B above is more than enough reason for his career to have been destroyed. Just imagine if nuclear weapons were in the hands of a civilian group - I for one can't see their non-use since WW2 going down in frequency.

Re:Teller and Oppenheimer (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284897)

Just imagine if nuclear weapons were in the hands of a civilian group

The movies imply the President, who is a civilian, has to authorise their use. Is that not the case?

Re:Teller and Oppenheimer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39285121)

Allowing any weapon system that powerful to be shepherded by an elected individual is suicide. It would necessitate the immediate overthrow of any country stupid enough to create a chain of command ending at the desk of a a popularity contest winner.

If the President is actually in possession of launch capability the U.S. needs to be thrown down in biblical fashion.

That's a poor reason. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284761)

I have no interest in anything to do about him.

Not understanding why someone did something is a a reason to be interested, since it can bring greater understanding on your part. Being curious is the first step of the scientific method.

I'm sure the man was brilliant (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284301)

And his work has brought the state of research into nucleur physics forwards by huge leaps and bounds.

OTOH some of his critics were right. We didn't and don't *need* the hydrogen bomb.

But that said, for a given yield a fusion bomb will give you considerably less radioactive nastiness so it does have advantages over fission, and I can empathise with a man who thought huge explosions were pretty cool.

Re:I'm sure the man was brilliant (1)

FairAndHateful (2522378) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284489)

OTOH some of his critics were right. We didn't and don't *need* the hydrogen bomb.

Bite your tongue! Without the H-Bomb, the development of the Bikini [wikipedia.org] would have been delayed for years!

Re:I'm sure the man was brilliant (3, Informative)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284515)

actually, you get more fallout. much more.

the fusion part of the design doesn't provide the lion's share of the yield - as proved by Castle Bravo. it was designed as a ~3Mt design, but thanks to the U238 tamper and all the very fast neutrons the fusion stage provided, they ended up with 15Mt that they were quite unprepared for.

most of the yield comes from fissioning the U238 tamper, which gives a ton of fallout. Pu239 fission initiates the fusion stage, which provides craploads of neutrons which will fission the U238.

Re:I'm sure the man was brilliant (3, Informative)

dido (9125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284673)

Well, it the hydrogen bomb was a bomb that could be scaled up to as large an explosion as one wanted, as the Soviet Union proved with the Tsar Bomba. They replaced the U-238 tamper with lead, and still got an explosion of 50 megatons or so, the largest man-made explosion in history. Had they kept the uranium, it would have been around 100 megatons. Unlike fission weapons, where the fission of the uranium or plutonium in a chain reaction will cause the supercritical mass to blow apart after only a fraction of the material has fissioned (up to perhaps only 20% fission for implosion-type weapons, as low as 1% for gun-type weapons like the Little Boy bomb used on Hiroshima), limiting the size of the explosion, a hydrogen bomb can become as big as one would like, provided the raw materials are available.

I'd so much like to see one of those explosions (2)

manoweb (1993306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284341)

I wonder what the memories of the staff that saw those explosions "live" are. It must have been a magnificent show. The best of the human intellect to unleash the most destructive rage of destruction.

Re:I'd so much like to see one of those explosions (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284391)

Nuke Mars. No, seriously. Start vaporizing the poles and raise the atmosphere a few degrees. If we're going to learn how to terraform a planet, let's start there.

Of course, sending a few MIRVs into space won't happen for obvious geo-political reasons. I can fully understand why.

Re:I'd so much like to see one of those explosions (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284931)

Pretty sure the best way to terraform a planet is NOT to make it a radioactive wasteland from the outset.

Re:I'd so much like to see one of those explosions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284665)

my father's comment..
"bigger than you can possibly conceive of or describe"
movies, pictures, words cannot capture the sheer immensity of a fireball that is *miles* in diameter. (we're not talking feeble nominal Hiroshima tens of kT yield here)

His son... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284345)

...Paul Teller taught at UC Davis in the 80's and 90's(maybe still does). When I took his philosophy of science course(PHI 108), on the first meeting with the TA, he said "Don't ask him about his father".

Re:His son... (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284505)

Ask who?

Re:His son... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284513)

he said "Don't ask him about his father".

I have loads of respect for this man (Paul) already.

Re:His son... (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284527)

sounds like something out of Young Frankenstein.

Fortunately (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284625)

Thank goodness, now that the Cold War is over we have the War on Terror, so we can still dismiss critics of more spending for unnecessary weapon systems as "lacking in common sense or patriotism".

Who brooked who (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284627)

He mustn't have brooked himself then.

Later years (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284683)

I met him in his later years, after the bomb-pumped X-ray laser missile defense [wikipedia.org] idea he was touting had fizzled. At the time, he was pitching precision-guided crowbars dropped from orbit.

Um, no he's not a "father" of hydrogen bomb (1)

melted (227442) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284697)

Andrei Sakharov (of Soviet Union) is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Sakharov#Development_of_thermonuclear_devices [wikipedia.org]

Re:Um, no he's not a "father" of hydrogen bomb (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284773)

It was developed in parallel in US and USSR, so both men take credit. But US was the first one to detonate a working device.

Re:Um, no he's not a "father" of hydrogen bomb (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285037)

Um, no he's not a "father" of hydrogen bomb . . . Andrei Sakharov (of Soviet Union) is:

Maybe you haven't heard, but the US and USSR didn't share a lot of nuclear weapons secrets at the time, although the Soviets managed to steal US nuclear secrets with spies [smithsonianmag.com] .

Putin praises Cold War moles for stealing U.S. nuclear secrets [reuters.com]

Vladimir Putin praised Cold War-era scientists on Thursday for stealing U.S. nuclear secrets so that United States would not be the world's sole atomic power, in comments reflecting his vision of Russia as a counterweight to U.S. power.

Spies with suitcases full of data helped the Soviet Union build its atomic bomb, he told military commanders.

"You know, when the States already had nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union was only building them, we got a significant amount of information through Soviet foreign intelligence channels," Putin said, according to state-run Itar-Tass.

"The were carrying the information away not on microfilm but literally in suitcases. Suitcases!"

China has managed to achieve the same feat: Report Stolen data gives China advanced nuclear knowhow [cnn.com]

Zida (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284855)

if need buy aluminum foil container, pls visit http://www.foilcontainer.com tks!

Video Loses Credibility Due To Errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39284865)

Dr. Strangelove was not a general. Sheesh.

Why the Right Wing Progaganda? (3, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284983)

This post is clearly intended to legitimatize the right wing push to attack Iran.

Is there any other reason to lionize Teller at this moment in time? The text of the link includes the phrase "a matter of life and horrible death". In other words, an existential threat to Western Civilization. The implied parallel is that Islam and international Communism are similar threats to the West. If Teller is a hero for his position, the all the Republican presidential hopefuls are also heroes for calling for an attack against Iran. And Obama, along with anyone else who advocates caution, is a spineless traitor who want to destroy democracy.

Pure right wing propaganda.

Instead of looking back more then 60 years to the late 1940's, let's consider a much more recent and infinitely more relevant event: G. W. Bush's invasion of Iraq. This was a war of choice, and has emerged as the single worst policy mistake in the history of the USA. It cost the US and it's allies hundreds of billions of dollars, tens of thousands of US casualties, and over one hundred thousand civilian causalities in Iraq.

It made Iran much more powerful, and alienated the entire world from the US. All the European leaders who supported the war fell out of favor. Radical Islamic movements, who really do want to destroy the West, have much more influence in Islamic politics. Even with the nominal end of combat, no one knows when it will really end or how much it will cost, in both life and treasure. We still don't know how badly screwed up we are over this.

And now Republicans, who lied their teeth out over Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, are screaming that WE MUST ATTACK IRAN RIGHT NOW!!! So someone decides it's time to raise H-Bomb Teller from his crypt, wrap him up in the stars and stripes, and declare that he saved civilization from the Godless Hoards. Meanwhile, G. W. Bush, who is very much alive and well, is completely missing. He is so off the charts it's like he never existed.

As far as the Republicans and the mainstream media is concerned, Clinton left office, the world hibernated for 8 years, and then Obama took over. Now there is talk of more war in the Middle East, and no one even speaks the name of Bush. It's not like someone asked his opinion and he responded "no comment". No one is even asking. He has been edited out of history, like in 1984.

This topic is a de facto intelligence test. If you looked at it and wondered why anyone would be saying these kinds of things about Teller then you pass. If you saw nothing unusual, you failed. Given the kind of comments I've seen so far, everyone reading Slashdot is politically brain dead. If there was some way I could turn off life support for all the flat-lined Slashdot readers, I'd do it in an instant.

Why is HE the most vilified? (0)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39284995)

Seriously - how many people have died because of his work? How many has become ill? How has it affected nature?

Now compare Edward Teller's work to that of Thomas Midgley, Jr. [wikipedia.org] - the inventor of leaded gasoline and CFC!

Yes - the man who brought you lead poisoning from commuting also brought you the hole in the ozone layer.

So I ask again - why the hell is Edward Teller the most vilified US scientist, when Thomas Midgley, Jr., is not only from the US, but is essentially the one single organism responsible for the most environmental damage.

Re:Why is HE the most vilified? (4, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285327)

Because of this:

What separates them is intent. Teller knew full well he was designing the weapons to end industrial civilization. Teller was deliberately designing stuff to kill people.

Thomas Midgley Jr. didn't know when he was developing the things he was developing that they were anything other than helpful to society.

A Limerick (2)

rafial (4671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39285065)

A bellicose feller named Teller
That prominent atom bomb seller
Promotes with aplomb
The hydrogen bomb
And tells the uncertain they're yeller!

-- lifted from the back column of a science mag of my childhood

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