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Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 1999 /19 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760

Julia Gorin

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Bomb all bans --
FORGET THE TEST BAN TREATY, and just ban treaties.

After all, this doesnít exactly seem to be the decade of leaders who know how to write them. To wit, this month the press and its captive readership went through the motions of vilifying those consistently evil Republicans, who voted down the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

As if on cue, "compassionate" Americans and the world community used their standard we-care-about-world-peace-and-security oversimplifications to champion a dud of a document and demonize the U.S. and Republicans for not doing the same. How could the Republicans subvert such a breakthrough measure? What other explanation except that theyíre just very bad people?

Here, an outline of the treaty's goal might serve: While not putting us at a disadvantage, such a treaty must prevent other countries from increasing their nuclear capabilities. But a disadvantage surfaces when the only option the treaty allows the U.S. is computer weapons-testing, which wonít be up to speed for years and is not a true substitute for real underground testing. Nor does it keep other countries from testing their weapons, since not all underground tests are detectable and enforcement relies on complete, veto-free approval by the UN Security Council.

Last year we witnessed a similar episode with a treaty attempting to establish a permanent international war crimes court. The vast majority of U.N. member nations signed it gleefully in the face of an abstaining U.S., even while showing reluctance to use current venues for bringing war criminals to justice. Besides, since itís easier to prosecute the good guys of the world than uncooperative bad guys, such measures have the effect of making the good guys more vulnerable. Letís face it: if youíre already not the type of country to respect international laws, chances are youíre not going to let yourself be held accountable when you ignore them. Itís the ones who screw up once in a while and not on purpose, like in the process of keeping peace or diminishing human suffering--who will be judged, as usual.

But never mind all that. The important thing, as my friends have emphasized to me, is that a test-ban treaty would set a precedent.

Oh joy! A precedent for the world to follow our good example! So that we, the benevolent democracy, can behave our bad selves while dictatorships go on quietly testing their weapons.

To illustrate the logic at work here, I shall use my good and just intentions to propose some treatises of my own.

I think Hollywoodís size-zero standard for actresses is wrong and oppressive. I want the leading ladies to rebel and start eating again. To set an example, I, who currently wear a size 12/14, will make it a point to go to the diner at midnight every day, and grab a four-course midnight snack, including French fries and a milkshake.

I think I might also turn myself in for that pack of gum I stole from the drug store when I was seven. I still feel guilty over this one shoplifting episode. However, to set an example for harder criminals everywhere, Iíll settle for nothing less than death row.

Also, I think Iíll surrender my lawfully acquired 9mm in the hopes that the thief ransacking my apartment eventually decides to do the same with his AK-47.

Concern over the reportedly increasing gap between the rich and poor in New York has compelled me to reconsider my views on the redistribution of wealth. Iíve therefore decided to donate my weekly four-hundred-dollar temp check to homeless charities so that the millionaires in my neighborhood might follow suit.

Finally, in the spirit of the treaty that has inspired all this good will in me, I propose that we as a country abolish our military all together to sincerely show our peaceful intentions. Maybe then, all nations--particularly those enjoying their recently-acquired nuclear capability, will do the same.

Of course, I only get these kinds of impulses when Iím feeling guilty that Iím not living on the street, or that Iím not a hardened criminal, or that I abide by gun laws, or that I live in a wealthy and powerful nation. But every time I get such guilt complexes, I remind myself that the road to hell on earth is also paved with good intentions.

JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments to her by clicking here.


10/04/99: Welcome, Mr. Buchanan!
09/24/99: The Financing of Hill's House
09/10/99: 'I cause your pain'
08/20/99: Believing the hype
08/09/99: Chickens bombing ... chickens?
07/30/99: Why I'm eating so much chocolate
07/16/99: The reluctant partisan
06/29/99: Maddy and Bill went up the (Capitol) Hill
04/29/99: "Never again"? This isn't exactly what we had in mind
03/19/99: The Thin Yellow Line
03/03/99: How many more are out there?
10/19/98: Got milk? Donít know. Do I?
07/30/98: Kofi Annan's crimes against sensibility
05/15/98: Susan McDougal: a real stand-up kinda guy
01/08/98: In defense of the appetizing shiksa

©1999, Julia Gorin