This past summer, however, the German public television network ZDF shook up the seasonal television doldrums with a sensational three-part documentary titled simply The Bomb. Broadcast over three evenings in late July and early August, it was hosted (and co-written) by ZDF's star primetime news anchor, the ever dour Claus Kleber. The tone of the 132-minute documentary is downright apocalyptic, promising nothing less than the "end of the world" if the nuclear issue is not tackled swiftly. To emphasize the urgency, each episode begins with a countdown recited by small children from around the world and interspersed with images of missiles and jet-fighters and mushroom clouds--and then a control panel switch being turned to "launch."Writing in the Weekly Standard, John Rosenthal covers the oh-ho-hum manner in which blame and wishful hatred are bandied about in Europe. A ZDF “reporter” asks leading questions to the wife of nuke-monster A. Q. Khan, so that she can pedantically repeat the question “so just who was it that has actually used a nuclear weapon?”
The purpose, is to convince them that the launch is NOT on them, and that whoever does harm the precious bubble of illusions they live in, that it’s really the fault of the United States. After all, the warm, amniotic fluid in that bubble is so comforting that it justifies the lies on tells oneself.
Like everything ginned up in that kind of environment, it only works for them when it’s freed of both context and reason: Hiroshima is mentioned without Nan Jing, or the cost to the Japanese people and Americans of not forcing a Japanese surrender with the 2 atomic weapons dropped on Japan.
For the overriding message of The Bomb is that the nuclear threat is not constituted by Iran, North Korea, and other potential rogue possessors of nuclear weapons, but by the established nuclear powers and first and foremost by the United States. According to the odd sort of nuclear theology proposed by the film, it is the United States that committed the original sin by developing the first nuclear weapons, and the current risk of proliferation is merely the consequence of America's transgression.ZDF’s purpose is to repeat the cheap, passive-aggression that has been a mainstay of politicized “journalism” in Europe for the past 20 years, whatever the cost or consequences are to the capacity of Europe’s population to judge the risk of an expansive, desperate, violent, Iranian government armed with nukes.
The viewer gets a first hint of this tenet barely two minutes into the film. Kleber is touring New York harbor with a police patrol boat assigned to protect the city from potential nuclear terror attacks. "The consequences of the Manhattan Project, the construction of the first bomb, come back to haunt its inventors--as a weapon of terror," Kleber intones.
The consequences of the Manhattan Project? It is as if the Manhattan Project occurred in a vacuum rather than in the midst of the Second World War, with America racing to beat Nazi Germany to the bomb
ZDF’s Kleber, with the stubbornness of an unruly child, can’t help but fantasize about an imaginary history where the Genie, could somehow, through the force of his delusions, go back into the bottle, and that wishing REALLY hard will change the tactical stance of the Iranians and the jihadist network. Like all elementary illusions, it requires a kind of taking sides which inevitable demands that he believe that a new and peaceful world comes to those that give in to the wishes of those who mean to kill them. The Japanese Empire need to have been held up as a harmless distraction. The Soviets need to be thought of as having wanted nothing to do with the rest of the world.
Bear in mind that Germany is and was the sort of place where as an American youngster, I would get people yelling at me and my sort of similar age about the Vietnam war or HiroshimaNagasakiBiteBiteBite which had ended when I was 8, as though I had something to do with it. It was a perfectly normal reaction, one that convinced the antagonist that they were not just on the side of the humane, but “politically aware” to shout down those who won’t do anything about that exercise of hatred.
You really need to do a lot to buy into it, and not caused by Kleber’s position, but has been long accepted as a given among many Germans. All Kleber does is pander to it, and inadvertently reinforce it with what he is surely telling himself is “challenging,” heartfelt, and “daring” rapportage. In reality, all it is, is the overpouring of emotionalized rhetoric posing as reason.
"For his nuclear program, Ahmadinejad can always play the national card," Kleber says over images of the Iranian president reviewing a military parade: "This is to say, the memory that Iraq invaded Iran"--and then after a dramatic pause--"with American help." The "with American help" is tossed out without any substantiation or explanation. The viewer is given no idea in what the alleged American help is supposed to have consisted. What we do know, however, is that the Iranians themselves received American help: the covert arms shipments at the heart of the Iran-contra scandal. The film makes no mention of this fact.As if the bits and pieces of that past that matter rather selectively to Kleber will be what is driving Ahmedinejad.
Talk about ‘fighting the last war’ – Kleber and the many tear-swollen psychophants that think like him are still marching in a 50 year old protest, trying to kick a familiar strawman, and doing all the other pathetic things one looks back on after things that they could never imagine go badly wrong at the expense of those they are pretending to heroically ‘protect’.