This shoe box entry could benefit greatly from reader participation. I have three great one-liners about the quest for the Bomb in my 4×6 card collection. My definition of a one-liner is different from Henny Youngman. (Am I showing my age and nationality? Sample Henny Youngman one-liner: “The food on the plane was fit for a King. Here King!”)

A great Bomb one-liner clarifies the importance or meaning of the quest. Here are my top three – no surprises:


Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Benazir’s father, right) assembled Pakistan’s nuclear experts after the devastating loss to India in 1971 and the resulting vivisection of his country, ordering them to succeed in making the Bomb “even if we have to eat grass”

The North Korean leadership is working from this playbook.


Less well known but equally colorful was the recollection by China’s Foreign Minister Chen Yi (left), that Beijing was determined to succeed in obtaining the Bomb and countering U.S. nuclear threats “even if we had to pawn our trousers.”

(Also translated more crisply as “pawn our pants.”)

I’m guessing that this is one of Jeffrey’s favorites.


Third on my list is J. Robert Oppenheimer’s (right) unforgettable reaction to the Alamogordo test, in which he quoted from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”


What shall we add to this list?

Are there one-liners worthy of addition from the U.S., British, Soviet, French, Israeli, Pakistani, Indian or other nuclear programs?