With mounting international debate about Iran’s nuclear weapons capability and potential military action against them, I am reminded of an episode of the TV show Alf. Aired on October 13, 1986, “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” the series’ fourth episode, follows the furry, wisecracking alien as he tries to convince the President of the United States to abandon the country’s nuclear weapons program in order to save planet Earth from complete annihilation.
In the opening scene, Alf sits in the living room of the suburban house where he lives, talking to a radio show host on the phone. “I’ve got the solution to this nuclear bomb thing,” Alf says. “Get rid of ’em! They’re dangerous.” The studio audience laughs, but the message is clear: Alf’s right. Nuclear weapons are potentially self-destructive. The episode’s other lesson is equally apparent: the issue isn’t that simple.