Thanks Jerry Large for putting a spotlight on the issue of nuclear weapons [“Nuclear arms didn’t die with the Cold War,” Local News, Aug. 1). It’s a national disgrace that public awareness of the size of the world’s nuclear arsenals and their risks is minimal.
There are still 15,000 nuclear weapons in nine national arsenals, and one-third of the U.S. cache resides 20 miles from Seattle. Further, both the U.S. and Russia maintain their nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert if either senses an attack — a dangerous and foolish remnant of the Cold War. Considering the recent deterioration of relations between the two superpowers, and the provocative actions by both in regard to Ukraine and Eastern European countries, the dangers are not theoretical.
William Perry, secretary of defense under President Clinton and a public servant engaged in nuclear issues for more than 40 years, maintains in his recent book, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” that the risks of the use of nuclear weapons are as great as at the height of the Cold War (add terrorists and North Korea into the mix). Further, we are witnessing a dangerous and irresponsible renewed international nuclear-arms race, with the Obama administration proposing to “modernize” the entire nuclear triad of submarines, missiles and bombers at a cost of $1 trillion over the next 30 years. Congress is a too-compliant partner, and the arms contractors are delighted — and influential.
We do need to think about this issue of potential human annihilation every day. Large is correct that we should let our members of Congress know that proposals for a new nuclear-arms race are dead wrong and take us in precisely the wrong direction. Only the elimination of nuclear weapons represents rational public policy.
Bruce Amundson, Shoreline