U.S. Needs Complete Nuclear Disarmament

    Dear Editor,

    Thank you so much for printing the letter by Achraf Farraj,
    Leonor Tomero and Lt. Gen. Robert Gard. The authors rightly deny that the
    development of new nuclear weapons makes the United States any safer.

    However, that letter conceded too much to the pro-nuke camp.
    Rather than insist on the complete, immediate and unconditional nuclear
    disarmament of the U.S., it
    only insisted that the U.S.
    stop developing new nuclear weapons.

    The letter seems to suggest that nuclear weapons could have
    justifiably been developed and stored at one point in history. The authors
    wrote: “The Cold War is over and the threat of an all-out nuclear war with Russia has
    greatly diminished.” That nuclear weapons were needed to counter the Russian
    threat is absurd. No action intended to destroy innocent life should ever be
    considered as a viable option.

    A nuclear strike is a blatant use of indiscriminate force,
    and the threat to use it is a threat to murder numerous civilians. Nuclear deterrence
    is based on the idea that we can and should prevent one injustice by
    threatening to commit another. When the U.S. government maintains nuclear
    weapons as a deterrent, it issues a threat that differs only in quantity from
    the threats made by common terrorists.

    Al Qaeda may kidnap a few innocent men and threaten to hack
    off their heads if the U.S. does not pull out of Iraq, or release female
    prisoners, by such-and-such date. The message is a clear one — “Do as we
    command, or we will kill these people.”

    The same message is delivered by the U.S. government; except
    that when this government holds open the option to flatten an area of several
    square miles with a nuclear explosion, it says: “Do as we command, or we will
    instantly kill these thousands of people and mortally wound a 100,000 more,
    regardless of the fact that they are uninvolved civilians.” Both Al Qaeda and
    the U.S. government threaten to kill innocent people; but the threat that the
    U.S. government issues is much greater than Al Qaeda’s, and makes it a bigger
    terrorist than Al Qaeda.

    The letter’s authors attempt to cajole nukemongers by
    assuring them that the U.S. nuclear deterrent is “guaranteed for at least
    another 50 years.” This assurance may comfort a warhawk, but it hardly comforts
    me. That we can retain for the next 50 years the ability to murder thousands at
    the push of a button can bring no comfort to anyone who fervently believes in
    the individual’s fundamental right to live. It is good that Farraj, Tomero and
    Gard demand an end to the development of nuclear weapons. But their demand
    would have been much more principled if they had called for the immediate end
    of that threat whose very existence is immoral.

    — Isaiah Sage

    Revelle College senior

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