Nuclear Weapons a Necessary War Deterrent

    Dear Editor,

    This letter is responding to the letter by Isaiah Sage that
    said the use of nuclear weapons cannot ever be justified and also that having
    them is tantamount to terrorism. He is erroneous on both counts.

    First of all, any country with viable nuclear weapons makes
    itself undefeatable through “mutually assured destruction,” a term which means
    that any attack would be responded in kind, ensuring the destruction of both
    countries. Furthermore, any nation with a nuclear arsenal is infinitely more
    powerful than any other nation without an arsenal. The threat of a nuclear
    offensive is the best defense. If the U.S. were to completely disarm, it would
    leave itself open and could be conquered by any nation with an arsenal.
    Conventional armies mean nothing in the face of nuclear bombardment.

    Is it unreasonable to assume Russia could have simply wiped
    out the United States if we had not had our nuclear arsenal? The reason the Cold War is only known as such
    and not anything else is because of M.A.D. The threat of nuclear war not only
    kept both countries from experiencing a nuclear holocaust but also from
    fighting a conventional war, because any conventional attack could have been
    immediately followed by a nuclear attack. Sage’s statement asserting that
    nuclear weapons were not needed to counter the Russian threat is completely
    absurd.

    However, nuclear weapons have only twice been used against
    civilian targets: in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombings are justified for one
    reason, which is that all war boils down to simple truths: kill or be killed,
    us or them, there is no in between. It is foolish to believe it is possible to
    “play” nice in war. When former President Harry S. Truman made the difficult
    decision to drop the bomb, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of U.S.
    soldiers and civilians were saved who could have died in the resulting
    invasion. His duty was to U.S. citizens, and he chose his own people over the
    enemy, and that decision saved many American lives.

    The difference between a nuclear arsenal and a terrorist
    attack is that a nuclear arsenal guarantees a nation’s continued sovereignty
    through M.A.D. A terrorist attack is meant to draw attention via the killing or
    the threat of killing government officials and/or civilians. Also, a nuclear
    strike has not happened in over fifty years thanks to M.A.D., while terrorism
    occurs every day. Obviously the two ideas cannot be equated because their
    nature and uses are inherently different.

    Supporting a continued nuclear arsenal does not mean that
    someone is a “nukemonger” or “warhawk.” It is meant to act as a defense, a
    deterrent. Nuclear weapons have forever altered the course of human history and
    are now an integral part of any country’s dealings with the international
    community. To ignore that fact would not only be foolish but suicidal.

    — Rodolfo Sclafani

    Earl Warren College senior

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