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Time for America to Revisit Its Nuclear Policy via Reader Supported News

n the ongoing media melodrama about Iran’s nuclear program, could we be overlooking profound questions and truths about the again-rising likelihood of the decimation or the end of life on Earth in an H-bomb holocaust?

Why are nuclear weapons commonly called “weapons of mass destruction” when morally they are weapons of mass murder?

If we put aside the Soviet collapse, the disassembly of our own grotesquely surplus nukes and the numbers trick of putting still-active weapons “in reserve,” there hasn’t really been any effective nuclear disarmament.

We accuse Iran and suspect other nations of hypocrisy about their nuclear plans. And yet the actual and prospective nuclear policy and practice of the United States, Israel and Britain has moved from the nuclear disarmament promised in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty into attacking nations that we don’t trust and believe insist on getting the same weapons we have.

Has the deterrence doctrine against an H-bomb attack “worked,” as is so commonly said, or was it the skin of our teeth that pulled us back three times from attacks that would have left tens of millions dead? An H-bomb explodes in millionths of a second with several times the heat of the core of the sun. Tens of millions of degrees. Heat, blast, radiation, no life. Only one failure of deterrence can kill as many as a billion people, the experts say. It’s unimaginable, so we don’t imagine it.
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In 1986, I asked Dr. Richard Garwin, one of three inventors of the H-bomb, what it felt to be personally responsible for the bomb that can destroy any large city. After a pause, he responded, not with his feelings, but by saying to me quietly that what we’re doing with the policy of nuclear deterrence is buying time, that nuclear proliferation can’t be stopped, that there will be a nuclear war and that a billion people will die.

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