Nuclear disarmament possible

Justin Corcoran and Andrew Wagner both wrote letters to The Minnesota Daily calling President Barack ObamaâÄôs goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons utopian, Wagner going so far as to insinuate that âÄúpeace-loving liberalsâÄù are the only ones appeased by the gesture. Both espoused the need for America to maintain its nukes by invoking former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamaraâÄôs theory of deterrence, or Mutually Assured Destruction. Firstly, it should be noted just how many weapons weâÄôre talking about: According to the Federation of American Scientists, the U.S. arsenal, deployed in numerous places across the globe, is 9,400. Russia has 13,000. All nuclear-armed countries combined maintain over 23,000. ThatâÄôs enough weaponry to extinguish life on Earth thousands of times over. Several thousand of these warheads on retaliatory hair-trigger alert, or rather, systems that force âÄúleaders to decide almost instantly whether to launch nuclear weapons once they have warning of an attack, robbing them of the time they may need to gather data, exchange information, gain perspective, discover an error and avoid a catastrophic mistake.âÄù A country with a nuclear weapon doesnâÄôt have to have foreign enemies for threats âÄî it is a threat to itself. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, from 1950 to 1980, there have been 32 accidents involving U.S. nuclear weaponry . In the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1971, it was stated: âÄúDespite the most elaborate precautions, it is conceivable that technical malfunction or human failure, a misinterpreted incident or unauthorized action, could trigger a nuclear disaster or nuclear war.âÄù Since weapons are frequently transported from place to place, the continued manufacture and increased transport only increases the chances of this disaster. âÄúPeace-loving liberalsâÄù arenâÄôt the only ones who want to reduce the U.S. arsenal. Doubtless, you can count those who lived through the duck-and-cover drills of the âÄô50s who believed that they might see the end of the human life in their lifetimes âÄî when nuclear weapons were less of a threat. In 2000, George W. Bush was stunned when he was told in of the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He called for unilateral reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during his campaign and again in his May 1, 2001 speech. General Lee Butler, a former head of the U.S. Strategic Command, was brought back, along with Reagan defense the hawkish defense architect Richard Perle , to advise on efforts to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Reagan himself wanted to rid the world of nuclear weapons after he had visions of the world engulfed in apocalyptic fire. As for the deterrence argument, it is no longer valid, if it ever was. In a climate Robert McNamara probably didnâÄôt foresee (where suicidal terrorists will die or sacrifice untold lives for a fanatic cause), the argument no longer holds. There may come a day when a nuke is portable enough to be used by a rogue terrorist and unable to be readily linked to a specific offending nation. There have been many nuanced theses written on the deterrence issue. I encourage readers to research them if they wish to know more. If we do not embark on efforts of de-escalation through ratified anti-arms treaties by all nations (in which the United States can and should take the lead), development of nuclear weapons, including the eventual militarization of space, will continue unchecked. With such destructive potential continuing to escalate since the bombâÄôs invention, Corcoran and Wagner should consider it dumb luck that the human race has survived thus far. That they or anyone should argue for the maintenance nuclear weapons into the unforeseeable future is insane at best. Jonathon Warnberg University employee