Letter to the Solon Economist

Iowa City Nuclear Free SignCommemorating Hiroshima and Nagasaki Day

Aug. 6 marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan when between 60,000 and 80,000 people were killed instantly, with a final death toll estimated at 135,000.

Aug. 9 will mark the anniversary of Nagasaki where about 40,000 people were killed instantly by an atomic bomb, with a final death toll of about 50,000.
We won the war and the world changed forever.

What has become of our nuclear weapons program?

The report isn’t good.

Late night comedians ridicule the state of our nuclear complex, the foibles of its officers, and the many accidents it produced. An example was Vice Admiral Tim Giardina, the STRATCOM deputy chief in Bellevue, Nebraska, who was fired by President Obama last October after being caught passing counterfeit poker chips at a Council Bluffs casino. Comedy is not reality, and Giardina’s situation isn’t that funny.

Last week Russia violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which was signed by President Reagan, and ratified in 1988, by testing a ground-launched cruise missile. Cruise missiles are delivery systems for nuclear warheads.

While the treaty violation does not comprise a new threat in the tense relationship between the U.S. and Russia, it is troubling.

“It suggests that Russia is moving away from a long U.S.-Russia tradition of restraining the most dangerous weapons even as they have serious disagreements on all sorts of issues,” said Daryl Kimball, of the Arms Control Association.

Life is scary enough without nuclear weapons, so what’s an Iowan to do?

It’s time to prevent what we cannot cure, and call for nuclear disarmament.

~ Paul Deaton is a member of the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, U.S. affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a 1985 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

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