Letter: Investing in destruction

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Investing in destruction

While the attention of the media is fixated upon Russia-gate, there are immediate and tangible threats to our well-being, such as climate change and our failing health insurance. Another one that hardly gets a mention is the nuclear weapons arsenal owned and operated by the U.S. military.

We fret about the potential for nuclear weapons in the not-quite-yet nuclear states of Iran and North Korea, but we don’t pay enough attention to the ones in our own missile silos, submarines and bombers. For instance, is it or is it not the policy of the United States that we will not be the first to use a nuclear weapon, that we will only use ours to retaliate against a first strike by others?

In January, having taken note of Donald Trump’s remarks about the possible use of nuclear weapons against terrorists, Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Congressman Ted Lieu of California introduced legislation to require a declaration of war by the Congress prior to any contemplated nuclear first strike on the part of the president. House Resolution 669 is currently in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, with 37 co-sponsors. S. 200 is in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with eight Senate co-sponsors. Curiously, members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation are missing from those lists.

Another concern about America’s nuclear stance is the sheer weight of the dollars spent to maintain and “improve” the nuclear arsenal. We’re looking at over a trillion dollars to be spent across a span of 30 years.

For a fraction of the nuclear budget, couldn’t we instead pay for single-payer universal health care for all U.S. residents?

Fred Portnoy