” a peace is a wretched offspring, a peace that condemns us to live under a dark cloud of perpetual anxiety, a peace that codifies mankind’s most murderous instincts. . . .The beast (nuclear weapons) must be chained, its soul expunged, its lair laid waste.” This Winston Churchill quote summed up his feelings on nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons have been used in war three times in their sixty-year existence. Two times they were used in World War II and one time in the gulf war. The results of their use put an end to the war, but at the same time, the bombs cost one hundred five thousand people their life. Within in seconds of the first bomb dropping, sixty-six thousand people were dead and another sixty-nine thousand would have everlasting affects on them. The second bomb was not much different. Only thirty-nine thousand people died and twenty-five thousand were injured. Was there any other possible way the war could have been ended without killing over a hundred thousand people? Nuclear weapons pose an intolerable threat to humanity and to our habitat. Robert Norris and William Arkin are both writers for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists they report “The number of operational strategic nuclear warheads is estimated to be about 7,200 approximately the same number as last year. (Norris, Arkin 1). This total does not include countries which are currently making and holding NW’s without the approval of other nations. Serious problems will eventually result from this if something is not done about it. Total nuclear disarmament is the only possible way to assure the world that an event like WWII will never happen again.Order now
Nuclear weapons main job is to kill, and killing is what they do. Within seconds of these bombs being dropped in WWII, human flesh was disintegrated and burned. There are several different ways of dying from a nuclear attack. The fireball, which develops around an exploding warhead, will evaporate everything and everybody within or around it. Many experts agree, depending on the size of the warhead, the heat from the fireball will cause burns within one mile of the blast and burn most clothing. The blast will demolish buildings and crush humans beneath all of the debris. The force being pushed outward from the blast would toss people hundreds of feet to their death. Meanwhile, a lethal ionizing dose of radiation will kill anybody within a mile and a half of the explosion. People a hundred miles of the explosion may also receive a lethal dose of this radiation, by means of blowing winds. No medical attention would be available after an event like this and a majority of the survivors would die from famine or disease. This scenario is a very possible. Nuclear warheads would only produce this type of an event. Not all nuclear weapons are warheads. Gary Cohen explains how nuclear weapons were used in the Gulf War. “The Pentagon field tested a new generation of uranium-tipped bullets and shells in the Gulf War. One of the bullets, made of radioactive depleted uranium. (Cohen 1). The American soldiers who handled this ammunition have now been having many medical problems. Of the more than 600,000 U.S. troops that served in the Gulf War, approximately 60,000 have reported medical problems with a variety of symptoms, ranging from respiratory problems, liver and kidney dysfunction, memory loss, headaches, fever, low blood pressure and birth defect among their newborn children. (Cohen 3)” Worse yet, sixty seven percent of the children born from Gulf War veterans have been reported as having severe medical illnesses, e.g. missing eyes and digits, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers. It is not fair for the men and women who served in this war and it is not fair for the children. The reasons these bullets were used was because American probably needed to get rid of our nuclear waste materials. Is this the way that these children should have to live out their lives? They are scarred from events that took place even before their birth.
Nuclear weapons are a complete risk to every human being on the planet. The world needs to take a step of non-proliferation. This would mean that no more nuclear weapons could ever be produced. This would help decrease the number of nuclear weapons in a country that already holds nuclear weapons, particularly those with unstable governments. There are many problems that are associated with future proliferation. The National Committee on International Security and Arms Control believes that further proliferation, would increase the chances for the weapons to be seized by groups or stolen by terrorists. This could lead to disastrous results. Countries could be held blackmail and be forced to reach these demands of the terrorists. There is also chance of sub-national groups within a country, developing their own stockpile of nuclear material. However, it would be very hard for the groups to turn the nuclear material into a nuclear weapon and actually detonate it.
Nuclear weapons do not have to be used in order to be. Possession of nuclear weapons is a huge risk in itself. Accidental launch of a nuclear weapon per hour is about one in a million. Joseph Nye reports “The probability of such an event passes 50% with in forty years. (Nye 66)” Countries should not be allowed to make any more nuclear weapons. Thirty one thousand nuclear warheads are way too many as it is. All these problems can be eliminated by countries participating in some kind of non-proliferation.
Every nuclear weapon in the U.S. takes the chance of getting hit by an incoming missile from another country. In essence, each nuclear weapon installed in one’s own country is one more target for the nuclear warheads of an adversary. One nuclear missile is enough to wipe out a four-mile radius. Imagine the consequences if a nation hit one of the U.S nuclear weapon sites. It would be complete devastation. America is allowing itself to be part of this very possible circumstance.
The current situation with nuclear weapons in the U.S is quite ridiculous. Although, the U.S has made the effort of reducing the number of nuclear missiles with the START (strategic arms reduction treaty) program, they still to continue to finance the nuclear weapons program in the United States. In 1998, America spent $27.5 billion, for the research and purchasing of twenty-eight new nuclear warheads. America has seventy-two hundred operational nuclear weapons. Is there really a need for more? The START program was a great step in the U.S and Russian arms control. This START program will only have two-thirds of the nukes destroyed by 2004. This will take care of most of the operable nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, ten thousand inoperable nuclear weapons are still in existence. This poses a huge problem for the U.S. If one of these stockpiles of inoperable nuclear weapons were ever to be hit, great destruction would occur. Not only would the stockpiles be destroyed, but also great amounts of the land surrounding it would be destroyed.
Where does the U.S stand in the event of a full blown nuclear war? Lets look at the past compared to the current situation. The bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima was a 12.5-kiloton bomb. Russia currently has the SS-18 missile, which holds a payload of 750 kilotons per rocket. This rocket is able to fly 7500 miles and has the explosive power as sixty Hiroshima’s. The Soviet Union alone at the end of the 80’s, possessed four thousand kilotons of nuclear warheads. This amount would be able to kill 22 billion people. If this is true, than that amount would exterminate the world’s population five times over. This amount would lead to the highly talked about nuclear winter. This theory suggests that smoke from burning cities in full-scale nuclear attack would block sunlight and cause a temperature drop that would eventually destroy the planet. This would cause an event, destroying every animal and organism on the planet. Life would cease as it is known. Is all this destruction and death needed in a time and age when it is so preventable?
Nuclear weapons cause large psychological effects on civilians and society’s. In a time of fear and confusion about nuclear weapons, the eliminating of them is the only wise choice. Countries could be spending all the money that is being spent on nuclear weapons and the defense against nuclear weapons on educational programs for the youth. This would benefit each nation on an individual basis and would help the residents of the nations immensely.
A conversation about nuclear weapons can not pass without the words of ‘deterrence’ being thrown in. Nuclear deterrence is when one country has supremacy over another country by the fear of using nuclear weapons. This supremacy strikes fear into other countries. Foreign countries were aware of the consequences if they were thinking about striking the United States. Despite the fact that deterrence works, the U.S can do without it. Nuclear deterrence is burdened with an array of problems and dangers. This can raise tensions amongst countries, which in turn, can lead to threat of nuclear weapons use. Hostile tensions will rise and tempers can flare amongst leaders. Deterrence still means that there are nuclear weapons out there in the world. This always allows for the chance of these weapons getting into other people’s hands and into the hands of an ‘extreme’ ruler. If a ruler becomes crazy and decided to use NW’s, than the whole world would pay for his actions.
Many methods of dealing with and handling nuclear weapons have been proposed. Deterrence, talked about earlier in the essay, is the maintaining of nuclear weapon status, so that other countries will be discouraged to attack. As stated before, deterrence has worked for the U.S. especially in the last twenty years. Countries have feared the United States for that very purpose. There has been talk about deterrence without the nuclear weapons. This is, in actuality, total nuclear disarmament. This is the illegal use of, or making of, nuclear weapons. There have been attempts made at this already. The non-proliferation treaty of 1968 was signed by one hundred nineteen nations. This shows that this type of plan could work. The defense would have to be able to take out the nuclear devices before they could hit the homeland. Next, nations would have to be permitted to hold themselves in a state of readiness for nuclear rearmament. This would be the actual deterring part of the whole process. Countries would deter against each other’s blueprints and even get all the way to deter against ideas. This is a highly workable plan. Countries like Iraq, whose governments are unstable, would need to be taking care of first. These types of countries cause a threat to the whole process and there are many of them out there.
Nuclear prohibition is another possible method when dealing with nuclear weapons. Not as effective as disarmament, prohibition would make it illegal to have nuclear weapons or to develop them. A large organization would have to be built that would be capable of deterring or punishing countries involved with the illegal nuclear weapons. The organization would also have to respond to major aggression. This organization would be made up of different countries and could cause major aggression between countries. Also, prohibition would be a tough law to initiate. There would be many sources of nuclear weapons that would be hidden by countries for later use. There are many fans of nuclear weapons still out there.
Nuclear weapons have been debated about and argued about for the last forty years. Nuclear weapons have proved to be very successful in a war situation. Nuclear warheads put an end to the Second World War. Unfortunately, much innocent life was lost for the end of a war. Nuclear weapons are terrible weapons. With the buildup of weapons over the last couple decades, it has become increasingly difficult to destroy all of them. Some countries like the U.S and Russia have made conscious decisions to destroy their stockpile of them. Never the less, the U.S continues to buy new types of weapons of mass destruction. They fail to see their support of nuclear weapons rubs off onto other countries. Smaller countries believe that they will also need nuclear weapons to protect themselves from the larger countries. They also know that by having nuclear weapons, this will allow them to win wars of politics and geographics without even having to shoot one bullet. Deterrence has worked wonders for the U.S, so why not countries all around the world. This world needs to find some type of prohibition/deterrence agreement that would lower the risk of the catastrophic results in the events of a war.