Talking about nuclear weapons, as I did on the Thom Hartmann show, reminds me that most people are distinctly uncomfortable with the topic. So I left that conversation for the second half of the show. In Part 1 we talk about the close relationship between the so-called peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the military applications – meaning, of course, nuclear weapons. We discuss the mythical nature of the atom – the fantasy that we would create endless nuclear energy and irradicate poverty, and create a weapon so powerful it would end all war — or more ominously provide the first nation to detonate one the means to control the world. We talk about nuclear dreams and nuclear reality, and on the eve of Fukushima’s first year anniversary the horror of what happens when operators lose all control over “peaceful” nuclear reactors.
Talking about nuclear weapons takes most people outside their comfort zone, which is probably why there is little in the way of a national conversation on the topic. Yet it’s critical that we start one because we now live in a world where nine countries have nuclear weapons, and more might be more on their way to having them. This trend needs reversing – and it might be up to us in the United States to lead the way. Most Americans probably have a vague feeling that nuclear weapons make us secure and that getting rid of them would leave us defenseless. But might it be just the opposite? Watch the show. Think about it. We’ve waged war to stop other countries having them. But when it comes to even reducing our own stockpiles, let alone going to zero, the outcry, particularly from the conservative side of the political spectrum, verges on hysteria. If you don’t believe me look at the response to news that the White House is considering reducing our stockpile to 300 warheads
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