Here, today, I admit that one of my *vices* is that I am an avid fan of space exploration. In order to keep up on news about what is happening in this field, I subscribe to the “Air and Space” magazine published by the Smithsonian. Each issue has one or two articles about space; the remainder of the articles center on terrestrial flight. This morning I was reading the September 2013 issue when I saw an article about the B-2 *Stealth* bombers, based in Missouri. I was stopped dead in my reading tracks by this sentence: “Since 1993 [the beginning of the B-2 program] new precision-guided weapons have been added to the quiver, and more are on the way, including a nuclear-tipped cruise missile.” [emphasis added]
I want to challenge the notion that merely having nuclear arms is a deterrent to their use. Speaking as a citizen of the only nation to ever use these weapons of mass destruction, in two separate war crimes, I feel that the stronger message America sends when it increases its nuclear capabilities is not a deterrent, but a threat. We are disingenuous when we *say* we will never again use them, when we spend US$50 billion each year to improve and maintain the largest nuclear arsenal in the world (one that is larger than the rest of the nuclear nations’ stockpiles combined). We are hypocritical when we demand *inspections* of the nuclear facilities of other nations, ostensibly in order to prevent those nations from building these weapons, while we claim righteousness by way of our adherence to treaties that we wrote specifically to allow our own building program to continue unabated. Imagine that you are a nation (like Iran, for instance), surrounded by nations that have nuclear weapons (Israel) or that are proxies for, and/or hosts of military bases used by (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Afghanistan, for instance) America with its nuclear-full quiver. In this case, deterrence to you looks like your needing to spend precious resources to match the already-existing nuclear threat that surrounds you. Thus deterrence is a way to add nuclear weapons to the planet, not prevent their spread. This is an issue which becomes especially problematic as history grinds on, when regimes and authorities fall as a result of revolution or change hands through democratic processes, and weapons end up under the control of people who have no vested interest in maintaining the status quo of non-use policies and treaties. And we are morally deficient when we spend so much on assuring our ability to destroy nations, the environment, and potentially the entire Earth and yet haven’t the will to spend those dollars and resources instead ensuring that all humans can have access to the necessities of food, shelter, and clean water and air.
I have said this before, and here I say it again: we would end the creation of more people who hate America, and who wish to strike back at us through the only means available to them (terror), if we turn our resources away from making bombs and chemical weapons and cluster munitions and actually using all of these abominations, and instead begin to ensure that every human has access to the bare necessities of life. We have a wealth distribution problem: our money goes to killing rather than preserving life of all types, be that human, animal, or ecological. Today we threaten nuclear Armageddon when we could, in deference to the needs of our human brothers and sisters, threaten to end poverty and starvation and homelessness. Why is this such a hard concept to understand?

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