Petrified about nuclear Armageddon? You could be, but you probably aren’t. Read the CNN Op-Ed Dr. Ira Helfand and I wrote a week before the election. Make no mistake: World War III, and the end of human civilization as we know it, is a possibility.
I get a variety of reactions when I speak with people about nuclear war. The most common response is denial, covering up fear. This issue is not on the radar for the majority of younger people. They haven’t studied the history of the Bay of Pigs or Cuban Missile Crisis. They never learned about the anti-nuclear weapons movement, that hundreds of thousands of people filled Central Park to protest nuclear weapons in 1982.
A few books that will enlighten you include Whole World on Fire: Organizations, Knowledge, and Nuclear Weapons Devastation by Lynn Eden. And “The Armageddon Letters: Kennedy/ Khrushchev/Castro in the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
But I think fiction is much more powerful than history. In his searing, post-apocalyptic novel, “The Road,” Cormack McCarthy writes about a father and son who walk alone through a burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape, save ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls, it is gray. The sky is dark.
Why do we face such an incredibly dangerous situation, where McCarthy’s vision could come to reality?
Beyond the explanations Ira and I wrote on CNN.com, the fact is that America is on the precipice of nuclear war with Russia. Missile defense systems from both the United States and Russia increase fears and prevent crucial arms reductions. I met today with Professor Ted Postol from MIT and he explained that fact to me in excruciating detail.
The central message all of us should be rallying around is nuclear weapons are not making us safer. Missile defense systems are not making us safer, and the US must reach out to Putin and reinstate the anti-ballistic missile treaty.
Our lives depend on a grassroots, anti-nuclear weapons abolition movement developing. Physicians for Social Responsibility is leading the way. Please consider joining PSR.
Call your Congressperson and Senator today. Write an Op-Ed for your local newspaper. Do it for your children.