During the first Democratic presidential debate, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked the candidates about a “No First Use” policy on nuclear weapons; Tapper described this policy as “tying the president’s hands.”

In this way, Tapper framed the debate with a pro-war stance. If our country had a No First Use policy, it could help make the world a safer place, as it would declare to other countries the U.S. would not initiate a nuclear war with any of its estimated 6,000 warheads.

According to a report of the Union of Concerned Scientists, most Americans say the U.S. should not start a nuclear war. The very idea of initiating a nuclear war is incomprehensible. Just think about the dire suffering caused by the U.S. bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 74 years ago this week.

As it is now, the president can start a nuclear war and if that happened, it likely would escalate into a large-scale nuclear holocaust causing unimaginable loss of life and suffering, and could even precipitate nuclear famine due to the disruption of the earth’s atmosphere affecting crop production. For information on that aspect, google: Nuclear Famine and Ira Helfand, M.D.

We definitely should not be abandoning important international nuclear treaties but, instead, should at the very least be adopting a “No First Use” nuclear weapons policy that could ease tensions in the world and conceivably set the stage for real diplomacy. This might help our leaders to begin to step away from the idea of obliterating other people and the planet.

Perhaps we could eventually get to the point of establishing genuine common security — and of not having nuclear weapons at all.

Nancy Rice

Randolph Center

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