The U.S.-dominated NATO generals say, "first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation," according to Ron Rosenbaum in his book "How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III."
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center says we need a leader who will keep the world safe from nuclear devastation and set us on a path toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.
"The specter of an erratic, impulsive person with the nuclear launch codes at his fingertips has people talking about nuclear weapons again. That's a good thing," says Ralph Hutchison, director of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. "There are nearly 20,000 warheads and missiles distributed around the world. They are capable of killing hundreds of millions of people in one afternoon. They are a greater and more imminent threat to life on the planet even than climate change. They are, to put it simply, an existential peril."
Hutchison goes on to point out the scariest aspects of the nuclear age that hang over all of life no matter who is president of the U.S.
• It is such a dark, mistaken, economies-based conundrum. The world is poised on a razor-sharp edge, and any country with nuclear weapons — the U.S., Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea — by error or intention, could launch their nuclear weapons and it is all over. A country could commit nuclear homicide, and it would be suicide at the same time as countries retaliate.
• The history of near misses and mistakes in the nuclear world is hair raising and will inevitably continue.
• According to Hutchison: "The health risks of plutonium are measured in the millionths of a curie — a tiny amount dispersed in the air can kill hundreds or thousands of people and cause cancer in many, many more." This could occur from a "dirty bomb" fashioned by terrorists even though they don't have access to launch codes.
• The U.S. is planning to spend a trillion dollars over the next 30 years, according to Hutchison. That's $4 million an hour to "modernize" its nuclear weapons industry. And of course, other countries follow, not to be outdone.
Every person who "gets this," must work in some way, every day, to solve this otherwise inevitable global tragedy.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.