President Obama must not forget his commitment to reduce the role of nuclear weapons.

Readers of John Hersey’s 31,000-word article "Hiroshima," which was published in the Aug. 31, 1946, issue of The New Yorker, will never forget the horrible effects of the first atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, especially the faces of those who had looked into the blast and whose melting eyeballs were dripping down their cheeks. Our first use of the weapon killed an estimated 200,000 human beings. Today, a single nuclear weapon dropped on a major city would immediately kill hundreds of thousands and injure many more.

In June 1998, 75 U.S. Catholic bishops declared, “Nuclear weapons must never be used, no matter what the provocation, no matter what the military objective.” In Prague in 2009, President Obama announced his drive to reduce the role—even rid the world—of nuclear weapons. But recently Mr. Obama dropped his consideration of a no-first-use policy, by which the United States would use the weapon only in response to an enemy’s nuclear attack, in the face of heavy resistance to the idea. Reportedly, key advisers have warned the president that to men like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, our reluctance to annihilate several hundred thousand innocent people makes the United States look weak.

Advertisement

In his visit last May to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, President Obama reaffirmed his vision of a nuclear-free world. “We must have the courage to escape the logic of fear…. We may not realize this goal in my lifetime. But persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe.” President Obama must muster the courage of his original commitment to a disarmed peace.

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Nicholas Mangieri
1 year 4 months ago
There is no escape from the "Logic of fear". Whether you like it or not, it is the "Logic of fear", or as it has so pleasantly been called MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction), that has kept WW III at bay for 70 years.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dalí, 1931.
The God who is coming is the God who is already here.
Terrance KleinJanuary 17, 2018
Indigenous people walk past Pope Francis after presenting offertory gifts during the pope's celebration of Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis appealed to the Mapuche, who have suffered “great injustices,” to totally reject violence “which can make a just cause turn into a lie.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 17, 2018
Dolores O'Riordan, former lead singer of The Cranberries, performs on stage during a concert in 2007 in Tirana, Albania (CNS photo/Arben Celi, Reuters).
She was Dickensian, if Dickens had written a Gaelic warrior-waif, a hero with a voice that could thrill and comfort.
Cameron Dezen HammonJanuary 17, 2018
Pope Francis dove head-first into Chile's sex abuse scandal on his first full day in Santiago.