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.


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 6 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.


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

Long before Pope Francis earned the nickname, St. John Paul II was known as “the people’s pope.” St. John Paul II recognized the value of modern travel and mass media in spreading the Gospel and a global message of good will.
The EditorsMarch 22, 2018
Retired New York Auxiliary Bishop Gerald T. Walsh distributes Communion during a Mass on the March 17 feast of St. Patrick, patron of the Archdiocese of New York, at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
“It is clear that what matters to Pope Francis is the transformation of individuals and communities through their attentive and communal participation in the sacramental mysteries."
Surveys suggest that younger Americans are turning away from religion, but they may not have been properly introduced to the church in the first place.
Robert David SullivanMarch 22, 2018
Photo: R2W FILMS
A feel-good film that actually reaffirms one’s faith in humanity
John AndersonMarch 22, 2018