Nearly 75 years ago, citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki became the first civilians to undergo a nuclear attack. Since then, Americans have become complacent about the prospect of nuclear Armageddon. Meanwhile, we’ve grown closer to war than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

U.S. nuclear defense strategy is based on mutually assured destruction. Any attack will be met with overwhelming force sufficient to destroy the country that launches first. Our land-based missiles remain on hair-trigger alert despite a history of false alarms that could have led to war several times. Land-based missiles are dangerous and unnecessary. Our air- and sea-based arsenals are already capable of ending life on earth should the U.S. choose to use them.

President Obama committed to spending over $1 trillion to “modernize” our nuclear forces, while the prospect of an first-strike nuclear attack against us has almost disappeared. The Trump administration has pushed for production of “usable” tactical nukes whose use could easily spark a nuclear exchange. And at a time when we are nose-to-nose with Russia in Europe and the Mideast, the U.S. refuses to renounce first use of nuclear weapons.

The Corvallis chapters of Veterans For Peace and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom invite the public to their annual commemoration of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Join them at 7 p.m. on Aug. 7 at Corvallis Riverfront Park to honor victims of our nuclear policy. If we don’t remember the terrible costs of nuclear warfare, we could be next.

Rick Staggenborg, M.D.

Albany (Aug. 2)

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