Why Does the United States Still Have 5113 Nuclear Warheads?

Here is a little exercise for you.  Find a map of the world and count out 5113 cities and other targets that would be worth dropping a nuclear bomb on.  That mean every country in the world because if you start eliminating “friendly” countries like most of Europe, all of South America and most of Africa, along with a number of Asian and sub-Asian countries your choices decline quickly.  If you consider that dropping a single warhead upon one city is enough to totally destroy it and the same is so for all military targets, what is left?

There was a time the U.S. had in excess of 31,000 nuclear warheads!  Those were the days of “mutually assured destruction.”  The acronym for that would be “MAD” which seems about right. The idea was, if the USSR struck first we could not only return in kind but with enough force to assure their destruction.  Well, Russia has about 1200 warheads these days, China about 300, and a few scattered around the rest of the world.  Why do we have any at all?

The horrors of the atom bomb were well displayed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The after effects were felt for decades.  No further proof was necessary.  The USSR wanted what we had and did such.  Then we wanted our bombs to be larger which we did.  At one point 100-megaton bombs were being exploded.  There was a sick sort of glory associated with each such accomplishment.  But after a while the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks stopped above ground testing and then all testing.  Finally it limited the amount of weapons any country could own.

It has been 67 years since man first unleashed the power of the atom in weaponry.  You would think that by this time we would know quite enough that ownership of over 5000 such weapons should be something of a national embarrassment.  Not only is it excessive, it is also extremely expensive to maintain such force.

There was a time when every warhead was designated for a particular target, even those carried aboard aircraft.  I would hope that such days have passed but with an arsenal of over 5000 I cannot help but wonder if many are still specifically targeted.  To me that says that some planners still believe there is an ocassion where use of nuclear weapons still exists.  I want to know what circumstance that is.  Russia is no longer a threat of any sort.  China is happy within her borders and does no sabre rattling at all, unlike the U.S.  There is North Korea, of course, but its ability to deliver any of its nukes is still quite questionable.  Who does that leave?  Of whom are we afraid?  Or are we still supporting some secret agenda?

I firmly believe that in the future the ownership of more than a dozen or so nuclear arms will be deemed as sheer foolishness, and in some senses provocative.  The ownership of such weapons will be purely deterrent.  Our statement will be that we have a few that we can guarantee delivery to the target of our choice should the occasion arise.  I expect such nukes would be the property of the U.S. Navy upon its submarines, and that all other nuclear weapons would be declared obsolete.

The United States defense industry has produced “smart bombs” and cruise missiles that have a degree of accuracy which should instill fear upon any warring entity.  Addition of nuclear capability adds nothing.  Furthermore, our stealth bombers and fighters, our advanced avionics and battlefield weapons keeps us as the most formidable force upon the Earth.  Our strength lies in our ability to further such technology and not in how many people or building we can annihilate with a single blow.

Wars are inevitable and the continued strength of our military forces is of paramount concern.  But that strength cannot come with a threat to the continuation of all humanity.  No nation, no people, no group, can ever justify its actions when it puts in balance the survival of the human race.

A wise man once told me that I do not have to take on every fight I am invited to.  Oft times the more intelligent thing to do is nothing.  America stands for freedom and liberty but we do better by simply carrying the message to the world than trying to bludgeon it into our belief system.  But when challenged in terms that allow us no other avenue, we are still stronger than any other nation on earth even before any consideration is given to our nuclear arms.  Therefore, how much do we really need them, and how many?


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