downsides to nuclear weapons

For a very long time, I’ve believed that the presence of nuclear weapons out-weighed the risks. After only, nukes have only been used twice in warfare; their other primary use is in deterring warfare among mega-states.

But this perspective makes me second guess that stance. The world has, on numerous occasions, lucked our way out of nuclear catastrophe, the most recent media coverage devoted to the nuke that could have obliterated part of North Carolina.

In 1960, the computer at the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs warned, with 99.9-per-cent certainty, that the Soviets had just launched a full-scale missile attack against North America. The warheads would land within minutes. When it was learned that Khrushchev was in New York City, at the United Nations, and when no missiles landed, officials concluded that the warning was a false alarm. They later discovered that the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at Thule Airbase, in Greenland, had interpreted the moon rising over Norway as a missile attack from Siberia.

That’s from the first link, but the full article is well worth reading.

I’m not predicting or even advising that we suddenly lose our nuclear arsenal. My point here is that the “safety” and supposed war-deterrence from nukes should be weighed against various risks, including risk of accidental detonation.

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