(EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is an Aug. 15 letter to the editor of the New York Times by friend and colleague Ira Helfand, MD. The message is clear. Ban and abolish nuclear weapons).
To the Editor:
“A Nuclear Legacy Within Reach” (editorial, Aug. 8) notes that President Obama still has time to reduce the danger of nuclear war. Nothing he will do is more important than this.
For 70 years we have treated nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantor of our security. That view is fundamentally wrong. The nuclear nations have come perilously close to using these weapons on a number of occasions and have been saved, not because nuclear weapons possess some magic power that prevents their use but because of a string of incredible good luck that will not last forever.
We need a transformational change in our nuclear policy that recognizes that these weapons are the gravest threat to our security and must be banned and abolished.
Ira Helfand is a co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.