Are You Angry Yet?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver put the spotlight on the absurdity of the US nuclear weapons complex. It was a comic spin on a very serious issue. But, it also made me angry. The fear of mutually assured destruction is supposed to be a thing of the past. I shouldn’t have to worry that one miscalculation could mean the end of life as we know it. I shouldn’t have to worry that my child will live under the same quiet fear. But I do. I do because policymakers continue to fail to recognize what John Oliver makes so evident – nuclear weapons are only good for one thing – terror.

In fifteen minutes, Oliver tore apart the logic underpinning nuclear weapons – intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in particular – in the United States. The purpose of ICBMs crumbled with the Soviet Union. As the reasons for having these weapons crumbled so did the command structure around them. For the officers charged with overseeing nuclear weapons, controversy is now the norm.

Even with the poor management of the force our nuclear weapons are safe, right? Not so much. There are a litany of near misses. The United States nearly nuked South Carolina and Arkansas. As recently as 2007, the Air Force flew nuclear tipped cruise missiles across the country on the wing of a B-52 and no one knew about it for 36 hours – during which the missiles could easily have been stolen or sabotaged.

In spite of these rampant failures among the US nuclear missile force, the ICBM lobby in The House of Representatives pushed forward an amendment to fund the upkeep of unused missile silos indefinitely. A move that simply flushes American tax dollars down the drain.

The cacophony of mismanagement, mishandling and misappropriation of nuclear weapons is egregious and dangerous. But what can we do?

We can fight.

There is a coalition of organizations and advocates, including Ploughshares Fund, working to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons in the United States and abroad. These groups, backed by concerned individuals, are leading the charge against the absurdity of nuclear weapons. They need more voices to join the cause. John Oliver added his voice to raise your awareness. Now take action. Join our fight.