U.S. must accept that bombs are here to stay

A recent ABC News poll shows that a majority of U.S. citizens believes that no nation should have nuclear weapons. Those surveyed who don’t think this way do believe that no new nations should get them. Sadly enough, once we crossed the threshold into the nuclear age, there was no turning back. Furthermore, it is only with realistic thinking that we might be able to stop ourselves from (permanently) “stopping” ourselves.

Given the anti-nuclear arms stance held by two-thirds of the nation, it is surprising to find that 47 percent of people surveyed still supported dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II. This view is surprising (and a little disturbing) because it means that many Americans don’t understand the long-term implications of those actions.

During World War II, America knew it had the nuclear capabilities to end the war but wasn’t sure of the ethics. We were like Eve faced with the possibility of fruit that she thought might not be best to eat but still looked good. And then, like Eve, America took the plunge and also like Eve (and Adam for that matter, too), we crossed a line across which we could never go back. The metaphor doesn’t end there, as crossing that threshold meant that we not only removed ourselves from security that could not be earned back, but also lost our moral guidepost by which we judge our current actions.

Thus, it is sickly ironic to hear discussions of ethics of the number of bombs to keep. It is the equivalent of hearing Adam and Eve discuss just how many bites of that proverbial apple they should take.

The current fear, according to the poll, is that nuclear weapons will one day soon fall into the hands of terrorists. This fear is oddly telling of the real cultural feeling towards nuclear weapons, as it shows that the average American doesn’t feel that these weapons are so bad that they make whomever holds them a potential terrorist. Such a view means a majority of Americans still believe, deep down, that these weapons might be able to be used for good, for justice. And it is just this view that both explains why more people feel bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was OK, as well as tells where we’re headed was a culture.

If we, as a global village, have any desire to not end ourselves, we must begin to realize that we cannot go back and change the past; we cannot regurgitate the apple and make things better. This view means we cannot get rid of nuclear weapons any less than we can get rid of death or pain in child bearing. We also must realize that crossing such a threshold leaves us without much guidance as to how many weapons we should have and under what conditions we should use them.

Thus, the most realistic way to confront this problem is through a third option that lets go of these illogical and outdated modes of thinking. More than 15 years after the Berlin Wall fell, we are now at a point where we can consider new options, but only if we accurately recognize where humanity is at.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.