Researching my last post, I stumbled across this tidbit, that shocked even me: 66% of Americans feel that no country – including the United States – should be allowed to possess nuclear weapons. Holy guacamole! Other interesting stats on security/defense:

  • 87% of Americans support US participation in a nuclear test ban treaty
  • 83% the same for a treaty banning land mines.
  • 91% banning chemical weapons
  • 91% banning biological weapons

I’m not surprised that these items have support, but the margin of support is a little surprising.

Also refreshing: 83% of Americans feel that our foreign policy should coordinate with other countries and act “according to shared ideas of what is best for the world as a whole,” vs just 16% calling for foreign policy that only serves the US’s best interests. 54% to 41% Americans oppose the doctrine of “preemptive war”.

68% of Americans agree with the statement “As one of the world?s rich nations, the United States has a moral responsibility toward poor nations to help them develop economically and improve their people?s lives.”

But what prompted this post was a far less encouraging view of the world and our place in it. In fact, it underlines exactly how effective Republican fear-mongering has been. An amazing 53% of Americans feel a terrorist nuclear attack is somewhat or very likely to occur in the next 5 years. Compare that to 52% for a nuclear attack perpetrated by another country in that same time span. Those poll numbers come from March 2005.

53%. Nuclear weapons have only been used twice ever. Over 60 years ago. We survived the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and a number of shooting wars without another nuclear weapon being discharged, and our government – the chuckleheads we elected – have managed to scare more than half of the citizenry into believing that a nuclear attack is likely to happen within the next 5 years. And Republicans who cultivated this fear have been exploiting it for the past 5 years.

It’s time to stop letting people terrorize us, and that includes our elected officials. It’s long past time to take a sober look at the dangers of the world, and come to sane, rational courses of action that don’t involve locking up American citizens for years without being charged, that don’t involve torturing innocent people (either directly or by rendition), and that don’t involve unnecessary wars of choice.

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