(Nuclear) War, what is it good for?

Last night I ran the penultimate Weapons of War seminar, with the theme of Nuclear Weapons. We started with a brief bit of history and some facts about the current state of nuclear weapons; who has them, how many there are, and how they are distributed. Do you know which countries have nuclear weapons, and how many. If not, I highly recommend that you check out the website of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The first file of this page has some fantastic and shocking information.

We watched this video too, showing all the nuclear bombs detonated since 1945. Rather disconcerting when you think about the environmental impact.

We looked at the case of Mordechai Vanunu, who blew the whistle on Israeli nuclear weapons in 1986. Find out more about him in "Activity D" on this page.

We ended the session with a relay race to get as many arguments for and against nuclear weapons.

Nuclear relay race

The "against" team one by 10 to 8, even with the "for" team coming up with a few unlikely (but creative) arguments, for example that nuclear weapons could be used as a mass suicide tactic if aliens were ever to invade. So, with all the "against" arguments, why do we still have so many nuclear weapons ready to be fired in a second?