David Swanson in a recent article, titled "It's us or the Nukes", has dealt with the same issue. Parts of Swanson's article follow for those readers interested in knowing more about their jeopardized lives, specially those who live in the States.
President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor was about to wake him up in the middle of the night to inform the President that 220 Soviet nuclear missiles were headed our way, when he learned that someone had stuck a game tape into the computer by mistake.
Three years later a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel acted out the same scene, with the computer glitch on his side this time. Then in 1984 another U.S. computer glitch led to the quick decision to park an armored car on top of a missile silo to prevent the start of the apocalypse. And again in 1995, the Soviet Union almost responded to a U.S. nuclear attack that proved to be a real missile, but one with a weather satellite rather than a nuke. One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years -- so far.
Then there are the accidents, of all variety. Nuclear submarines of the sort now looking for trouble in the Persian Gulf have been known to collide with other ships. At least eight nuclear submarines (one French, two American, and five Russian) are known to be rotting at the bottom of the sea, leaking uranium and plutonium. In 2003 the U.S.S. Hartford, a nuclear powered submarine, hit a rock on a tiny island north of Sardinia. The area is now highly radioactive.
In 1961 a U.S. B-52 with two nukes on board blew up over Faro, North Carolina. One of the bombs, with a parachute to slow it down, was found. Five of the six fuses designed to prevent full nuclear detonation had failed. The other nuclear bomb buried itself 20 feet deep in the ground, lighting up the sky like daylight. The military deemed that one hard to dig out, and left it there. And there it sits. This little mishap involved bombs that were each 250 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. The commander of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, Lt. Jack B. ReVelle, remarked, "How close was it to exploding? My opinion is damn close. You might now have a very large Bay of North Carolina if that thing had gone off."
In 1956, a B-47 carried two nuclear capsules from MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, headed to a refueling over the Mediterranean, but never arrived and was never found. In 1958, a B-47 crashed into an F-86 during a combat simulation off the coast of Georgia, near Savannah. A nuclear weapon was jettisoned over water and never found.
On January 17, 1966, a U.S. B-52 carrying four live hydrogen bombs smashed into a tanker during midair refueling over Spain. Two of the bombs were blown apart like dirty bombs scattering radioactive particles all over Palomares, Spain. The United States dug up 1,400 tons of radioactive Spanish dirt and took it to Aiken, South Carolina., where the Savannah River Site has been producing nuclear weapons material, trying to dispose of the waste, and radiating people for over half a century, and where radiation was even recently detected coming all the way from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan.
This was just after the U.S.S. Ticonderoga sailed from Vietnam to Japan with a nuclear-armed airplane on board and accidentally dropped the plane, complete with nuclear bomb and pilot, to the bottom of the ocean, where they remain.
Then, in 1968, another U.S. B-52 with four nukes on it crashed in Greenland. Three of the bombs exploded, while the fourth has yet to be found. It's among 11 nuclear bombs the United States admits to having lost over the years. That's not counting the ones it's temporarily lost and recovered. In August 2007, a U.S. crew accidentally (or as part of a secret plan; and I'm not sure which is worse) flew six live nuclear bombs from North Dakota to Louisiana and left them sitting there unguarded until the ground crew noticed.
Oh, and if you doubt that these people will arm unmanned drones with nukes just because the drones tend to crash and malfunction, you haven't yet begun to grasp the sort of madness we're dealing with.
The really good news is that more and more nations have nuclear weapons. The thing to remember about every one of these nations, is that they screw up too, through bad luck, stupidity, rage, or madness. Baharul Haq was an Air Vice Marshall in Pakistan involved in security for Kahuta, Pakistan's main nuclear weapons facility. Later, his son, Faisal Shahzad, claiming the motivation of outrage at U.S. drone killings, tried to blow up a bomb in Times Square, New York. What if Faisal and his father had been on closer terms? Should the fate of New Yorkers really have to depend on such luck?
Nuclear weapons testing on the Marshall Islands produced babies born looking like jelly fish. Nuclear weapons use on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed like nothing had ever killed before. On October 22, 1964, and again two years later, the U.S. government exploded nuclear bombs underground in Mississippi, and then put up a sign asking people not to dig in the area. Uranium mining of the sort the profiteers now want to reopen in Virginia has spread cancer through every community it's touched. And the use of depleted uranium weapons has likely contributed to thousands of deaths and birth-defects in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, and among members of the U.S. military and their families, not to mention the weapons' producers in places like Jonesborough, Tennessee. The United States has also sold DU weapons to 29 other countries.
Despite all these, Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.
Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.
Iran has so far ruled out halting or limiting its nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives, saying that renouncing its rights under the NPT would encourage the world powers to put further pressure on the country and would not lead to a change in the West's hardline stance on Tehran.
A 2008 report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by the then Director-General, Mohamed ElBaradei, thanked Iran's honest cooperation in removing ambiguities about its past activities and confirmed that Iran has answered all the six outstanding questions of the world body about the nuclear material and activities that it had had in the past.
The US attempt to push for stronger Security Council sanctions has been undermined by the country's own national intelligence estimate, published in late 2007, which said Iran is not pursuing a weapons program.
Washington's push for additional UN penalties also contradicts reports by the former IAEA Director-General ElBaradei - including a report in November 2007 and the other one in February 2008 - which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran.
The February 2008 report by the UN nuclear watchdog praised Iran's cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran's nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.
Also in another report to the IAEA's 35-member Board of Governors, ElBaradei once again verified Iran's non-diversion of declared nuclear material, adding that the UN agency has failed to discover any "components of a nuclear weapon" or "related nuclear physics studies" in Iran.
The UN nuclear watchdog has also carried out frequent surprise inspections of Iran's nuclear sites so far, but found nothing to support the West's allegations.
The Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog continues snap inspections of Iranian nuclear sites and has reported that all "declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities".
Analysts believe that the aforementioned reports have made any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran completely irrational.
Observers also believe that US President Barack Obama's attempt to rally international pressure against Iran lost steam due to the growing international vigilance following the said reports and after the start of Islamic Awakening in the region.
Many world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure against Iran unjustified, specially in the wake of the said IAEA reports, stressing that Tehran's case should be normalized and returned to the UN nuclear watchdog due to the Islamic Republic's full cooperation with the agency.
Yet, the main question remains for the world nations to answer: Who is posing a danger to the world, the US or Iran?