Obama and the opportunity to eliminate nuclear weapons

January 19, 2009

The abolition of nuclear devices is the ultimate medical issue and U.S. President Barack Obama needs the help of physicians around the world to do this, writes renowned author Dr. Helen Caldicott in a January 20 editorial in CMAJhttp://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg151.pdf.

"As United States President Barack Obama assumes office on this historic day, we would like to remind him of his recent statement that 'A world without nuclear weapons is profoundly in America's interest and the world's interest. It is our responsibility to make the commitment, and to do the hard work to make this a reality,'" she quotes.

Dr. Caldicott is a pediatrician, author of the internationally acclaimed book If you love this planet and subject of several documentary films, including Eight Minutes to Midnight.

While the cold war is over, the nuclear threat is still a reality. "The current nuclear arsenal remains more than sufficient to produce a nuclear winter and end most life on Earth," writes Dr. Caldicott. "Even a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, using less than .3% of the current nuclear arsenal, could produce climate change unprecedented in recorded human history."

Just as physicians around the world helped raise awareness of the medical consequences of nuclear war in the 1980s, they must do so again she urges.

"Again we must mobilize our colleagues to lead a massive global movement for nuclear abolition -- the ultimate form of preventative medicine. President Obama's words signal a critical new opportunity. He requires our help in this noble commitment," she concludes.

Canadian Medical Association Journal

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