Changing the Tune on Nuclear Weapons - VIDEO

There are plenty of songs out there that reference some kind of nuclear holocaust but few, if any, are as up-tempo and cheerful as satirist Tom Lehrer’s “We will all go Together when We Go.” This performance was recorded in 1967, in the midst of the Cold War.

Lehrer’s upbeat performance belies the sad truth of the day that the constant threat of a catastrophic nuclear exchange between the U.S. and Soviet Union was a very real and present danger. When faced with such a horrible truth one often has three choices: cry, laugh or ignore. When faced with “grand incineration,” Lehrer clearly chose to laugh. And, why not? In doing so he most likely helped a few people to stop crying.

Whether it is laughing or crying, either reaction is better than ignoring a threat so large as nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, ignoring the threat has become the norm. As Joe Cirincione notes in a recent article for Foreign Affairs, the United States’ stands to spend more on nuclear weapons programs than it has in the past, a fact that must not go ignored in this time of austere budgeting.

Despite the increase in funding for nuclear weapons, Cirincione offers a sign of hope for a more responsible nuclear policy:

Since the end of the Cold War, every U.S. president has [set our nuclear war policy] once. This is Obama's turn… Updating the nuclear posture from that of the Cold War era could be one of the most lasting legacies of the Obama presidency. He has already made promises; the time has come to deliver on them.

It is time for the President to begin writing a new song for nuclear weapons; Let this one be their “swan song.”