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Avoiding Armageddon
From the Experts

Voices from - Silent Killers: Poisons and Plagues

Voices from - Nuclear Nightmares: Losing Control
President Jimmy Carter
Joe Cirincione
President Bill Clinton
Dr. Khidhir Hamza
Former Senator Sam Nunn

Voices from - The New Face of Terror: Upping the Ante

Voices from - Confronting Terrorism: Turning the Tide

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Voices from "Nuclear Nightmares: Losing Control"

Sam Nunn

Sam Nunn was a senator from Georgia for 24 years and currently serves as co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a charitable organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

During his tenure in the US Senate, Senator Nunn served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He also served on the Intelligence and Small Business Committees. His legislative achievements include the landmark Department of Defense Reorganization Act, drafted with the late Senator Barry Goldwater, and the "Nunn-Lugar" Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which provides assistance to Russia and the former Soviet republics for securing and destroying their excess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

"The Russians that came to visit with me in 1991," Senator Lugar recalled about the start of the Nunn-Lugar legislation, "said, in essence, 'You folks in the United States spent $3 trillion trying to control our nuclear weapons form hitting you, but we're here to tell you there are very big problems, because the Red Army as we have known it is breaking up, sometimes with a degree of indiscipline - and some of it, perhaps, at the sites where the nuclear weapons are located."
"Clearly I believe that they were right, that there was a critical problem - particularly with the tactical nuclear weapons. Those could be lost very rapidly from the inventory, as we knew it, and bob up lots of places all over the earth."
Speaking about the difficulty of safeguarding our borders, Senator Nunn says, "It's like a needle in a haystack. We have tons of marijuana coming across the border. We have fifty to a hundred million people a year visiting. We have millions and millions of trucks coming across the border. Lots of ships and cargo…. After a weapon has already been seized, say, from a Russian stockpile, or material has been gathered together to make a crude nuclear weapon by the terrorists - once that happens … the hardest part of their job is done. And the hardest part of our job just begins."
"I'm one of those that applauds when people focus on this and say that we ought to strive and rid all the world of nuclear weapons. Do I think it's going to happen? No. Do I think it's going to happen in my lifetime? Certainly not. I don't think we would have the confidence that all weapons had been eliminated and, therefore [get to where] governments would ever agree to get rid of the last one."

   Read more about "Nuclear Nightmares: Losing Control" in the Episode Gallery.
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