Military and medical perspectives on nuclear threat to be discussed

A former U.S. Air Force officer and a co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility present a talk at Bates College titled A Fork in the Road on Nuclear Weapons: Which Path to Security? at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 5 in Chase Hall Lounge, 56 Campus Ave. The talk is free and open to the public.

Hosted by the Brooks Quimby Debate Council, retired Col. Richard Klass of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Dr. Ira Helfand of Physicians for Social Responsibility will present the talk to provide medical and military perspectives on questions of nuclear security issues.

A recent TV documentary featured Portland as the site of a nuclear “dirty bomb” detonation. Top intelligence officials assert that terrorists will attempt an attack on the U.S. in the next six months. In an age when terrorists seek to use weapons of mass destruction, what role, if any, should nuclear weapons play in our national security strategy? This and other questions will be addressed by Klass and Helfand.

Klass retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1980 after serving for over 22 years. His decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, and Purple Heart. Klass currently serves as executive director for the Veterans’ Alliance for Security and Democracy. He lives in Arlington, Va.

Helfand is a specialist in emergency medicine in Springfield, Mass., and a co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He has published widely on the medical implications of nuclear explosions and has provided congressional testimony on developing systems to better respond to medical disasters.

Klass and Helfand’s presentation will discuss topics such as the potential impact of a nuclear weapons attack, what Cold War nuclear weapons policies mean in an age of terrorism and the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts to curb nuclear weapons proliferation.

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