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Poll: Most Americans think no nation should have nuclear weapons

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  • Greg Cannon
    The article unfortunately doesn t mention what Americans think of America s nuclear weapons, but on the face of it, the poll seems to imply most Americans
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2005
      The article unfortunately doesn't mention what
      Americans think of America's nuclear weapons, but on
      the face of it, the poll seems to imply most Americans
      think America should not have nuclear weapons.


      Poll: No Nation Should Have Nuke Weapons

      Wed Mar 30, 6:40 PM ET
      Add to My Yahoo! U.S. National - AP

      By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer

      WASHINGTON - Though the Soviet Union is gone, the
      nuclear fears that fueled the Cold War haven't
      disappeared. Most Americans think nuclear weapons are
      so dangerous that no country should have them, and a
      majority believe it's likely that terrorists or a
      nation will use them within five years.

      The Bush administration repeatedly warns about nuclear
      weapons and is using diplomacy � and force � to try to
      limit the threat.

      Still, North Korea claims it has nuclear weapons now
      and is making more. Iran is widely believed to be
      within five years of developing such weapons. And
      security for the nuclear material scattered across the
      countries of the old Soviet Union remains a major

      Lurking in the background is the threat that worries
      U.S. officials the most � terrorists' desire to
      acquire nuclear weapons.

      All that helps explain why 52 percent of Americans
      think a nuclear attack by one country against another
      is somewhat or very likely by 2010, according to an
      AP-Ipsos poll. Fifty-three percent think a nuclear
      attack by terrorists is at least somewhat likely.

      Two-thirds of Americans say no nation should have
      nuclear weapons, including the U.S., and most of the
      others say no more countries should get them.

      "I worry about Pakistan and India," said Barbara
      Smith, who lives in a Philadelphia suburb. "I don't
      know what's going to happen with Iran, don't know
      what's going to happen with North Korea."

      Smith said she wants to see the spread of nuclear
      weapons stopped. "It's too dangerous, too many things
      can go wrong," she said.

      About one-third of those in an ABC News-Washington
      Post poll in the mid-1980s � when the Cold War was hot
      � thought there would be a nuclear war in the next few
      years between the two superpowers.

      The AP-Ipsos poll found 44 percent of those surveyed
      said they frequently or occasionally worry about a
      terrorist attack using nuclear weapons, while 55
      percent said they rarely or never do.

      "Terrorists are more likely to use a nuclear weapon
      because they are unpredictable," said John Saint of
      Syracuse, N.Y., who works for a trucking company.

      Susan Winter of McLean, Va., says her awareness of the
      nuclear threat doesn't cause her to fret constantly.

      "I'm concerned, but I don't worry about it," Winter
      said. "I'm not a nail biter. I don't lose sleep over

      Fears about the use of a nuclear weapon are pretty
      evenly spread across all age groups. But a
      generational divide emerges when Americans are asked
      whether they approve of the United States' decision to
      drop atomic bombs on Japan in 1945.

      Six in 10 Americans 65 and older approve of the use of
      the atomic bomb at the end of World War II, while six
      in 10 from 18 to 29 disapprove.

      Albert Kauzmann, a 57-year-old resident of Norcross,
      Ga., said using the bomb in 1945 "was the best way
      they had of ending" World War II.

      Overall, 47 percent of those surveyed approved of
      dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki while 46
      percent disapproved, according to the poll of 1,000
      conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs from March 21-23
      with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3
      percentage points.

      The United States, Britain, Russia, France and China
      have nuclear weapons, and Pakistan and India have also
      conducted nuclear tests. Many believe Israel has
      nuclear weapons, but that country has never
      acknowledged it. North Korea claimed in February that
      it had nuclear weapons.

      The threat from nuclear terrorism is greatest,
      analysts say, because terrorists with nuclear weapons
      would feel little or no hesitance about using them.
      That's why those who monitor nuclear proliferation are
      so concerned about securing weapons stockpiles and
      dismantling weapons as quickly as possible.

      "We're in the race of our lives," said Joe Cirincione
      of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
      "and we're not running fast enough."


      On the Net:

      Ipsos-Public Affairs � http://www.ap-ipsosresults.com
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