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Dear Mr. President

Dr. Scott Allan Baker
75 Arbor Lane
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina 28768 

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500


January 8, 2023
Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to plead with you to make several bold moves for peace – actions that as President of the United States of America you can take that will make our planet safer and our nuclear policy saner.

I write to you as a citizen and as a fellow Christian. I am a retired United Methodist pastor, and I am serving as the current President of the Western North Carolina chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. 

Serving as a Senator and now as President you have seen defense appropriations bills come and go and Nuclear Posture Reviews as well. They are full of data, numbers, and carefully worded justifications for not just maintaining the status quo but increasing funding for nuclear weapons. Do they eliminate or even reduce the threat of a nuclear catastrophe? No. To the contrary every new weapon or addition to our nuclear program escalates the arms race and increases the chances of a nuclear accident – or worse, an all-out nuclear war.

Nuclear weapons are an existential threat to everyone on the planet; their potential for complete devastation doesn’t discriminate between nuclear states or non-nuclear states. We now know that even a “limited” exchange of nuclear weapons between nations far from us – say, India and Pakistan for examples - would create atmospheric soot that would block sunlight so completely that crops would fail and people would starve – billions of people (the so-called nuclear winter). Nuclear detection instruments are run by computers. Computers make errors. Already false indicators of nuclear launches have occurred. People make mistakes. 

And when mistakes are made with nuclear weapons, the results are catastrophic. 

As you are aware, the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has made the possession – even the testing and development - of nuclear weapons against international law. The recent War on Ukraine has proven that our military assistance of democratic, peace-loving nations who are attacked by aggressive nations possessing nuclear weapons is greatly hindered.

The conclusion is unavoidable: nuclear weapons need to be reduced and eventually eliminated. We have put off decisive action in this regard for too long. You are in a unique position. The following are actions that as President of the United States you can take now to reduce the threat of a nuclear accident or worse, a nuclear war.

  1. Unilaterally order the number of our nuclear warheads to the smallest number necessary for deterrence. Unilaterally reducing the number of nuclear bombs would demonstrate to our friends and adversaries that we are serious about reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons.

  1. Eliminate the President’s sole authority over the launch of nuclear weapons. At times we have come dangerously close to having the authority to launch a nuclear attack in the hands of a person whose ability to think clearly is highly questionable. This is unacceptable.

  1. Establish a policy making clear that the only purpose of our nuclear weapons is deterrence. This, despite the wording of the Nuclear Posture Review.

  1. Take our nuclear weapons off “Hair Trigger Alert” and “Day to Day Alert.” This would reduce the threat of a computer error, human error, or a nuclear accident.

  1. Exercise strong leadership in pursuing the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons globally.

These are actions that you can take now to reduce the threat of a nuclear catastrophe. These positive steps will be resisted vehemently by both military and economic interests, but a voice of sanity and morality is needed to interrupt the inertia and escalation that has characterized our nuclear policy from the very beginning. I believe as a Christian that God wants us to preserve the Creation God has blessed us with.

We are the only country that has used nuclear weapons in war. We need to lead the way in eliminating them and making our planet a safer place to live.

There is no more important issue than this one.

You are in a unique position to change the course of the world, to make living on planet Earth free from the danger of nuclear annihilation. I urge you to take these bold steps for international security and peace.


Scott Allan Baker, D. Min.

President, Western North Carolina Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility

Mission Statement

PREVENTING WHAT WE CANNOT CURE: Physicians for Social Responsibility is the medical and public health voice working to prevent the use or spread of nuclear weapons and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and the toxic degradation of the environment.