After 65 years of living with "The Bomb," we Americans have not only convinced ourselves that nuclear weapons make us safe, but that the more we have, the safer we are.

But when the detonation of just a hundred of these weapons of mass destruction (1/47th of the operational arsenals the United States and Russia now jointly possess) would end civilization as we know it, how does being able to destroy the world dozens of times over aid our national security?

That kind of needless overkill capacity, in fact, is making the world even more insecure. The more nukes the United States and Russia have in their stockpiles, the more there are to keep from terrorists - and the more volatile states like North Korea and Iran are disposed to develop WMD programs of their own.

After years of inaction on nuclear arms reduction, the New Start agreement between the United States and Russia once again sets us on a path of ridding the planet of these horrendous weapons. The treaty mandates strict standards of verifiability (a simpler matter now that Russia is no longer an enemy) and incrementally reduces the number of weapons each nation may have (down to 1,550 each).

This agreement is a prudent first step toward a more secure world, and there is no reason it shouldn't merit broad bipartisan support.

We urge Sen. Ben Nelson and Sen. Mike Johanns to be two of the 67 bipartisan votes needed to approve the New Start treaty when it comes up for a vote.

Tim Rinne, state coordinator, Nebraskans for Peace

If it squeals like a pig ...

Do people really think the arena is not going to raise Lincolnites' taxes in some way? If people believe that, I have some land I'd like to sell them, but I won't say how much it costs until after they agree to buy it.

Taxes of some type will be needed to pay for this gigantic pig in a poke. And a sad part of that is that thousands of those paying taxes to finance this undefined structure will never be able to afford the price of a ticket to attend an event there.

The fragile economic period we are currently in is not the time to risk this kind of expense, the contaminated Haymarket site is certainly not the place, and we, our children and grandchildren (and maybe even their children) are not the people to pay for it.

By the way, for those born, say, after World War II, a pig in a poke is, per Mr. Webster, something acquired without enough preliminary examination.

Sheryl Tyrrell, Lincoln

Don't let it get away

I am voting for the Lincoln Haymarket arena this spring. Lincoln is a great place to live, and the arena will only provide more opportunities, while retaining events that make Lincoln great, like high school state tournaments.

People from all walks of life have come together to support this project, because they know we can afford it. What we can't afford is to let this opportunity pass us by.

Now is the time for Lincoln to step up.

Mark J. Orr, Lincoln

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