He expressed doubt, however, that Americans realize the risk.
"They believe nuclear dangers ended with the ending of the Cold War," he said. "Their children, thankfully, are no longer doing duck-and-cover drills at school, thus the danger must have passed."
But, he said, "While we no longer face an all-out nuclear attack from the Soviet Union or China, which most Americans understand, we still face grave nuclear dangers which most Americans do not understand."
He warned that without that understanding, Congress has no willingness to lead.
"In order for the world to make real progress, the United States must lead and the United States will not lead unless Americans understand the importance of doing so," he said.
I once went to call on the late Elliot Richardson, a staunch birthright Unitarian, who had served briefly as Secretary of Defense. It was shortly after William Perry, another UU, resigned that office, and President Clinton had named as his successor William Cohen, still another UU. So I asked Richardson why, with our relatively small numbers and our liberal values, three Unitarian Universalists in three decades had been placed in charge of the world's largest military establishment. He replied that our commitment to the use of reason might have something to do with it.
Perry's one Pragmatist with the ear of a Prez inclined to lead from the rear. Have to wonder what a fellow who told Bush to strike preemptively is telling Obama now.