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Nuclear threat keeps U.S. troops overseas

Nobody wishes for peace more than a veteran. As someone who deployed to a combat zone and knows what it's like to endure deep pangs of family separation and be awoken at 3:30 a.m. because there's a large group outside your post who is trying to kill you, I would love nothing more than to see every American come home.

And that is precisely why we must do everything we can to keep Iran from developing military-grade uranium. America is not an imperial country. We have only ever asked other countries for enough land to bury our dead. Today, America maintains forward presences primarily for one reason — unfriendly and unstable countries with nuclear weapons.

Europe pays us to be there because Russia'sgovernment still can't be fully trusted with nukes. We're concentrated in South Korea because of North Korean nukes. President Barack Obama is calling for new forces in Southeast Asia to counter China's unpredictability. And if Saddam Hussein had allowed inspectors full access to Iraq, we never would have gone in there. We (incorrectly) assumed he was hiding nukes from us, when he was actually hiding the fact that he did not have any from Iran. Who knew? Lastly, we're ultimately still in Afghanistan as an indirect means of keepingPakistan's nukes out of the hands of extremists.

Looking forward, if Iran gets nukes, its people will risk the permanent servitude that North Koreans endure. And Saudi Arabia will most certainly want its own counter-arsenal. We will comply because our oil addiction will demand that we do. All subsequent plans for securing our energy supply and protecting Americans from "loose nukes" will undoubtedly include developing a new, large permanent base in Kuwait.

And nobody wants that — especially veterans.

Larry Smith, Timonium

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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