Advocates of nuclear weapons use terms such as modernization to make the case that our nuclear weapons complex is dangerously out of date. In Sept. 16 and 17 news articles on proposed spending on our nuclear arsenal, The Post explored the skyrocketing costs but did not question the assertion that modernization is needed for our security.

As a physician, I view nuclear weapons as one of the gravest threats to human health. Our priority as a country must be to work with other nuclear states to reduce and eliminate these cataclysmic weapons. In this case, Congress appears to be appeasing special interests with little regard to our long-term national security or the fiscal health of the country.

Gen. James Cartwright, a retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former commander of U.S. nuclear forces, testified before the Senate in July that our nuclear arsenal could be reduced by 80 percent without impairing our ability to deter a nuclear attack. If Congress approves an expansion of nuclear weapons spending, we would send a dangerous message to other countries that may start a new and costly nuclear arms race.

Catherine Thomasson, Washington

The writer is the executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.