In response to the Sept. 21 letter “Flowers nuclear arms facts are skewed,” I would like to make some observations. This letter was written in criticism of my letter from Sept. 11, “Nuclear weapons bring only harm.”

In response to the Sept. 21 letter “Flowers nuclear arms facts are skewed,” I would like to make some observations. This letter was written in criticism of my letter from Sept. 11, “Nuclear weapons bring only harm.”

Letter-writer Holly McLean’s first criticism was in regard to my statement, “More than 50 percent of our national resources are consumed by the military-industrial complex of our nation.” She points out that the U.S. Office of Management and Budget states that about 20 percent of the national budget is consumed by the Department of Defense.

This is true. However, the DOD budget does not include nuclear weapons research maintenance, cleanup and production, veterans affairs, pensions for military retirees and widows and their families, interest on debt from past wars, State Department financing of foreign arms sales and military-related development assistance. It does not include the Department of Homeland Security, FBI counter-terrorism, and intelligence gathering spending by NASA. Together, this is greater than 50 percent of our national budget. I stand by my original statement.

China spent $98.8 billion (2 percent of its GDP) on defense in 2009, while the U.S. spent $663.25 billion (4.3 percent of its GDP). Yes, the U.S. is a wealthy nation, but does that mean we need to spend this much on defense?

Ms. McLean says food production is enough to meet the world’s needs. My letter never mentioned increasing food production. I agree there are forces that make distribution of food difficult near impossible, but funding distribution would be of great benefit. Ms. McLean is correct in her statement, “It has nothing to do with our defense spending,” except that how we prioritize our resources reflects our values.

Her next concern is health care. I have written several letters on this subject but evidently have not been able to convey effectively the message of a single-payer health plan. To begin with, it is not socialized medicine. It will not dictate how medical care will be delivered and managed. It is simply a method by which health care is financed. Individuals and families will be free to choose their health-care providers and will actually have many more freedoms than we currently do with private insurance. We would be able to reclaim the 30 percent of our health-care premiums that the insurance industry diverts from actual health care. Of course health care will never be “free.” We will just pay less through a government-financed, single-payer system.

Ms. McLean mentions Obamacare. That is not a single-payer system. President Obama indicated he would support a single-payer system while a senator and repeated his support during his presidential campaign. However, since being elected, Medicare-for-all and a single-payer system have been shut out of the discussions. For more on a single-payer system, see www.pnhp.org.

Does the U.S. need a nuclear weapons production facility? Is this good fiscal policy? Does the mining through the disposal of spent nuclear material pose a risk to the environment and to public health and safety? I stand by the position as stated in my original letter.

Utopian? Of course not. We will continue to face challenges as we move into the future. However, we need to move forward with our eyes wide open, recognizing where we are going and why we are going there. We all need to do what we can to make the world a better place in which to live, not only for ourselves, but for all humanity.