Nicholas D. Kristof: Risks of a nuclear Sept. 11 are increasing

Nick paints a grim picture

A 10-kiloton nuclear bomb (a pipsqueak in weapons terms) is smuggled into Manhattan and explodes at Grand Central. Some 500,000 people are killed, and the United States suffers $1 trillion in direct economic damage.

That scenario, cited in a report last year from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, could be a glimpse of our future. We urgently need to control nuclear materials to forestall that threat, but in this war on proliferation, we’re now slipping backward. President George W. Bush (after ignoring the issue before the Sept. 11 attacks) now forcefully says the right things – but still doesn’t do enough.