NUCLEAR WEAPONS ABOLITION NEWSLETTER #25, April 2, 2021.
STRUGGLE FOR THE TOTAL ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology
THE KEY QUESTION: Why Should Biden―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
ONE STEP, TWO STEP……
THE NUCLEAR WEAPON DEPENDS UPON THE MISSILE
Have you asked, what can I do about nuclear weapons?
Well, most citizens, even most members of Congress know very little about how nuclear weapons could blow up the world. The weapons are composed of two parts: the bomb and the rocket to carry it to its target. This message is about the missile, the ICBM, the Intercontinental Ballistics Missile (ballistics, the science of projectiles; bm: a long-range missile propelled to high speed).
We can change ignorance. Knowledge is within our power.
The first step is to inform ourselves.
The second step is to inform our Senators and Representative.
The third step is to inform our friends.
And if you are not already a member, join OMNI, where you will find people who are informed or at least do not turn away from realities.
One STEP AT A TIME.
The method is a significant new report within the immediate reach of your computer.
The Report is called “Inside the ICBM Lobby.” Written by weapons expert William Hartung, the report provides substantial details about the profit power the multibillion-dollar weapons contractors have over U.S. policies.
Read the Report and tell your Senators and Representative to read it.
Summary of William Hartung’s
“Inside the ICBM Lobby” report
>> William Hartung, Center for International Policy: “Inside the ICBM Lobby: Special Interests or the National Interest?”
Call your Senators and Representative directly. It’s easy: Phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with Senator Bozeman, Senator Cotton, or Representative Womack. Give your name and address and say you are calling to request your representative to be informed about nuclear weapons and to read Hartung’s report. Express as you wish. Repeat the calls this week, make your voice heard!
The report should be required reading on Capitol Hill.
Former Pentagon Secretary William Perry knows that ICBMs are “some of the most dangerous weapons in the world.”
Why are those missiles so dangerous for all of humanity? Because [Hartung] “under current policies the president would have only a matter of minutes to decide whether to launch them in a crisis, increasing the risks of an accidental nuclear war.”
But “despite this reality proposals for reducing this risk have routinely been blocked by a group of [profit power] Senators from states that host ICBM bases or ICBM maintenance and development activities, often referred to as the ICBM Coalition.” Thanks to RootsAction Educational Fund.
Of course, there’s a larger necessary STEP we must aim for: the abolition of nuclear weapons altogether, if we are to be protected from them. STEPS: The Treaty: End the Missiles: End the Bombs. NUCLEAR WEAPONS ABOLITION NEWSLETTER #24, transition to
NUCLEAR ABOLITION TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, OMNI NEWSLETTER #1,JANUARY 22, 2021
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology
WE KNOW WHAT TO DO AND HOW, STEP BY STEP. OUR NEXT STEP IS TO FIND ENOUGH PEOPLE TO MOVE OUR CIVIC LEADERS AND POLITICIANS TO OBEY THE LAW. SEE YOU APRIL 27, BUT DON’T WAIT UNTIL THEN TO TAKE ACTION. –Dick Bennett
President, Kelly Mulhollan
Director, Gladys Tiffany
Nuclear Weapons Committee, Abel Tomlinson
Founder and Research Director, Dick Bennett
RECENT HISTORY OF STRUGGLE TO ABOLISH WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION,
(Question to Arkies: How well have our newspapers and tv news stations informed us?)
HERE’S AN IMPORTANT SOURCE OF WEEKLY INFORMATION from the Quaker FCNL
Sponsor: Royal United Services Institute. Speakers: Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Princeton University; Keyhan Barzegar, Islamic Azad University. EVENT INFORMATION ETC.
THE PEOPLE: LIBERATE OUR POLITICIANS
The conclusion of a 1981 speech by Prof. Johan Galtung, “Ten Proposals for Concrete Peace Politics,” – TRANSCEND Media Service. Speech given at the reception for the Peace March 6 Aug 1981, UNESCO, Paris; and for the Perugia-Assisi Peace March 24-27 Sep 1981 https://www.transcend.org/tms/2017/10/after-nuclear-disarmament-what/
“So, let us liberate our politicians from their thought prisons, they are prisoners of their own much-too-simple logic. The situation is dangerous, difficult, but not yet hopeless. What has been mentioned above is completely possible – and so are many other peace policies. There are so many things that could be done; and, I think, more realistic than what we read from our politicians every day. Time to start doing them is now. If the politicians do not want or are unable to do so from the top level of the countries and the alliances, then others have to show the way. “
THE UNITED NATIONS--THE COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD—HAVE SHOWN THE WAY IN THE JANUARY 22 TREATY TO BAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Forward to banning the weapons possessed by the nuclear nations.
THE BIRTH OF GLOBAL ZERO 2008
an mankind uninvent the nuclear bomb, and rid the world of the greatest military threat to the human species and the survival of the planet ever created?
Logic might seem to say of course not. But the president of the United States and a number of key foreign-policy dignitaries are now on record saying yes. They acknowledge that a nuclear-weapons-free world remains a vision, not immediately attainable and perhaps not achievable within the lifetimes of most contemporary policy makers. But they believe that the vision needs to be shared, in a vibrant, powerful way.
A movement known as Global Zero has gained in strength to attempt just that. It was established in the wake of a January 2007 newspaper column by George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry, and Sam Nunn advocating a nuclear-free world. A group of 100 signatories (not including the above four) established Global Zero in Paris in December 2008. The organization’s goal is to rid the world of nuclear weapons by 2030 through a multilateral, universal, verifiable process, with negotiations on the Global Zero treaty beginning by 2019. MORE https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/is-a-world-without-nuclear-weapons-really-possible/
TREATY BECAME INTERNATIONAL LAW, JANUARY 22, 2021: US NOW IN VIOLATION NOT ONLY OF WORLD OPINION BUT OF WORLD LAW.
WHAT CAN WE DO? Read and recommend books that get under the skin and lead to sustained action.
Francis Boyle, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, 2002
Elaine Scarry, Thermonuclear Monarchy, 2014
Francis Boyle. The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence: Could the US War on Terrorism Go Nuclear? [Boyle is one of our greatest advocates for a just society. –Dick]
AN EMINENT ANALYSIS, BUT HAVE OUR POLITICIANS READ IT OR EVEN A BRIEF REVIEW? Go for it.
Thermonuclear Monarchy: CHOOSING BETWEEN DEMOCRACY AND DOOM
From one of our leading social thinkers, a compelling case for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
During his impeachment proceedings, Richard Nixon boasted, "I can go into my office and pick up the telephone and in twenty-five minutes seventy million people will be dead." Nixon was accurately describing not only his own power but also the power of every American president in the nuclear age.
Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon each contemplated using nuclear weapons—Eisenhower twice, Kennedy three times, Johnson once, Nixon four times. Whether later presidents, from Ford to Obama, considered using them we will learn only once their national security papers are released.
In this incisive, masterfully argued new book, award-winning social theorist Elaine Scarry demonstrates that the power of one leader to obliterate millions of people with a nuclear weapon—a possibility that remains very real even in the wake of the Cold War—deeply violates our constitutional rights, undermines the social contract, and is fundamentally at odds with the deliberative principles of democracy.
According to the Constitution, the decision to go to war requires rigorous testing by both Congress and the citizenry; when a leader can single-handedly decide to deploy a nuclear weapon, we live in a state of “thermonuclear monarchy,” not democracy.
The danger of nuclear weapons comes from potential accidents or acquisition by terrorists, hackers, or rogue countries. But the gravest danger comes from the mistaken idea that there exists some case compatible with legitimate governance. There can be no such case. shows the deformation of governance that occurs when a country gains nuclear weapons.
In bold and lucid prose, identifies the tools that will enable us to eliminate nuclear weapons and bring the decision for war back into the hands of Congress and the people. Only by doing so can we secure the safety of home populations, foreign populations, and the earth itself.
“Eloquent.” — Richard Rhodes,
“The premise of this book is as relevant as it is horrifying, that the power to inflict great harm doesn’t belong to those that it supposedly protects. I congratulate Elaine Scarry on her intellectual courage and moral clarity and in proposing the only possible way out.” — Marcelo Gleiser, author of
“A really remarkable work, ranging across ethics, law and politics to pose genuinely radical challenges to the confused and potentially lethal systems that pass for democracy in our world. A painfully timely intervention.” — Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and former Archbishop of Canterbury
“Elaine Scarry offers a coruscating critique of current policies, arguing that they are antithetic to the spirit of the U.S. constitution, and indeed to basic democratic principles. This eloquent and scholarly book offers a compelling case for swifter progress toward their elimination.” — Martin Rees, astronomer royal of England
“Even someone unpersuaded by Elaine Scarry’s constitutional analysis cannot avoid being gripped by her stark depiction of how utterly incompatible our eighteenth-century constitutional structure and the social contract it embodies are with our twenty-first-century weapons of mass destruction, weapons that can annihilate tens of millions of human souls in the blink of an eye and at the whim of a single individual, consulting with no one. A sober and haunting meditation on this tension between our institutions and our capacities, Scarry’s book requires any thoughtful reader to revisit the basic postulates and the deepest human purposes of our system of government.” — Laurence H. Tribe, professor of constitutional law, Harvard Law School
“A few years ago General Lee Butler, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command, condemned the ‘faith in nuclear weapons’ to which his life had been wrongly dedicated and the ‘breathtaking audacity’ in maintaining them when ‘we should stand trembling in the face of our folly and united in our commitment to abolish its most deadly manifestations.’ In this fascinating study, Elaine Scarry adds rich historical, philosophical, literary, and legal depth to Butler’s grim warnings, with novel and provocative insights. That we have escaped disaster so far is a near miracle. Scarry’s remarkable contribution should inspire us to abolish this colossal folly.” — Noam Chomsky
“[U]rgent and lucid … [a] prolonged rallying cry of a book.” — Kenneth Baker,
“Elaine Scarry is right: Americans live in a thermonuclear monarchy.” — Kennette Benedict,
“Scarry’s assault on the reigning complacency about nuclear weapons rests on her belief in the capacity of an interpretation to reconfigure the world.” — Nathan Schneider,
“ is a work of deadly serious political science by an analyst dwelling on the constitutional implications of giving a democratically elected president sovereign-like autocracy.” — Nick Smith,
“Scarry’s book requires any thoughtful reader to revisit the basic postulates and the deepest human purposes of our system of government.” — Laurence H. Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School
INFLUENTIAL PEACEMAKER SCHOLAR
Lawrence Wittner, PeaceVoice – TRANSCEND Media Service, 6 March 2017.
The accession of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency brings us face-to-face with a question that many have tried to avoid since 1945: Should anyone have the right to plunge the world into a nuclear holocaust?
Trump, of course, is an unusually angry, vindictive, and mentally unstable American president. Therefore, given the fact that, acting totally on his own, he can launch a nuclear war, we have entered a very perilous time. The U.S. government possesses approximately 6,800 nuclear weapons, many of them on hair-trigger alert. Moreover, the United States is but one of nine nations that, in total, possess nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons. This nuclear weapons cornucopia is more than enough to destroy virtually all life on earth. Furthermore, even a small-scale nuclear war would produce a human catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. Not surprisingly, then, Trump’s loose statements about building and using nuclear weapons have horrified observers.
In an apparent attempt to rein in America’s new, erratic White House occupant, Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) recently introduced federal legislation to require Congress to declare war before a U.S. president could authorize nuclear weapons strikes. The only exception would be in response to a nuclear attack. Peace groups are rallying around this legislation and, in a major editorial, the New York Times endorsed it, noting that it “sends a clear message to Mr. Trump that he should not be the first since World War II to use nuclear weapons.”
But, even in the unlikely event that the Markey-Lieu legislation is passed by the Republican Congress, it does not address the broader problem: the ability of the officials of nuclear-armed nations to launch a catastrophic nuclear war. How rational are Russia’s Vladimir Putin, or North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, or Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, or the leaders of other nuclear powers? And how rational will the rising politicians of nuclear armed nations (including a crop of rightwing, nationalist ideologues, such as France’s Marine Le Pen) prove to be? “Nuclear deterrence,” as national security experts have known for decades, might serve to inhibit the aggressive impulses of top government officials in some cases, but surely not in all of them.
Ultimately, then, the only long-term solution to the problem of national leaders launching a nuclear war is to get rid of the weapons.
This was the justification for the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968, which constituted a bargain between two groups of nations. Under its provisions, non-nuclear countries agreed not to develop nuclear weapons, while nuclear-armed countries agreed to dispose of theirs.
Although the NPT did discourage proliferation to most non-nuclear countries and did lead the major nuclear powers to destroy a substantial portion of their nuclear arsenals, the allure of nuclear weapons remained, at least for some power-hungry nations. Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea developed nuclear arsenals, while the United States, Russia, and other nuclear nations gradually backed away from disarmament. Indeed, all nine nuclear powers are now engaged in a new nuclear arms race, with the U.S. government alone beginning a $1 trillion nuclear “modernization” program. These factors, including Trump’s promises of a major nuclear weapons buildup, recently led the editors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to move the hands of their famous “Doomsday Clock” forward to 2-1/2 minutes to midnight, the most dangerous setting since 1953.
Angered by the collapse of progress toward a nuclear weapons-free world, civil society organizations and non-nuclear nations joined together to press for the adoption of an international treaty banning nuclear weapons, much like the treaties already in place that ban chemical weapons, landmines, and cluster bombs. If such a nuclear ban treaty were adopted, they argued, it would not itself eliminate nuclear weapons, for the nuclear powers could refuse to sign or comply with it. But it would make possession of nuclear weapons illegal under international law and, therefore, like the chemical and other weapons ban treaties, put pressure on nations to fall into line with the rest of the world community.
This campaign came to a head in October 2016, when the member states of the United Nations voted on a proposal to begin negotiations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Although the U.S. government and the governments of other nuclear powers lobbied heavily against the measure, it was adopted by an overwhelming vote: 123 countries in favor, 38 opposed, and 16 abstaining. Treaty negotiations are slated to begin in March 2017 at the United Nations and to be concluded in early July.
Given the past performance of the nuclear powers and their eagerness to cling to their nuclear weapons, it seems unlikely that they will participate in the UN negotiations or, if a treaty is negotiated and signed, will be among the signatories. Even so, the people of their nations and of all nations would gain immensely from an international ban on nuclear weapons, a measure that, once in place, would begin the process of stripping national officials of their unwarranted authority and ability to launch a catastrophic nuclear war.
[JANUARY 22, 2021 WE HAVE THE TREATY!)
· Dr. Lawrence Wittner, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. Rebels Against War: The American Peace Movement, 1941-1960. New York: Columbia University Press, 1969. Revised, expanded edition published as: Rebels Against War: The American Peace Movement, 1933-1983. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1984.
· (Editor) MacArthur. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1971. Paperback edition, 1971.
· Cold War America: From Hiroshima to Watergate. New York: Praeger Publishers, Revised, expanded edition: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1978.
· American Intervention in Greece, 1943-1949. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.
· (Associate Editor) Biographical Dictionary of Modern Peace Leaders. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1985.
· One World or None: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement Through 1953. (Vol. 1 of The Struggle Against the Bomb.) Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993.
· (Editor, with five others) Peace/Mir: An Anthology of Historic Alternatives to War. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1994. Paperback edition, 1994. Russian language edition: Mir/Peace. Al'ternativy voine ot Antichnosti do knotsa mirovoi voiny. Antologiia. Moscow: Nauka Press, 1993.
· Resisting the Bomb: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, 1954-1970. (Vol. 2 of The Struggle Against the Bomb.) Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997.
· Toward Nuclear Abolition: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, 1971 to the Present. (Vol. 3 of The Struggle Against the Bomb.) Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.
· (Co-editor, with Glen H. Stassen) Peace Action: Past, Present, and Future. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2007.
· Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009.
· Working for Peace and Justice: Memoirs of an Activist Intellectual. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2012.
· What's Going On at UAardvark? Albany, NY: Solidarity Press, 2013. Second edition, 2014.
CONTENTS of NUCLEAR ABOLITION NEWSLETTER #24
History from the Inside: Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine.
Organizing to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
United Nations' Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
Anticipating the Treaty
September 26: United Nations International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
Hopes for NEW START Treaty
Non-Governmental Organizations (see previous newsletters)
New: Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security
Sr. Ardeth Platte and Plowshares
Feminist Critique of Patriarchy
END NUCLEAR WEAPONS ABOLITION NEWSLETTER #25, 2021.