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Abolish Nuclear Weapons

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CFPA on Nuclear Weapons

Abolish Nuclear Weapons

President Obama - following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan - has called for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. These dangerous, expensive weapons, which have been called the "ultimate" weapon, have provided little value to the United States (or any country.) They are a catastrophe waiting to happen and they don't deliver appreciable security. The passing of New START in December of 2010 was a great victory that presents peace activists with a renewed optimism that we can carry into our further endeavors to ban nuclear weapons.

 


 

CFPA Campaign Timeline

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  • Showing of Hibakusha Film: On March 6, 2011, CFPA hosts a showing of the film "Hibakusha: Our Life to Live," which focuses on the lives of survivors of nuclear attack, and has been shown at the UN, in Japan, and in cities around the United States. The film is shown to a packed auditorium, with a discussion afterwards led by the filmmaker, David Rothauser.
  • New START Treaty: During the fall and winter of 2010, CFPA engaged in important efforts advocating for the ratification of New START, which will limit Russian and US nuclear arsenals to 1,550 warheads. CFPA phoned senators in key swing states and nurtured Senators Bob Casey and Robert Menendez as champions for nuclear disarmament. We then celebrated this great victory with a light dinner and champagne toast!
  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemorations: Every August, CFPA commemorates the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The commemoration often consits of a talk from one of the attack's survivors, Japanese music, and a time of reflection with songs and floating candles on a lake (a tradition during the Japanese commemorations of the bombings).
  • CFPA Begins PAZ Campaign: In May 2010, CFPA began its PAZ (The Pennsylvania Zero Nuclear Arms) Campaign. The Campaign’s primary goal is to support and nurture Sen. Bob Casey, who is Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on South Asia and the Middle East, to be a champion for global nuclear disarmament. During the START debate, Casey made a fantastic floor speech in support of the treaty, which was a testament to his integrity and also to the effectiveness of this grassroots campaign!
  • Earth Day Rally for Nuclear Weapons Abolition: On April 22, 2010, CFPA co-sponsored an Earth Day Rally for Nuclear Weapons in support for young interfaith peace walkers, who were kicking off their Peace Walk for Nuclear Abolition. CFPA's executive director, the Rev. Robert Moore, was among the event's speakers.
  • Peace Train to Global Nuclear Disarmament: On May 2, 2010, CFPA co-sponsored a Peace Train to Global Nuclear Disarmament held by our affiliate, United for Peace and Justice. People boarded trains in the Deleware Valley area and rode them up to New York City, then concluded the event with a rally. The event took place the day before the UN held a Major Review Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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On the Anniversary of Cuban Missile Crisis an Historic Opportunity
By Maj. Gen. Roger R. Blunt (ret.)*

Fifty years ago the biggest event in human history almost happened. During a fateful 13-day period in October 1962, the Soviet Union and the United States balanced at the brink of nuclear war as the Soviets attempted to establish nuclear bases in Cuba.

I had just graduated with my degree in nuclear engineering from MIT and reported to the Army nuclear power program at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. All of us spent the week glued to the TV wondering if the world's first nuclear war was about to begin. I will never forget the relief we felt when we learned that, thanks to the vision and restraint of a handful of people, this point in history would be marked by what did not occur.

What President Kennedy and his advisers didn't know as they contemplated an invasion of Cuba was that the Soviets already had tactical nuclear weapons on the island. An invasion could have started a nuclear exchange. Kennedy's advisers gave him two alternatives: an invasion or a naval blockade. Kennedy chose a blockade. Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev chose to remove the bases. Somehow, through all that tension, better sense prevailed. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Sadly though, the costs of our nuclear posture are not. We have a Cold War nuclear arsenal built to defend us from "Mad Men"-era threats. But those threats, like the three-martini lunch, are a thing of the past. And the over half a trillion dollars we're going to spend on maintaining that bloated arsenal over the next decade will be a half trillion less we can spend on the training and equipment our troops need to face 21st-century threats.

Today, President Obama has the opportunity to bring a Cold-War era policy into the 21st century and is readying a presidential policy review for our thousands-strong nuclear arsenal. What the president decides to do impacts everything from where and how the weapons are targeted to whether or not we reshape our stockpile to reflect modern needs.

For example, for the cost of one new ballistic nuclear submarine, we could provide body armor and bomb-resistant Humvees to all our troops overseas, house and treat every homeless veteran, and still have $2.2 billion left over to pay down the debt. And that is just the cost of one of the 13 new subs Congress is trying to force on the Pentagon. Our troops and security should come before pork-barrel nuclear programs.

Re-shaping our nuclear force is an issue of vision and conscience. We need the vision to recognize our world has changed, and we can't allow pork-barrel spending and bureaucratic inertia to shape our national security priorities.

As a matter of conscience, we should remember that weapons are still pointed at civilian targets, and we haven't even adopted appropriate safe guards that would reduce the chance of accidental launch. A single strike on a city can kill millions of people. And if the United States remains mired in Cold War attitudes, it makes it harder for us to lead in the effort to reduce and lock up nuclear stockpiles in other countries, which increases the risk of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorists.

It's up to the president to buck bureaucratic inertia and have the vision to confront the threats and costs our bloated stockpile has created. This week, more than a hundred political and faith leaders have signed a joint letter asking the president to do just that. They join military leaders like former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sam Nunn, who have long pushed policy-makers to reduce the role of weapons in security strategy, trim stockpiles and shave millions from the budget. I hope the president and Congress listen.

*ABOUT THE WRITER
Maj. Gen. Roger R. Blunt (retired) commanded the 97th Army Reserve Command and has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. He served with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and held the career designator of Atomic Energy Officer.

The Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World/Peace Action West worked with Eric Sapp/AVN and ReThink on this piece referencing the CMC, the organizational sign-on letter to the President, and the nuclear policy guidance. This article was picked up by the McClatchy wire service, and various outlets across the country on October 19 and 20, 9012. The opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of McClatchy-Tribune or its editor.


Resources

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    • Top ten reasons why nuclear weapons still exist (Humor from your own Coalition staff) "Reason number 10: Who needs schools, hospitals, day care, better roads, education, public housing, clean water, universal health care, solar power, crop supports, wind mills, disaster response, etc. etc. etc.?"

    [Got a resource on nuclear weapons? Send us a recommendation and a link!]