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As an organization of health care professionals and other concerned citizens, Physicians for Social Responsibility believes that a core value for America's long term national security must be to "first do no harm."
Current US military and foreign policy relies heavily on military force and in particular on nuclear weapons. US nuclear arsenals are in clear violation of all humanitarian law that forbids weapons that are disproportionately destructive to noncombatants and the environment. These policies legitimize nuclear weapons and antagonize nations whose cultures and economies clash with ours. We reap deep resentment aimed at the United States - some of it vengeful in ways that could lead to future terrorist attacks. Additionally, the current administration's push for "useable" nuclear weapons and a policy of targeting other nations for nuclear first-strike attacks is leading countries like North Korea and Iran to seek their own nuclear weapons as a way of "deterring" the U.S.
In 2007 US military policy seems driven more by the profits of the US military-industrial complex than by America's true national security needs. Our diplomatic corps is sadly short on language competence and cultural understanding in dealing with countries in the Middle East and Asia. Nuclear weapons will spread like a metastasizing cancer so long as the US refuses to delegitimize them through a serious policy of abolition, such as that advocated by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz (insert link).
Meanwhile, billions of people worldwide live in abject poverty (including 3 billion people living on less that $2 a day), AIDS cases (in America and worldwide) are growing in number. Global warming is likely to increase the spread of infectious disease and create millions of environmental refugees. And over 40 million Americans still do not have healthcare coverage. We squander precious resources on weapons development and sales at the expense of programs to eliminate global poverty, reverse global warming, manage global epidemics like AIDS and bird flu, and otherwise make friends of our "enemies."
The U.S. is the world's only military superpower. We are strong. But are we smart about security?
Here is the PSR prescription for steps we can take now:
SMART Security: A Sensible, Multilateral American Response to Terrorism.
SMART is a proactive security platform, backed by PSR/NAtional and 12 PSR Chapters around the nation.
WPSR believes these are central issues that should be a part of the political discourse, starting with the SMART Resolution currently in Congress. To encourage your members of Congress to endorse SMART Security, visit takeaction.psr.org
For more information regarding SMART in Washington State, phone at 206-547-2630.
Particles on the Wall is an interdisciplinary exhibit exploring elements of the nuclear age, science, Hanford history, their thread through our lives and their bearing on the Columbia River and natural world. POTW's first venue is in Seattle's University District at the Allegro Cafe.