Countdown to Oslo
November 30, 2009
On December 10th, the Nobel Committee will be in Oslo to present President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. In attaching "special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons" the Committee has chosen to bring nuclear disarmament to the forefront of international attention. Obama, shortly after the Nobel Committee announced their decision, emphasized the significant work that lies ahead and said that this prize must be a "call to action" for real change to be brought about.
"We congratulate President Obama, as a fellow Nobel Laureate, and welcome this recognition that achieving a nuclear weapons free world is critical," said Dr. John Pastore, one of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) physicians who received the award in 1985, along with its affiliates including Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), for building public awareness and pressure to end the nuclear arms race. "Nuclear weapons are a national security and human health liability. Reducing their role in U.S. security policy will make us all safer." Dr. Pastore is a former secretary of IPPNW and former national president of PSR.
IPPNW and PSR are proud of the central role they have played in building national and international support for nuclear disarmament for nearly 50 years. What started with a handful of young physicians in the 1960's and grew to include medical professionals from all over the world has helped inspire the world to draw back from the brink. But the nuclear threat persists.
"We know that by raising our medical and public health voice to shine a spotlight on these dangers, we can make the world safer and healthier. But we also know how hard it is to achieve lasting change and we must now intensify our efforts to eliminate these unusable weapons," said Dr. Peter Wilk, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility. "We are only at the beginning of the real work needed to make this vision a reality."
Obama has centered his short-term efforts on a START follow-on agreement with Russia to reduce both our arsenals and strengthen verification procedures. He has pledged to secure Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and he has committed his administration to producing "a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that opens the door to deeper cuts and reduces the role of nuclear weapons."
"We know the work is unfinished and the shared responsibility of elected leaders and an engaged citizenry, including physician activists. It is critical that the President use the momentum from this award to lead the U.S. in concrete action to make real the promise," said Evan Kanter, a Seattle physician and board president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
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