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State of the Union Response

Posted by David Hart on January 26, 2011

PSR was pleased to hear the President of the United States celebrate the ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in his State of the Union address. He said, "Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START Treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent."

PSR believes that a stronger commitment to next steps is essential to reduce nuclear dangers. We hoped to hear him clearly state in this public forum his ongoing determination to pursue the swift ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and further cuts in our bloated nuclear arsenals, with a renewed focus on tactical nuclear weapons and non-deployed weapons.

Now is not the time for timid steps.  The urgency of the threats facing us require that we act in new bold ways to secure our health and safety.  If fully understood, the reality of these horrific weapons compels us to take urgent action to reduce the danger.  PSR knows that the only way these weapons will not eventually be used is if they are abolished completely worldwide.

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We also note with concern the President's proposal to freeze all non-military discretionary spending for 5 years.  This prejudices the bloated military budget above all else. At this critical juncture, we need to listen to the many voices calling for significant cuts in military spending. Just this week, General Colin Powell said the, "defense budget can't be sacrosanct' if Congress is serious about fixing budgetary woes."

As always, PSR seeks to prevent what we cannot cure.  In this context, it is vital that we remind all our leaders that significant investment in a real clean energy future is essential to our health and our planet's survival.  We should not allow dirty coal and dangerous and expensive nuclear power to be falsely included as part of a clean energy standard.  Instead, we should reduce military spending and invest in green jobs as a means of growing our economy, increasing national security, and securing a safe and healthy future.

We want to know what you think.  Please use the comment section of this blog to start a conversation with your PSR colleagues.


Daniel Kerlinsky MD said ..

President Obama approved an additional hundred years of nuclear weapons production in the US in an entirely new $80 billion nuclear weapons production factory complex --- trying to get a few Republican Senate votes for START. The foolishness is immeasurable. The risk for nuclear arms race escalation is unconscionable. The crime to humanity is genocidal.

June 24, 2011
David Hart said ..

Thank you Dr. Newman. You make a very important point. We must help people understand the fact that increased spending on the nuclear weapons complex contradicts the goal of a world without nuclear weapons and wastes vast sums of money needed for other pressing priorities.

February 6, 2011
Thomas B. Newman, MD, MPH said ..

Well put, David and Father Urmston! I would add that we should particularly oppose proposed new spending for nuclear weapons, which wastes money, and undermines our nuclear disarmament message.

February 3, 2011
David Hart said ..

Dear Father Urmston, Thanks for this helpful contribution. Let's keep the conversation going as we build towards "one sustainable planet for all."

January 26, 2011
Benjamin Urmston said ..

Although there were positive elements in the President’s State of the Union like no tax cuts for the wealthy or subsidies to big oil, the risk I see in the President’s approach is that I think we put too much emphasis on competition and not enough on sharing. We need to expand the notion of We to include the whole human family. We’re all in this together. The physical, emotional, economic security of one is the security of all. We share one planet. We are one species. There is one economy, but it is not a fair, inclusive democratic economy. We need compassionate listening to the needs of all nations without favoritism. We need to share what we have including power and decision-making. George Washington said we should not favor one nation over another because we will overlook the faults of our friends, and exaggerate the faults of our “enemies.” We should work to make everyone equal partners with us. We are not in competition with other nations for a sustainable planet. We need to work together to create one sustainable planet for all.

January 26, 2011

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