The importance of New START and a larger movement
December 15, 2010
If you are reading the Physicians for Social Responsibility
Nuclear Weapons Blog, you
may be familiar with our hope to ratify the New START Treaty between the United States and the
Russian Federation. Thank you for your support and for what you have already done to support
efforts to get the treaty
The United States Senate voted to bring New START to the floor today (December 15th, 2010). It looks
like we have been able to secure precious Senate
floor time during the lame duck session of the 111th Congress.
Please call your US Senators today if you have not done so during the past week.
Friends Committee on National Legislation has set up a toll free number to the
Senate switchboard: (888) 475-8162.
What people forget is that after the United States dropped nuclear weapons on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was a world-wide movement to disarm based on this
act's deadly force. President Truman and his cabinet believed that nuclear
weapons were something that the US should use and have in its arsenal,
including the more powerful hydrogen bomb. When resistance to the hydrogen bomb
surfaced, President Truman advised Secretary of State Dean Acheson, “the least
said about the so-called hydrogen bomb by officials…the better it will be for
all concerned.” In 1945, the United Nations was formed partly as a response to
global desire to manage nuclear technology and coordinate efforts in
While there have been periodic resurgences in interest in nuclear abolition, it
has been difficult to sustain over the past 65 years.
Our numbers have dwindled to small bands of people like the Disarm Now Plowshares
5. During the night of the Feast of All Souls, November 2, 2009, Anne
Montgomery, 83, a Sacred Heart sister from New York; Bill Bischel, SJ, 81, a
Jesuit priest from Tacoma Washington; Susan Crane, 67, a member of the Jonah
House community in Baltimore, Maryland; Lynne Greenwald, 60, a nurse from
Bremerton Washington; and Steve Kelly, SJ, 60, a Jesuit priest from Oakland
California, cut through the chain link fence surrounding the Kitsap-Bangor
Naval Base outside Bremerton, Washington. They then walked undetected for hours
nearly four miles inside the base to the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific
(SWFPAC). This top security area is where the Plowshares activists say hundreds
of nuclear missiles are stored in bunkers.
cut through two more barbed wire fences and went inside. They put up two big
banners which said "Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident Illegal and Immoral,"
scattered sunflower seeds, and prayed until they were arrested at dawn.
We also tend to forget the story of David Hahn, the Boy Scout who built a nuclear
reactor in his backyard to get a merit badge. His story illustrates how easy it
is to enrich uranium. If a Boy Scout can do this, then so too can terrorists
and that's the problem.
New START does not go far enough, but absent an abolition movement like there
was after we dropped the bomb, it is up to each of us to help rid the world of these
weapons. Ratifying New START would be a step in that direction.
Please call your Senators today if you have not done so during the past week. Friends Committee on National Legislation has set up a toll free number to the Senate switchboard: (888) 475-8162.
Thanks for everything you do.
As a member of the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Paul Deaton helped focus attention on the gravest threats to global survival: nuclear proliferation, climate change and social injustice. He is outgoing chair of the Johnson County Board of Health and a board member for Veterans for Peace Chapter 161, PEACE Iowa and the Solon Senior Advocates.