LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – On October 9, 2012, the legislature of Albany County, New York approved a proclamation calling upon Congress to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, cut the U.S. military budget, and use the savings to fund vital public programs at home.
DAVID SWANSON – Three years later a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel acted out the same scene, with the computer glitch on his side this time. Then in 1984 another U.S. computer glitch led to the quick decision to park an armored car on top of a missile silo to prevent the start of the apocalypse. And again in 1995, the Soviet Union almost responded to a U.S. nuclear attack that proved to be a real missile, but one with a weather satellite rather than a nuke. One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years â€” so far.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Itâ€™s often said that nuclear weapons have protected nations from military attack. But is there any solid evidence to bolster this contention? Without such evidence, the argument that nuclear weapons prevented something that never occurred is simply a counter-factual abstraction that cannot be proved.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – On February 8, 2012, Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA) took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to introduce the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures Act (H.R. 3974).
SUSI SNYDER – The European Union, as a key actor in global non-proliferation and disarmament discussions, and charged with facilitating dialogue with Iran over its nuclear program, bears a specific responsibility to encourage a peaceful negotiated solution based on mutual trust and respect for all parties.
JOHN LAFORGE – Last May the Obama administration promised $80 billion to the nuclear weapons establishment for â€œmodernizingâ€ the arsenal. Three large H-bomb laboratories will share about $10 billion annually to â€œupgradeâ€ U.S. warheads, and they will get equal sums for the next 10 years. The funds are for a new $4.5 billion â€œChemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacementâ€ complex at Los Alamos, New Mexico; a new $3.5 billion â€œUranium Processing Facilityâ€ at the Y-12 lab in Tennessee; and a couple billion more for a replacement â€œKansas City Plantâ€ in Missouri that will make nonnuclear parts for the warheads. With the buildup, the U.S. will be able to quadruple its current warhead production capacity from 20 to 80 per year, according to Nuclear Watch New Mexico.
LAWRENCE A. WITTNER – The discussion of the Tucson tragedy should be familiar, as we witness similar massacres in U.S. schools, shopping centers, and other public places played out periodically. Each time, the NRA and other gun apologists tell us that the easy accessibility of firearms, including assault weapons, had nothing to do with it. Indeed, they argue that the key to our safety is to obtain more guns. But does the fact that nearly 100,000 Americans are shot with guns and nearly 10,000 Americans are killed with them each year really have no connection to the remarkable availability of guns in the United States?
LAWRENCE WITTNER – With U.S. Senate ratification of the New START treaty on December 22, supporters of nuclear disarmament won an important victory. Signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last April, the treaty commits the two nations to cut the number of their deployed strategic (i.e. long-range) nuclear warheads to 1,550 each â€” a reduction of 30 percent in the number of these weapons of mass destruction. By providing for both a cutback in nuclear weapons and an elaborate inspection system to enforce it, New START is the most important nuclear disarmament treaty for a generation.
MICHAEL MARIOTTE – Citizen lobbyists sent more than 15,000 letters to Congress in December and made many, many phone calls to stop $8 billion in taxpayer loans for new nuclear reactor construction. And the final government funding bill, signed by President Obama, contains not one dime for new nukes!
The Senate was forced to pull the “Omnibus” funding bill it had proposed, which included the $8 billion in taxpayer loans for the nuclear industry, and instead a “Continuing Resolution” was passed that funds the government through mid-March.
DON KRAUS – The United States Senate has agreed to the New START Treaty. The bilateral nuclear arms treaty passed with bipartisan support by a 71 to 26 margin. The roll call vote came after months of highly partisan debate and despite a packed Senate schedule.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – In Oregon, the Nuclear Freeze movement was led by Citizen Action for Lasting Security, one of the organizations that later merged into Oregon PeaceWorks. As we end one year and begin a new one, it is encouraging to look back at historian Lawrence Wittnerâ€™s chronicle of that exciting movement. – Editor
Thirty years ago, Randall Forsberg, a young defense and disarmament researcher, launched the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. Designed to stop the drift toward nuclear war through a U.S.-Soviet agreement to stop the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons, the freeze campaign escalated into a mass movement that swept across the United States. It attracted the support of nearly all peace groups, as well as that of mainstream religious, professional, and labor organizations.
BY LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote this December on ratification of the New START Treaty, Republican legislators appear on the verge of producing an international disaster. From the standpoint of logic, there are excellent reasons to ratify the treaty. This agreement between the U.S. and Russian governments provides that each of the two nations would reduce the number of its deployed strategic nuclear warheads from 2,200 to 1,550.
MICHAEL MARIOTTE – By now you’re probably as sick of election news, results and analysis as we are, but since we haven’t seen anything useful specifically on the election’s impact on nuclear power, we hope you’ll bear with us. We’ll keep it short!
JOSH ROGIN – According to top officials the administration is working hard to secure a floor vote for the New START nuclear reductions treaty with Russia during Congress’s post-election lame duck session. “We are looking to pursue a final vote on the floor before the end of the year and we think it’s very important to continue working very hard in that direction,” said Rose Gottemoeller, the treaty’s lead negotiator and Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation. “Every day that goes by is another day we do not have inspectors on the ground in the Russian Federation… We’re going to continue to do everything we can over the coming weeks to see it ratified and entered into force this year.”
LAWRENCE WITTNER — One of the ironies of the current international situation is that, although some government leaders now talk of building a nuclear weapons-free world, there has been limited public mobilization around that goal â€” at least compared to the action-packed 1980s.
WINSLOW MYERS — Two strategic goals of the U.S. are an apparent desire to control Middle East oil and the expressed commitment to help keep Israel safe. This requires the U.S. to refuse the laudable vision of the Middle East as a nuclear weapons-free zone, which would demand that Israel dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Instead, news reports indicate that Israel may be gearing up for a pre-emptive attack on Iranâ€™s nuclear facilities.
MICHAEL MARIOTTE — The flagship project to build a new nuclear power reactor in the United States â€” the one that provided the economic model for most new reactor proposals since â€” is in serious trouble and likely will collapse of its own weight before construction can even begin.
RUSSELL VANDENBROUCKE — Every August, as the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki approach, comments resume about American decisions at the end of World War II. Despite the passage of 65 years, heated opinions are repeated as fact and myths become immortalized as truths. Beyond distorting the historical record, wishful thinking about it leads us to repeat past mistakes in new ways against new enemies.
LAWRENCE WITTNER — For some time now, it has been clear that nuclear weapons threaten the existence not only of humanity, but of all life on Earth. Thus, Barack Obama’s pledge to work for a nuclear weapons-free worldâ€”made during his 2008 presidential campaign and subsequently in public statementsâ€”has resonated nicely with supporters of nuclear disarmament and with the general public.
JUDITH LEBLANC AND KEVIN MARTIN — Barack Obama is undoubtedly the U.S. president most committed to nuclear disarmament since Kennedy. People all over the world have cheered President Obama’s commitment to move toward nuclear disarmament.
One of the most popular muckraking American journalists of the late twentieth century, I.F. Stone, once remarked: “All governments lie.” Even a prominent government official — Andrei Gromyko, the veteran Soviet diplomat — once admitted, in a weak moment: “Governments are never sincere.” This gloomy assessment appears all too true when it comes to national security policy, and particularly so with respect to nuclear weapons.
NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW: The New York Times’ lead editorial on Sunday, February 28, 2010 laid out some of the major nuclear issues very well.
LAWRENCE WITTNER: Does the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Prague on April 8, really provide a beginning toward a nuclear-free world? That’s what Obama implied in a statement two weeks earlier. Speaking to reporters at the White House, he described the treaty as an historic step toward “a world without nuclear weapons.”
INTERNATIONAL COALITION TO BAN URANIUM WEAPONS: A draft bill that would ban the use of uranium in all non-nuclear weapons in Ireland has received a positive cross-party response from senators during its Second Stage reading in the Irish Senate.
RALPH NADER: A generation of Americans has grown up without a single nuclear power plant being brought on line since before the near meltdown of the Three Mile Island structure in 1979. They have not been exposed to the enormous costs, risks and national security dangers associated with their operations and the large amount of radioactive wastes still without a safe, permanent storage place for tens of thousands of years.
LYNN BERRY: A senior Kremlin official says the United States and Russia have reached an agreement on “all documents” necessary to sign a new nuclear arms treaty.