LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – The Ukraine war and the response to it are profoundly troubling. Russia’s military assault upon its neighbor clearly constitutes a major war of aggression that shares many features with such wars of the past. Neither the Russian peace movement nor the Western peace movement has been able to affect it—the former because of government repression and the latter because of divisions within is ranks. Consequently, the war has already been immensely destructive and might well become far more so. As in the past, this kind of tragic situation illustrates the necessity for an effective international security system. Although the United Nations is supposed to provide that system, it lacks authority to do so thanks to the crippling control the great powers have exercised over the world organization. Therefore, the Ukraine war highlights the need to strengthen the United Nations as a force for peace.
E. MARTIN SCHOTZ, MD – Once the US and Russia see each other as partners in survival, they would be in a position to work together to help other nations join in the process. This is the way an international ban on nuclear weapons can eventually be achieved.
ROBERT F. DODGE, M.D. – On April 22, we marked the 49th anniversary of the first Earth Day. This comes 50 years after the Santa Barbara oil spills which were instrumental in the declaration of the first Earth Day. The fate of our planet remains threatened by two inextricably connected threats, that of climate change and nuclear war. We cannot pretend to be concerned about our environment if we are not simultaneously concerned about the destruction of the planet by nuclear war.
ROBERT DODGE – A national collaborative grassroots coalition to abolish nuclear weapons is rapidly emerging in this country. The effort called â€œBack from the Brink: A Call to Prevent Nuclear Warâ€ started last fall after the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by 122 nations with the U.S. and other nuclear nations boycotting.
ROBERT F. DODGE. M.D. – Fridayâ€™s (Oct. 7) award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) draws attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and the global movement to abolish these weapons as the only reliable way to guarantee that they will never be used again.
KARL GROSSMAN – Despite protests around the world, the Cassini space probeâ€”containing more deadly plutonium than had ever been used on a space deviceâ€”was launched 20 years ago. And this past weekendâ€”on Earth Dayâ€”the probe and its plutonium were sent crashing into Saturn.
ALICE SLATER – One hundred and twenty-six nations voted to move forward with negotiations to prohibit nuclear weapons â€” just as the world has already done for biological and chemical weapons.
MARTHA BASKIN – The ad pierces your consciousness and catches you by surprise. Plastered on the side of Seattle’s King County Metro it hurls you momentarily back in time, to a time when nuclear weapons were an imminent threat to our survival. Or did the era never end?
IRA HELFAND – Recently, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced it was keeping its famous Doomsday Clock at three minutes to midnight. In making this decision, their panel of experts, including 16 Nobel Laureates, cited the growing danger of nuclear war. The danger of nuclear war? For most people today, the threat of nuclear war isnâ€™t even on their radar screens. It needs to be.
JOHN LAFORGE – Weakening radiation standards, a cap on accident liability, reactor propaganda vs improvements, old units running past expiration dates, revving the engines beyond design specs â€¦. Youâ€™d think we were itching for a meltdown. The Environmental Protection Agency has recommended increased radiation exposure limits following major releases. It would save the industry a bundle to permit large human exposures, rather than shut down rickety reactors.
IRA HELFAND and ROBERT DODGE – As physicians we spend our professional lives applying scientific facts to the health and well being of our patients. When it comes to public health threats like TB, polio, cholera, AIDS and others where there is no cure, our aim is to prevent what we cannot cure. It is our professional, ethical and moral obligation to educate and speak out on these issues. That said, the greatest imminent existential threat to human survival is potential of global nuclear war.
KENT SHIFFERD – What could be worse than a nuclear war? A nuclear famine following a nuclear war. And what follows famine is epidemic disease. What can you do? The only way to assure ourselves this global disaster will not happen is to join the global movement to abolish all weapons of mass destruction.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – There would certainly be less disillusionment, as well as a great savings in lives and resources, if more Americans recognized the terrible costs of war before they rushed to embrace it. But a clearer understanding of war and its consequences will probably be necessary to convince Americans to break out of the cycle in which they seem trapped.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The conventional explanation for nuclear restraint by the relatively small number of nations possessing nuclear weapons is that the danger posed by these weapons has â€œdeterredâ€ nations from waging nuclear war and, overall, has created a situation of nuclear safety. But something is missing from the conventional explanation. The missing ingredient is a massive grassroots movement: one that has mobilized millions of people in nations around the globe: the world nuclear disarmament movement. This is the text of a talk delivered by Dr. Wittner in May 2013 to the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Ottawa.
PRESS RELEASE – Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility announces its fourth annual Greenfield Peace Writing Contest for 11th or 12th grade students in Oregon. Students may enter by submitting an original piece of fiction, poem, or essay (maximum 600 words) reflecting on the following question:
KELLY CAMPBELL: With great pleasure, I announce the second annual Greenfield Peace Writing Contest, sponsored by Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, and named for Del Greenfield, our first executive director. Any 11th or 12th grade student in Oregon may enter by submitting an original piece of fiction, poem, or essay (maximum 600 words) reflecting on the following question: In a world where we struggle with wars, injustice, violence in our communities and the threat of environmental devastationâ€¦what does peace mean to you?