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"Forget the Rest" blog

For immediate release January 5, 2007

Cold War “Hawks,” Defense Officials,
Call for Nuclear Abolition

Breakdown of deterrence paradigm, grave proliferation risks cited

NM delegation silent on new warhead production,
despite heavy opposition – why?

Thousands of New Mexicans Call on NM Delegation to Join Disarmament Efforts – to Halt Proposed Warhead Production at Least

Contact: Greg Mello 505-265-1200 office, 505-577-8563 cell

Albuquerque and Los Alamos, NM – The Wall Street Journal published a guest editorial this week by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn and others advocating “bold” efforts toward nuclear abolition, a “vision” they hope will be perceived as “realistic” and “possible” because of the “practical measures” that can be taken to realize it.[1]  As they put it,

Reassertion of the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and practical measures toward achieving that goal would be, and would be perceived as, a bold initiative consistent with America's moral heritage. The effort could have a profoundly positive impact on the security of future generations. Without the bold vision, the actions will not be perceived as fair or urgent. Without the actions, the vision will not be perceived as realistic or possible.

We endorse setting the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and working energetically on the actions required to achieve that goal, beginning with the measures outlined above [in the article].

The specific measures they mention (in so many words) include eliminating the “launch on warning” posture and related measures to decrease the likelihood of accidental nuclear war, mutually reducing nuclear arsenals; eliminating forward-based weapons, and ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as well as working to secure its ratification by other states.[2]

It is clear that the signers fear the consequences of continuing current nuclear policies, and describe nuclear deterrence in today’s geopolitical situation as “increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective,” noting that “non-state terrorist groups with nuclear weapons are conceptually outside the bounds of a deterrent strategy.”

The policy endorsed by the 21 signers of yesterday’s statement is a partial expression of a binding legal requirement under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which requires “good faith” negotiation toward “effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”[3] 

Disarmament is also extremely popular with the American people.  In a large recent poll 84% of Americans support the NPT requirement for full nuclear disarmament.[4]

Study Group Director Greg Mello: “The time has come for all of us, including those who have held back so far, to embrace nuclear disarmament and take some of the common-sense practical steps that will make America safer.  If George Shultz and Henry Kissinger can speak up for nuclear disarmament, Tom Udall, Jeff Bingaman, Heather Wilson, Pete Domenici, and even Steve Pearce can do so too.”

“About 4% of the total employment in Congressman Udall’s district work on nuclear weapons.  The other 96% are paying for nuclear policies which make America less safe, consume resources that impoverish our schools, prevent investment in infrastructure, keep us from creating new jobs, and hold us back from addressing the grave global warming crisis and the problem of “peaking” hydrocarbon production.  Halting pit production would throw nobody out of work, and gradual cutbacks in weapons programs will not harm our economy – quite the reverse.  Why do we allow nuclear weapons hold New Mexico’s future hostage? In particular, why must we make new warheads?”

In New Mexico, 118 organizations, 316 businesses, 2 local jurisdictions (one of which is the City of Santa Fe), and thousands of individuals have endorsed the Study Group-led Call for Nuclear Disarmament,[5] which calls for common-sense first steps toward fulfilling these disarmament obligations, namely: 

  • Stopping the design and manufacture of all nuclear weapons, including plutonium “pits;”
  • Mutual dismantlement of nuclear arsenals pursuant to treaty;
  • Halting disposal of nuclear waste at Los Alamos, as thousands of petitioners have already requested; and
  • Investing in human and environmental security instead of preparations for nuclear war.

The New Mexico delegation has not yet endorsed the Call for Nuclear Disarmament, although Jill Cooper Udall has done so. 

Especially in private, some New Mexico leaders refer to the supposed economic benefit of nuclear weapons for New Mexico.  Sixty years of economic data, summarized in a recent working paper by the Study Group on the subject, show no such benefit.[6]  In fact the economic result may well be negative.

***ENDS***


[1] The article, which is also signed by 17 other former officials and scholars, can be found at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116787515251566636.html.

[2] The CTBT will become universally binding upon ratification by 10 additional key “Annex 2” states, including the U.S.  See http://www.ctbto.org/.

[3] Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, http://www.state.gov/t/isn/trty/16281.htm.  The NPT disarmament requirement was adjudicated before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1996.  The ICJ unanimously ruled “there exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.” See “Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons” at http://www.icj-cij.org/icjwww/icjhome.htm.

[4] For details see http://www.lasg.org/PressAdvisory3-31-05.htm.

[5] For text, background, and list of current endorsers see http://www.lasg.org.

[6] Greg Mello, “Does Los Alamos National Lab Help or Hurt the New Mexico Economy?” July 2006 at http://www.lasg.org/LANLecon_impact.pdf.  The author was a HUD Fellow in urban and regional studies at the Harvard School of Design.

Greg Mello * Los Alamos Study Group * www.lasg.org
2901 Summit Place NE * Albuquerque, NM 87106
505-265-1200 voice * 505-577-8563 cell * 505-265-1207 fax
 
1362A-2 Trinity Drive, Los Alamos, NM 87544 505-661-9677 (voice and fax)
To subscribe to the Study Group's regional listserve, send a blank email to lasgnewmex-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. To subscribe to our national listserve, send a blank email to lasg-subscribe@lists.riseup.net


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2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque, NM 87106, Phone: 505-265-1200

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