Monday, December 3, 2007

A General, a group of visionary students, the Quakers, and 30 national organizations oppose new nuclear weapons

Lieutenant General Robert Gard (USA-ret.), Nukes on a Blog’s own Leonor Tomero, and the redoubtable researcher Achraf Farraj published an article in Friday’s Daily Californian encouraging University of California students and faculty to question the University’s involvement in the development of the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW):
“The University of California manages Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a facility leading the development of the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead, the first new hydrogen bomb designed by the United States in 20 years. Students and faculty at the University of California have a unique role to play in actively questioning this misguided U.S. nuclear weapons policy and UC’s involvement in its implementation.”
The authors conclude that:
“There are many problems facing the United States today, but the viability of its nuclear deterrent is not one of them. Building new nuclear weapons will not make us safer. It will do nothing to deter terrorists, it will not protect our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and it will not improve our relationships with other countries. It will only undermine efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, extend outdated Cold War-era thinking, shirk our international commitments, waste a lot of money and threaten our long-term security.”
University of California students have already taken up this work, most notably through the formation of the UC Student DOE Laboratory Oversight Committee. Loyal readers will recall a few more ideas about how universities can respond to the danger posed by nuclear weapons. For regular updates on the RRW program and how it related to the University of California, check out the facebook group (at "Why is the University of California building a new H bomb?"

Also last week, the Friends Committee on National Legislation organized a letter submitted to Senator Byron Dorgan who chairs the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging him to
“delete all funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) from the upcoming omnibus appropriations bill.”
The letter, signed by leaders of thirty national organizations (including the Council for a Livable World and Physicians for Social Responsibility), argued that:
“If Congress approves funding for the Energy Department to proceed with research and possible development of RRW, many in the international community will interpret this as another sign that the U.S. is walking away from its nonproliferation obligations, including Article VI of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The 118 countries of the Non-Aligned Movement have already cited development of RRW as contradictory to nuclear disarmament agreements signed by the United States. RRW will complicate efforts to win international support to bolster the beleaguered NPT system.”
The future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal is an issue of great importance to all Americans and the success or failure of the emerging movement for a world free of nuclear weapons bears directly on the long-term viability of human civilization. We applaud these and other attempts by concerned citizens to precipitate a national debate worthy of this deadly serious policy choice.

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