An Urgent Call to End the Nuclear Danger

A decade after the end of the Cold War, the peril of nuclear destruction is mounting. The 'great powers' have refused to give up nuclear arms, other countries are producing them, and terrorists are trying to acquire them.

Poorly guarded warheads and nuclear material in the former Soviet Union may fall into the hands of terrorists. The Pentagon is seeking to develop nuclear 'bunker busters' for use against non-nuclear countries. The risk of nuclear war between India and Pakistan is grave.

The United States plans to keep large numbers of nuclear weapons indefinitely. The latest U.S.-Russian treaty, which will cut deployed strategic warheads to 2200, leaves both nations facing "assured destruction" and lets them keep total arsenals (active, inactive, strategic, and tactical) at more than 10,000 warheads each.

The dangers posed by huge arsenals, threats of use, proliferation, and terrorism are linked: The nuclear powers' refusal to disarm fuels proliferation, and proliferation makes nuclear materials more accessible to terrorists.

The events of September 11 brought home to Americans what it means to experience a catastrophic attack. Yet the horrifying losses that day were only a fraction of what any nation would suffer if a single nuclear weapon were used on a city.

The drift towards catastrophe must be reversed. Safety from nuclear destruction must be our goal. We can reach it only by reducing and then eliminating nuclear arms under binding agreements.

We therefore call on the United States and Russia to fulfill their commitments under the Nonproliferation Treaty and move together with the other nuclear powers, step by carefully inspected and verified step, to the abolition of nuclear weapons. As steps toward this goal, we call on the United States and the other nuclear powers to:

(Ms.) Randall Forsberg, Ph.D.

Bushmen in Ohio

On June 14, we arrived at 6am. The graduates were to be at their places by 6:30 am. I heard the announcement that graduating students would be expelled and arrested if they turned their backs on Bush. Dozens of staff members and police officers would be watching the stands, as well as the Secret Service. A few students asked whether expulsion meant removal from the stadium or refusal of their diplomas, or both. One person replied, "Both. And what will your parents do when they are paged to bail out their son?" I do not know if this person had an official capacity.

In the stadium, similar statements swirled around. "Please make sure you stand and loudly cheer our President. Our graduates have agreed to give a loud cheer for Mr. Bush." We looked for peace signs on the mortar boards (a sign that was meant to ID the Turn-Your-Backers). There were a lot.

The first speaker said how proud they were to have Bush there. He said "We have a long tradition of inviting great men and women to speak at our commencements." I quickly responded, "but since we couldn't get one, here's Georgie." That got the attention of the state trooper in front of us. His eyes were on me the rest of the time.

The speech called Bush "a man who unified this country after the terrible events of 9/11." It took a long time for the 9/11 applause to turn into a standing ovation. They held out for that, not continuing the speech until it happened.

Shrub was introduced. Before he got to the stage, we did our about-face. I saw one of Columbus's Finest heading our way. We were led out of Ohio Stadium. The officer realized there was a 3-year-old in my arms and told me we were being charged with disturbing the peace. If we chose to leave, the charges would be dropped immediately. With our daughter in mind, we chose not to fight it. But I understood that we no longer live in a free society.

Next time, I will not leave quietly. Next time, I will not allow you to intimidate my fellow Americans. Next time, I will have voter registration cards. And next time, I will have a babysitter.

Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2002

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2002, page 5. Some rights reserved.

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