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Veterans Call for Disarmament

The US/NATO showdown with Russia over Ukraine is a stark reminder of how close the world is to a possible nuclear war. The one-sided reporting in the U.S. media, with little historical context, is what we see whenever the U.S. is getting ready to go to war. The lack of any meaningful opposition in Congress, even from supposed progressive Democrats, is alarming. Are there no adults in the room? 

Is President Biden a captive of the neocons and their patrons in the weapons-of-mass-destruction industry? Is the tail wagging the dog? No wonder the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is maintaining its Doomsday Clock at only 100 seconds from midnight. 

We can hope that quiet diplomacy taking place in the background will overshadow the stubborn public refusal to acknowledge Russia’s understandable security concerns.

We can hope that quiet diplomacy taking place in the background will overshadow the stubborn public refusal to acknowledge Russia’s understandable security concerns. Can you imagine the U.S. response if Russia was positioning missile systems and troops in Canada or Mexico? 

Given that the U.S. and Russia possess the lion’s share of nuclear weapons – over 6,000 each – the world will breathe a collective sigh of relief if war is avoided. But how long before the next crisis? Is the world really safer with nuclear “deterrence” (aka “mutually assured destruction”)?

The Pentagon is currently putting its finishing touches on the Biden Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. Rumors are that it will not reflect President Biden’s stated goal of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security defense strategy. It will not call for the U.S. to adopt a policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons. It will not call for the U.S. to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It will not call on the U.S. to adhere to its obligations under the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which require it to negotiate in good faith to reduce and eventual eliminate all nuclear weapons.

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Veterans For Peace has therefore stepped up to provide its own Nuclear Posture Review, one that abandons the policy of full spectrum dominance and replaces it with full spectrum cooperation. 

“Veterans are all too familiar with the horrible costs of war,” says retired Marine Corps Major Ken Mayers, who serves on the Board of Veterans For Peace. “It is appropriate that military veterans are standing up for nuclear disarmament and peace.”

The Veterans For Peace document reviews the U.S. posture toward each of the nuclear-armed states, plus Iran, which has no nuclear weapons. The veterans call on the U.S. to take immediate steps to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war, such as implementing a No First Use policy and taking nuclear missiles off hair trigger alert. It calls on the U.S. to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

“If the United States takes the first steps toward eliminating nuclear weapons, other nuclear-armed states will follow,” says Ken Mayers of Veterans For Peace. “This is the kind of leadership that the people of the world want to see today.”

The Veterans For Peace Nuclear Posture Review contains sixteen specific proposals for reducing the risk of nuclear war and building momentum for nuclear disarmament. Veterans For Peace is sending it to President Biden, to Vice President Kamala Harris, and to every Member of Congress.

Gerry Condon Promo Image

The current crisis over Ukraine demonstrates what a dangerously unstable world we are living in today. The elimination of nuclear weapons must go hand-in-hand with non-intervention in the internal affairs of other nations, as called for in the UN Charter. If we prioritize mutual respect among all peoples, we can survive the current crisis and avoid a future war that could literally destroy human civilization.

Gerry Condon