Local View: Believing nuclear weapons have military value is madness
From the column: "The Golden Rule, a boat devoted to peace, begins an 11,000-mile, 15-month voyage this month from the Twin Cities. ... The Golden Rule Project supports a negotiated plan for multilateral, time-bound, verifiable, and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons."
The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in 2017, now signed by 86 nations, pledging not to make, possess, receive, deploy, use, or threaten to use nuclear weapons. A signatory country agrees to not allow other nations to use its territory for deploying nuclear weapons.
Should the United States join the growing list of signatories to this treaty? Is this even a question on the political agenda for the Northland?
The threat of nuclear weapons is not high on the list of concerns for many of us who have to deal with a host of other serious and immediate issues connected with social equity, health care, infrastructure, environment, education, and the economy.
And yet, a nuclear catastrophe touches all these other issues, and our inability to check the spread of nuclear weapons threatens life for all of us — literally.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and numerous other watchdog organizations warn of the very real dangers of environmental collapse and the near annihilation of life as we know it should nuclear weapons ever be used again.
The costs for all nations to maintain these weapons are enormous and divert resources needed to address those other life-affirming and life-enhancing activities.
What’s more, numerous American military and defense officials have written and spoken about the madness of believing that nuclear weapons really have a military value in protecting us: George Kennan, Gen. Omar Bradley, Gen. George Lee Butler, Robert McNamara, and William Perry, among others.
Tip O’Neil, former speaker of the U.S. House, is often associated with the aphorism that “all politics is local.” Following O’Neil’s thinking, eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons is an issue that touches all of us and must be embraced by our political leaders at every level of governance.
To promote this idea, The Golden Rule, a boat devoted to peace, begins an 11,000-mile, 15-month voyage this month from the Twin Cities. The 34-foot ketch will sail down the Mississippi River, along the Gulf Coast, up the East Coast, into the Great Lakes and down the Chicago Ship Canal back to the Mississippi.
Sponsored by Veterans for Peace, The Golden Rule Project advocates for the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and supports local initiatives to press the U.S. government to join the 86 countries which have either signed or ratified the treaty.
The Golden Rule Project supports a negotiated plan for multilateral, time-bound, verifiable, and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons.
“We will have events in 28 big cities and 68 smaller towns along the way,” said Gerry Condon, president of the Golden Rule Steering Committee and former national president of Veterans for Peace. “Dozens of people are volunteering as organizers and crew. People are excited to host the Golden Rule peace boat and to spread her message of nuclear disarmament, peace, and sustainability.”
A group from the Golden Rule Project will be in the Twin Ports beginning with a welcoming press conference in front of Duluth City Hall at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8. Group members will make presentations at noon the same day at the Alworth Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth; the following day at 6:30 p.m., following a potluck supper at Peace Church in Duluth; and at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 11 at the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Duluth. In addition, the group will be on hand at the Harvest Festival at Bayfront Festival Park on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Please consider hearing their important — and very local — message. For more information, go to vfpgoldenruleproject.org.
Tom Morgan of Duluth is a member of Veterans for Peace, Chapter 80. He also is director emeritus of the Alworth Center for the Study of Peace & Justice and associate professor emeritus of Russian at the College of St. Scholastica.