(January 19, 2022) — The US-based international organization Veterans For Peace has released its own assessment of the current global threat of nuclear war, ahead of the anticipated release of the Biden Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. The Veterans For Peace Nuclear Posture Review warns that the danger of nuclear war is greater than ever and that nuclear disarmament must be vigorously pursued. Veterans For Peace plans to deliver their Nuclear Posture Review to the President and Vice President, to every member of Congress, and to the Pentagon.
With the first anniversary of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on January 22, the Veterans For Peace Nuclear Posture Review calls on the US government to sign the treaty and to work with other nuclear-armed states to eliminate all the world’s nuclear weapons. The TPNW, approved by a vote of 122-1 in the UN General Assembly in July of 2017, reflects the international consensus against the existence of such weapons.
Veterans For Peace Nuclear Posture Review also calls for measures that would reduce the risk of nuclear war, such as implementing policies for No First Use and taking nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.
As early as this month, President Biden is expected to issue a United States Nuclear Posture Review, prepared by the Department of Defense in a tradition started in 1994 during the Clinton Administration and continued during the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. Veterans For Peace anticipates that the Biden Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review will continue to reflect the unrealistic goals of full spectrum dominance and justify the continuing expenditure of billions of dollars on nuclear weapons.
“Veterans have learned the hard way to be skeptical of our government’s military adventures, which have led us from one disastrous war to another,” said Ken Mayers, a retired Marine Corps major. “Nuclear weapons are a threat to the very existence of human civilization,” continued Mayers, “so the US nuclear posture is too important to be left to the cold warriors at the Pentagon. Veterans For Peace has developed our own Nuclear Posture Review, one that is consistent with US treaty obligations and reflects the research and work of many arms control experts.”
The 10-page document prepared by Veterans For Peace reviews the nuclear posture of all the nuclear-armed states — the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. It makes a number of recommendations for how the US could provide leadership to begin a process of worldwide disarmament.
“This is not rocket science,” said Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran and former president of Veterans For Peace. “The experts make nuclear disarmament seem impossibly difficult. However, there is a growing international consensus against the existence of such weapons. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was approved overwhelmingly by the UN General Assembly in July 2017 and went into effect on January 22, 2021. It IS possible and necessary to eliminate all nuclear weapons, as 122 nations of the world have agreed.”
Veterans For Peace Nuclear Posture Review
This January, President Biden is expected to issue a United States Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), prepared by the Department of Defense in a tradition started in 1994 during the Clinton Administration and continued during the Bush, Trump and Obama presidencies.
Veterans For Peace is concerned that the world is on a downward spiral toward climate catastrophe and our nation increasingly wastes its scarce resources on weapons that are ultimately useless except to line the pockets of the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academic-Think-Tank Complex (MICIMATT). International security would best be served by committing a World War level of effort to address the climate crisis rather than preparing for every conceivable military threat.
As veterans who have learned the hard way that serving our government is not always serving our country, members of Veterans For Peace may be more likely than most to distrust pronouncements from the so-called “Defense” establishment. We remember the fraudulent use of the Tonkin Gulf incident which victimized so many of us, the WMD hoax preceding the invasion of Iraq, the use of the “bomber gap” of the 1950s and the “missile gap” of the 1960s to advance the influence of the Military Industrial Complex about which President Eisenhower warned us.
The Defense Department’s Nuclear Posture Review is being drafted when international consensus against the existence of such weapons is building, as exemplified in the number of nations which have supported the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The treaty was passed by the UN General Assembly on July 7, 2017 with 122 nations in favor and one opposed. The US attacked the whole process and organized a boycott of the vote. The Treaty has since been signed by 86 nations and ratified by 57. It entered into force on January 22, 2021.
THE STATE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE WORLD TODAY
There are 14,000 nuclear bombs on the planet today, with 13,000 of them controlled by the US and Russia. The other seven nuclear powers — China, France, UK, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — have little over 1,000 in all. It is clear that if we are actually to abolish nuclear weapons, it is up to the US and Russia to take the lead.
With a US proposed budget of nearly two trillion dollars in the next 30 years for two new bomb factories, new missiles, planes, submarines, and redesigned warheads, it is clear that the US is not acting in “good faith” for a “cessation of the arms race at an early date” as required by the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which it is a signatory.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON HAIR-TRIGGER
ALERT POISED AND READY TO FIRE
The US and Russia each maintain about 900 weapons on hair-trigger alert, mounted on missiles, poised and ready to fire. Since the 1950s there have been countless accidents, near misses, airplane crashes carrying nuclear bombs, missing airplanes with nuclear weapons, and nuclear weapons sent to the wrong location — a whole parade of horrible near disasters.
For example, in the documentary film, The Man Who Saved the World, Soviet Colonel Stanislav Petrov had been stationed in his Moscow bunker in 1983, monitoring for incoming attacks. He saw some blips on his computer screen that indicated US missiles were coming in for a nuclear attack on Russia. His orders were to fire all the Soviet missiles against major American cities, but he waited.
It turned out to be a computer error!
In 2007, six US cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads were mistakenly loaded onto a B-52 bomber in North Dakota and flown to a base in Louisiana. No one realized the bombs were missing for 36 hours! We have been surviving on sheer luck.