ZERO, The Case for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

In his remarkably readable and informative book on why abolishing nuclear weapons is an imperative for a safe and secure world, David Krieger points out there is a growing consensus among the peoples of the world that ZERO nuclear weapons is the only option. David Krieger, a founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara, California and President of the Foundation since 1982, has devoted his life to educating, inspiring and urging world leaders and ordinary citizens to act with a sense of urgency in a quest to abolish nuclear weapons.

The United States’ nuclear strategy was built on the notion of mutually assured destruction: if any nation attacked the United States, we would respond by totally and complete destruction of the attacking nation. To pursue such a strategy the United States built an enormous nuclear arsenal with various response capabilities. To be able to withstand a first strike and retaliate, the US plan was to deploy our nuclear arsenal in the air, at sea and from land based missiles scattered across the country. With such an overwhelming ability to destroy any adversary, we were coaxed into believing no one would dare attack us. Such a false sense of security left other nations deciding they too must arm themselves with nuclear weapons, thus further perpetuating the false notion of security. In spite of the fact that the US and Russia have actually reduced their nuclear weapons, other nations continue to seek, or are believed to be seeking, a nuclear capability. In his book ZERO, The Case for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, David Krieger’s piece by piece analysis of the arguments in support of our continued reliance on nuclear deterrence convincingly demonstrates that it is a doomed and failed long range strategy for world peace and security. He grapples with such questions as: Do we really want to have the fate of the world and future generations entrusted to an ever changing cadre of world leaders who often govern under intense pressure (politically and emotionally) and stress?; Under such circumstances can these leaders be trusted to act prudently for the well being of all humankind?; If nuclear deterrence is so effective, why has the United States spent billions of dollars on missile defense systems?; Have those systems and nuclear arsenal stopped the attacks of 9/11? On the USS Cole? On our embassies in Africa and elsewhere?

With the fall of the Soviet Union, perhaps we have become complacent about the danger posed by nuclear weapons. ZERO awakens us to the dangers, costs, and absurdity of our reliance on these weapons for our security. . .because in reality with them, we are less secure. Krieger astutely observes that as long as the nine nations of the world’s “nuclear club” rely on the false notion of nuclear deterrence, we can expect nuclear war to loom over the future of the world.

Remembering the Hibakusha (the name given a person who survived the atomic bombs dropped on Japan), ZERO draws on the all too real, personal and intimate horrors nuclear war inflicts on all, individually and collectively, by relating the story of Miyoko Matsubara, a Hibakusha. Miyoko, 13 years old when the US dropped its atomic bombs on her country, describes how after the explosions her friend, Takiko, “simply disappeared from my sight.” Miyoko learned English so she could tell her story not to heap on us a sense of guilt and shame, but simply and quietly to give us a deeper understanding of the impact of weapons of mass destruction. She challenges us to become more aware of the world and a future we must avoid. Krieger’s book accepts that challenge by attempting to raise our consciousness and calling us to act in reducing nuclear weapons so there will not be a future of Hibakusha and others simply disappearing from our sight.

In the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu::

“This book makes a clear and persuasive case for why we must move urgently and globally to zero nuclear weapons. It should be required reading for all citizens of Earth.”

No matter your level of understanding on this all-important issue, ZERO is a concise and thoughtful book which will better your understanding of the development, history and proliferation of nuclear weapons and why nuclear disarmament is necessary for a secure world. It is an essential addition to your list of must reads.

Barry Ladendorf,
San Diego, Veterans For Peace
Hugh Thompson Chapter 091

Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

In his book “Empire of the Illusion”, Christopher Hedges clearly and convincingly, makes a strong argument that American citizens now live in a society that consistently works at dumbing down America. He illustrates his point by the following statement:

“This culture of illusion thrives by robbing us of the intellectual and linguistic tools to separate illusion from truth. It reduces us to the level of children.”

The author goes on to state:

“Our televisions are turned on for 6 hrs and 47 minutes a day in the average household. The average American watches, daily, more than 4hours of television.”

Our government and our society, in general, encourage this type of behavior for a reason. They want the American public to be distracted in their pursuit of trivia, which in turn, enables our government to freely go about carrying out their agenda. Unfortunately, the government’s agenda, more often than not, turns out to be contrary to the best interests of its citizens. For example more than 40% of all taxes collected are earmarked for activities related to war. This misdirection of funds benefits a few at the expense of the many.

What will be the negative consequences of having a uniformed citizenry? It is already happening. The richest 400 people in the United States have a greater net worth than the bottom one half of the population. Put another way, approximately 150 million people, combined, have less net worth than the 400 richest people in the United States. For me, personally, this is a staggering statistic that I find hard to wrap my mind around and it didn’t happen by accident.

Some young people, with four year degrees, can’t find a job and resort to removing their college education from their résumé in order not to appear overqualified when competing with high school graduates for a low paying entry job. Many people seldom enter into critical thinking and instead spend a great deal of time watching sports and reality shows on television. This almost total lack of intellectual curiosity will result in our liberties being, slowly but surely, taken aware from us. Intelligence and ignorance are not the same. Most people are reasonably intelligent but, at the same time they can be ignorant. Ignorance is a lack of knowledge and apparently no desire to seek knowledge.

We can’t look to our government to watch out for our interests or correct our societal problems. Almost all solutions, by necessity, must be accomplished by the people from the bottom up. As a matter of fact almost all important change happened with the dissent of a few people. Margaret Mead, a renowned anthropologist, had this to say: “Never doubt the effectiveness of a few people dedicated to a cause in making important change. As matter of fact it is the only way that true change has ever occurred”. So let us have heart but do realize that we all have our work cut out for us.

by Jack Doxey
Veterans For Peace, San Diego, Chapter 91

Congressional letter: Defund US military operations in Syria

Dear Senator/Representative:

I strongly object to our Administration’s decision to provide military aid to Syrian “rebels” in their war against Assad’s government. I do not support Assad’s regime, but more importantly, I strongly believe that the US (or any other foreign government) has no unilateral authority to intervene in Syria’s internal affairs, especially by means of arming one side in a bloody civil war. The Administration’s decision is particularly obscene because the rebel groups include such organizations as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which in all other circumstances would be considered an enemy of the US. In case the opposition forces (i.e., “rebels”) prevail, they will proceed to fight for power between each other, potentially turning Syria into a failed state and/or a breeding ground for radical Islamist groups.

The allegations of chemical weapons use by Assad’s government are contentious, not confirmed by the UN and strongly resemble the pre-Iraq war WMD lies. US involvement in Syria has little to do with chemical weapons but rather our government’s desire to engage in a proxy war with Iran aiding Assad’s regime [1].

Please oppose the Administration’s decision by sponsoring/supporting legislation denying the DOD or intelligence services funds for conducting military operations in Syria.