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Peacemaking - An Imperative

At noon on September 21st, The International Day of Peace, the beautiful Japanese peace bell will ring –out at the United Nations in New York. People around the world (including Hendersonville) will speak, sing and pray for peace. We are all very concerned about violence in our own communities and the armed conflicts abroad. However, the ultimate threat to world peace and to our survival is the use of any portion of the now widely disseminated nuclear weapons. Each person must decide between actively working for their abolition or being passively accepting of their growing threat.

For some, the rationale for allowing the building and deployment of nuclear weapons is the belief that they somehow provide security from “rogue states” and an ”invulnerability” for our military. This political assessment fostered by a cadre of special interests has allowed the continuous funding and buildup of an enormous surplus of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.

From the perspective of peacemakers, nuclear weapons are:

Immoral - Preparing for the mass murder of innocent humans and other life forms

Dangerous - Proliferation, Terrorism, accidental launch or the need to gain or retain power will lead to their being used. (The use of sarin gas in Syria is testimony to the latter).

Diversion of financial and other human resources

Other lesser forms of violence that randomly take the lives of innocents such as biological weapons, poison gases, land mines and cluster bombs have been disallowed by consensus and treaties. Now, preparing for nuclear war is the remaining threat to lasting peace in the world. Most countries (129 0f 140) support an International binding treaty for nuclear weapons control and their abolition, “The Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC).” The drafting of this proposed treaty has been in progress since it was first brought to the United Nations General Assembly by Costa Rica in 1997. It has been continuously revised, updated and will again be presented at the UN in 2014.

The Convention thoroughly details the universal control and elimination of nuclear weapons in five stages; 1) DE alerting (preventing immediate hair- trigger launching). This would provide security from an accidental nuclear war. It is simple, uncontroversial and, I believe, the key to all that follows, 2) Removing the weapons from deployment, 3) Separating the warheads from delivery vehicles, 4) disabling the warheads and 5) Placing the fissile material under international control.

What is lacking is an informed and vocal public to make our political leaders to acknowledge the looming potential for a global disaster and the virtual uselessness of nuclear weapons. “With nuclear weapons in front of us, we only face destruction and annihilation. With the weapons behind us, we can all look forward to reaching the sunlit plateau of peace and justice, which has been the dream of humanity throughout the ages”.*

Dr. Stanley Dienst Henderson County Advocates for a Department of Peace

Western North Carolina Physicians for Social Responsibility

*Judge C. G. Weeramantry (International Court of Justice)

Mission Statement

PREVENTING WHAT WE CANNOT CURE: Physicians for Social Responsibility is the medical and public health voice working to prevent the use or spread of nuclear weapons and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and the toxic degradation of the environment.