Monday, August 20, 2018

Baltimore City Council calls for nuclear disarmament, Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP

   On August 6, the day the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, Baltimore’s City Council will make positive life-sustaining history. Led by Bill Henry and Mary Pat Clarke, councilmembers will vote for Council Resolution Request for Federal Action – Move Back From the Brink and Toward Nuclear Disarmament. Baltimore will be the first major city in the United States to sign on to Back From the Brink, joining eleven small cities and towns in Massachusetts and Ojai, California.
 This “Call to Prevent Nuclear War”  
1-Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first;
2-Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any U.S. president to launch a nuclear attack;
3-Taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert;
4-Cancelling the plan to replace its entire nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons: and
5-Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.
  According to an Agence France-Presse in Tokyo article which appeared in The Guardian on August 30, 2017, “the first atomic bomb” was responsible for “killing about 140,000 people. The toll includes those who survived the explosion itself but died soon after from severe radiation exposure. Three days later, the US dropped a plutonium bomb on the port city of Nagasaki, killing 74,000 people.”
  Presently there are 15,000 nuclear weapons in arsenals around the world, most of them controlled by the U.S. and Russia. Over the next 30 years, the U.S. intends to spend $1.2 trillion to refurbish its nuclear arsenal and create lower-yield weapons which could increase the likelihood they may be used.   
 The Council’s resolution breaks down the cost to taxpayers: “Whereas just in the past year, Baltimoreans averaged $175 per capita for a ‘nuclear weapons war tax’ paying a collective “$107.5 million in federal taxes toward the cost of producing, deploying and maintaining nuclear weapons. Marylanders as a whole averaged $244 per capita, with the state collectively paying an estimated $1.45 billion in 2017 federal taxes toward our country’s cost of nuclear weapons.
 On July 7, 2017 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by 122 countries at the United Nations. This Treaty makes it illegal under international law to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.  Participating in securing this Treaty were antinuclear activists from around the world, including advocates from Baltimore with Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Jonah House. Prevent Nuclear War Maryland is a group working at the city, state and Congressional level to urge the U.S. government to embrace the Treaty. 
 The Vatican was the first nation to ratify the Treaty.  Gerald O'Connell makes clear the pope’s perspective in "Nuclear disarmament now a 'moral imperative' as Pope Francis rejects deterrence," published in the November 13, 2017 issue of America, The Jesuit Review: “In a landmark statement on nuclear arms on Nov. 10, Pope Francis has categorically condemned not only ‘the threat of their use’ but also ‘their very possession.'" He also reported that at a Vatican symposium which included representatives from the United States and Russia, the pope articulated his grave concern that “international relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation and the parading of stockpiles of arms.”
The Baltimore City Council will speak out. Concerned citizens and organizations can get involved by signing on to Back From the Brink at and by expressing their concerns to members of the state legislature and the elected representatives in Washington.
 Back From the Brink is a reminder that spending billions of tax dollars on revamping the nuclear arsenal is an affront to the needs of the people.  In Baltimore, for example, we need affordable housing, health care for all, outstanding public education, sustainable transportation options, a living wage, and the rebuilding of outdated infrastructure.
 Let us show respect for Mother Earth by remembering what the Hibakusha, atomic bomb survivors, say -- Never Again.  As long as these awful and immoral weapons exist, they may be used.  This is a legacy that can’t be left to our children.  Now is the time to reduce the risk of nuclear war which will ultimately require the abolition of nuclear weapons.
 Janice Sevre-Duszynska is a member of Prevent Nuclear War Maryland.

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