Sunday, April 11, 2010


There were hopeful news stories this week about a new STrategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed between Russia and the U.S. in Prague. Our President Barack Obama has stated one year ago, the intention to go further, to abolish all nuclear weapons worldwide. He convenes a summit this week of 47 world leader to discuss how to limit nuclear material and technology so it doesn’t get in to the “wrong hands.” Iran, North Korea, and Syria were not invited, and Israel’s Netanyahu excused himself.* As the 4-10-10 AP story headlined, “U.S.: Al-Qaida exemplifies new-age nuclear threat.” In the first week of May the countries of the world will convene at the United Nations, as they do every 5 years, to try again to implement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty {yet to be signed by Israel, to the dismay of everyone else in the Middle East}. We purport to see well the speck in the evil-axis others’ nuclear arms programs, while we still ignore the huge nuclear weapons plank that distorts our own vision, and is a scandal to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, the hopeful news about this START treaty just signed with Russia, to reduce the nuclear arsenal by "up to 30%, has its underside—a nuclear warheads shell game. “The new agreement with the Russians is over launchers and delivery systems, and does not require the dismantlement of weapons.” As with the many previous treaties, a great number of nuclear warheads are not required to be destroyed, only to be stored in warehouses not far from the missiles from which they are removed.

And please read the article in the NYT of 4-08-10: Disposal of Plutonium From U.S.-Russian Disarmament Is Likely to Take Decades.** One reason that full dismemberment of warheads continues to be delayed is that the new reactors supposed to be capable of truly dismantling the nuclear cores of bombs, have not yet been built. Not one has been built. After decades of warehousing nuclear warheads, ours and the Russians, we are still not committed to developing and implementing the difficult technology of truly disposing of these weapons of mass destruction. The possibility persists that those that on paper have been part of disarmament will reappear on modernized missile delivery systems. That is the hedged bet of influential strategists in our government who’ve been given the name “the nuclear priesthood” in deference to their devotion to the unmitigated power of our nuclear arms race dominance.

ur president, and a number these nuclear weapons strategists, have begun to defect, towards common sense— you’ll never convince others not to build them when you continue to rely on them yourself. [ One website with details of this movement:, and another movement***--see below] The thousands that lie around in warehouses, as well as those still attached to missiles, all increase the real possibility that a rogue state, terrorist group, or a distinguished superpower, will re-discover a way to explode one, bringing a renewed level of disaster to the whole human race. We must work and pray, in whatever way we can, to support efforts for true effective disarmament, nuclear and conventional. As tax day, April 15, approaches, let’s examine again the connections we all have with WMD and societies that idolize weaponry.

But consider the utterly fabulous amount of money, planning, energy, anxiety, and care which go into the production of weapons which almost immediately become obsolete and have to be scrapped. Contrast all this with the pitiful little gesture: "pray for peace" piously canceling our four-cent stamps! --- Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, 1962. [p. 35 Passion for Peace]

Prayer and sacrifice must be used as the most effective spiritual weapons in the war against war, and like all weapons they must be used with deliberate aim: not just with a vague aspiration for peace and security, but against violence and against war.--- Thomas Merton, 1962 [p.26 Passion for Peace]




Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

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