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“Denuclearization” is for every country 

March 4, 2019

Guest opinion

By Vic Hummert

Gen. Russell Honoré, who led the response to Hurricane Katrina, said he could “live without” nuclear weapons.

The United Nations session of July 7, 2017 was a monumental gathering during which 123 out of 195 countries voted to abolish nuclear weapons.

Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. Nearly 2,000 people died in that tragic natural mishap. General Russell Honoré, a Louisiana native, was sent to organize relief efforts for the devastated city.  When I asked General Honore’ what he thought of nuclear weapons, he promptly replied, “I could live without them!”  Encouraged by his reply, I asked why the USA and its UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, were so opposed to abolition. General Honoré said, “because of the money involved.” The building of nuclear weapons is a multi-trillion dollar enterprise employing tens of thousands at more than twenty locations around the United States.

I personally visited Pantex, the largest employer in Amarillo, Texas. This  huge complex is one of many  atomic weapon facilities in the nation. If Ambassador Haley, as former governor of South Carolina, had urged support for nuclear abolition, she would have been harming the economy of  a state where the Savannah River nuclear facility employs thousands in the national security business. The Savannah facility is known as a “Fort Knox of the atomic defense industry.”

President Obama approved a trillion-dollar, thirty-year proposal for modernization of nuclear weapons. Modernization only makes nuclear war more possible.

The International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was honored with a Nobel Peace Prize following passage of the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Pakistan and India are nuclear nations which have gone to war three times over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Indian novelist Arundhati Roy has pondered the tension existing in our present atomic age. She has responded to the situation philosophically: “It could all be over in an afternoon!”

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientistsdoomsday clock has placed the minute hand at two minutes before midnight, the closest we have come to nuclear warfare since 1945.

With 15,000 nuclear weapons in the arsenals of nine nations, will all leaders expand their concept of “denuclearization” to every country in the world?

7,701 mayors for peace in 163 countries have already voted for abolition. What is your mayor thinking?

 Vic Hummert, an IPPNW supporter and ardent abolitionist, lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.

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