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Letters and Advocacy August 2003

Letter to the Bush Administration

August 7, 2003

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As a committed member of the global security community and a representative of the xxxx unique individuals to have signed the enclosed petition, I am contacting you on this day in order to express the deep concern held by the Partnership for Active Disarmament in relation to the nuclear weapons policies proposed by your Administration in early 2002. This letter will argue that many of the policies outlined within the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) threaten to compromise not only the security and integrity of the United States of America, but to derail decades of progress made towards the mutual reduction of nuclear assets globally.

In an environment requiring ever-presence on behalf of security and intelligence forces in the face of unpredictable threats posed by terrorist groups and governments opposed to American interests, containing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is essential. Numerous analysts have suggested that the greatest threat to nuclear security comes from the degrading protection offered physical and intellectual assets of the Cold War age, and that securing Russian fissile materials, in particular, is an essential step in preventing unmonitored proliferation of weapons to rogue elements. Despite this, the budget designated towards the Cooperative Threat Reduction program by your administration is dwarfed by increased investments into unproven missile defense systems and the new homeland defense scheme.

Security through diplomacy is also at threat as a result of the naming of seven contingent targets within the NPR document, several of which are known non-nuclear states. Targeting non-nuclear states is not only of questionable strategic value, but risks breaching humanitarian law. Furthermore, it threatens the position of moral leadership maintained by the United States in regards to upholding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other international arms reduction agreements. When considered in conjunction with investments into ballistic missile defense, these actions risk triggering an arms development race.

That the NPR also proposes the possible development of new low-yield nuclear weapons is especially troubling. Doing so serves no strategic deterrent purpose, and risks blurring the distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons. The claim that conventional weapons are incapable of containing or destroying hardened and deeply buried targets is in defiance of scientific evidence to the contrary, much of which actually suggests that tactical nuclear devices are less well suited to this purpose, both in terms of effective penetration and the risks of containing fallout.

To this end, we recommend that your administration demonstrate a leadership role in reducing the nuclear threat by advocating an international protocol to ban research and development into low-yield nuclear weapons. Furthermore, we ask that you assure the international community of the United States' position to use nuclear weapons only in a case of defense by formally affirming a non-first use policy, and advocating for the same in your engagements with other nations.

Unless the root causes of disagreement and security threats are addressed, no new technology will serve as an all-pervasive solution. Walls, both in the metaphorical and physical senses, will just be built higher and tunnels deeper. Nuclear proliferation, it has been argued, is more likely to increase than diminish in the presence of a missile defence systems and a threatening posture maintained by the world's biggest nuclear power. This in turn increases the probability of WMD acquisition by rogue non-state players that aren't bound by the same limitations of accountability and compliance to international law as those governing the leadership of countries.

For these reasons, a path that prioritises active diplomacy and disarmament over deterrence and proliferation is not only in the best interests of the world, but provides far greater contextual security to the people and institutions of the United States and its allies.

Thank you for your consideration of our views. We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and your senior advisors to discuss these issues. Please reply to: Joshua Smith, Founder, The Partnership for Active Disarmament, PO Box xxxx, Arundel, Queensland, 4214, Australia, telephone +617-5555-5555.

Sincerely,

The Partnership for Active Disarmament
http://www.activedisarmament.org
 

CC:
The Hon. Colin L. Powell, Secretary of State
The Hon. Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
The Hon. John R. Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
The Hon. Douglas J. Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Stephen J. Hadley, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs


 

Letter to the US Senate

Dear Senator,

As advocates of global security through active disarmament, we are writing on behalf of both The Partnership for Active Disarmament and the xxxx signatories to the enclosed petition to urge you to re-implement the Spratt-Furse law banning development leading to the production of nuclear weapons with yields of less than five kilotons. This request is in response to the release of the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), and the subsequent elimination of the Spratt-Furse law under its recommendation.

There is little basis in scientific, political or strategic arguments in support of efforts to develop new nuclear weapons for practical battlefield use. Doing so endangers the nuclear taboo and the principle of deterrence by blurring the distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons. It also defies scientific evidence suggesting that conventional weapons are more effective in bunker-busting application than low-yield earth penetrating nuclear weapons.

The pursuit of new nuclear weapons threatens to undermine international arms reduction agreements and, in turn, to increase the probability of WMD proliferation by and to those states named within the NPR document. This is a risk too great for the United States to bear, both in economic terms (given that this renders investments into Cooperative Threat Reduction and the anti-ballistic missile defense system redundant) and political terms. Allowing for the researching and/or development of new weapons of mass destruction by the very Administration whose foreign policy has depended on arousing international opinion against such weapons is self-defeating.

We urge the Senate to enact a law that demonstrates a lasting commitment to the moratorium on nuclear development and testing, in the interests of global security and the maintenance of America's position of moral leadership on the world stage.

Sincerely,

The Partnership for Active Disarmament
http://www.activedisarmament.org




The Partnership for Active Disarmament encourages the reproduction of its original articles, with the written permission of the Editor.

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