Peace Train for Friday February 8, 2019
By JUDITH MOHLING
Tighten your seat belts, say your prayers and organize! The U.S. has officially pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty or INF. And, as expected, so has Russia. According to the DW Newsletter, Russia will begin building new missiles and the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, the part of the Department of Energy that oversees weapons production, announced this week that it has begun production of a new low-yield nuclear weapon that is about one-third as powerful as the bomb used on Hiroshima. These bombs are considered by some “small enough to use.” It could be ready for deployment by the end of the year, according to the New York Times.
The INF treaty required the U. S. and the Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. It has been in effect since 1987, according to Daryl Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. The two countries destroyed a total of 2,692 short, medium and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty’s deadline in June, 1991, and it has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe for three decades.
Welcome to the new age of nuclear instability. This seems to be a very perilous time in which agreements that have restrained the most dangerous weapons on the planet are dissolving and terrible new technologies — including cyberweapons that could attack nuclear command and control systems — are advancing quickly. The likelihood of a nuclear accident or blunder seems to be growing by the day.
TomDispatch.com suggests, “Imagine for a moment a genuine absurdity: Somewhere in the United States, the highly profitable operations of a set of corporations were based on the possibility that sooner or later your neighborhood would be destroyed and you and all your neighbors annihilated. And not just you and your neighbors, but others and their neighbors across the planet. What would we think of such companies, of such a project, of the mega-profits made off it?”
Such companies actually exist and make massive profits. They may be salivating right now with President Trump’s and President Putin’s withdrawals from the INF. You know the familiar names: companies such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics,and Lockheed Martin, according to TomDispatch.com.
What can we do? Tomorrow Reps. Ted Lieu and Adam Smith will re-introduce their Hold the LYNE Act to bar funding for the more useable W76-2 “low-yield” warhead. Sen. Markey will introduce a companion bill in the Senate.
The goal of the bill is to build support for Congress preventing deployment of this warhead in the National Defense Authorization Act; the bill itself will not be put to a vote. Let’s get a majority of House Democrats to cosponsor the legislation by writing letters to editors of newspapers and phoning Colorado legislators, Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Michael Bennet, Representatives Jason Crow, Joe Neguse and Diana DeGette.