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Archive for February 19, 2010

An Open Letter to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin

An Open Letter to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin

by Paul Deaton

Dear Senator Harkin:

As Vice President Biden said yesterday during his speech at the National Defense University, “the very existence of nuclear weapons leaves the human race ever at the brink of self-destruction, particularly if the weapons fall into the wrong hands.”

I am a supporter of the administration’s arms control policy as Vice President Biden laid it out yesterday as I know you are. Like many of my friends, I choke at the thought of spending $7 billion on the stockpile stewardship program, when I know those funds could meet pressing needs elsewhere. I am willing to stay the course and I ask one thing of you.

Why haven’t you been speaking more publicly in support of the administration’s initiative?

During the past year, I have been traveling around the state speaking on the need for nuclear disarmament. One of the questions I am frequently asked is about Dr. Helen Caldicott who traveled with you and your family during your 1984 campaign. She remembered you in her memoir as “one of the staunchest supporters of the nuclear freeze.” I just found a copy of your book, Five Minutes to Midnight: Why the Nuclear Threat is Growing Faster than Ever and I look forward to reading it. Your staff has indicated to me that you support ratification of START and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. For many of us, you are one of the people wearing a white hat in Washington.

Our family and friends hate the gridlock in Washington. We look at nuclear disarmament as an issue where legislators of all party preferences should be able to come together in bipartisan support. For that to happen, there need to be leaders in breaking the partisan gridlock and my expectation is that you will be one of those leaders.

I urge you to speak publicly about you support for the administration’s arms control policy.

Equally important, reach across the aisle to people like Senator Lugar, Senator Grassley, Senator McCain and others you have known for decades and bring an end to the partisan gridlock by rallying around an issue that once the facts are known, most people would have little trouble supporting.

If you do this our children and grandchildren will thank you for it.

Best Regards, Paul Deaton

~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County.  Check
out his blog, Big Grove Garden.
  E-mail Paul Deaton

Iowa Senators Should Speak for Nuclear Disarmament

Iowa Senators Should Speak for Nuclear Disarmament

imageby Paul Deaton

if Iranian President Ahmadinejad can speak for nuclear
disarmament, one asks where Senators Harkin and Grassley have been on
the subject…”

We are tired of hearing people like Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be the ones to speak out for nuclear disarmament. When he
said, during an interview with Russia's NTV channel, “We believe that not
only the Middle East but also the whole world should be free of nuclear weapons
because we see such weapons as inhumane,” we became suspicious of his
motives. Our fears were confirmed when he said, “Those who claim that they are
against nuclear weapons should dismantle their nuclear weapons first to prove
that they are honest.” His suggestion that the United States go first with
nuclear disarmament raises fear that he would use such an event to strengthen
Iran’s nuclear posture. However; if Ahmadinejad can speak for nuclear
disarmament, one asks where Senators Harkin and Grassley have been on
the subject.

I have consulted with the staff of both senators, and
Senator Harkin supports the administration’s initiative on nuclear disarmament,
including his support for ratification of the New START and Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaties. Senator Grassley’s staff has indicated that he has an open mind
and will wait and see what initiatives the administration puts before the
Senate, and then decide his position once Senate debate is concluded. Both
senators have been publicly silent on nuclear disarmament in recent years.

While much has been said about the administration’s national
security intentions, members of the administration, Secretary of State Clinton,
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen
Tauscher and Vice President Biden have all been a constant voice in pursuit of
the President’s goal to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons in the world. Unfortunately,
the subject of nuclear disarmament has been a sleeper in the corporate media.
Even public television talk show host John McLaughlin called nuclear
disarmament, one of the most stagnant ideas of 2009. On December 27, 2009 he
said, “Most stagnant thinker of 2009: proponents of denuclearization; in other
words, a world without nuclear weapons. Forget about it. It will never happen.
Instead we should hope for MAD, M-A-D, mutually assured destruction.”

The administration
continues to speak out and take actions regarding nuclear disarmament. Most
recently, Vice President Biden addressed the administration policy during a
speech at the National Defense University in Washington on February 18. Biden

leading figures of the nuclear age grew ambivalent about aspects of this
nuclear order. George Kennan, whose writings gave birth to the theory of
nuclear deterrence, argued passionately, but with futility, against the
development of the hydrogen bomb. And Robert Oppenheimer famously lamented,
after watching the first mushroom cloud erupt from a device he helped design
that he had become, quote, ‘the destroyer of worlds.’

folks, President Obama's determined, I'm determined, Secretary Gates is determined,
General Cartwright is determined, our entire government is determined that the
destroyed world Oppenheimer feared must never become and will not become a
reality. That's why we are pursuing the peace and security of the world without
nuclear weapons.

awesome force at our disposal must always be balanced by the weight of our
shared responsibility. Every day, many of you in this room, many of you in this
audience help bear that burden with professionalism, courage and grace. A
grateful nation appreciates your service. But together, together, we have to
demonstrate to the world that we're going to live up to our responsibilities.
Together, we will lead this world toward a world of less reliance, and
ultimately no reliance, on nuclear weapons.”

While many in the community choke on the $7 billion annual
budget proposed to maintain our nuclear stockpile, if we reduced our reliance
on nuclear weapons for national security, we could re-direct these funds
elsewhere. We hope to hear more in the public arena from our Iowa Senators and
move this initiative forward. There is no longer a reason for Senators Harkin
and Grassley to refrain from speaking out on nuclear disarmament as the path is
becoming increasingly clear.

 ~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County.  Check
out his blog, Big Grove Garden.
  E-mail Paul Deaton

**BFIA Action Alert**

Write your Senators and ask them to speak out in support of President Obama's nuclear disarmament policy. Don't let the extremists of the world soak up media attention on this important issue.

Click here to send a message to Senator Grassley.

Click here to send a message to Senator Harkin.

If you liked this post, try David Shorr's “Test Ban Treaty – Golden Opportunity for Republican Bipartisanship by clicking here.