"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel

Monday, November 24, 2008

Missile Defense - Not in ANYONE'S Back Yard


President Bush has pushed missile defense - an idea that has no proven efficacy, and worse, is an extraordinarily destabilizing influence from a global standpoint - throughout his administration, and just recently signed an accord with the Czech government to site a U.S. National Missile Defense (NMD) system in the Czech Republic. The only problem (well, at least one of them) is that the majority of the Czech people do not want NMD in their country.

There was a time not so long ago (when the cold war was ever so warm) that Europe bristled with missiles (courtesy of the United States) aimed at the Soviet Union. The Bush Administration's plan to site a NMD system in Czechoslovakia (a former Soviet Bloc country) has increased tensions between Russian and the U.S., and if pursued further, will likely lead to a new arms race. NOT a good idea (unless you happen to work for Lockheed-Martin)!!!

There will likely be tremendous pressure on President-elect Obama (as I described in a previous post) to continue the Bush NMD legacy, and Obama so far seems to be hedging his bets on this one. It will require a major grass roots push to move him away from this destabilizing (and downright dangerous) plan.
You can read the letter to Obama from Czech Mayors and the Czech nonviolence movement asking him to scrap the U.S. NMD plans. Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space has drafted a letter to President-elect Obama, in support of the Czech and Polish efforts to stop this destabilizing plan. You can read it at the end of this post.

If you - either as an individual or an organization - would like to sign on, please send bruce an email (as soon as possible) to globalnet@mindspring.com and include your name and/or organization, city and state.



Note: The top photo is from Bruce Gagnon's November 24th blog posting. The (lower) protest photo is from the Global Network's Website, and was taken at Lockheed-Martin, Pennsylvania during Keep Space for Peace Week.
Text of the Sign-On to Obama Letter Calling on Him to Reject Bush Plan to Deploy
"Missile Defense" Systems in Poland and Czech Republic

Dear President-Elect Obama:

We write to congratulate you on your recent election as President of the U.S. We want to help you in every way possible to promote peace around the world so that our national resources could be used for the tremendous needs we have here at home like health care, education, dealing with climate change and more.

We specifically write to urge you to reject the Bush administration plan to deploy "missile defense" interceptors in Poland and a Star Wars radar system in the Czech Republic. We know you are aware of Russia's deep concern that these deployments are really aimed at them in spite of Pentagon assurances they are only aimed at Iran.

Respected U.S. scientists George Lewis and Ted Postol recently studied these proposed deployments and wrote a piece called "The European missile defense folly" that was printed in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in the May/June issue of 2008. In their report Lewis and Postol state that, "Despite claims to the contrary by both Missile Defense Agency and State Department officials, the interceptors that Washington wants to deploy in Poland are fast enough to catch Russian ICBMs launched from locations west of the Ural Mountains toward the continental United States. The location of the interceptor site in Poland is ideal for this purpose."

Russia of course has responded that they will be required to upgrade their offensive nuclear capability if these U.S. weapons are indeed deployed in Central Europe. The people of Poland and the Czech Republic are in large numbers opposed to their countries being used as U.S. bases and we understand that in recent days over 30 mayors from Czech towns near the proposed U.S. radar base wrote you urging the planned be scrapped.

We too write urging you, in the strongest way possible, to take a stand for peace and a step for nuclear disarmament by rejecting the dangerous Bush deployment plan for Central Europe. Expanding U.S. military operations near Russia's borders will only help create a new Cold War and a new arms race that would eventually spread throughout Europe and beyond.

We look forward to hearing from you about how you intend to deal with this important issue. We wish you well and thank you for your attention to this matter of grave concern to us.

In peace,


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