Congressman Dennis Kucinich spoke at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action on Sunday, August 7, 2011 during the organizations annual gathering to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His speech was timely and powerful, calling on the United States to take concrete steps to work toward a nuclear weapon's free world. He also called on the US to forge a new doctrine of Strength through Peace. Kucinich wrapped up his speech by reminding us that it is up to we the people to "resolve that we shall become as architects of a new world free of fear, free of nuclear weapons, and free of war."
The following is the entire, unabridged transcript of Kucinich's speech. You can also watch the entire speech as well as the question and answer period by clicking here.
The human heart is Ground Zero. It’s in the human heart where blind fear hides in dark chambers. It’s there where murderous intensity is unleashed against our brothers and sisters and the world. It is there where nuclear explosions first take place. It’s there where the world ends.
The world also begins in the human heart. It’s where courage creates new possibilities. It’s where nuclear weapons can be abolished, and where war itself can be no more. The human heart is where the impulse for life resounds with such a powerful pulsation that one person, indeed all of humanity, experiences love through the energy of the heart, the rhythms of the heart, the luminosity of the heart. We draw from our hearts our own transformational potential and the ability to re-create the world.
We gather here not only to assert that doctrines of unilateralism, pre-emption and first strike must be set aside as profoundly dangerous relics. But we come together in recognition that nuclear weapons represent the ultimate escalation of war, and that it is our responsibility to make war itself obsolete through direct actions and through concrete steps that can take is in the direction of peace. For we cannot hope to abolish nuclear weapons unless we change the thinking that created those weapons and unless we change dramatically the U.S. role in the World.
We need a new doctrine of strength through peace, which relies on diplomacy the size of human relations addressing the needs of people everywhere for sustainability, for housing, for education, clean water, clean air and freedom from fear. A new doctrine of strength through peace will provide for a strong defense with a powerful basic fighting force of Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard that will re-establish America’s role in the world mindful of the cost and consequences of the US’ current global presence and the benefits of international cooperation for security through the United Nations.
The doctrine of strength through peace rejects counterinsurgency through recognition that every insurgency is precipitated and fueled by occupation. Provisions of a doctrine of strength through peace will call for the United States to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of 2011. Call upon the US to participate in a negotiated settlement to end the war in Libya. Call upon the US to stop the use of drone missile strikes. Call upon the US to lead a negotiated settlement in the Middle East which protects Israel’s survival and the Palestinians’ absolute right to self-determination while working to strengthen democratic principles, nonviolence, human rights and non-sectarianism in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia.
A doctrine of strength through peace calls upon the United States to renounce all policies of assassination. It forbids the Central Intelligence Agency from having any command and control over weapons systems. It calls upon the Air Force to drop its pursuit of Vision 20/20, which is a plan for the US to try to achieve superiority over space through putting weapons in outer space.
The doctrine of strength through peace sees that the US will fully comply with all international treaties and insist that our allies and partners do the same, including full compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Small Arms Treaty, the Land Mine Treaty, and it calls on the United States to join the International Criminal Court, and that US officials would have to be accountable to that criminal court.
A doctrine of strength of strength through peace sees the US in support of the Ground Zero movement, and that will lead us to nuclear abolition by taking the following steps:
1. to revise and repeal the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, which calls for sustaining nuclear forces,
2. to cancel the order for 12 new ICBM-capable subs,
3. to cancel the $29.4 billion in R&D in connection with that program,
4. to cancel the Air Force’s R&D for ICBM follow-ons,
5. to eliminate $600 million in funding under the National Nuclear Security Administration fiscal year 2012,
6. to eliminate $4.1 billion in funding for nuclear weapons modernization over the next five years,
7. to eliminate plans to spend an additional $85 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s weapons activities over the next decade,
8. to focus the CIA on identifying and if necessary interdicting and seizing nuclear materials from non-state actors.
Now consistent with that, the most valuable provision in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review calls for, and I quote, “enhancing national and international capabilities to disrupt illicit proliferation networks and interdict smuggled nuclear materials and continue to expand our nuclear forensics efforts to improve the capabilities to identify the source of nuclear material used or intended for use in a terrorist nuclear explosive device.
The 2010 NPR declares, quote, “The US will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear weapons state that are in compliance with this nation’s non-proliferation obligations.” This is a telling loophole though in the NPT, which opens the door to the threat of a nuclear attack upon Iran or North Korea, and as such this provision must be changed to forego the use of nuclear weapons against any nation.
The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review declares the US is not prepared to adopt a universal policy deterring a nuclear attack, declaring that a nuclear attack is the sole purpose of nuclear weapons, and would “only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the US, its allies or partners.” Here again the door is left open to interpreting circumstances, which would allow for the use of nuclear weapons. This provision must be deleted from future Nuclear Posture Reviews and deleted from the policy of the United States today.
It is time for us to challenge the doctrine of deterrence, and reveal it for what it is – a corollary to mutually assured destruction, which is the opposite of survival. The US must ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty once and for all, and we must stop subsidizing the nuclear power industry and its concomitant use of uranium where the byproduct creates material, which can be used for nuclear terrorism.
We can prevent nuclear terrorism by not ourselves threatening it against other nations. We can prevent nuclear proliferation by not participating in it, and thereby become a model for all nations. It’s time for us to deepen our partnership with Russia, and to expedite the arms reduction promise in the Moscow Treaty and START II. It’s time for a new partnership with China, for nuclear abolition and a new defense partnership with China to stop a new arms race from occurring and to stop the disagreements of the present from becoming the conflicts of the future.
Today as we gather in this beautiful setting we have to remember that our destiny and the fate of the planet is not outside our reach. It is within our grasp if it is within our hearts to abolish all weapons and to abolish war itself. On this great day when we reflect upon the great human tragedy of war and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki let us resolve that we shall become as architects of a new world free of fear, free of nuclear weapons, and free of war.
Thank you very much. [sustained applause] Thank you. Great to be here with you.
Notes: This transcript from the audio recording of Congressman Kucinich’s speech was made by Leonard Eiger, Media & Outreach Coordinator, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action. Congressman Kucinich’s speech was videotaped by Todd Boyle, and is posted at YouTube at http://youtu.be/Qo4fItuL8Zw.
Founded in 1977, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action offers the opportunity to explore the meaning and practice of nonviolence from a perspective of deep spiritual reflection, providing a means for witnessing to and resisting all nuclear weapons, especially Trident. We seek to go to the root of violence and injustice in our world and experience the transforming power of love through nonviolent direct action. Learn more at www.gzcenter.org.