Joseph Gerson

President, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament & Common Security

June 9, 2021

I am here to testify in favor of (S.1703 / H.2597)

I am the President of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security. My doctorate is in politics and international security studies.  In 1980 I helped to launch the nuclear weapons freeze campaign that contributed to the end of the Cold War, and in 1983, deeply aware of the Navy’s history of nuclear weapons accidents, I led the successful campaign to prevent the creation of a naval nuclear weapons base in Boston Harbor.  I have traveled frequently to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and worked with nuclear weapons victims there and with nuclear weapons victims from the U.S. and other countries.

Senator Warren tells us that the U.S. is slated to spend  $44.5 billion on nuclear weapons this year. Last year the U.S. spent $37.4, more than all the other nuclear weapons states combined.  When we are talking about preparations for ending all life on this planet, we need to be more honest than civil. In a word, our country’s preparations nuclear Armageddon  is obscene. It is suicidal madness. That our pension and other state funds are invested in weapons systems which if used would inflict genocide or, worse, nuclear winter and omnicide is criminal.

Nuclear weapons are not about defense or deterring nuclear attacks. As the GHW Bush era Doctrine for Joint Nuclear  Operations informed  us, “The focus of US deterrence is to influence potential adversaries to withhold action intended to harm US’ national interests.” Daniel Ellsberg, who served as a senior nuclear advisor to presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon has testified that since the Hiroshima & Nagasaki A—bombings which military leaders at the time advised were not necessary to end the war, has prepared and or threatened to INITIATE nuclear attacks during international crises and wars.  I have documented more than 30 such occasions in my books With Hiroshima Eyes and Empire and the Bomb. Additional documentation can be found in numerous presidential memoirs, the Force Without War report by the Brookings Institution, and in the scholarly work of many other academics.

Almost always these threats were made in relation to non-nuclear weapons states: to secure our oil under their sands, to ensure the success of a military coup, or to reinforce U.S. neocolonial Asia-Pacific hegemony.

Today, with the U.S. first-strike nuclear doctrine, its forces on hair trigger alert, and with our military engaged in provocative military actions in the South China/West Philippine, East China , Baltic, and Black Seas, and in and around Taiwan, an accident or miscalculation could all to easily trigger a conflict that can escalate beyond control, as nearly happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Who profits from fueling the existential threat of nuclear holocaust? Northrop Grumman which takes in $13.6 billion a year to prepare for nuclear annihilation, General Dynamics at $10.8 billion, Lockheed Martin  at $2 billion) Raytheon Technologies and $449.5 million – more given its manufacture of first-strike related missile defenses, and just across the river, Draper at $342 million.

Friends, eight decades ago Bayer and IG Farben manufactured zyklon B, the gas used to exterminate millions of Jews and others during the Nazi Holocaust. A single nuclear warhead targeted against Beijing, Pyongyang, St. Petersburg, or Moscow would kill many more innocent civilians than perished in what is widely understood to be the worst crime in human history. The launching of even a quarter of the U.S. nuclear arsenal would inflict nuclear winter, ending all life as we know it.

It is time to end our complicity.

Let’s cease investing in preparations for nuclear genocide or omnicide. The world, as we can see from the recent negotiation of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and demands for the abolition of nuclear weapons, expects no less from us.

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