October 8, 2017
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Dear  :

A possible nuclear war presents an intolerable situation to our nation and to the human race.  Yet, the public seems rather unaware of nuclear dangers.  The Doomsday Clock, set by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, is now fixed at two minutes to midnight, and, according to William Perry, the former Secretary of Defense, we are in a more perilous period now than even during the Cold War. 

Given the urgency of the situation we face today, we need to address urgently steps to reduce the nuclear threat and to broaden understanding of what is truly at stake.  We are a coalition led by Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility.[1]  In addition to Chesapeake PSR, most of our members are part of the Maryland Peace Action Network (the Network), formed to enhance our power statewide, and composed of numerous local peace and justice groups in Maryland.[2]  Working closely with PSR and the Network is a new dynamic group, Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland.  

To create a statewide campaign, we are holding a conference of peace and progressive groups, November 17, at Goucher College, to forge a common approach and raise these issues in Annapolis, in the national consciousness and on the agenda on Capitol Hill.  We have been working with Dr. Seble Dawit, Associate Professor of Peace Studies, at Goucher College. Goucher’s participation is supported by the Human Rights and Nonviolence Fund endowed by our friend of blessed memory, Professor Joe Morton. Please sign up for the event here.

The conference will organize around “Back from the Brink,” the central document of the campaign.  It was started by PSR and the Union of Concerned Scientists and has been endorsed by many national organizations.[3]  The “Back from the Brink,” document includes the following major points:

We call on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by: 

  • renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first
  • ending the president’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack 
  • taking US nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert 
  • cancelling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons;
  • actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

The United States should embrace this call for nuclear disarmament as the centerpiece of our national security policy. (Please see the “Back from the Brink” background materials below.[4])

Maryland now has 27 groups that have endorsed “Back from the Brink.” We hope to bring all of these groups together at this conference to coordinate our work, such as passing resolutions in more towns and cities and working with state delegates and senators on legislation to support “Back from the Brink.”  We also hope to further effectuate, where possible, the UN effort to make nuclear weapons illegal. 

We estimate that we will have 150 participants at the conference though we will budget for 200.  If we have excess funds we will use them for organizing our statewide efforts that grow out of the conference.  We hope to raise about $3,725 to cover costs for this conference. 

 

This conference will allow us to establish the centrality of nuclear issues especially in Maryland.  We will let you know the results of this conference.

If you would like to support this conference, you can donate on-line here, or you can kindly make out checks to PSR and return to:

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

325 East 25th Street 

Baltimore, MD 21218

 

Sincerely yours, 

 

Gwen DuBois, M.D., M.P.H., President,

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

Founder, Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland

 

Stephen A. Buff, Ph.D.

Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland

Maryland Peace Action Network

Coordinator, Howard County Peace Action

 

_____________________

[1] The Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is a member of both the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 and of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons that won the Peace Prize in 2017 for work on the groundbreaking UN Treaty to prohibit Nuclear Weapons.  

[2] The Maryland Peace Action Network is a new coalition composed of: Anne Arundel Peace Action, Howard County Peace Action, Maryland United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action Montgomery, and the Peace and Justice Coalition of Prince George’s County.  (The aforementioned Peace Action groups are affiliates of the national organization, Peace Action, formerly SANE/Freeze, the largest grassroots peace network in the U. S., mobilizing for peace, anti-nuclear issues and disarmament since 1957.)

[3] The “Back From the Brink” campaign includes the Union of Concerned Scientists and Soka Gakkai (Buddhist) and is now supported by over 100 groups including the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Islamic Association of Boston, Friends of the Earth, Federation of American Scientists, Hip Hop Caucus, etc.  

[4] Background materials for “Back from the Brink:” 

Since the height of the Cold War the U.S. and Russia have dismantled more than 50,000 nuclear warheads, but 15,000 of these weapons still exist and they pose an intolerable risk to human survival. 95% of these weapons are in the hands of the United States and Russia. The rest are held by seven other countries, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.  https://fas.org/issues/nuclear-weapons/status-world-nuclear-forces/

The use of even a tiny fraction of these weapons would cause worldwide climate disruption and global famine. As few as 100 Hiroshima sized bombs, small by modern standards, would put at least 5 million tons of soot into the upper atmosphere and cause climate disruption across the planet, cutting food production and putting 2 billion people at risk of starvation. http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/two-billion-at-risk.pdf

A large-scale nuclear war would kill hundreds of millions of people directly and cause unimaginable environmental damage. https://www.psr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/projected-us-casualties- russian-attack.pdf 

It would also cause catastrophic climate disruption dropping temperatures across the planet to levels not seen since the last ice age. Under these conditions the vast majority of the human race would starve and it is possible we would become extinct as a species. http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/RobockNW2006JD008235.pdf

Despite assurances that these arsenals exist solely to guarantee they are never used, there have been many occasions when nuclear-armed countries have prepared to use these weapons, and war has been averted at the last minute. http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/04/Close%20Calls%20with%20Nuclear%20We apons.pdf

Nuclear weapons do not possess some magical quality that prevents their being used. As former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said, speaking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, “In the end, we lucked out — it was luck that prevented nuclear war.” Our current nuclear policy is essentially the hope that our good luck lasts.  Furthermore, the danger of nuclear war is growing as climate change puts increased stress on communities around the world increasing the likelihood of conflict. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/once-again-climate-change-cited-as-trigger-for-war/

The planned expenditure of $1.2 trillion to enhance our nuclear arsenal will exacerbate these dangers by fueling a global arms race and it will divert crucial resources needed to assure the well-being of the American people.  https://www.psr.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/us-nuclear- buildup.pdf

There is an alternative to this march to nuclear war. In July of 2017, 122 nations called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. http://www.icanw.org/treaty-on-the-prohibition-of-nuclear-weapons/ 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chesapeake PSR is a strong health voice on issues of environment, social justice and peace. Our volunteer activists are medical and health professionals and interested individuals. Please volunteer with Chesapeake PSR, donate, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


 
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Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
325 East 25th St, Baltimore, Maryland 21218
t 240-246-4492

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