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The New Nuclear Threat

The Dangers of High Alert
While the United States and other nations have agreed to limits on the testing of nuclear weapons, no agreement has been reached to de-alert the weapons they now have pointing at each other's silos and cities. Several accidental near-firings have occurred in the past years, on the part of both the US and the Soviet Union, occasioned by such things as misplaced training tapes and weather balloons. Needless to say, these firings would have had disastrous consequences for both the US and the Soviet Union.

Building New Nuclear Weapons: The “Bunker Buster”
As if the dangers posed by the existing nuclear arsenal were not enough, the US administration is currently planning to develop a new class of nuclear weapon. Officially labeled the “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator,” the “Bunker Buster” is meant to be a small, battlefield-deployed nuclear weapon that would target underground bunkers. This program demonstrates a blatant disregard for the US’ obligations under current treaties and sends the message that we're willing to deploy nuclear weapons in the event of conflict.

Current Opposition to the Administration's Plans
In an open letter to President Bush, Physicians for Social Responsibility co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, stated “we are particularly disturbed by your unilateral threats to use nuclear weapons against sovereign nations. According to the International Court of Justice, this is both morally indefensible and legally impermissible....This stance clearly flouts long-standing U.S. legal obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons and can only stimulate the proliferation of nuclear weapons....which will increase the ability of terrorists to obtain nuclear devices.” See PSR’s full statement here.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quaker) and The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists agree and state that “a small group of Pentagon strategists and certain members of Congress are pushing to develop a new ‘small’ nuclear weapon called the ‘bunker buster’.” It could be used in a preemptive strike against countries such as Iraq, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea , and Libya. This bunker-buster program can — and must — be stopped. See the full text of the FCNL statement and the full text of the BAS statement.

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