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letters | PUSHING FOR PAUSE IN NUCLEAR ARMS RACE

A disarmament movement is growing

Three cheers for James Carroll (“Just say no to more nukes,” Op-ed, Jan. 5) for calling attention to the Marshall Islands’ lawsuit before the International Court of Justice, which seeks to hold the nuclear powers accountable to their legal obligation under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to negotiate the complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals.

Launching the suit was a courageous action by a tiny and highly dependent island nation, many of whose people continue to suffer profound health defects, 60 years later, from the 64 US nuclear weapons tests.

At the third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna last month, which I attended, representatives of nearly 160 governments learned about the continuing dangers of intentional or accidental nuclear weapons detonations. Eric Schlosser, author of “Command and Control,” has documented so many nuclear weapons accidents that he concludes that human survival to this point is more the result of luck than of policies.

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Fortunately, an international disarmament movement much like the one that Carroll hopes for is coming into being. In addition to the Marshall Islands, most of the world’s governments have been pressing demands for nuclear weapons abolition in the UN and other international forums. A network of 70 disarmament, justice, and climate change organizations is mobilizing to demand that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, beginning in April, conclude by mandating the commencement of negotiations for a convention to abolish nuclear weapons. We’ll be in the streets and the halls of power, launching a global peace wave.

Joseph Gerson
Cambridge

The writer is director of the peace and economic justice program of the American Friends Service Committee.