Opposition to United States Plans for New Nuclear Weapons Development and Pre-emptive War

  • Date: Nov 18 2003
  • Policy Number: 200324

Key Words: Armed Forces, Congress, Nuclear War Weapons Wastes, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Waste, Warfare, White House

The American Public Health Association,

Recognizing that the APHA Governing Council has adopted policy statements opposing the testing and development of nuclear weapons, and supporting their abolition,1,2 in line with well-established public health concerns documented in the updated edition of "War and Public Health" published by APHA3; and

Noting that the U.S. government has released a Nuclear Posture Review that calls for developing and deploying new nuclear weapons, and explicitly discusses contingencies for U.S. use of its proposed improved nuclear strike capabilities4; and

Understanding that U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories are designing advanced earth-penetrating (bunker-buster) weapons,5 manufacturing a new generation of nuclear components to update old warheads, and preparing for renewed nuclear testing6; and

Observing that “The National Security Strategy of the United States” has rejected most non-proliferation treaties in favor of a doctrine of pre-emptive war against states and organizations perceived to be hostile to the United States7; and

Understanding that the aforementioned changes in U.S. nuclear and military policy threaten to usher in a new era of nuclear weapons proliferation that could increase the chances for nuclear or radiologic weapons to be used in “terrorist” scenarios8; Therefore

  1. Calls on the United States government to explicitly reaffirm its historical commitment to international treaties aimed at curbing the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction; and
  2. Calls on the United States government to abandon plans to modernize its nuclear weapons arsenal and to abandon its plans to initiate a new era of nuclear testing; and
  3. Calls on the United States to reverse its new doctrine of pre-emptive war in favor of internationally sanctioned approaches towards resolving conflicts through negotiations under the auspices of peaceful global mechanisms such as afforded by the United Nations.

References

  1. APHA Policy Statement 9605: Cessation of Nuclear Testing and Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. APHA Policy Statements 1948-present, cumulative. Washington DC: American Public Health Association; current volume.
  2. APHA Policy Statement 9804: Cessation of Continued Development of Nuclear Weapons. APHA Policy Statements 1948-present, cumulative. Washington DC: American Public Health Association; current volume.
  3. Levy BS, Sidel VW, eds. War and Public Health. New York: Oxford University Press (published in cooperation with the American Public Health Association), 1997; updated papercover edition, American Public Health Association, 2000.
  4. Hulse C, Dao J. Bush Administration Examines Steps to a Revamped Arsenal. New York Times. May 29, 2003; Physicians for Social Responsibility. Nuclear Weapons in Counterproliferation: Responding to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Threat. Washington DC, 2001. Available at: http://www.psr.org/s11/chembionucthreat.html. Accessed November 6, 2002.
  5. Sidel VW, Geiger HJ, Abrams HL, Nelson RW and Loretz J. The Threat of Low-Yield Earth-Penetrating Nuclear Weapons to Civilian Populations: Nuclear “Bunker Busters” and Their Medical Consequences. Cambridge, Mass.: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, 2003. Available at: http://www.ippnw.org/IPPNWEPWReport.pdf. Accessed June 2, 2003.
  6. Richter P. Door Opened for New Era of Nuclear Arms. Los Angeles Times. May 10, 2003; Sterngold J. Resurgence for Nuclear Labs. Scientists Designing Weapons for Terror War, Planning Underground Tests. San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 2002.
  7. Sanger D. Bush Outlines Doctrine of Striking Foes First. New York Times, September 20, 2002, A1.
  8. Sutton PM, Gould RM. Nuclear, Radiological, and Related Weapons. In: Levy BS, Sidel VW, eds. Terrorism and Public Health. New York: Oxford University Press (published in cooperation with the American Public Health Association), 2003:220-242.

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