Global Day Against Military Spending: April 5-18
March 26, 2016
Demilitarize.org & American Friends Service Committee
Seventy years after the US devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs, and 25 years after the end of the Cold War, the world still teeters on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. On April 5th, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute will publish the global military expenditure figures for 2015, together with its analysis of the trends. April 18th is Tax Day in the USA, a traditional date for civil society to challenge the uses put to public money.
Global Day Against Military Spending: April 5-18
(March 2016) --Times change, and with them, our reactions to events. Here is the latest news about the Global Campaign on Military Spending :
1. The Dates:
This year's Global Day/GDAMS will not in fact be a day but a fortnight! For diverse reasons it will be held from April 5th- 18th.
On April 5th, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) will publish the global military expenditure figures for 2015, together with its analysis of the trends.
The 18th is Tax Day in the USA, a traditional moment in the calendar for civil society to challenge the uses put to public money. This new style 'Global Day' offers our participants more scope to choose a suitable moment to organise events that fit local or national contexts. As usual, IPB will publish all events that are notified to us as being within the GDAMS framework.
2. The Context:
Recent (and continuing) terrorist attacks and the militaristic responses of several governments have created a rather new context for our actions on military spending.
'Rather new' since clearly this is more an intensification than an entirely new phenomenon. But the random violence and the extreme ideology of Islamic State has led many people to support the ongoing military campaigns -- and the increased budgets to support them.
Nevertheless there are large sections of the population who have serious doubts about the wisdom of the policies enunciated by François Hollande and other Western leaders. See IPB's statement Tackling Terror on the IPB website. We urge our partners to reach out as widely as possible to other sectors of civil society, to draw in support for our message, and to help organise really effective GDAMS events.
3. The Congress:
This year is a special one for IPB and for the GCOMS. We will hold a major world congress around these themes, in Berlin, on Sept 30-Oct 3rd. The title is: Disarm! For a Climate of Peace: Creating an Action Agenda.
As the name suggests, the issue of financial resources to tackle climate change will be a live issue long after COP 21. In the runup period, IPB conducted a daily social media effort to get the military issue into the COP 21 debate. See: https://www.facebook.com/ipb1910.
Meanwhile we are also working with members and partners in many cities to organise 'prepcomms' in advance of the Congress. These can be on any topic, and can take many forms. We hope that the GDAMS 2016 period will be an opportunity for generating media and public attention, not only to the issues but also to the Congress.
4. The committee:
We have re-convened the International Steering Committee that has worked successfully over the past few years in helping the IPB Secretariat with the coordination.
The USA coordinator this year will be Joseph Gerson, replacing Mary Zerkel, both of American Friends Service Committee (Quakers). Joe is also a member of the IPB Board, and a very experienced peace activist and organiser -- we are delighted to have him in the team.
Nuclear Modernization Spending:
A Trillion Dollars for Nuclear Weapons
American Friends Service Committee
(March 15, 2016) -- Seventy years after the US devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs, and 25 years after the end of the Cold War, the world still teeters on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. In addition to the rising military tensions with Russia and China, former Secretary of Defense William Perry is warning that the US nuclear weapons modernization program makes nuclear war more likely than during the Cold War.
The detonation of even one nuclear weapon can kill millions of people, which explains why the International Commission of the Red Cross advocates the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.[
A study initiated by Physicians for Social Responsibility warn that an exchange of 50 -- 100 or the worlds more than 15,000 nuclear weapons could lead to the deaths of up to two billion people from the resulting global famine. And from ISIS to Al Qaeda and economic insecurity to climate change, nuclear weapons do nothing to protect us from the real threats we face.
Yet instead of pursuing negotiations for worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons, the US is planning a total overhaul of its nuclear weapons program, including new generations of nuclear warheads, bombers, land-based missiles, air-launched missiles and submarine.
The projected price tag? About $1 trillion over the next thirty years, or an average of $30 billion a year until the middle of the 21st century!
Spending for nuclear weapons modernization is obscene, legal but criminal. If even a tenth of the military's 7,200 nuclear weapons were used, the result would be nuclear winter, ending all life as we know it. As the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombings tell us "Human beings and nuclear weapons cannot coexist."
The Pentagon and its political allies tell us that US warheads need to be refurbished, and the delivery systems needed to launch them (missiles, bombers and submarines) need to be updated and replaced.
Yet, even if we accept the flawed logics of deterrence and mutual assured destruction (MAD,) this spending is a boondoggle, a windfall for the military-industrial complex.
In fact, under the Pentagon's stockpile stewardship program, all non-nuclear components of these weapons are checked and replaced as needed. And the Pentagon's JASON project reports that the nuclear components will remain stable for at least 50-60 years!
Under pressure from the military-industrial-Congressional complex, including the nuclear weapons laboratories, wasteful and dangerous nuclear weapons modernization is moving forward, diverting our limited financial resources from addressing the needs of the hungry, the homeless, and those who can't afford health care.
A quarter of the projected spending for modernization could provide free college education, for all who are qualified in America, for a decade. Spending to contain and reverse climate change and to repair the nation's crumbling infrastructure would meet essential needs while creating jobs and providing greater economic opportunity and security.
What's Being Modernized?
* Despite President Obama's pledge not to create new nuclear weapons, beginning with the B-61-12 warhead, this is precisely what is happening.
As former Secretary of Defense William Perry has testified, the ability to increase or decrease the devastating power of the new B-61 makes the weapons more usable, this increasing the likelihood that nuclear wars will actually be fought.
* New generations nuclear-armed missiles, submarines and bombers are being designed and constructed for nuclear warfighting. Estimates include:
* $120 billion for new intercontinental ballistic missiles
* $102 billion for Ohio class submarines to carry and launch Trident missiles
* $100 billion for the B-22 bomber to succeed the B-2 bomber
* $270 billion to maintain the existing nuclear triad: bombers, missiles & submarines
* And from Oak Ridge in Tennessee to Kansas City and Los Alamos, new weapons facilities are being built for the design and production of the nuclear arsenal and to underwrite the training of a new generation of nuclear weaponeers.
THE COST TO AVERAGE AMERICANS:
In addition to the risk of nuclear annihilation and the failure to fund essential human needs, there is an additional personal cost: about $3,125 per person or $12,500 for a family of four. Here in Massachusetts, this amounts to more than $20 billion, enough to rebuild the MBTA and $13 billion left over for housing, schooling, and fixing our roads, bridges and election financing.
Don't mourn. Organize! Global Days of Action April 5-18
The Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) are a time when people across the world join together in collaborative actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the true costs of military spending and the urgent need for new priorities.
Contact: International - email@example.com
US -- firstname.lastname@example.org