Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Start Treaty: Letter to Sen. Grassley

I recently heard Tad Daley, author of Apocalypse Never, speak about the continuing danger of nuclear weapons and the need for us to rid the world of them. I don't buy into quite that radical a project. I believe that the genie is out of the bottle, and that we can't force the genie back in. We have to contain the genie. As in the land of the blind, where the one-eyed man is king; so with nukes, in a world almost without them, the sole possessor would be in a very powerful position. Of course, the only nuclear attacks have been by the U.S., and for a few years, the U.S. did hold a nuclear monopoly. To say that our use of nuclear weapons was justified raises a difficult and perplexing moral issue. To argue that a permanent U.S. nuclear monopoly would have enhanced peace argues a point that can be challenged based on the analysis of strategy and the experience of history. For now, I favor a reduction of nuclear arms (we could probably get by with about 350 such weapons) as well as an aggressive non-proliferation policy. 

Daley mentioned the START treaty, which he believed a good move, although wholly inadequate. Accordingly, I wrote and mailed the following letter to Senator Grassley (believing Harkin doesn't need the prod--words with him if he does). I wrote:

September 28, 2010
Hon. Charles Grassley
United States Senate
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Re: New START Treaty
Dear Senator Grassley,
I urge you to support Senate ratification of the new START treaty with Russia that the Senate Foreign Relations committee recently referred to the full Senate. This treaty furthers the security of the U.S. and of the world by reducing the risk of nuclear war. Reducing arsenals, limiting proliferation, and demonstrating our commitment to reducing nuclear tensions are extremely important goals that we should pursue with the utmost urgency. I was heartened to see that Senator Lugar and two of his Republican colleagues voted in favor of the treaty. I hope that you will help lead your Republican colleagues in pursuit of Senate approval. You know, and I hope that your colleagues realize, that we are already modernizing our arsenal, which appears to be a concern to some senators. You should also note that as a government, we can no more support excessive and unneeded nuclear weapons that we can justify any other wasteful government spending. We have a history of irrational and reckless spending and building when it comes to nuclear arms. Now is the time to stop this attitude. As a matter of fiscal sanity as well as defense policy, we have to get our house in order.

I hope that you will share this perspective with all of your fellow Senators. Thank you for your consideration of my letter, and I look forward to your support of the treaty.

Sincerely yours,

Stephen N. Greenleaf

Join me in supporting this effort if you agree.