People in Washington State find ourselves in a crossfire of the New Nuclear Arms Race, since the presence of nuclear-armed submarines at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval base makes us a prime target in the case of a nuclear exchange. On Friday Feb. 22, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, Washington State Legislators are stepping up to say No More to nuclear proliferation and are standing up to Nuclear War and the New Arms Race.
The risks of international conflict, escalating to include the use of nuclear weapons, have reached levels not seen since the height of the Cold War. Recently renewed conflict between two unpredictable nuclear-armed nations, India and Pakistan threaten global security. The continuing uncertainty surrounding North Korea’s nuclear arsenals; paired with aggressive policies of the Trump administration, which involve a new nuclear arms race combined with irresponsible threats involving nuclear weapons and a total breakdown of existing arms control treaties (such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty), have combined to create a frightening and dangerous international environment.
These multiple nuclear crises are finally being addressed with a bold and visionary pair of initiatives in the Washington State Legislature. These Joint Memorials, led by Sen. Hasegawa in the Washington Senate and Rep. Tarleton in the House, propelled by the public, call for the U.S. Congress to “take appropriate steps to move back from the brink of nuclear war.” The Washington Against Nuclear Weapons coalition applauds Sen. Hasegawa and his colleagues for holding a hearing on Senate Joint Memorial 8006 Friday, February 22nd, 1:30 PM, by the Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections.
Directed at President Trump and the leaders of both houses of Congress, if passed by the Washington Senate (and House), these Memorials would represent very bold statements regarding nuclear dangers addressed to our national leadership from the highest levels of Washington state government. Two similar resolutions were passed by the state of California last year.
SJM 8006 urges that Washington “has a local responsibility to lead a national conversation about reducing and eliminating the threat of nuclear war and revamping our federal strategy.” The Memorial goes on to urge the U.S. to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by laying out several policies aimed at reducing the extreme risks from these weapons as well as reducing our arsenals.
The Washington Against Nuclear Weapons coalition, comprised of over 40 organizations across Washington, and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization of over 800 health professionals, strongly support passage of these Memorial statements, and commend our elected officials for their foresight and leadership in putting them forward in the 2019 Legislature.
“We are fortunate to have this quality of leadership in our Washington Legislature that is willing to challenge the very dangerous status quo and address these policy issues that ultimately reside at the national level,” said Dr. Bruce Amundson, Vice President of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility.