Michigan event launches drive to abolish nuclear weapons

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — Imagine if the threat of nuclear weapons and the billions that go to building and maintaining them instead went to provide health care, education and the prevention of global warming. It could become a reality when the United Nations meets in the spring of 2010 for the final review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

While the campaign to make it happen will be worldwide in scope, a local kickoff here came last week at the annual memorial service to commemorate the killing of innocent civilians in the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 44 years ago this month.

Speaking to the assembled crowd, Al Fishman, a board member of Peace Action of Michigan, said this will be the first worldwide effort to ban nuclear weapons since 1950. “We have a chance to make this a success because for the first time in history, we have a president committed to goal of the abolition of nuclear weapons,” Fishman said.

He read aloud part of a petition addressed to President Obama that will be circulated during the next nine months leading up to the UN meeting:

“Dear President Obama, We wholeheartedly applaud you for declaring in Prague, ‘I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.’ We commend you for your courageous and historic recognition that ‘as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the U.S. has a moral responsibility has to act.’”

According to Fishman, another positive action the president is taking is his plan in the near future to resubmit the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification. Fishman said such initiatives from our president “gives us space to move.”

Fishman said the petition to Obama will be circulated by many groups and that model resolutions will be available to take before organizations, city councils and other elected bodies.

“This is a winner,” he said. To back up that confidence the first announced action will be signature collecting in Plymouth, Mich., the home district of conservative Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter.

jrummel @ pww.org