If You Love This Planet, Dr. Helen Caldicott

Jacqueline Cabasso on the still-overwhelming nuclear capabilities of the United States and the prospects for disarmament under Obama


U.S. Navy Trident II D5 missile submarine launch (Lockheed Martin)

U.S. Navy Trident II D5 missile submarine launch (Lockheed Martin). One Trident submarine has enough nuclear firepower to destroy every major city in the northern hemisphere. The U.S. has 14 Trident ballistic missile submarines on patrol at all times.

The U.S. is now spending more money on nuclear weapons than at the height of the Cold War, and the threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia persists, but the
U.S. public is now mostly disassociated from the nuclear weapons issue. Today’s conversation cuts through the pacifying complexity mainstream media and politicians use when talking about nuclear bombs.
Seldom discussed is the
danger the U.S. poses as a preeminent and highly aggressive nuclear weapons power, with its military endorsing the concept of
“full-spectrum dominance” of the Earth and the heavens.

Activist Jacqueline Cabasso has been promoting nuclear weapons abolition for decades. She is the Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation (WSLF), a non-profit, public interest organization founded in 1982, which monitors and analyzes U.S. nuclear weapons programs and policies and related high-technology energy and weapons programs - with a focus on the national nuclear weapons laboratories. Cabasso co-founded the disarmament group Abolition 2000 in 1995 and is also active in the organization United for Peace and Justice. She won the MacBride Peace Prize last year. Read her acceptance speech. Cabasso is one of the authors of the 2007 report Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis, and Paths to Peace.

Jacqueline Cabasso

Jacqueline Cabasso
(Credit: Steven Starr)

On today’s program, Dr. Caldicott and Cabasso discuss the present state of U.S. nuclear weapons stockpiles, nuclear weapons laboratories, disarmament treaties, and America’s first-strike nuclear-war-fighting policy. Cabasso says this is a time of great danger in the nuclear weapons arena, in the wake of the disastrous pro-nuclear George W. Bush administration and the tremendously disappointing legacy left by President Bill Clinton, but also a moment of opportunity. Dr. Caldicott places responsibility for the present destabilized nuclear weapons situation between the U.S. and Russia squarely on Clinton’s shoulders. She asks Cabasso for her perception of President Obama, who has stated that while he wants to lead world toward nuclear disarmament, as long as nuclear weapons exist, the U.S. will maintain a strong deterrent.

Cabasso and Dr. Caldicott cover the history of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, particularly the enormous buildup since 1963. The benign-sounding Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program of today, Dr. Caldicott and Cabasso emphasize, is about maintaining an enormous U.S. nuclear arsenal to threaten other nations. The true work of the weapons labs, Dr. Caldicott says, is mass murder and global annihilation. Cabasso explains the rationale the labs now use to justify their nuclear weapons work.

Cabasso and Dr. Caldicott analyze the psychotic thinking around nuclear weapons that permeates how the U.S. government justifies its nuclear-warmongering policies in the media. As an example of such “rubbish,” as
Dr. Caldicott calls it, the 2008 article Pre-emptive Nuclear Strike a Key Option, NATO Told says senior NATO officers believe the West should use nuclear weapons preemptively, to prevent nuclear war!

Why the disarmament movement lost steam, and turned away from the nuclear issue at the ostensible end of the Cold War, is a critical part of today’s discussion. Dr. Caldicott says that the public, including organized religion, must become re-educated about the dangers of nuclear weapons, and become active in demanding disarmament, if the Earth is to survive.
She emphasizes how little most politicians and the general public understand about the destructive power of the atom. Highly recommended viewing to understand the effects of nuclear weapons: Steven Okazaki’s Emmy Award-winning 2007 documentary, White Light Black Rain, available on DVD. Watch a four-minute interview with Okazaki about his film.

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