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Ralph Nader's Response to Interfaith Questionnaire

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  • elevans@aol.com
    Note: Ralph Nader was the only candidate to answer question (1) below -- why? Ralph Nader s Response to Interfaith Questionnaire On Elimination of Nuclear
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 10, 2000
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      Note: Ralph Nader was the only candidate to answer question (1) below -- why?

      Ralph Nader's Response to Interfaith Questionnaire

      On Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

      7 Sep 2000

      (1) What are your views on the morality of possession, threatened use, and
      actual use of nuclear weapons? To what extent do you agree or disagree with
      the broad consensus that has emerged within the faith community on the
      inherent immorality of nuclear weapons?

      Nuclear weapons have no moral or practical use for any purpose except as a
      deterrent to nuclear threats. The U.S.government's refusal to adopt a
      no-first-use policy is a striking example of political immorality. If elected
      President, I would immediately adopt a policy that the US will never be the
      first to use a nuclear weapon in any conflict, and would urge other nuclear
      powers to do the same.

      More broadly, as the first country to use nuclear weapons, and the perennial
      leader in new technologies for these horrifying weapons of mass destruction,
      the United States has a moral obligation to take the lead in working for
      their elimination. The 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty gives us a legal
      obligation to work for elimination, as well. Gen. George Lee Butler, the
      retired former commander of both the Strategic Air Command and the U.S.
      Strategic Command has been eloquent in support of abolition.

      (2) We are encouraged that the United States has joined with Russia, United
      Kingdom, France, and China in making a commitment to "an unequivocal
      undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals."
      This occurred in the Final Document of the 2000 Review Conference of the
      Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This commitment carries forward the
      obligation for good faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament as expressed in
      Article VI of the NPT, an agreement signed by the United States in July 1968
      and ratified by the U.S. Senate in March 1969. If elected president, what
      specifically will you do during your four-year term to fulfill this
      commitment?

      I would:

      Take all nuclear missiles off 'hair-trigger' high-alert status, and urge the
      Russian President to do the same. The greatest danger of a global nuclear
      disaster is an accidental launch. De-alerting will not undermine the United
      States' ability to deter a nuclear strike. There are over 3,000 nuclear
      warheads on American submarines. Enough are at sea and on alert at any time
      to assure sufficient retaliation capacity even after a massive first strike.

      Adopt a no-first use policy, and urge other nuclear powers to do the same.

      Stop nuclear testing, including sub-critical and virtual testing. I would
      make the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) one of my
      top legislative priorities.

      Prohibit the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons outside the United States.

      Push for the ratification of the START II treaty, which Russia has already
      ratified, work with Congress and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to further reduce
      the US nuclear arsenal to around 1500 warheads as expeditiously as possible,
      and begin negotiating a START III agreement that will bring missile levels
      below 1,000.

      Begin talks with all nuclear nations to develop a framework and a final date
      for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

      (3) For instance, do you favor multilateral negotiations to achieve a global
      nuclear weapons convention that provides for total elimination of nuclear
      weapons within a timebound framework with effective verification and
      enforcement?

      Yes. Working toward total elimination is the only moral and rational course.
      The United States, as the sole superpower, has the responsibility to take the
      lead in such negotiations.
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