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Peace First!

One of the things you learn at the UN is that poverty can lead to things that cause even greater poverty. In 2012 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that chronic poverty, economic inequality, environmental degradation, and pandemic diseases can lead to grave security concerns. “Massive military spending and new investments in modernizing nuclear weapons have left the world over-armed  and peace under- funded.”  (Opinion piece, 2012, un.org/disarmament update.)

At a recent briefing by the NGO Committee on Disarmament, presenters from the medical and legal professions described a scenario in which India and Pakistan would wage a “limited” war, exchanging 100 Hiroshima-size weapons against one another, and causing unthinkable devastation that would go on for decades.

  1. Tens of millions would die immediately, with more dying later of radiation sickness, cancers, and infectious diseases.
  2. Smoke and soot injected into the upper atmosphere would  block the sun, producing global darkness; that and other environmental effects would lead to global famine resulting in approximately one billion deaths.
  3. Totally inadequate present systems for medicine, humanitarian relief, emergency transportation, electrical / communications and environmental disaster reconstruction would be overwhelmed.

While horrifying, this new knowledge could prove the basis for a legal case using some existing International humanitarian law to ban nuclear weapons as illegal.  We could be at the moment of banning and abolishing the use of these weapons forever.    For further information on nuclear weapons and their abolition see: ICANW.org

–Stacy Hanrahan, CND

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