Women. Power. Peace.

Letters to the Editor the AJC Refused to Run

On Tuesday, September 7th the Atlanta Journal Constitution published a Pro/Con op-ed piece in which arguments for and against ratification of the New START were presented. Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton wrote the "Pro" article in which he explains the numerous ways the New START treaty will make Americans safer. Vice Adm. Robert R. Monroe wrote the "Con" article which is filled with false information and statements which we have debunked here.

WAND friends and activists throughout Georgia wrote letters to the editor, none of which were published. Since the AJC won't publish our opinions we'll voice them here! Below are a sample of the letters we submitted.

By Tom Ferguson:

Robert R. Monroe’s op-ed on the START (Strategic arms reduction treaty)is the kind of cold-war thinking leading us toward what Einstein called, unparalleled catastrophe. This is what we drift toward until we muster the courage to make a shift in our thinking and policies from a primitive and violent quest to dominate to a commitment to resolve conflict without violence.

By Betsy Rivard:

I guess the idea of a Pro and Con op-ed is a good one.  People can read opposing opinions on the issue and decide for themselves.  But it doesn't seem quite fair when one side is full of whoppers and the reading public has no idea that the "facts" used are not even "truthy".  What happened to fact-checking? Vice Admiral Monroe, retired, is in the vast minority of the high-ranking retired military who are opposed to the New START treaty.  His claim that the treaty is a "wholesale giveaway" for Russia is not true.  The same  limits are required of each country, namely, 1550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads (each of which is thousands of times more powerful and the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombs!) and 700 deployed delivery vehicles.  Tactical nuclear weapons are not limited for either country. The treaty does not "seriously limit"  US missile defense, or the US global strike program, both claims made by Monroe. The Vice Admiral is upset about the new START being "unverifiable."  Well, having no treaty at all for over nine months makes the Russian nuclear weapons arsenal definitely "unverifiable"! Vice Admiral Monroe forgets that the first president to talk about a world without nuclear weapons was Ronald Reagan.  He considered them to be "totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization." We have had three decades of nuclear treaties with Russia/Soviet Union.  The original START treaty was proposed by President Reagan, and START I was signed by President George H. W. Bush.  This is not a "left-wing plot."  To quote Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Reagan, "New START is a non-partisan issue." Hopefully, Senators Isakson and Chambliss, will be true statesmanlike leaders, push politics aside, and vote for the ratification of this important treaty.

By Bob Farquhar:

New START Pro & Con?   I’ll go with Pro.  The world has changed since the Cold War ended in 1989. So has the nature of the nuclear threat we face as Maj. Gen. Eaton correctly states.   New START is essential to stemming proliferation and preventing nuclear terrorism. Vice Adm. Monroe’s comments read like the right-wing Heritage Foundation position paper, the same used by Mitt Romney to inaccurately portray New START in his error-filled  July 6 Washington Post op-ed.   It’s the same Cold War mentality and rhetoric that got us into this mess to begin with.  Folks, the Cold War is over. Vice Adm. Monroe is especially critical of the Nuclear Posture Review.  Frankly, the NPR does what should have been done years ago.   Slowly get rid of these relics of the Cold War in compliance with Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as working cooperatively with Russia in securing and eliminating fissile material. We as a nation are faced with a choice, “a choice between the quick and the dead.” as Bernard Baruch said at the U.N. in 1946 at the start of the Cold War.   This time, let’s make the right choice.  Vote “Yes” on New START.

By Jonathan Flack:

To argue that the New START treaty undermines deterrence is absurd. The United States will still have 1,550 active strategic nuclear weapons which we are capable of delivering in three ways – by bomber, by submarine, or by intercontinental ballistic missile. This argument is further undermined by the words of President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates which Monroe quotes himself; “As long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent.” Contrary to Vice Adm. Monroe’s fallacious assertions, the New START treaty will maintain our nuclear deterrent while making us safer in additional ways. The Treaty addresses the dangers of nuclear proliferation, reducing the likelihood terrorists will attain a nuclear bomb by imposing upon Russia a rigorous monitoring and verifications process. The Treaty also enhances strategic stability among the world’s largest nuclear powers. Moreover, ratifying this treaty will strengthen our negotiating hand against nuclear-hopeful state’s like Iran and N. Korea. There are numerous benefits to ratifying New START, while failing to do so would disastrous.

By Amanda Hill:

Vice Adm. Robert Monroe claim that New START will “seriously limit” the US missile defense and prompt global strike programs is nothing but untruthful fear-mongering. The New START treaty does not in any way constrain current or planned US missile defense capabilities, as the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen have repeatedly made clear. Moreover, under New START the United States will be able to continue building and deploying conventionally-armed ballistic missiles to allow it to quickly strike anywhere in the world. Contrary to Vice Adm. Monroe’s misleading op-ed, the New START treaty will make us safer, and failing to ratify it would be a disaster.

By Sandy Hoke:

Vice Adm. Robert Monroe’s claim that the New START treaty is “unverifiable” is absolutely false. New START stipulates that both the United States and Russia must submit to 18 on-site inspections per year. In addition, both countries must exchange data regarding numbers, locations, and technical characteristics of deployed strategic nuclear weapons. The treaty also requires each country to annually exchange telemetric information. So, in light of the facts, Mr. Monroe’s arguments are inaccurate and misleading.

By Ted Weber:

Robert Monroe's article opposing the "New Start" Treaty shows that he is living in the past, and is out of touch with contemporary international reality. His argument assumes that US deterrence strategy is based on nuclear weapons, and that our main political problem is defending against Russia. Both of these assumptions are wrong. US deterrence is based on its massive conventional superiority--unmatched by any other country or combination of countries. Nuclear capability is relatively incidental. Also, Russia today is no longer the menacing Soviet Union. It is a large country worried about its survival, its internal cohesion, and its nearby influence, but it is not a superpower threatening the existence of the United States.

The nuclear problems confronting the United States are those of proliferation and of terrorist acquisition of nuclear capability. These problems are embedded in large and complicated political tangles. The United States must deal with the political contexts, and in consequence with the nuclear issues. To do that it requires the cooperation of Russia, as well as other states. The START treaty has much more to do with encouraging the process of political cooperation than it does with present or future nuclear threats from Russia. To misread these realities, as Robert Monroe does, is to fail to understand how our foreign policy should be conducted.

The senators should read the policy contexts in this way, and therefore vote to support the treaty. To do otherwise is to damage the present and future interests of the United States.

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