2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Opening Plenary
2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Joseph Gerson

It is a privilege to return to the World Conference and to be re-inspired by the spirit of the Hibakusha, and the worldfs peace movements.

Soon after Bush and Cheney came to power, it was clear that we were entering dark and dangerous times. Since then the U.S. has invaded Afghanistan, colonized Central Asia and recolonized the Middle East with new military bases. It has criminally invaded Iraq. Bush has renounced the ABM treaty, denounced the CTBT, pronounced his disregard for Article VI of the NPT, accelerated development of new nuclear weapons and preparations for resumption of nuclear weapons testing, and he has threatened nuclear war.

Bushfs global military crusade grows from the megalomaniacal ambitions of sectors of the U.S. elite. Bush the Elder sought a gNew World Orderh in which gWhat we say goes.h Clinton aimed for Full Spectrum Dominance. And before 9-11 Dick Cheney was clear that he sought to impose gthe arrangement for the 21st centuryh to guarantee that Washington remains the worldfs dominant power for decades to come. They seek not only to re-colonize geography -but to colonize time: the 21st century.

Thus we have the National Security Statement which prescribes unilateral attacks to prevent the emergence of rivals, not only the so-called gAxis of Evil,h but in years to come possibly China and Europe. The gArrangementh inspired the Nuclear Posture Review, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the reconfiguration of Washingtonfs global network of foreign military bases, and threats made against North Korea and Iran.

Like the Crusaders, European colonists, and German and Japanese militarists. This campaign cannot succeed. The question is how many thousands of lives will be sacrificed and shattered between now and then and what will remain. The occupation of Iraq has united the Iraqi people against their gliberators,h and the sham transfer of sovereignty is doomed to fail - just like gVietnamizationh thirty years ago. Bushfs militarism and nuclear threats have spurred nations like Iran and North Korea to accelerate their nuclear weapons programs and solidified the understandable rage of Islamic and other nations against the U.S. and its coalition of the coerced.

The U.S. gPresidential campaign pits hawks against hawks.h If Bush is reelected, we will move closer to what Richard Falk calls fascist empire. A Kerry victory will restore Clintonism: engagement as well as containment, gsofth power and gthe Big Stick,h less unilateralism but renewed Kissingerian crackpot realism. But it will also provide us time and space to organize to prevent the very worst.

Hibakusha, the global peace movement, and the worldfs social forums teach us that another world is possible. gWe make our road by walkingh, and in the last few years we have created our own hope: the worldfs second superpower - international public opinion. Not since the Vietnam War and the nuclear disarmament movement of the early 1980s has the global peace movement been so powerful. The international community has effectively isolated the U.S, and the polls tell us that most U.S. people want U.S. troops out of Iraq.

We must also enthusiastically press the Mayors Campaign for nuclear abolition. If we educate and organize - and circulate the Abolition Now petition - we can use the NPT Review to bend the nuclear powers to our will.
These are indeed dark and dangerous times. But, we have built the second superpower that can end the Iraq war and Bushfs global military crusade. Though the hour is late, we can still abolish nuclear weapons.
No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis!. No More Iraqs! Together for Peace!


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