by Joan Cavanagh, New Haven Sunday Vigil
The New Haven Sunday Vigil, ongoing since 1999, began again on July 5 after a four-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 shutdown. We’ll keep going every Sunday for as long as possible under the current circumstances and invite you to join us. The war continues on every front. So must the resistance! Below are excerpts from our August flyer:
WHY WE’RE STILL STANDING OUT HERE IN 2020– IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC
The amount the [current National Defense Authorization Act] would allocate to the military is more than half the total federal spending budget for FY 2021. $22.3 billion alone is provided for nine new navy ships–the Columbia class submarines to be built at Electric Boat in Groton to replace the current Tridents. (1) At a time when the state of Connecticut faces a $2.3 billion budget deficit and contemplates drastic cuts to social services in 2021, the entire Connecticut congressional delegation voted for this funding.
Overall, a huge proportion of the military budget goes to the “modernization” of the U.S. nuclear arsenal–that is, the replacement of its every component with something “brand new.” This 30-year “upgrade” is projected to cost $1.7 trillion in total.(2)
A terrible legacy: weapons of mass destruction
75 years ago, on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945, the United States ushered in the nuclear age with its use of the atomic bomb against civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, destroying those cities and killing approximately 120,000 (by a conservative estimate) of their inhabitants, with repercussions from the results of radiation sickness that persist even to this day. The nuclear arms race that followed and threatened all life in the second half of the 20th century has caused ongoing destruction and deprivation and did not end with the end of the Cold War.
The U.S. and Russia today possess an estimated 12,600 nuclear weapons combined, other nuclear nations a much smaller arsenal. U.S. policy embraces first-use of nuclear weapons if the government deems it necessary in order to advance its strategic global interests. Pentagon planners have long pursued the ability to fight a “limited nuclear war,” a contradiction in terms. Our government has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It appears likely that the Trump administration, if re-elected, will not even renew S.T.A.R.T. II (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) signed by the United States and Russia.
Trump has openly threatened the use of nuclear weapons against other countries. In January of this year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set its Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight–closer than it has been since the height of the Cold War.
In addition to the existential threat posed by their very nature, the continued mining, testing, production and deployment of nuclear weapons over the last 75 years has caused environmental destruction, the desecration of native lands, and the theft of our tax dollars from health care, disease prevention, housing, education, and infrastructure, all the things we need to live in a just, functional society. We cannot accept or tolerate this any longer.
Since 1999, the New Haven Sunday Vigil has been held here every week from 12-1 p.m. at Broadway, Park and Elm Streets in New Haven, CT, to emphatically say NO to the state of permanent, ongoing war against the world being waged by our government and its allies, a war which is terrorizing the planet and destroying lives in order to consolidate enormous power and wealth in the hands of a very few people.