Page 4, 20th February 1981

20th February 1981
Page 4
Page 4, 20th February 1981 — Uncomfortable home truths about so-called deterrents

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Locations: Nagasaki, Hiroshima


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Uncomfortable home truths about so-called deterrents

I DEEPLY appreciate the human freedoms in-built in our capitalist societies, but in a world in which its spiritual base is Stronger than its physical composition I realise that only the extent that we stand up to our spiritual obligations will our freedoms operate to our individual and national well being, In December 1 attended, as an observer representing a nongovernmental organisation, a meeting of philosophical experts from around the world organised by UNESCO under the heading "Philosophical Research on activities linked with the strengthening of the Spirit of Peace."

I heard nothing about any nation or group of nations planning to conquer the world by military force but I did hear some uncomfortable home truths. Inevitably the arms race came under review as endangering world peace as well as the survival of all life on this planet.

In the context of the Nonproliferation Treaty (designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons) a Professor from America posed the question on what moral ground do the nations already having nuclear weapons believe they are the only rightful custodians of these weapons'?

This question came vividly to my mind when at a later date I attended a meeting in the Friends Meeting House which took the form of a Memorial Lecture to the memoey of the late ProfessorEric Bur lop, F.R.S., an Australian scientist who joined the team producing the first atomic bomb.

He gave his services on the understanding that the bomb would be demonstrated in a far away place so that the Japanese would know what we had in store and logically they would immediately surrender.

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki understandably Professor Burhop devoted the rest of his life to world peace and world disarmament.

Concerning so-called deterrents. since science is universal in its nature and operation no nation can ever be sure that it has, in fact, a military superiority. Deterrents keep the arms race (and the arms trade) alive.

I also attended a meeting at the House of Commons which was addressed by a high ranking representative of NATO. The substance of that address was the possibility of survival in the event of a,

nuclear war. heard nothing about, any plans to induce all nations (including NATO members) to return to sanity by other than military means which are proving their ineptitude.

On the contrary, when closing the meeting the Chairman said the room must be cleated quickly because another meeting was to immediately Follow, a meeting on disarmament. An audible titter around the room was not rebuked by the NATO representative.

I don't doubt President Reagan's sincerity in wanting to protect his country but his inaugural speech in which he made clear his intention to upgrade America's military potential "with God's help" mute be questioned, However. God is moving among his people. The Prime Minister of . .

India, Mrs Indira Gandhi, is building a bridge of friendship between her country and the Kremlin even while she is questioning some of Russia's policies. President Sad-at of Egypt went into a mosque to pray before extending a hand of friendship to Israel. He has said he will never go to war with Israel while he is also denouncing some of Israel's policies.

There are enough people in this and in other countries who can and will ensure that God wins in the end.

Edith Hedger.

THOMAS W. GADD ideally prefers nuclear disarmament but not defencelessness in a heterogenous mix of variously armed nations.

But the definition of 'defence' by nuclear weapons involves a willingness to murder the civilian population in the enemy country.

The State may legitimately require a man to take up arms in its defence, 'but what is the duty of a man who is called upon by the State to take part in a war — even a war of defence — which is waged by evil methods?

J. J. O'Connor, London N12.

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