Page 4, 26th May 1978

26th May 1978
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Page 4, 26th May 1978 — Does defence equal
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People: Bruce Kent Pax
Locations: London

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Does defence equal

security?

I am grateful to Fr Fox (May 12) for his comments on my article of April 28. He . makes discussion Ipossible. I suppose that he and I approach issues of defence and disarmament from rather different perspectives. As I now understand things, the present world situation is progressively wasteful and progressively more insecure precisely because of the arms race. It is the duty of every Christian to search for alternative methods of security, to work for a less militaristic atmosphere everywhere and to pursue at personal cost, the struggle for justice without which there is no peace. Part of that process is to find steps back from the brink which make practical sense, granted the present illusion that there is a desirable relationship between more weapons and security. One such step is certainly the phasing out of Polaris.

Not only do military experts no longer claim that these weapons have military significance, but moral theologians have long since given up the unequal task of trying to defend their possession, let alone their use.

But the process of finding steps back from the brink does not demand an unrealistic view of human behaviour, though we have to acknowledge that violations of human rights are as gross among those we call our allies as among those we call our enemies, But we do need accurate information. Far from disarming unilaterally, as Fr Fox understandably thinks, Britain (and the USA and the USSR) has never had a bigger peacetime "defence" budget. The contrary opinion, carefully fostered, is only evidence of the truth that people will believe anything if they are told it often enough. In short (and that is not possible on this issue) as I see it, it is present international policies in regard to militarism and violence which are taking us to destruction, not any eccentric suggestions made by me — or the Pope for that matter, who manages to say rather similar things but much more effectively.

For those who want to take the dialogue further I recommend "Bombs for Breakfast," the recent ii Campaign Against the Arms Trade pamphlet (50p) and "NATO Rules OK?" from CND (30p). Mgr Bruce Kent

Pax Christi Centre, London, NW5.




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