Buses, not bombs

Apr 20, 2005 at 12:00 am

Two buses packed with political activists will roll from Oak Park to New York City. No, the folks aboard won’t be looking to catch a Broadway show. Instead, they will be attending a May 1 rally in Central Park supporting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Detroit Area Peace With Justice Network — a collaboration of more than 20 area organizations including Peace Action of Michigan — orchestrated “Buses instead of Bombs” to draw attention to the NPT review conference, held in May at the United Nations in New York.

The treaty, enacted in 1970, serves to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and generally attempts to keep the world safe from nuclear annihilation.

So far, so good.

The United Nations reviews the NPT every five years.

Not all of the 188 countries that signed the treaty have complied with its conditions, however. Chris Cooper, a spokesperson for Abolition Now, the nonprofit sponsoring the event, says that Article VI of the NPT requires that all signatories who possess nuclear weapons make good faith efforts toward total nuclear disarmament.

OK, so nothing’s perfect.

According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, roughly 30,000 nuclear warheads exist worldwide. Russia has the most with more than 16,000, and the United States maintains about 10,000. The rest belong to France, China and the United Kingdom, as well as non-signatory countries Israel, India and Pakistan. And then there’s North Korea. No one outside that totalitarian regime knows for certain how many nukes exist there — although some estimate there are as many as nine.

This much is clear: The days of two superpowers holding each other in check with the threat of mutually assured destruction (known, appropriately enough, by the acronym MAD) are gone forever. But the image of Slim Pickens, yee-hawing with cowboy hat in hand as he rides the Big One earthward at the end of Dr. Strangelove, remains.

Only now, as Cooper says, “we’ve reached a point where the threat of mutually assured destruction doesn’t seem like a valuable deterrent against rogue states who are willing to die for their cause.”

Which means the deterrent is no longer a deterrent. So why not let the peace-lovers among us dismantle as many of those monsters as possible?


For more information about Buses instead of Bombs, call Peace Action of Michigan at 248-548-3920 or visit abolitionnow.org.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]