May 11, 2012

Do We Need More Nuclear Weapons? ~ Bob Sh’mal Ellenberg

National Nuclear Security Administration

I have to admit, I don’t know how to mind my own business.

But in my neighborhood, and in the world, so much that goes on seems to become my business when it has an impact on my life and my family.

While living in a rural Pennsylvania in the early ‘80s, I was drawn into supporting the Nuclear Weapons Freeze. We were a small group but we made an impact on our community. From our efforts, the county commission declared a Nuclear Free Zone to keep out low-level waste that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission wanted to bury in that area.

Since then there has been a substantial reduction in nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia, the two main countries with nuclear weapons. President Obama has regularly spoke about how he wants a nuclear free world for his children, and that was the same reason I became involved with the Nuclear Weapons Freeze 30 years ago.

Needing to know more about current nuclear weapons production I did some research and came up with some disturbing information.

According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons:

Despite a shrinking arsenal the United States plans to increase its investment in nuclear weapons infrastructure by 21 percent, at a cost of $85 billion over the next decade and to spend an additional $100 billion on upgrading strategic nuclear forces during this period. A new factory to build plutonium pits and another to produce uranium for bombs will cost upwards of $13 billion or more. $10 billion will be spent on overhauling thousands of older nuclear bombs –the so-called life extension program. While continuing to re-build its long-range land-based missiles, the United States will spend nearly $1 billion this year and $10 billion during the rest of the decade in long-lead investment for a new strategic submarine fleet whose ship-building cost for the 12 boats will exceed $100 billion. The United States will then spend untold billions to operate the armada during its 50-year planned lifespan (2030 until 2080).

After reading those pages, I needed to sit in my back yard and look at the vegetable garden, the flowers, the trees and grass. I felt like a cow in a pasture, unable to totally comprehend what was going on.

Who are we? What is going on here?

Is all this for protection of the United States or so that government contractors continue to steal food from the mouths of hungry children? Do all presidents speak with a forked tongue?

I want to speak out about this, but I’m never sure whom to speak out to. Sometimes it feels like the United States is this great monster, deceitfully sneaking around. It seems the U.S doesn’t care about anyone or anything, since it will all be destroyed by the accidental or intentional launch of one of these hundreds of missiles.

This is frightening. How are other countries supposed to respect and honor the United States when we are creating these massive arsenals of weapons of mass destruction?

I wasn’t out there with the Occupy folks much, but they made great strides in opening the minds of many people to the deceit of corporations and governments. I anticipate that more folks will be out on the streets again, and in many countries. They need to stop the rule by money and reinstate the rule by the needs of humanity and peace.

Bob Sh’mal Ellenberg. 72 years old. Born in Irvington, N.J. A thumb nail sketch of a life well guided by spirit and forces beyond my reckoning. In 1968, I began work as teacher and community organizer for Head Start. It became my groove in life. Once I began helping others, my soul was touched. In 1974 I started Mother Earth Foods in Parkersburgh, W.Va, which is still there. For 10 years in the ’70s and ’80s, my ex-wife and I cared for elderly and partially disabled adults in our homes in W.Va, Pa. and Florida. I was a well published freelancer to the Gainesville Sun, Gainesville, Fl., where I lived for 23 years and was involved in many social and peace issues. You can go to the Gainesville Sun’s opinion section, put my name in the search box and see some of those pieces. In Peace, Sh’mal.


Editor: Ryan Pinkard

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