WASHINGTON (September 16, 2003) -– Research on advanced nuclear weapons, such as the "robust nuclear earth penetrator," undermine nuclear non-proliferation efforts, according to the chairman of the bishops' International Policy Committee, who urged the U.S. Senate to vote against legislation that would fund such research.
"We oppose this funding because it would reinforce policies and practices that envision a much wider role for nuclear weapons, including their first use and their use against non-nuclear threats," said Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, of Pensacola-Tallahassee in a letter to Senators released today. "We remain unconvinced that the more 'usable' nuclear weapons envisioned would be discriminate or proportionate in any meaningful sense."
Bishop Ricard urged Senators to oppose funding for research on advanced nuclear weapons contained in the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, scheduled for debate and vote today in the U.S. Senate.
"The moral task today is to proceed with deeper cuts and ultimately to ban nuclear weapons entirely, not to begin research on new ones," Bishop Ricard said. "The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is a serious problem, but research on new, more usable nuclear weapons will only undermine the credibility of U.S. efforts to address it effectively.