The revived threat of nuclear weapons use brings two lecturers to Iowa this week. American Friends Service Committee. Dr. Joseph Gerson is an international lecturer and author who says the U.S. is nudging the risk of nuclear war upward. Gerson says the current administration’s “ratcheted up” preparations for nuclear war, through its policies and efforts to use nuclear weapons and its urging to resume weapons testing. Dr. Gerson says that’s the most likely way to spark a global nuclear-arms race. Gerson and a Quaker lobbyist from Washington are in Iowa because of the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses and the number of candidates who visit the state…and face its voters. Voters in Iowa have an opportunity to ask candidates where they stand on the arms race, new weapons, and resuming the testing of weapons. Gerson says most people are under the mistaken impression that the threat of nuclear war vanished with the end of the Cold War. He charges the US has threatened to initiate nuclear war four or five times since then. He says we surrounded Iraq with more than 700 nuclear weapons during the first Gulf War, threatened them with nukes during the most recent invasion, and now are in a major crisis with North Korea. Gerson says the announced policy of the Bush Administration is “first-strike” nuclear warfare. He charges the U.S. wants to reopen a nuclear test site so if President Bush is re-elected, the country’s nuclear-weapons testing program can resume and new weapons can be built.Gerson says it’s the U.S. nuclear arsenal and its threats to use it that are driving the nuclear-weapons programs of other countries. Gerson and the lobbyist, David Culp, speak tonight at Grand View college in Des Moines.
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