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Mayors outspoken on U.S. nuclear buildup, too

In a recent editorial ("Mayors for peace," June 22), The Sun addresses the resolution recently by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) calling for an end to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and redirection of funds to meet domestic needs. The Sun erroneously states that the last time the USCM expressed its collective opinion on foreign policy was in 1971, when it called for an end to the Vietnam war. In fact, in 2004, 2006 and each year since, the USCM has adopted increasingly stronger resolutions calling on the president to commence negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020, as urged by Mayors for Peace, an international association headed by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year's Mayors for Peace resolution calls on Congress to slash nuclear weapons spending and to redirect those funds to meet the urgent needs of cities. The resolution was adopted unanimously, without debate.

President Obama's nuclear disarmament rhetoric notwithstanding, a plan he submitted to Congress projects an investment of well over $185 billion by 2020 to maintain and modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons production complex, warheads and delivery systems. The president's fiscal 2012 request of $7.63 billion for nuclear weapons activities is 21 percent more than Ronald Reagan's largest nuclear weapons budget, accounting for inflation. The 2012 request also includes $197 million for a new long-range bomber, $2.6 billion for a future intercontinental ballistic missile and $1.07 billion for a replacement ballistic submarine expected to be in operation through 2080.

Nuclear weapons have threatened human security since they were used by the United States against Japan nearly 66 years ago. In a time of unprecedented economic upheaval, can we afford to pay for them for another 70 years, hoping they won't be used again? The mayors of America know better.

Jacqueline Cabasso, Oakland, Calif.

The writer is North American coordinator of Mayors for Peace.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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