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ScrapTrident


Brian Quail's Herald Letter

 Father George Donaldson says the Vatican has endorsed consistently multilateral nuclear disarmament . The trouble is that no British nuclear bomb has ever been on the table at an international disarmament conference. So, as the redoubtable Bruce Kent once succinctly observed: "A unilateralist is a multilateralist who means what he says."

When Trident replaced Polaris it was described by the select committee on defence as "a significant enhancement of the UK's nuclear potential". This despite the fact that the UK government was bound under Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) to work in good faith towards the reduction of nuclear weapons. Trident is to be replaced by a newer, more effective version in 2020. As far as Britain is concerned, it is "new lamps for old".

It is not possible to endorse nuclear deterrence without being committed to the actual use of the atom bomb should the deterrence situation break down (it makes no sense to issue a threat which you refuse to implement). A conditional intention to massacre is no less decisively wicked for being thus conditional.

Murderous threats are murderous threats. Whatever their ultimate consequences, they already devastate human limits. That is why - in a lovely Americanism - US Pax Christi bishops once described nuclear deterrence as "a sin situation". As the Scottish bishops said at Easter 1982: "If it is immoral to use these weapons, it is immoral to threaten their use."

The teaching of the Catholic Church on WMD is clear beyond dispute. Paragraph 80 of the document Gaudium et Spes, issued by the Second Vatican Council, states: "Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation."

The Labour Party's endorsement of Trident cannot be reconciled with this basic moral position.
Brian M Quail, Glasgow.

Father George Donaldson says the Vatican has endorsed consistently multilateral nuclear disarmament . The trouble is that no British nuclear bomb has ever been on the table at an international disarmament conference. So, as the redoubtable Bruce Kent once succinctly observed: "A unilateralist is a multilateralist who means what he says."

When Trident replaced Polaris it was described by the select committee on defence as "a significant enhancement of the UK's nuclear potential". This despite the fact that the UK government was bound under Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) to work in good faith towards the reduction of nuclear weapons. Trident is to be replaced by a newer, more effective version in 2020. As far as Britain is concerned, it is "new lamps for old".

It is not possible to endorse nuclear deterrence without being committed to the actual use of the atom bomb should the deterrence situation break down (it makes no sense to issue a threat which you refuse to implement). A conditional intention to massacre is no less decisively wicked for being thus conditional.

Murderous threats are murderous threats. Whatever their ultimate consequences, they already devastate human limits. That is why - in a lovely Americanism - US Pax Christi bishops once described nuclear deterrence as "a sin situation". As the Scottish bishops said at Easter 1982: "If it is immoral to use these weapons, it is immoral to threaten their use."

The teaching of the Catholic Church on WMD is clear beyond dispute. Paragraph 80 of the document Gaudium et Spes, issued by the Second Vatican Council, states: "Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation."

The Labour Party's endorsement of Trident cannot be reconciled with this basic moral position.
Brian M Quail, Glasgow.

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