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US Bishops urge Senate vote against nuclear weapons research

Research on advanced nuclear weapons, such as the "robust nuclear earth penetrator", undermine nuclear non-proliferation efforts, according to chairman of the US Bishops' International Policy Committee Bishop John Ricard of Florida.

Ricard urged the US Senate to vote against legislation that would fund such research. However the Senate voted in favour of the legislation on Tuesday amid fears of an increased likelihood of a new arms race and a cataclysmic war.

Advocates of the low-yield weapons say they could limit the number of civilian deaths if nuclear weapons were used. Opponents say they would blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons and increase the likelihood that nuclear weapons might be used.

"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," he said.

"We remain unconvinced that the more 'usable' nuclear weapons envisioned would be discriminate or proportionate in any meaningful sense."

"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 US efforts to address it effectively.

US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Senate Democrats Fail to Block Nuke Funds (AP)
Feinstein fails to halt nuclear plans (San Francisco Chronicle)
Bombs r us (

18 Sep 2003