Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Letters to the Editor

March 29, 2010

Urge lawmakers to ratify START

Nuclear weapons, which are uniquely destructive, are one of the greatest threats to our national security and to global stability. Reducing this threat to the common good, and eventually eliminating it is a goal that is achievable. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is a disarmament treaty that is a diplomatic vehicle we can use to get to the goal of reducing this risk. It requires ratification by the U.S. Senate with 67 votes.

The START is only between the U.S. and Russia who together have more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. The new agreement would reduce each side’s strategic (long-range) deployed weapons to a maximum of 1,675 and their deployed delivery vehicles to 500-1,100. The treaty does not reduce tactical (battlefield) weapons, nor address the issue of reserves. A Global Nuclear Security Summit in April will directly address the threat of nuclear terrorism — a nuclear “blowback” of 65 years of U.S. policy.

Nuclear weapons are uniquely destructive because of the tremendous collateral damage they cause, both in the immediate deaths and in the long-term damage to our global health and environment. A CDC/NCI study released in 2002 revealed that any person living in mainland U.S. since 1951 has been exposed to radioactive fallout and all organs and tissues of the body have received some radiation exposure.

The study estimated 22,000 cancers would occur with 11,000 deaths from external exposure, most of them from thyroid cancer and leukemia. The study measured only tests from 1951 to 1962; the last atmospheric tests were in 1980.

I hope readers will join me in asking Senators Lugar and Bayh to ratify the new START agreement when it comes before the Senate this year. It is the best way to encourage disarmament and a safer world for all of us.

— Jean Hirschler

Goshen

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Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

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