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MY TURN | Anti-Trident Action Wasn't a 'Failure'

By Staff Reports
Thursday, November 12, 2009

KINGSTON — Reader submitted

In your recent editorial (Kitsap Sun 11/08/09), I take issue with your assertion that the Plowshares action at the Trident submarine base was a failure.

Five individuals risked their lives to bring awareness of the existence and sheer enormity of the nuclear weapons stockpile at Bangor (roughly one fourth of the world’s nuclear weapons are housed here in Kitsap County) and the threat those weapons pose to us and the rest of the world.

I noted a couple of factual errors in your editorial. The Plowshares activists were not “quickly apprehended.” According to news reports they were not taken into custody until they had been on the base for nearly four hours.

These were not the first Trident resisters to break into the base. There have been numerous fence cuttings over the years, including one on the front page of the Bremerton Sun in 1976.

These were also not the first Trident resisters to make their way to the high security area. In January of 1980 Jim Douglass and Fr. John Clark spent over 24 hours on the base, making their way to SWFPAC, where they were arrested while praying at the bunkers.

The Sun and its online poll missed an opportunity to shed light on the issue by focusing on punishment of the demonstrators including the inflammatory question “is jail too lenient?”. Instead we should ask for the truth about the Trident nuclear weapon system.

I believe the critical questions are:

1. What are the risks and dangers of the Trident weapons system to our community and to the world? Do such weapons enhance or threaten our security?

2. Are they first-strike weapons? Are they capable of mass annihilation of civilian populations? Are they legal under international and U.S. law?

3. Is the expenditure of critically needed resources on these weapons moral, when millions of people here and abroad don’t have decent food, housing, health care or education?

4. What are the responsibilities of citizens who know of the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the danger that they represent?

What is the extent of our obligation to prevent the mass destruction of civilian populations?

Rather than considering their action a failure, I thank the Disarm Now Plowshares for raising important questions of security in a nuclear world.

Mary Gleysteen

Disarm Now Plowshares main page