672 - Peace & Life: No Chems! - July 21, 2023
The World Is Officially Free of Chemical Weapons
The US military finally destroyed the last of its chemical weapons on July 7, 2023, being the last country to do so after ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. It used to have over 30,000 tons. If there are hidden chemical weapons, there at least isn’t that huge stockpile. And no country can use them without admitting they lied about destroying them.
About the caveat that there may still be undeclared chemical weapons, this goes with the "criminals will find a way" argument commonly used against violence-restricting legislation. It has the all-or-nothing premise that if a law isn't 100% effective, then it's useless. This is often used for abortion and gun violence (with staggeringly similar arguments made from opposite political sides) but also gets applied to large-scale weapons bans – "What's to stop rogue nations from simply ignoring them?"
But it's surely a good thing that the Chemical Weapons Convention has been followed, and this fact flies in the face of that argument. If we aren’t 100% certain it was 100% effective, that doesn't mean it wasn't worth doing.
Now if they'll just ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty, then maybe in another quarter century we can be rid of nukes.
Oppenheimer: A Hollywood Movie on the Beginning of Nuclear Weapons
is opening in theaters today (July 21, 2023). It’s likely we’ll have plenty of comments on it once we’ve had a chance to see it, but peace people in general are likely to want to take a look at it, whether it’s good or not, because we need to know what kind of education about nuclear weapons is happening with the general public.
Catholic Social Action Conference
Pictured below is Lisa Stiller at our table at Social Action Summer Institute (SASI), July 11-14, put on by the Catholic Roundtable. We’ve tabled here for several years, and it’s always been among our most positive audiences.
Our Latest Blog Post
In theaters now, a film focused on child sex trafficking is covered in Movie Review: Sound of Freedom by Rachel MacNair.
Poverty and political unrest (that is, war or near-war) are connected to such trafficking. Abortion serves as part of the business model for traffickers, as illustrated in an excellent video by our member group Feminists Choosing Life of New York.
Quotation of the Week
Mary Krane Derr
I was standing in the [Quaker] Meetinghouse library . . . The title Who Shall Live? snagged my eye. I was a woman, a disabled person, a survivor of violence, and a descendant of genocide and colonialism survivors. The very question, with its encoded assumptions of entitlement and excessive power, sent a wave of panic through me . . .
The full title of the book is even worse: Who Shall Live? MAN’S Control over Birth and Death. It was published by the American Friends Service Committee in 1970.
. . . The words and the things they proposed struck me as cold, abstract, detached from the Heart of Love . . . The book described serious social problems, yes, but why were Friends, the very people who had borne such witness against the Vietnam War, who resisted the threat of nuclear annihilation, who affirmed the full presence of the Inner Light in women — why were they proposing “solutions” that just perpetuated inequity and violence, rather than going beyond them?
(In response to Who Shall Live?, Friends United Press published in 1980 All shall live: Another Quaker response to the abortion dilemma by Steven R. Valentine, which took a consistent life ethic perspective.)