Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 23, 2007
Retired general wants cuts to nuclear arsenal
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
If NATO countries do not start reducing their nuclear arsenals, they lack the moral authority to stop terrorists or rogue states from acquiring them, says Senator Romeo Dallaire.
Dallaire, the Canadian lieutenant-general who led UN forces in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, said the credibility of countries like the U.S. and Britain that have nuclear weapons but don't want anyone else to have them is "shot to hell."
In an interview he said he finds it ludicrous that the two countries are modernizing their nuclear arsenal, instead of making moves to reduce the 27,000 nuclear weapons around the world.
"You don't need that many to blow up the whole planet."
The sheer numbers of nuclear weapons make it all the more likely they will fall into the hands of terrorists, he said. "If we think the two towers coming down created paranoia and panic, imagine if we have our first nuclear blast."
He wants NATO and its members to "shift gears" in their global security strategy and push towards an internal reduction and reduction process. NATO countries could easily start reducing their own arsenals without compromising security.
Ridding the world of nuclear weapons became a priority in Senator Dallaire's life a year ago, when retired senator Douglas Roche, a veteran peace and anti-nuclear advocate, asked him to host the 50th anniversary of the Pugwash Conferences earlier this month.
The conferences, which won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1995, have met ever since a group of the world's leading scientists gathered in 1957 in Pugwash, N.S., to discuss the threat of nuclear weapons.
When Roche asked Dallaire to host the conference, he realized that the presence of nuclear weapons systems were a "gross violation of my human right to security."
Despite his experiencing the worst of human nature through his time in Rwanda, Dallaire said his view of human nature is optimistic.
The advancement of human rights, and the reassignment of priorities in human development "will one day lead us to the serenity we are all looking for," he said, though he admitted, "it may take two centuries."