March 15 2008
Open Letter to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk Opposing U.S. Military Base in Poland
Please join these organizations and individuals listed below in signing the open letter to Prime Minister Tusk.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk
The Republic of Poland
Dear Prime Minister Tusk,
We are writing you as individuals and organizations based in the United States committed to human rights and peaceful relations among nations. We have been dismayed by the attempts of both the Polish and Czech governments to negotiate deals with the Bush administration to establish military bases in your countries despite the fact that these bases are opposed by a majority of your own people. The U.S. bases threaten to restart a Cold War between the United States and Russia. They have nothing to do with genuine defense and much to do with an aggressive U.S. military policy.
The proposed bases — ten interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic — combine to produce a dangerous military escalation. The U.S. government claims that the anti-missile system is aimed against Iran, but there is no credible evidence that a missile threat from Iran today exists. As far as Poland is concerned, in January of this year your own Foreign Affairs Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, said publicly, “This is an American, not a Polish project. We feel no threat from Iran.”
The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate released in December 2007 undermined any remaining credibility for the claim of a proximate Iranian nuclear threat by stating that Iran had discontinued its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003. And far from protecting against such a threat in the future, the anti-missile system and other nuclear escalations will only create even stronger inducements for Iran to seek nuclear weapons.
A radar station in the Czech Republic and ten missile interceptors in Poland don’t constitute an immediate challenge to Russia’s nuclear deterrent, with its thousands of warheads. But there is a clear long-range threat that these U.S. bases will be upgraded. Official U.S. documents bear this out. National Security Presidential Directive 23, signed by President Bush on Dec. 6, 2002, stated that the United States would begin to set up missile defenses in 2004 “as a starting point for fielding improved and expanded missile defenses later.” This presidential directive was preceded in January 2002 by a memorandum from Donald Rumsfeld, at the time Secretary of Defense, directing the Missile Defense Agency to develop defense systems by using whatever technology is “available,” even if the capabilities produced are limited relative to what the system must ultimately be able to do.
Washington’s scheme has already produced an ominous response from Russia, which has threatened to direct its missiles toward Poland and the Czech Republic if the U.S. proceeds with the system. Moscow has also threatened to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and to suspend participation in a treaty limiting the deployment of conventional forces in Europe.
No nation — including the U.S., Russia, and Iran — has the moral right to possess nuclear weapons, which by their nature are weapons of vast and indiscriminate mass destruction. The U.S. and other nuclear powers can best reduce the danger of nuclear warfare by taking major steps toward both nuclear and conventional disarmament and refraining from waging or threatening “preventive” war — not by expanding the nuclear threat. Such steps by the existing nuclear powers would create a political climate that would powerfully discourage new countries from developing their own nuclear weapons.
The only objection your government seems to be raising to the US missile system is that Washington is not offering enough in the way of military modernization for Poland. But the provocative bases are wrong on principle, and we would all be simultaneously safer and more prosperous if both Washington and Warsaw invested in social needs rather than new weaponry.
The democratic movements of 1989 are dishonored by the attempt to integrate the countries of central Europe into the network of more than 700 U.S. military bases around the world. We stand with today’s popular movements in Poland and the Czech Republic that are refusing to cave in to the pressure from the Bush Administration to accept this dangerous anti-missile system. And we welcome their support for our work for a new democratic, just and peaceful U.S. foreign policy.
- Campaign for Peace and Democracy
- Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
- Humanist Movement - U.S.
- Physicians for Social Responsibility/NYC
- Peace Action (National and New York State)
Anthony Arnove, Stanley Aronowitz, Phyllis Bennis, Norman Birnbaum, Eileen Boris, Laura Boylan, Jeremy Brecher, Vinie Burrows, Leslie Cagan, Noam Chomsky, Joshua Cohen, Margaret W. Crane, Gail Daneker, Marie Dennis, Ariel Dorfman, Carolyn Eisenberg, Gertrude Ezorsky, Richard Falk, Cathey E. Falvo, MD, MPH, Samuel Farber, John Feffer, Barry Finger, Robert Gabrielsky, Bruce K. Gagnon, Akbar Ganji, John Gorman, Thomas Harrison, Nader Hashemi, Judith Hempfling, Michael Hirsch, Adam Hochschild, Doug Ireland, Padraic Kennedy, Joanne Landy, Jesse Lemisch, John Leonard, Sue Leonard, Staughton Lynd, Nelson Lichtenstein, Marvin and Betty Mandell, David McReynolds, Kevin Martin, Timothy Mitchell, David Oakford, David Ost, Mary O’Brien, MD, Rosemarie Pace, Christopher Phelps, Katha Pollitt, Danny Postel, Leonard Rodberg, Jennifer Scarlott, Jason Schulman, Stephen R. Shalom, Alice Slater, Meredith Tax, Lois Weiner, Naomi Weisstein, Chris Wells, Cheryl Wertz, Reginald Wilson, Julia Wrigley, and Howard Zinn
*The letter was circulated to individuals and groups in the U.S. However, Adam J. Chmielewski, Professor, University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland received the text and wished to add his name.
To the Peoples and Governments of Latin America