Washington Area Veterans Urge Senator Murray, Congressman Smith to Say No to Nukes for Europe

 ·  VoteVets.org, Press Release   ·   Link to Article

 

“Global boondoggle” wastes billions to fight non-existent Soviet threat, better spent on troops and veterans, say vets

 

Seattle, WA – Nearly 45 veterans of all eras, living in Washington State, are releasing letters to Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Adam Smith today, urging them to oppose billions of dollars for new tactical nuclear weapons to be based in Europe, citing the non-existent Soviet threat the weapons are designed to defend against, and the cost to our troops and veterans.  The letter, organized by the largest progressive group of veterans in America, VoteVets.org, is the first step in a larger campaign against funding the nuclear weapons.

Congress is considering a $581 million allocation to upgrade B61 nuclear gravity bombs, to be hosted in Europe, though the estimated full cost to upgrade the weapons is over $11 billion.  This nuclear bomb program is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, now being debated.

 

“First, it goes without saying that nations such as Belgium and the Netherlands, which would host these nuclear bombs, are important allies of the United States. But it also goes without saying that none of these nations face a threat from the defunct Soviet Union and haven’t for over 20 years.  It is debatable as to whether these weapons even need an upgrade in technology.  What is not debatable is that they protect Europe from nothing,” the veterans write.

 

They continue, “Further, we must consider what is getting cut to pay for this global boondoggle.  For the cost of the upgrade this year alone, the US could avoid cutting back pay raises for our troops and still have money to spare.  Down the road, we can use savings to not just pay our troops what they deserve, but to alleviate sequestration cuts that affect the services provided to our troops and veterans  -- services that they have earned through their sacrifice.”

 

The veterans urge Senator Murray and Congressman Smith to oppose funding the B61 bomb.

 

The full text of the letter is below.

 

Founded in 2006,  and backed by over 330,000 members, the mission of VoteVets.org is to use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home.  VoteVets.org also recognizes veterans as a vital part of the fabric of our country and will work to protect veterans' interests in their day-to-day lives.   VoteVets.org is committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world - with force when necessary - to protect America.  While non-partisan, the group is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America.

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A similar version of the letter below was also sent to Congressman Adam Smith.  Signees with an asterisk (*) denote those who signed the separate letter to Congressman Smith and live in his district.

 

June 10, 2013

Dear Senator Murray, 

 

In this new era of austerity, as veterans from your state, we were shocked and dismayed to learn that the Senate is considering spending billions of dollars on a Cold War relic with little value to our security needs of the 21st Century. Even worse, this money is desperately needed by our active duty service members.

As you know, the National Defense Authorization Act, now under consideration by the House, would allocate $581 million to upgrade tactical nuclear bombs for Europe.  The full price for these B61 nuclear gravity bombs could cost the United States approximately $650 million this year - $11.9 billion for the total program.

First, it goes without saying that nations such as Belgium and the Netherlands, which would host these nuclear bombs, are important allies of the United States. But it also goes without saying that none of these nations face a threat from the defunct Soviet Union and haven’t for over 20 years.  It is debatable as to whether these weapons even need an upgrade in technology.  What is not debatable is that they protect Europe from nothing.

 

Further, we must consider what is getting cut to pay for this global boondoggle.  For the cost of the upgrade this year alone, the US could avoid cutting back pay raises for our troops and still have money to spare.  Down the road, we can use savings to not just pay our troops what they deserve, but to alleviate sequestration cuts that affect the services provided to our troops and veterans  - services that they have earned through their sacrifice.

 

We understand that, at a time when the budget is stretched to the breaking point because of poor decisions like the sequester, choices need to be made.  If the choice is between taking care of our troops and veterans or protecting Europe from a ghost, it should be an easy choice to make.

 

We urge you to reject funding of the planned nuclear upgrade in Europe and lobby your fellow members to do the same.  Please distribute our letter to your colleagues as you see fit.

 

Sincerely,

 

Earl R. Sutherland, Vietnam War Veteran, Bellevue, WA*

 

Billy Eugene Kemp, Vietnam War Veteran, Tacoma, WA*      

Carl H. Spitzer, Vietnam War Veteran, Renton, WA*                

Rick Hegdahl, OIF Veteran, Bellevue, WA*

Michell Jon Turley, Cold War Veteran, Federal Way, WA*

Dr. Frederick L Howard, Vietnam War Veteran, Port Orchard, WA

Richard J. Skillman Jr., Vietnam War Veteran, Vashon Island, WA

Stephen Tucker, Cold War Veteran, Desert Shield, Everett, WA

Peter G. Wort, Cold War / Desert Shield / Desert Storm Veteran, Bellingham, WA

Robert C. Dickerson II, Vietnam War Veteran, Seattle, WA

Thomas O. Young,  Vietnam War Veteran, Battle Ground, WA

Dale Miller, Iraq War Veteran, Poulsbo, WA

Don Rahm, Vietnam War Veteran, Puyallup, WA

Charles Van Wey, Vietnam War Veteran, Seattle, WA

John P. Simanton, Vietnam/Cold War/Desert Shield-Storm Veteran, Spokane, WA

Donna M.  Gilson Hanson, Korean War Veteran, Pullman, WA

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Vietnam War Veteran , Port Townsend, WA

Jerry Stansfield, Vietnam War Era Veteran, Everett, Washington, WA

Walter Sturm, Korean War Veteran, Olympia, WA

Thomasina Ross, Vietnam War Era Veteran, Olympia, WA

Joseph N Wiederhold Vietnam War Era Veteran, White Salmon, WA

Colleen McGuire, Iraq War Veteran, Selah, WA

Angela S. Pond, Gulf War Veteran,  Camas, WA

Dorothy D Zeviar, Vietnam War Era Veteran, Camas, WA

James Stewart, Vietnam War Era Veteran, Ferndale, WA

Clay Dennis Vietnam War Veteran, Mineral, WA.

Darrell Plouffe, Vietnam War Veteran, Everett, WA

Richard A. Brems, Vietnam War Era Veteran, Camas WA

Robert Riek, Vietnam War Veteran, Bellingham,WA

Dale Shotwell, Korean War Veteran, Vancouver, WA

Gary (and Patricia) Miller, Vietnam War Veteran

Michael Jessett, Vietnam War Veteran, Camas, WA

Thomas Glenn Lane, Vietnam War Veteran, Anacortes, WA

Larry Bogues, OIF Veteran, Mt Vernon, WA

David Leith Curley, Vietnam War Veteran, Bellingham, WA

Elizabeth Sadewasser, Served ’93-’97, Camas, WA

Robin Dianne Green, Vietnam War Era Veteran, Poulsbo, WA

Lyman William Griswold, Korean and Vietnam War Era Veteran, Eastsound, WA

Warren Huckabay, Vietnam War Veteran, Sammamish, WA

Vern Rutter, Vietnam War Veteran, Tahuya, WA

Samuel E. Fleming Jr., Vietnam War Veteran, Puyallup, WA

Gregory L. Iverson, Vietnam War Era Veteran, Seattle

Bruce Wade, Vietnam War Era Veteran, Shoreline, WA

Frederick E. Jesset, Cold War Veteran, Sammamish, WA

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