MISSION: Southwest Research and Information Center is a multi-cultural organization working to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations

Book Reviews

Short Fuse to Catastrophe: The Case for Taking Nuclear Weapons Off Hair-trigger Alert
Joint Report of the Back from the Brink Campaign and the Project for Participatory Democracy, Washington, DC: Back from the Brink Campaign, 2001 20 pp., $1.50, call for price on multiple copies, paper

Are there thousands of nuclear bombs on hairtrigger alert that could be launched within a few minutes and destroy much of the world? Most people answer the question with a strong NO. But the correct answer is YES.

This report states: "keeping thousands of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert is a colossal accident waiting to happen, an accident the world cannot afford, " and it recommends that the United States and Russia immediately take steps to "de-alert" their weapons.

Such a catastrophe is not far-fetched. In 1995, Russia mistakenly identified a research rocket fired off the Norway coast as a nuclear weapon and began preparing to launch a retaliatory attack on the U.S. Fortunately, Russian satellites plotted the rocket's flight and called off the alert. Now, as Russia's financial problems grow, its monitoring systems are deteriorating and the likelihood of miscalculations also increase.

De-alerting would lengthen the time needed to launch nuclear weapons from less than 25 minutes, to hours, or days, depending upon the methods used. Many military leaders, cities, political leaders, 100+ nations in a 1999 United Nations Resolution (which the U.S. and Russia opposed), and many citizen organizations worldwide support de-alerting.

The report suggests various ways that de-alerting could occur, and specific actions that individuals and groups can take to help convince political leaders that the time to de-alert is now!

-Don Hancock

If you are interested in writing reviews, please let us know via e-mail: Info@sric.org, or call us at 505-262-1862. You can also write to us at Voices, c/o SRIC, PO Box 4524, Albuquerque, NM 87106. Thank you.

Community Partners
and Resources

Table of Contents

"Federal policy…has been to assure that "waste management problems shall not be deferred to other generations," and many environmental groups have shared the same view. Geological burial - at first glance anyway - looks like an ideal way to accomplish that since, after all, it "removes" the wastes from the environment and solves the problem once and for all. But in many ways entombment does just the opposite. It deliberately poisons a portion of the natural world for an endless stretch of time and in doing so it not only leaves future generations with thousands of tons of the most dangerous rubbish imaginable on their hands but makes it as difficult as the state of our technology permits for them to deal with it. We cannot promise our children - never mind those who will follow hundreds or thousands of years hence - that they will be safe from the wastes. And so long as that is so, we are not taking the problem out of their hands so much as we are taking the solution out of their hands."
Kai Erikson in
"Out of Sight, Out of Our Minds"
The New York Times Magazine
March 6, 1994.

Donate Now Through Network for Good

All donations are tax-deductible.
Thank you.

All federal civilians, military service members, USPS employees, federal retirees and even federal contractors, are now able to make CFC contributions to charity organizations across the country.

Southwest Research and Information Center asks that you remember us when you make your pledge.
Use CFC #90169 to make your pledge TODAY.

Donate through Smith's Rewards Program

Southwest Research and Information Center
105 Stanford SE
PO Box 4524
Albuquerque, NM 87196
fax: 505/262-1864

Shop at
and Support
Southwest Research and
Information Center