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Obama Hiroshima Visit: MA Peace Activists Urge Concrete Proposals

A Boston-based peace group says President Barack Obama needs to bring some concrete nuclear-disarmament proposals when he visits Hiroshima later this month. (ChairBoy via wiki).
A Boston-based peace group says President Barack Obama needs to bring some concrete nuclear-disarmament proposals when he visits Hiroshima later this month. (ChairBoy via wiki).
May 12, 2016

BOSTON – It is a visit that is sure to make history, but a Boston-based peace group says President Barack Obama needs to have some constructive initiatives in hand when he visits Hiroshima later this month.

Obama plans to become the first U.S. president to visit that part of Japan since the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II, although the White House says he will not apologize for that historic decision by President Harry Truman.

Cole Harrison, executive director of the Massachusetts Peace Action, the state's largest grassroots peace organization, says he would like to see the Obama put his focus on both present and future funding of nuclear weapons in the U.S. and around the world.

"It would be a disconnect for him to go there and just mouth some empty platitudes about how terrible nuclear weapons are, while we're building more,” Harrison states. “It's good that he's going to Hiroshima, but he should bring some constructive initiatives with him."

Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 in recognition of his nuclear nonproliferation efforts. Harrison says concrete steps Obama could take include proposals that would reduce the number of nuclear warheads in reserve in the free world.

Harrison says he does not want to prejudge what Obama might say later this month, but he does know the U.S. is spending plenty on the nuclear arsenal.

"The United States under his administration is spending $1 trillion to modernize our nuclear weapons, so they perceive us as a threat,” he points out. “And we have to stop this, and go for nuclear disarmament, instead of one-upmanship."

On May 27, Obama plans to join Japan's prime minister on a tour of the site of the world's first nuclear bombing.




Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA