Tuesday, July 12, 2016

MP letter on Trident

Trident in action

Letter to my Conservative MP about the Trident replacement vote on 18th July

John Penrose MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

Dear John

The Fallibility of Nuclear Deterrence

I will not ask you to consider voting against Trident replacement on 18th July, since you are beyond persuasion on the issue. Instead, I wish to make you aware of the implications of your vote.

If the consequences of the failure of a system would be infinitely destructive, it is reasonable to use that system if and only if the probability of its failure are zero. The probability of deterrence system failure is greater than zero. Therefore humanity should terminate the use of the deterrence system.

By voting for Trident replacement, you are, as you know, weakening the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires nuclear states to work in good faith to abolish nuclear weapons. A weak NPT means that more states like Iran and North Korea will obtain their own nuclear deterrent, and this will make an outbreak of a global nuclear war more likely.

You must admit that nuclear deterrence is not infallible. Even without new states like North Korea, deterrence can degenerate into global nuclear war. Here are 11 historic instances where computer errors brought us close to nuclear war http://greenerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/11-instances-where-nuclear-deterrence.html . Nuclear weapons systems are vulnerable to cyber-attack http://www.thenational.scot/news/trident-alert-as-expert-says-nuclear-weapons-cannot-be-made-completely-safe-from-cyber-attack.13380 . William McNeilly has produced a dossier which shows that Trident is in a sorry state of neglect both in its human and its physical systems. http://nuclearinfo.org/sites/default/files/William%20McNeilly%20Secret%20Nuclear%20Threat%20120515.pdf .

Please do not try to deploy the “Trident is an insurance policy” argument. It is nothing like an insurance policy. http://greenerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2007/02/trident-debate-insurance-argument.html

Nuclear deterrence is clearly not infallible. This means that at some point in the future there is a 99.99+% chance of Trident being used. If Trident is fired we have to assume that every working nuclear weapon on the planet will also be fired, because of the counter-force strategy that means “use them or lose them”. Total nuclear war means a nuclear winter, breakdown in human life support systems, and the end of the present human civilisation on this planet.

You will not accept this logic, and will support the Government in pretending that it wishes to work towards global nuclear disarmament, while it continues to acquire, deploy and eventually, to fire these evil weapons.

Richard Lawson

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