Vermont Kills House Resolution 32!
7 February 2002
Update on the Vermont - National Missile Defense Resolution- WE WON!
On Wednesday January 30, Vermont's Housing, General, and Military Affairs Committee heard testimony AGAINST H.R. 32. This resolution proposed that Vermont should urge the US government to implement a national missile defense system. Expert witnesses from around the country testified before the committee, by phone & in person, about the excessive costs, global destabilization, technical problems, and institutionalized greed that is behind furthering National Missile Defense plans. The committee heard only one day of testimony against the resolution and voted 11- 0 to kill the bill. Vermont made a good choice.
A big thanks goes to all of you who called your representative on this issue.
Our voices were heard!
Allies against NMD were at the state house and to their surprise HR 32 FOR National Missile Defense was introduced. Who knows if this would have slipped right under our nose. HR 32 was modeled after the resolution introduced in New Hampshire just a few weeks earlier. The resolution was introduced to the House on January 17th and testimony FOR the resolution was heard on January 22. This move extremely fast.
Long time advocates FOR NMD showed their faces to testify. Frank Gaffney from the Center for Security Policy testified that: Russia has had little to no response to the abrogation of the ABM treaty, The US is presently vulnerable to missile attack, the US is the largest supplier of foreign aid to North Korea, N. Korea and other nations are building weapons which could threaten the US, the theory ("Rodney King Theory") of "can't we all just get along" is "irresponsible", treaties are not a reliable basis for security, other nations (presumably the "rogue" states) "don't have regard for the rule of law", missile defense will include space based lasers, and the cost of a ground based system would be about $60 billion. The committee also heard from Ambassador Hank Cooper from High Frontier. His testimony included comments like: hit to kill technology was developed over 15 years ago, recent test failures are a result of a "major failure of engineering discipline (which) represents atrophy of our industrial base…we can overcome them", the technology has been demonstrated. Other people such as Representative Avery (NH) and Representative Fine (VT) spoke in favor of the resolution.
To give you an idea what we are up against I discovered that Mr. Gaffney's "non-profit" is funded by military contractors as well at Donald Rumsfeld himself. Mr. Cooper's "non-profit" gets support from the Carslyl Group. These people are advocating for a deadly system that ultimately will line their funders and their own pockets.
After this hearing we needed to move fast to stop this resolution in its tracks. We got a fantastic response from experts around the country. On January 30 the committee met again to hear the testimony AGAINST the resolution. Testifying in person was John Lamperti and David Montgomery, both physicists from Dartmouth who spoke about the technical problems of NMD and Walter C. Ulher the Chief of Operations at Defense Contract Agency, he is the overseer of Lockheed Martin for Delaware Valley. Admiral Ralph Weymouth a local Vermonter and Daryl Kimball the executive director of Arms Control Association sent in written testimony. The committee heard testimony by phone from David Wright from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Michael Levi at the Federation of American Scientists, Randall Forsberg the director of Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies, Joseph Cirincione the director of Carnegie Non-Proliferation Project, Chris Madison the director of Council for a Livable World, Bill Hartong the director of World Policy Institute. With an all star cast and four hours of testimony the committee decided to squash the resolution 11-0. We won a small victory in the larger battle.
As I spoke with people working against NMD around the country a sense of urgency arose. The Gaffney's and Cooper's of the country are going from state to state pushing similar resolutions. Resolutions in PA, AL, HI, CA, SC, NH, and GA, have either passed or are pending. We need to make sure that we are aware of what or state legislatures are doing. There are many resources that have expert knowledge on NMD issues and are willing to testify, in person, by phone, or in writing. We need to support each other in stopping these resolutions and drafting our own counter resolutions. WAND has drafted a counter resolution that we all should try to push. The resolutions don't change federal policy but do show constituent support. We can act locally and have huge effects globally.
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