Open Letter in Support of HR 669, Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017

Dear Congressman Garamendi:

The Davis Democratic Club commends you for sponsoring HR 669, along with Congressman Ted Lieu and 49 other Members of Congress.  This important measure would require a Congressional declaration of war that specifically authorizes the first use of nuclear weapons before a first use.  Requiring Congressional debate and affirmative vote for the use of nuclear weapons, in place of unilateral determination by the President, is a significant step back from the nuclear brink.  It represents a restoration of the constitutional balance in war making which requires Congress to declare war and then authorizes the Commander in Chief to wage war.   As your legislation recognizes, nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapons of mass destruction because they kill on a large scale without distinction among combatants, noncombatants and innocent civilians; they create long-term health and environmental damage throughout the world; and they put the US at existential risk of annihilation.

Aggressive rhetoric among the heads of state of nuclear-armed powers including the US has focused the attention of the nation on the dangers of unilateral action performed without public debate or discussion among elected representatives.  Your measure is therefore extremely timely and responsive.  The United States is the only nuclear- armed nation that has ever used without warning nuclear weapons in an urban setting.  Your measure represents a historic rebalancing of the constitutional war power and is therefore of historic significance.

The Davis Democratic Club endorses the legislation and proposes in the next few months to conduct an educational program, in cooperation with other organizations in the political and faith communities, to highlight the importance of your measure in the context of our times.  We invite your cooperation and participation in this educational endeavor.  Thank you for sponsoring this measure and for contributing to the national conversation on this most important topic.


Stephen Souza, President Davis Democratic Club on behalf of Executive Board

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    1. Howard P

      We had a similar ‘ban’ on ‘first strike’… in effect in Dec 1941… those were conventional bombs that fell @ Pearl.

      So, how many must die in America, by a ballistic nuclear attack, before we respond in like manner?  100,000? 1,000.000? 10,000,000?

      Always letting someone get “the first punch”, or “first shot” in, might make for good drama… but taking even the possibility of ‘first strike’ for an apples to apples exchange, off the table… yeah that may well indeed affect us all…

        1. Howard P

          It was wrong… that said, when Iraq was in full retreat from Kuwait, we should not have backed off… we should have ended the ‘career’ of Saddam then and there…

          I assume you were aghast, Tia, when you heard what we did with Bin Laden… I wasn’t…

  1. Keith O

    First strike?

    So if our radars pick up incoming ballistic missiles are we to let them strike us first damaging much of our defense capabilities before firing back?

    Does this also take away much of our bargaining power when dealing with the likes of Kim Jong-un?



  2. Howard P

    Two things… from the summary…

    This bill prohibits the President from using the Armed Forces to conduct a first-use nuclear strike unless such strike is conducted pursuant to a congressional declaration of war expressly authorizing such strike.
    “First-use nuclear strike” means a nuclear weapons attack against an enemy that is conducted without the President determining that the enemy has first launched a nuclear strike against the United States or a U.S. ally.

    Read the proposal… at this point, it is only that… no discussion, no votes…
    In WWII, it took years of watching Hitler subjugate Europe, start rounding up Jews/Catholics/gypsies/mentally retarded, AND Japan attacking Pearl, AND Hitler (stupidly) declaring war on the US, before congress was prepared to declare war on Hitler/Germany.
    I agree on aspect at one BIG level… should take a ‘vetting process’ before the current POTUS gets the “codes”… but not convinced it should take an act of congress…

  3. Howard P

    Ya’ know, David… might be really good to get in the habit of citing the sources… be they HR 669 (link), Council agenda packets (linl), etc.

    Think that’s what a responsible journalist/reporter might do … but since I’m neither, I might be wrong…

    Might cut down on the BS factors from folk… as Rod Serling might say, “for your consideration…”

    Might also enhance your credibility and the VG’s… [at least for the adults present]

    Just a humble suggestion…

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