News

Source: Voice of America
DATE=1/8/97
TITLE=BUTLER / NUCLEAR (L-ONLY)
BYLINE=MAXIM KNIAZKOV
DATELINE=WASHINGTON

INTRO: A FORMER COMMANDER OF U-S NUCLEAR FORCES SAYS HE IS BOTH ENCOURAGED AND DISAPPOINTED BY THE REACTION TO HIS APPEAL FOR A NUCLEAR-FREE WORLD. RETIRED GENERAL GEORGE LEE BUTLER SPOKE IN WASHINGTON WEDNESDAY, ONE MONTH AFTER HE LAUNCHED HIS ANTI-NUCLEAR CRUSADE. V-O-A'S MAXIM KNIAZKOV HAS THE REPORT.

TEXT: IT WAS EARLY DECEMBER, WHEN GENERAL BUTLER CAUSED A SENSATION IN WASHINGTON. FORMER CHIEF OF THE U-S STRATEGIC COMMAND RESPONSIBLE FOR NUCLEAR READINESS AND TARGETING, HE WENT STRAIGHT TO THE PRESS TO ISSUE A PASSIONATE APPEAL FOR ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

GENERAL BUTLER SAID AT THAT TIME THAT NUCLEAR ARSENALS ARE PRONE TO ACCIDENTS AND ARE MORE A LIABILITY THAN AN ASSET IN SAFEGUARDING WORLD PEACE.

ON WEDNESDAY, THE GENERAL IMPLICITLY ADMITTED THAT HIS ANTI-NUCLEAR CAMPAIGN IS NOT CATCHING ON. HE SAID THAT ALTHOUGH HE IS ENCOURAGED BY LETTERS OF SUPPORT, HE IS OTHERWISE DISAPPOINTED AND DISMAYED.

// ACT ONE BUTLER //

DISAPPOINTED THUS FAR BY THE QUALITY OF THE DEBATE, BY THOSE PUNDITS WHO SIMPLY SNIFFED IMPERIOUSLY AT THE GOAL OF ELIMINATION, AIRED THEIR STOCK COLD WAR RHETORIC, HURLED A PERSONAL EPITHET OR TWO, AND SETTLED SMUGLY BACK INTO THEIR WORLD OF EXAGGERATED THREATS AND BYGONE ENEMIES.

// END ACT //

DESPITE ITS EXTENSIVE MEDIA COVERAGE, GENERAL BUTLER'S APPEAL WAS ESSENTIALLY IGNORED BY THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE DECLARED NUCLEAR POWERS.

EXPERTS SAY THAT WITH THE END OF THE COLD WAR, THE WORLD HAS ALREADY MADE GREAT STRIDES IN REDUCING THE NUCLEAR THREAT. THEY ARGUE THAT ONLY 10 YEARS AGO, THE WORLD'S COMBINED NUCLEAR ARSENAL EXCEEDED 70-THOUSAND WARHEADS. SINCE THEN, ANALYSTS SAY, IT HAS BEEN REDUCED BY ALMOST ONE-HALF -- TO ABOUT 37-THOUSAND WARHEADS.

GENERAL BUTLER'S CRITICS CREDITED NUCLEAR DETERRENCE WITH PRESERVING WORLD PEACE -- AND ACCUSED HIM OF TRYING TO RUSH SOLUTIONS. BUT THE GENERAL WAS UNDAUNTED AND VOWED TO PRESS AHEAD.

// ACT TWO BUTLER //

HEAR ME SAY CLEARLY AND UNRESERVEDLY THAT NO ONE IS MORE CONSCIOUS THAN AM I THAT REALISTIC PROSPECTS FOR ELIMINATION WILL EVOLVE OVER MANY YEARS.

// END ACT //

GENERAL BUTLER'S ANTI-NUCLEAR APPEAL WAS SUPPORTED IN DECEMBER BY ABOUT 60 OTHER FORMER HIGH-RANKING MILITARY OFFICIALS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. BUT SINCE THEN, THE ISSUE HAS MOVED OUT OF THE MEDIA SPOTLIGHT.

ON WEDNESDAY, A WASHINGTON POLITICAL RESEARCH ORGANIZATION, THE HENRY STIMSON CENTER, GAVE GENERAL BUTLER A DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD -- IN AN APPARENT BID TO REGAIN MEDIA ATTENTION FOR HIM.

(SIGNED)

NEB/MAX/RRM

08-Jan-97 4:54 PM EST (2154 UTC)