Profiles in (Non-Violent) Courage
By Sean Howard
“No policies in human history have more deserved to be recognized as immoral. Or insane. … Whether Americans, Russians, and other humans can rise to the challenge of reversing these policies and eliminating the danger of near-term extinction caused by their own inventions and proclivities remains to be seen. I choose to join with others in acting as if that is still possible.” — Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine
On April 4 this year – the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – seven veteran Catholic Plowshares protesters cut open a padlocked perimeter gate separating the American public from the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Camden County, Georgia, home to weapons capable of killing – in ‘defense’ of freedom, democracy and the Republic – millions of civilians in minutes.
The Plowshares group has engaged in over 100 acts of anti-nuclear civil disobedience since a 1980 trespass at a GE Plant making warhead cones in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, led by legendary Catholic anti-war activists Daniel and Philip Berrigan.
Brought to Georgia by Democratic President Jimmy Carter (the state’s former governor) in 1979, Kings Bay – the largest nuclear sub base on Earth – is home port to six Ohio class vessels, each carrying up to 24 Lockheed Martin Trident D5 missiles, each carrying up to eight warheads of between 100 to 455 kilotons (5-25 ‘Hiroshimas’) in explosive yield. As a National Interest article in September 2017, the “Ohio class boats” – known in subtle Navy parlance as ‘boomers’ – “may be the most destructive weapon system known to mankind.”
“A full salvo – which can be launched in less than one minute – could unleash up to 192 warheads to wipe twenty-four cities off the map. This is a nightmarish weapon of the apocalypse.” (The nightmare recurs in Britain, which uses the same D5 missiles for its so-called ‘independent’ nuclear force.)…