THE NEW NUCLEAR DANGER: Why We Can't Afford to Let Weapons Manufacturers Dictate Foreign Policy

Helen Caldicott, Author . New Press $16.95 (263p) ISBN 978-1-56584-740-8

Since September 11, it has become clear that the United States is headed for more military funding to fight the "war on terrorism." But as longtime antinuclear activist, author and pediatrician Caldicott (Nuclear Madness: What You Can Do) shows, this buildup is nothing new—with the exception of the first President Bush, U.S. policy has generally favored military spending. But spending on nuclear weapons is ineffective in fighting terrorists holed up in caves, Caldicott contends. Using a medical model, she focuses on what she calls the "disease" before she launches into her "remedy." She is strongest focusing on the ties between the American nuclear arsenal and large corporations, which have only their own interests at heart—a point that should resonate in the post-Enron era. In impressive detail, she describes how hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on questionable defense projects such as Star Wars. To her credit, this book also serves as a defense primer: she lays out the various weapons projects in terms accessible to the average reader—an accessibility she argues that the government wants to deny citizens. But her remedies for the problem she describes—diverting millions of dollars from the defense budget for health care and the environment— seem naïve and unrealistic. In addition, her strident tone ("the Pentagon thinks about nuclear strategy in a strange and pathological way") might turn some readers off to the book's important message. (Apr. 1)

Forecast:Caldicott is well known to the antinuclear crowd, which will welcome this new volume from her, particularly as the current President Bush reemphasizes nuclear weaponry.

Reviewed on: 03/25/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Ebook - 354 pages - 978-1-59558-661-2
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-56584-878-8
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