Ward Wilson- Fighting Lies Supporting Nuclear Weapons
This is the first part of a two part transcript of my interview with Ward Wilson
Here's a link to the audio podcast interview
RK - And welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 a.m.
My guest tonight is Ward Wilson. He's the author of Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons and he's a senior fellow at the British American Security Information Council. I know Ward from way back and it's great to have him on the show again. We're going to talk about his work and we'll get into it in just a moment. Welcome to the show Ward.
WW - Thanks Rob I'm glad to be here.
RK - I love what you do and I think it's incredibly important and valuable and what's really nice is that I'm not the only one. You've really gotten some amazing support over the last couple years. Can you talk a little bit about that?
WW - One of the blurbs on the back of the book that I like the best is from a four star General from the Army. So it's pretty cool when you're against nuclear weapons and you get military guys to like what you say. There were two Pulitzer Prize winning historians who've endorsed the argument that I make about Hiroshima. And I was in Costa Rica about two months ago at a conference sponsored by the Oscar Arias Institute. Arias is the former President - two term President of Costa Rica who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. I don't know if you remember but in the eighties there were three Central American countries that had Civil Wars going on and Arias got all the Presidents of the Central American countries together and essentially talked them into passing a bunch of land reform and other progressive reforms. And they resolved all the Civil Wars. So he's kind of a hero of mine. I'm down at this conference and he's introducing the topic, it's about Nuclear War and some other topics - and he's talking away in Spanish, which I don't understand, he's says, "blah blah blah, Ward Wilson, blah, blah" And I'm like, "Oh I think he's talking about me." (Laughs) And then afterwards he told me he uses the arguments from Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons in all his speeches about nuclear war now. And I said, "Oh, gosh that is so nice. Thank you." And he said, "Well it's because they're all so true." So (Laughs) I was overwhelmed and honored because when a Nobel Peace Prize winner says he likes the arguments you've been making then that's good stuff--for me anyway.
RK - So this is Oscar Arias himself saying that?
WW - Yes.
RK - Awesome. Yes. Yes, you should be proud of that. So what's the elevator description of what you do?
WW - I'm the premiere source of pragmatic arguments against nuclear weapons in the world. Basically there are a lot of people that think that nuclear weapons are immoral and wrong and they're right. But there aren't very many people that argue publicly that they're clumsy, stupid, not very effective weapons. And so that's one of the reasons why the work I do has drawn some attention because when you marry those two approaches together - when you say nuclear weapons are not only immoral but their also clumsy, stupid, not very effective weapons then you've really got a very strong argument. So that's been having some impact.
RK - Toward who?
WW - Well I went and spoke at the Pentagon, for instance, and they listened very closely. It was quite a cordial conversation because I didn't say they were immoral I just said I want my country to be defended and safe but I want effective weapons to do it. I've been lobbying in Parliaments in the UK - in the United Kingdom at the House of Commons. A couple of years ago I spoke before the so-called Top Level Group, which is a group of retired people in the United Kingdom including two former Foreign Ministers, two Admirals, two Generals, a cluster of Lords from the House of Lords and a Barrenness. So that was - and you know in different places around the world. I'm going to be lobbying in Parliaments in Norway, Netherlands, Germany, UK, and Canada over the next year and I hope to go to Iran. I've been talking to some of President Rouhani's foreign policy people to see if I can stamp out the last bits of support for a nuclear weapons program in Iran.
RK - What do you tell them?