Legislation has been introduced in Congress that would prohibit any president of the United States from conducting a "first-use nuclear strike" unless such an attack had been authorized by a prior declaration of war by Congress.

Requiring a formal declaration of war prior to use of nuclear weapons would be sound policy, no matter who is occupying the White House. The legislation would reclaim some of the authority Congress has ceded to the executive branch over the past 70 years. The framers of the Constitution clearly did not want the president or the military to wage war on their own without consent of the people through the Congress that represents them.

Nuclear weapons can be launched in a matter of minutes. Once the missiles are fired, they cannot be recalled. Formally committing the United States to a no-first-use policy will be one small step towards a safer, saner planet.

On Thursday, August 22 at 6:30 p.m., the Franciscan Peace Center will present a free program entitled, "How to Stop the Next Nuclear War." Three short videos that explain the current status of nuclear weapons on our planet will be shown. We will review current legislation regarding nuclear weapons and provide an opportunity to take meaningful action to tell Congress to take steps to reduce the risk of nuclear war.

The program will be presented at The Canticle, home of the Sisters of St. Francis, 941 Thirteenth Avenue North in Clinton. All are welcome.

Laura Anderson

Franciscan Peace Center

Sisters of St. Francis

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