AMERICAN EX-PRISONERS OF WAR
Dear Senator Lott:
As National Commander of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, I wish to express my support for the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty. This is an important step in reducing the price that Americans who serve their country on the field of battle must pay in defense of our freedom. Those captured in prior wars know all too well the enduring price of those sacrifices even without chemical weapons and their lifelong disabling consequences.
While there may, of course, be some risk in adopting this treaty, America must pay a leadership role in international efforts to reduce this price to the extent possible. These risks have been thoroughly weighed by Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all have supported this treaty.
WM. E. "Sonny" Mottern
AMERICAN GI FORUM OF THE UNITED STATES
Dear Mr. President:
It is my urgent obligation to inform you of the position of support that our organization holds for the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The American GI Forum of the U.S., the nation's largest Hispanic Veterans organization, is convinced that the United States must be a leader in this world treaty.
Chemical warfare is an inhuman atrocity. Only the most insensitive minds would ever conceive the notion of using these agents against humanity, but some will unless the World community steps forward and prevails in condemning their use, and their availability.
The Chemical Weapons Convention is fundamental to human posterity. It is a treaty that exemplifies the communal sense that our new world order enjoys. And, it is imperative that the United States upholds its obligation as a World Leader by ratifying this treaty and staking its position as a part of the governing body.
The American GI Forum of the U.S. urges you to convey to the Senate that we join the many other fellow veterans that know the hardship of battle, and that support this treaty because it moves towards the eventual elimination of chemical warfare, the most cowardly and inhuman form of offense. The security of our troops is a paramount concern, but so is the security of our civilians. Chemical weapons can be easily misused by terrorists and cause our nation's citizens great harm. We must do all we can to eliminate this hovering danger, and ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention is vital.
Jake I. Alarid
The pending worldwide ban on chemical weapons, scheduled to go into effect April 29, today received qualified support from the nation's fourth largest veterans service organization.
"We support ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention," said AMVETS National Commander David E. Ovesen, "as long as it does not place restrictions on U.S. forces in dealing with rogue nations. Our men and women in uniform should not be put in harm's way because of this and it will be up to the administration to see that they're not."
The treaty -- which has the backing of two former presidents, Ronald Reagan and George Bush -- is currently awaiting ratification by the Senate.
Ovesen said he hopes the Senate will take action soon. "We haven't seen any movement yet and if they don't approve it before the 29th, there will be repercussions. For one thing, the United States would not be a charter member of the council overseeing the treaty's implementation nor would any of our people be eligible to serve as international inspectors."
The AMVET leader also voiced concern that the lack of Senate ratification would have an adverse effect on the economy. "The U.S. chemical industry," said Ovesen, "would no doubt be hit with punitive measures and many jobs would be lost, including those held by veterans."
THE NATIONAL GULF WAR RESOURCE CENTER, INC.
The National Gulf War Resource Center (NGWRC), a coalition of two dozen grass-roots Gulf War veterans organizations based in Washington, DC, announces their support for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The NGWRC joins with the Vietnam Veterans of America and the VFW in endorsing this treaty.
"We hope the Senate ratifies this important treaty so that future generations of American citizens and soldiers will face a reduced threat of chemical warfare agent exposure", says Jeffrey Ford a Gulf War veteran and Executive Director of the NGWRC.
Mr. Ford, one of the engineers who six years ago this week unknowingly participated in the destruction of chemical weapons at the Khamisiyah weapons depot in southern Iraq also says, "The CWC will eliminate many nations' existing chemical warfare agent stockpiles and will be a useful tool to prevent the proliferation of these weapons."
In announcing their support for the CWC, the National Gulf War Resource Center requests of the Pentagon to use safe, closed-loop technologies to destroy chemical weapons stockpiles. This should ensure maximum safety to citizens and the environment when compared to the known low-level releases produced by the incineration process, according to the Chemical Weapons Working Group.
The NGWRC also seeks an expedited review of claims for medical treatment and compensation for veterans whose undiagnosed illnesses may result from chemical agent exposures. Also, the NGWRC insists that the Pentagon take additional steps to protect our armed forces against future chemical exposure by reviewing current doctrine and existing defensive capabilities.
"One of the primary missions of the Resource Center is to promote the health and welfare of those who served in the Persian Gulf War as well as future generations of Americans, supporting the Chemical Weapons Convention is in line with the goals of our organization," Mr. Ford said.
The National Gulf War Resource Center offers a free comprehensive self-help guide about Gulf War veterans illnesses. A copy may be obtained by contacting the addresses listed above.
RESERVE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES
Whereas, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which would ban the development, production,
and stockpiling, as well as the use and preparation for use of chemical weapons was
negotiated by both the Reagan and Bush administrations; and
Whereas, 65 countries, including virtually all of our friends and allies, have already
ratified the CWC; and
Whereas, under a law signed in 1985 by then-President Reagan, all U.S. chemical weapons
(many of which are nearly 50 years old) are to be destroyed by the year 2004; and
Whereas, the Congress has repeatedly refused to authorize the funds necessary to modernize
our chemical weapons arsenal, leading us to abandon that effort in 1991; and
Whereas, the CWC will go into force, with or without United States' ratification, on
April 29, 1997; and
Whereas, United States' failure to ratify the CWC will place us among the great outlaw
states of the world, including Libya, Iran, and North Korea; and
Whereas, United States' ratification of the CWC will enable us to play a major role in
the development and implementation of CWC policy, as well as providing strong moral
leverage to help convince Russia of the desirability of ratifying the convention;
Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Reserve Officers Association of the United
States, chartered by Congress, urge the Senate to quickly ratify the Chemical Weapons
VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS
The Veterans of Foreign Wars today announced its support for ratification of the
Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty which would ban the manufacture, stockpiling and use of
VFW Commander in Chief James E. Nier, of El Paso Texas, in calling for support for the treaty's
ratification said, "The Treaty will reduce world stockpiles of such weapons and will hopefully
prevent our troops from being exposed to poison gases as we believe happened in the Gulf War."
Noting the support of three presidents for the treaty--it was initiated by President Reagan,
negotiated by President Bush, and submitted for ratification by President Clinton--and the treaty is
supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Nier said the VFW would support efforts calling for the
"There are risks in adopting this treaty. However, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe
the advantages outweigh the shortcomings and Defense Secretary Cohen has assured me these
risks can be greatly reduced with the ongoing improvements in the defense posture of our troops
against chemical warfare" Nier said.
The VFW leader noted that, "As combat veterans we support this treaty, but in the future if we
perceive that this treaty puts our country and our troops at a disadvantage, we will be out front
and lead the way for withdrawal from the treaty."
VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA, INC.
Dear Majority Leader Lott:
On behalf of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. (VVA), I urge you to support ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It is very important that the United States demonstrates a strong commitment to the treaty, as well as takes a leadership role within the international community for the ratification and enforcement of this treaty. VVA urges the Senate to expeditiously act on the Chemical Weapons Convention, so that the United States will be a participant from the outset when it takes effect on April 29, 1997.
Given our nation's recent experience with the Persian Gulf War and the debilitating illnesses our veterans continue to experience several year after their service, this is an important step toward underscoring the U.S. policy objective of preventing chemical weapons-exposure for service personnel and civilians. Thousands of Vietnam veterans continue to serve in our nation's active-duty military and National Guard and Reserve units. Many more have sons and daughters who have chosen to contribute to our nation's well being through military service. For these veterans and their families, as well as to protect all American citizens, it is important that the process of eliminating the use of chemical weapons be aggressively pursued.
Recognizing that this treaty will not bind rogue nations, VVA nonetheless supports the Chemical Weapons Convention because it allows for participating nations to retain enough chemical weapons to develop defensive technologies. And the treaty does present sanctions and long-term incentives for all countries to become participants and to ultimately comply with its terms. The CWC is a tool for use in the objective of eliminating use of chemical weapons.
Please feel free to contact VVA Government Relations Director Kelli Willard West, if you have any questions about VVA's position on this or other veterans issues. We look forward to working with you on this important matter in the spirit of protecting future generations of American veterans.
George C. Duggins
We urge the Senate to approve the Chemical Weapons Convention when it comes to a vote in
The Convention, negotiated and signed by former President George Bush, is one of the most
significant treaties in the history of arms control. It will ban an entire class of weapons of mass
destruction, including production, possession, transfer or use of chemical weapons. It will require
all parties to destroy their chemical weapon stockpiles and production facilities and to open their
chemical industries to international inspection.
The Chemical Weapons Convention is a valuable instrument for combating the spread of weapons
of terror and mass destruction. The treaty's destruction and verification provisions can build
confidence among potential rivals that they can avoid a chemical arms race. It will also help keep
these weapons out of the hands of terrorists.
The United States chemical industry strongly supports the Convention. The Pentagon strongly
supports the agreement as well. It is most certainly in both the national and international interest
to achieve the global elimination of a class of weapons that have proved more dangerous to
innocent civilians than to military forces.
By its terms, the Convention enters into force 180 days after the 65th state has deposited its
instruments of ratification with the U.N. Secretary General. Sixty-one countries have ratified the
Convention at this point. Timely action by the Senate will send a clear signal of strong U.S.
support, allowing the United States to exert its full leadership in persuading other countries to
We urge the Senate to approve as quickly as possible the Chemical Weapons Convention, to
oppose crippling reservations or amendments, and at the same time move ahead with elimination
of these heinous weapons from our arsenal.
|John B. Anderson
World Federal Association
|Fr. Robert J. Brooks|
Director of Governmental Relations
The Episcopal Church
with 50 additional signatures