SILVER SPRING, Maryland - February 27 - Peace Action today denounced the plan for President George Bush to lay a memorial wreath in honor of Mohandas K. Gandhi when visiting India this week. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley announced the plan at a White House press briefing Friday.
“Mahatma Gandhi was a man of non-violence and peace, and is a hero to people all over the world. As his war-strewn presidency shows, George Bush knows nothing about non-violence. Gandhi would in no way condone his actions. Bush should reconsider this cynical, disrespectful display of symbolism,” said Kevin Martin, Executive Director of Peace Action.
The plan for Bush to “honor” Gandhi is even more astonishing given one of the main purposes of Bush’s trip -- to cement a deal for US nuclear aid to India, which would violate current US non-proliferation law and has drawn criticism from a host of peace, disarmament and non-proliferation groups. The deal will also be a tough sell to a skeptical Congress, which would need to amend US law to create a “loophole” to give nuclear technology to India because of its nuclear weapons arsenal.
“Does Bush think Gandhi would bless one of the main purposes of this trip - to promote nuclear aid to India?” asked Martin. “Gandhi abhorred nuclear weapons and would surely call for the US and India to pursue the abolition of nuclear weapons.”
Availability for Interviews
In addition to Martin, previous Peace Action Executive Directors David Cortright and Gordon Clark are also available for interviews on this issue. Cortright is President of the Fourth Freedom Forum in Goshen, Indiana and the author of Gandhi and Beyond, to be released in May by Paradigm Publishing, and also of India and the Bomb. Clark is the Coordinator of the National Campaign for Non-Violent Resistance, a network of peace and justice activists engaged in Gandhian-style non-violent resistance to the US war in Iraq.
David Cortright – mobile (574) 206-5753
Gordon Clark – mobile – (301) 466-5689
Peace Action, founded in 1957, is the country’s largest peace and disarmament organization with over 90,000 members nationwide. Its headquarters are in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC. www.peace-action.org