For Immediate Release
Physicians’ Prescription For Action On North Korea: Congress Must Recognize The Risk Of a Massive Public Health Disaster And Block The Path To War
WASHINGTON - In the run-up to the June 12 summit with North Korea, a group of prominent physicians today urged Congressional leaders to promote diplomacy and prevent a war that could result in massive casualties. In a sign-on letter organized by Physicians for Social Responsibility and delivered today to key committee chairs and majority and minority leaders in both houses of Congress, the physicians warned about the catastrophic impact of a war on the Korean Peninsula. In the letter, the physicians “welcome the recent diplomatic momentum” but also demand that if diplomacy fails,“as a matter of public health policy…Congress must act to block the path to war.”
The full text of the letter and list of signers is posted here.
“Tracking the play-by-play interactions with North Korea, it’s too easy to forget this is not a political football game,” said Lynn Ringenberg, MD, President-elect of PSR and retired U.S. Army Colonel, who also signed the letter. “It’s not simply a matter of the U.S. prevailing and getting North Korea to do what it wants. Literally millions of lives are at stake, which it’s incumbent on policymakers to protect. If the President thinks the U.S. can ‘win’ by going to war and triggering massive casualties, then Congress must exercise its Constitutional authority over war-making to prevent it. No military strike against North Korea should be launched without Congressional approval.”
The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that recently passed the House contains language stipulating it is not to be construed as authorizing use of force against North Korea. The Senate takes up the measure this week. Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced legislation (H.R. 4837) specifically asserting Congressional authority over an American first-strike on North Korea, with 69 cosponsors. Senators Ed Markey (C-MA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) have introduced similar legislation in the Senate. (S. 2016 and S. 2047).
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Physicians for Social Responsibility is a non-profit advocacy organization that is the medical and public health voice for policies to prevent nuclear war and proliferation and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and toxic degradation of the environment.