Send a letter to a local or national paper expressing your views on nuclear weapons, missile defense, space weaponization, or another issue.
When writing a letter to the editor, first look at the length and style of the letters that paper usually prints. Normally, letters are about 100 words. Your comment should be timely and relevant and should add something new to the discussion. It helps to refer directly to stories that were published in that paper, referencing the articles title and date.
Your letter will usually be edited, with or without your final approval. Be sure to include your full name, your city, your organization, and your contact information so the paper can call or email you to verify that you are the author.
Below are some sample letters that GSI’s staff has published.
Sample Letter 1
The New York Times
Saturday, June 17, 2000
Building a Missile Shield, Holes and All
To the Editor:
In June 15 front-page articles, you report on both legal approval of a limited missile shield and the United States plans to drop sanctions against North Korea.
Proponents of national missile defense say that the North Koreans are a looming nuclear threat, and that we must spend $60 billion to stop missiles they don’t even have.
Yet the United States is planning to lift sanctions on North Korea because the Korean leadership showed vision and courage; because it stopped testing its missiles and took diplomatic steps that worked.
So why do timid Democrats and hawkish Republicans still say we need this technologically unsound missile shield when it will risk starting a new arms race with Russia and China?
The wise course is to seek complete elimination of nuclear weapons, something the United States has promised for 30 years with little progress.
San Francisco, June 15, 2000
The writer is program coordinator at the Global Security Institute.
Sample Letter 2
The New York Times
Monday, August 13, 2001
Our Best Defense
To the Editor:
Conservatives and liberals alike should be wary of the alarmist rhetoric of Americans for Missile Defense (news article, Aug. 6). The coalition’s spokesman, Jeffrey Baxter, suggests that we need a missile defense rather than diplomacy: “When I look at people in North Korea, Libya, Iraq and Iran, understand folks, these folks don’t sit around and watch ‘Seinfeld’ and eat Milky Way candy bars all day.”
Is he suggesting that digesting American popular culture is a prerequisite for rational thought?
It is misleading to suggest that missile defense is an issue for conservatives to rally around. America prides itself on values of freedom and democracy, and assisting, rather than bullying, other countries. A better defense is to strengthen trust and cooperation among people and countries.
Global Security Institute
San Francisco, Aug. 6, 2001
Sample Letter 3
San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, July 22, 2001
Don’t deploy missile shield
Editor – Michael Kelly’s op-ed column (“Star Wars bullet can hit a bullet,” July 18) asserts that missile defense is attainable, and asks “. . . then why in the world should we not want to attain it?”
Contrary to Mr. Kelly’s assertions, a missile shield would decrease our security. Although administration officials may view the ABM treaty as outdated, Russia and China do not, and their leaders have indicated they would respond by strengthening their nuclear arsenals.
Reckless U.S. unilateralism would erode international law, fuel nuclear proliferation and spark a new arms race, this time in space.
A better way is to honor and strengthen our treaty commitments and move toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Global Security Institute
Sample Letter 4
San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
The real war against terrorism
Editor — Amid talk of declaring war against terrorism (‘U.S. ultimatum to Taliban,” Sept. 17), there has been little discussion of the political fights that must be won to assure victory.
One battle that we cannot afford to lose is the struggle to end proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. As tragic as Tuesday’s attacks were, we must face the terrible truth that if the terrorists had acquired and used nuclear weapons, casualties might have been measured in millions instead of thousands.
If the United States is serious about defeating terrorism, we must take the lead in international efforts to inventory and control weapons-grade nuclear material, strengthen the chemical weapons control regime, fully support Russia’s nonproliferation efforts and return to negotiations toward a strong and workable biological weapons convention. Let Tuesday’s tragedy be a call to action to ensure that an attack of this scale will never again occur.
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