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ECU 684 Commander Robert Green and Security without Nuclear Deterrence

December 12, 2023
Lucy Stewart

Enviro Close-Up #684  Commander Robert Green and Security without Nuclear Deterrence

“I do feel that we’re in more dangerous times than in the Cold War at the moment and people don’t realize it,” says Commander Robert Green, retired from the British Navy. He was deeply involved in its readiness to use nuclear weapons. As a bombardier-navigator, he flew in a Buccaneer nuclear strike jet—with a planned target the Soviet Union—and then helicopters armed with nuclear depth charges to be used against Soviet submarines. Then he worked in the Ministry of Defense and was staff officer for intelligence to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet during the 1982 Falklands War. That war was a turning point for Green. “The Falklands War raised major concerns relating to nuclear weapons,” he says. During the war there was “a very secret contingency plan” to “move a Polaris submarine…within range of Buenos Aires” and the possibility of it conducting a “nuclear strike” on Argentina. “Fortunately there was no need for that plan to be implemented because we won,” says Green. He retired from the Navy in 1982 and became an opponent of nuclear warfare. He chaired the U.K.’s affiliate in the World Court Project, a campaign that led the International Court of Justice in 1996 to rule the threat and use of nuclear weapons were illegal. He authored the book “Security without Nuclear Deterrence.” He is co-director of the Disarmament and Security Centre in New Zealand. He says there has been a “systematic effort to play down the appalling side effects and ‘overkill’…with even the smallest modern nuclear weapons,” how they are “not weapons at all. They are utterly indiscriminate devices that combine the poisoning horrors of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, plus effects…of radioactivity, with almost unimaginable explosive violence.” Green is devoted to working for a “nuclear-free world.”

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