A spokesman for a nation-wide peace effort announced plans yesterday to mount a campaign to fight Pentagon proposals to build the B-1 Bomber.
Peter J. Barrer, New England regional coordinator of the B-1 Peace Conversion Campaign, said the Pentagon B-1 project "promises to be the most expensive weapons system ever proposed."
The Air Force has estimated the total cost of the production of the 240-plane system over the next ten years at $43 billion, he said. Barrer added $50 billion would be a more realistic figure, and "this comes out to $283 per person, $1000 per family of four."
Barrer said $2 billion has already been spent on the development of the first test plane.
The B-1 is being pushed as a replacement for the B-52 bomber, and the current budget supported by the Nixon administration asks for another $500 million to build two more B-1 prototypes.
Barrer said, "The B-1 is of questionable military value, even among the military." His committee says the present B-52 fleet can remain operational for 20 years, and that bombers are obsolete in an age of nuclear missiles.
Publicity literature supplied by Rock- well International, a defense contractor, quotes Admiral Thomas Moorer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as saying, "Without the B-1 to replace the aging B-52, the triad of our defenses will suffer a serious and perhaps fatal imbalance in the 1980-90 time period."
"We are afraid that a major use of the B-1 will be to replace the B-52 in Vietnam-like situations," Barrer said. "The B-1 is a super-sonic plane, and will have many of the same environmental effects that the SST would have had."
The "Stop the B-1 Campaign" has the support of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC) and is part of an overall effort toward peace conversion.
Barrer said, "We think of peace conversion as converting to an economic setup that would make war less likely--which means an economy that doesn't depend on exploitation of other countries."
Another of the objectives of the campaign is to promote greater accountability by corporations to those affected by corporate decisions.
To this end CALC has introduced two share-holder resolutions to General Electric, one of which would require G.E. to evaluate the energy-use impact of any new product.
G.E.'s next shareholders' meeting is to be held on April 24.
Harvard owns about 225,000 shares of G.E. stock, according to the last financial report. "I would like to see if I can get Harvard G.E. stock voted the right way," Barrer said.
Members of the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility could not be reached for comment