Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Abandon Your Involvement with Creating Nuclear Weapons

The decision that you make on whether or not to bid to continue managing and overseeing the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories transcends ordinary university business decisions; it is a decision of profound moral consequence. The question that must be confronted is whether or not an institution of higher education should be involved in the creation and maintenance of weapons of mass murder.

While nuclear weapons are intended primarily for deterrence, the concept of deterrence itself is based on an implied assumption that the weapons might be used. Are the Regents of the University of California willing to continue to affiliate the University with laboratories that research and develop nuclear weapons, recognizing that the mass destruction of human beings could result? Although it may not be the intent, the potential use of nuclear weapons and larger implications of the university’s involvement cannot be denied.

Your decision has vast legal, as well as moral dimensions. In a 1996 opinion, the International Court of Justice found that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be illegal if it violated international humanitarian law. This means that any threat or use of nuclear weapons that failed to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants or that caused unnecessary suffering would be illegal under international law. It is difficult to imagine any use of nuclear weapons that would not violate these rules of international humanitarian law.

Although the actual decision to threaten or use nuclear weapons would be out of the hands of the University of California Regents and the scientists and technicians who contributed to the creation and maintenance of the weapons, the UC Regents and the scientists and technicians in the labs could be considered accomplices to future international crimes. The current work of the nuclear weapons laboratories in researching new and more usable nuclear weapons, such as “bunker busters” and low-yield nuclear weapons, also runs counter to Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls for ending the nuclear arms race at an early date and for good faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament.

The University of California justifies its relationship to the nuclear weapons laboratories as “a national service.” But this so-called “service” of designing and improving weapons of mass destruction is unworthy of a great university. In fact, the “service” the University of California has provided is a fig leaf of respectability to the making and maintenance of these genocidal weapons. Should these weapons be used and destroy large civilian populations, the role of the UC would certainly be viewed as a national disgrace rather than a national service.

If the nuclear weapons laboratories would focus their talented scientists on limiting their nuclear weapons activities to the dismantlement of these weapons and to maintaining the safety and security (rather than reliability) of these weapons while awaiting dismantlement, their efforts could indeed be considered a national service, even an international service. But under the present circumstances in which the US is moving forward with new nuclear weapon designs that make these weapons more usable, the UC should opt out of providing management and oversight to the labs. As UC Regents, you should base your decision on moral considerations, consistent with international law.

I urge you also to make your decision to withdraw from your past role in management and oversight of the nation’s nuclear weapons labs highly public. Doing so will influence the public and political discourse on the responsibility of the US to set an example in fulfilling obligations for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

The University of California has a responsibility to pass on the accumulated knowledge of civilization to new generations. The continued engagement of UC in creating and maintaining weapons capable of destroying cities, civilization and most life on earth clearly contradicts the mission of the University, as well as its motto, “Let there be light.” There is no light in the creation of weapons of mass destruction, nor in the shroud of nuclear secrecy.

I call upon you to take the high road and reconceptualize the national service of the University of California in terms of disarming and dismantling these terrible weapons of mass destruction, rather than creating and maintaining them. In 2005, the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the 50th anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto and the 35th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, I urge you to take a principled stand for the future of humanity. Your decision could help change the course of our nation and the future of civilization.

Sincerely,

David Krieger
President
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

 

More articles by:

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
Ramzy Baroud
That Single Line of Blood: Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah
Zhivko Illeieff
Addiction and Microtargeting: How “Social” Networks Expose us to Manipulation
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What is Truth?
Michael Doliner
Were the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a Mistake?
Victor Grossman
Cassandra Calls
Ralph E. Shaffer
Could Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing Ended Differently?
Vanessa Cid
Our Everyday Family Separations
Walaa Al Ghussein
The Risks of Being a Journalist in Gaza
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal and Treachery—The Extremism of Moderates
James Munson
Identity Politics and the Ruling Class
P. Sainath
The Floods of Kerala: the Bank That Went Under…Almost
Ariel Dorfman
How We Roasted Donald Duck, Disney’s Agent of Imperialism
Joe Emersberger
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence
Ed Meek
White Victimhood: Brett Kavanaugh and the New GOP Brand
Andrew McLean, MD
A Call for “Open Space”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail