Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
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). 

May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail