Newsletter of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy
War is Not the Answer to Nuclear Proliferation
In this issue:
Iraq and North Korea:
ABM Treaty Decision:
Also of Interest:
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Vol. 13, No. 3, Spring 2003
Officers: Peter Weiss (President)
Nuclear weapons have returned to the center stage in global politics. But now it is not the specter of annihilation of the human species that commands attention, as during the Cold War. Rather it is the paradoxical assertion that disarmament is a justification for war - that a nuclear-armed country, the United States, is entitled to use its military might to stop other countries acquisition of nuclear arms. No matter that this assertion appears to be a mere pretext for war on Iraq pursued for other, imperial reasons. By all objective accounts, of the IAEA and others, Iraq has no significant nuclear weapons program, and certainly not a capacity to produce the necessary special materials, plutonium and enriched uranium. But if the U.S. stance - "counterproliferation" by force if necessary - is the right one, the facts may soon support its application against North Korea. (See "Nonproliferation Treaty Applies to Both North Korea and United States") Indeed, it could become a formula for war without end.
The Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy categorically rejects war as the answer to real or suspected or imagined nuclear proliferation. As LCNP has urged for more than two decades now, the reasonable and effective path is one of rejection of use of nuclear weapons in any circum-stance, stand-down of nuclear forces globally, and rapid and verified reduction and elimination of all nuclear arsenals. Only on such a path will it be possible to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and indeed of other existing and future weapons that inflict massive or indiscriminate harm.
Moreover, preventive war - the use of force against potential future threats - is flatly contrary to the United Nations Charter, as set forth in the appeal, signed by more than 300 lawyers from 40 countries. That is so even if a preventive war is approved by the Security Council, an unlikely prospect at the time of this writing. The appeal was drafted by LCNP consultant Alyn Ware, drawing in part on analyses prepared jointly by LCNP and Western States Legal Foundation. It was circulated by LCNPs parent organization, the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, and signed by its new president, Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice.
Jackie Cabasso, WSLF, and John Burroughs, LCNP, at the New York Peace Rally, February 15, 2003 (between signs) (Photo by Nya Gregor Fleron).
Weapons are instruments of
fear; they are not a wise mans tools.
From "Thirty-One", Tao Te Ching,