I oppose nuclear weapons because they are long-distance killing machines incapable of discriminating between soldiers and civilians, the aged and the newly born, or between men, women and children.
I oppose nuclear weapons because they threaten the destruction of all that is sacred, of all that is human, of all that exists.
I oppose nuclear weapons because they threaten to foreclose the future.
I oppose nuclear weapons because they are cowardly weapons, and in their use there can be no honor.
I oppose nuclear weapons because they are a false god, dividing nations into nuclear “haves” and “have-nots,” bestowing unwarranted prestige and privilege on those that possess them.
I oppose nuclear weapons because they are a distortion of science and technology, twisting our knowledge of nature to destructive purposes.
I oppose nuclear weapons because they mock international law, displacing it with an allegiance to raw power.
I oppose nuclear weapons because they waste our resources on the development of instruments of annihilation.
I oppose nuclear weapons because they concentrate power and undermine democracy.
I oppose nuclear weapons because they corrupt our humanity.
Shortly after graduating from college, I visited the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Memorial Museums. At these museums, I was awakened to the human suffering caused by the use of these weapons. This suffering is not part of the American lore about the use of the bombs. These museums gave me insight into the differences in perspective between those who had been above the bomb and those beneath the bombs.
Those above the bombs, the victors, celebrated the technology of triumph, and went on to engage in a mad nuclear arms race. Those beneath the bombs, the victims, learned the simple lesson: “Never again! We shall not repeat the evil.”
The vision of the future held by those above the bombs and those beneath the bombs may be the decisive struggle of our time. On the side of nuclear weapons is the arrogance of power that is willing to put at risk the future of civilization, if not of life itself. On the side of the survivors, the hibakusha, is the moral clarity of calling evil by its name.
Resolving this struggle is the challenge presented to humanity by nuclear weapons. Each of us must choose. Ignorance, apathy and denial are de facto votes for continuing the nuclear threat. Only by unalterably opposing nuclear weapons and working actively for their elimination can an individual align himself or herself with those who experienced first-hand the absolute devastation of these weapons. This is my choice. I seek without reservation the elimination of all nuclear weapons from our unique planet, the only one we know of in the universe that supports life.
David Krieger is the President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org)