Published on Sunday, January 6, 2002 by Common Dreams
Abolish or Perish
by Andreas Toupadakis
"We could take a strike, survive and then hit back. Pakistan would be finished."
George Fernandes, Defense Minister of India.
As the new year finds humanity confused and in fear because of the acts of illegal terrorists, some of the world's leaders are taking steps to terrorize humanity even further.
There is a need to speak and act because besides our leaders, perhaps most of the citizens of the world still think of national defense and national interests. If the very few remaining wise, world leaders do not succeed in convincing the rest to adopt a world policy of nonviolence, soon our world as we have known it for thousands of years will be no more.
Retired Air Force General Lee Butler, former Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Strategic Command, from an address to the National Press Club, February 1998: "I was responsible for war plans with more than 12,000 targets, many to be struck with repeated nuclear blows, some to the point of complete absurdity. ... And in the end, I came away from it all with profound misgivings and with a set of deeply unsettling judgments: That from the earliest days of the nuclear era, the risks and consequences of nuclear war have never been properly weighed by those who brandished it; that the stakes engage not just the survival of the antagonists, but the fate of humankind. ... Their effects transcend time and place, poisoning the Earth and deforming its inhabitants for generation upon generation. They leave us wholly without defense, expunge all hope for meaningful survival. They hold in their sway not just the fate of nations but the very meaning of civilization. ... At worst it invokes death on a scale rivaling the power of the creator. ... It is time to reassert the primacy of individual conscience, the voice of reason, and the rightful interests of humanity." General Lee Butler's address to the National Press Club in February 1998 can be found at: http://www.noetic.org/Ions/publications/review_archives/46/issue46_38.html Unfortunately General Lee Butler spoke in this way after he retired.
Former President Jimmy Carter, also after he retired, said, "I think it can be said that the world is facing a nuclear crisis. Unfortunately, US policy has had a good deal to do with creating it. ... I believe that the general public would be extremely concerned if these facts were widely known, but so far such issues have not been on the agenda in presidential debates."
The complete article Mr. Jimmy Carter wrote on February 23, 2000 can be found at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/2000-02/23/008l-022300-idx.html
Today we desperately need leaders to take a stand for world peace while they are discharging their duties, not after they retire.
Unfortunately today many people still speak of war as a method to resolve disputes. But they should be reminded of Einstein's words, words that alas! most of our leaders have ignored:
"For there is no secret and there is no defense; there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world."
Einstein says that there is no defense, no protection, for a world having nuclear weapons or in general, weapons of mass destruction, unless people understand the enormous danger, and unless they insist. Insist on what? Unless they insist on not just the abolition of weapons of mass murder but also the abolition of war. How? By talking to the leaders in well-ventilated and comfortable rooms? No! What then? By sending petitions and appeals, writing manifestos, books and articles, and traveling around the world giving lectures? No! By refusing to serve in the army? Now you have started talking! By refusing to pay taxes and therefore being jailed? Now you are talking! By massive global demonstrations many weeks if not months or years long, besides all the other acts were mentioned before? Now you are really talking! Now there is some hope for world survival. Word survival will not come raped in a silver box. It will come only by voluntary suffering. Why do we keep denying it? Until when we will keep denying it?
But how many people will protest and call these views extreme? How extreme is the reality of the possibility that we are ready to destroy all that we see around us and ourselves forever? Was Bertrand Russell an extremist? He wrote the Russell-Einstein manifesto that every citizen of the world should be aware of. People can read it at: http://www.wagingpeace.org/doc/russel_einstein_manifesto.html
Russell stated in 1955 and many prominent scientists agreed: "The time has come, or is about to come, when only large-scale civil disobedience, which should be nonviolent, can save the populations from the universal death which their governments are preparing for them."
Senator Alan Cranston, after he retired, writes in 1999: "One super bomb could now loose more destructive energy than all that has been released from all weapons fired in all wars in all history. The power of self-extinction is now in our uncertain hands. ... It is more likely now than it was during the more stable days of the Cold War that weapons of mass destruction will be used." You can read his letter at: http://www.gsinstitute.org/news_arch/cranston.html
Former Secretary of Defense William Perry says, "It isn't a question of whether, but of where and when." General Charles Horner, who commanded Allied Air Forces in the Gulf War, says he expects that a nuclear weapon will be exploded in some city in the next 10 years. These weapons have cost U.S. taxpayers over $5 trillion so far. They presently cost $37 billion a year - diverting money from other needs. Is it worthy of our nation to base its security on terror, on the threat to annihilate millions of innocent humans, on the threat of genocide? Is our policy of Mutual Assured Destruction - a policy that puts the human race at risk of extinction- worthy of civilization?
After we have become aware of these facts, should we still advocate war to solve our problems today? Why do we support leaders who advocate war? It seems that our leaders do not know the facts, or they do but they think that everything will be fine. If they think that everything will be fine by following the course we follow today in world affairs, they need to be awakened soon by the people of the earth to the fact that they live in a great illusion.
The truth is that when people are talking about war these days, they are talking about the end of life on earth at any moment, even by accident, but they do not really know it. People that talk aggressively about war usually belong to the army or they work for weapons. However, most people of the earth's population are like little children playing on a playground. A dozen prominent doctors have diagnosed their mother with terminal cancer, and she will live no more than two months. She is in the hospital and her husband knows her condition. When their father goes to the playground to get the kids, they ask him, "When will mommy come home? Is she okay?" He looks into their eyes, feels sorry for them, and says, "She will be back soon; she will be fine." He has lied to them. Only a miracle will spare him from falsehood.
Some advocates of the New World Order are saying, "Do not worry, we are in control. Weapons of mass destruction will never be used." But most people deny the fact that insiders speak of "when," while outsiders speak of "if." Which should we believe? We do not want to believe the insiders, but my destiny was such that I became an insider for a while. Now, therefore, I speak as an insider, as many others, and say that if we continue on the same path we are now on, it is just a matter of a short time until we see what people have been afraid of for thousands of years.
Therefore the question is are we going to change our direction? Are we going to make the right choice and abolish war itself, since nuclear knowledge can never go away as long as there are human beings on earth? No, we are not going to make the right choice as long as people are not informed. And people are not going to become informed as long as there are people in power that believe in one world government, believe that they are better than others, and somehow believe that they belong to a race which God has destined to govern and subdue. The lovers of the empire have become prisoners of the imperial designs of the empire.
No, we are not going to make the right choice as long as the people of the earth, you and I, do not bow down before something infinitely greater than ourselves. Because when we are deprived of the infinitely great, we cannot go on living, and we will die of despair by just pushing the button.
We can hope only if we adopt complete nonviolence, if we adopt the nonviolence of the strong, not the nonviolence of the weak. The nonviolence of the weak is to wait until everybody agrees to abolish weapons of mass destruction. Most likely that will never happen. We must advocate the nonviolence of the strong, i.e. the unconditional and voluntary unilateral abolition of weapons of mass destruction. That requires trusting that the opponent will do likewise and at the same time, risking even your whole nation for your love to save the whole world. That faith and voluntary sacrifice by the leaders and the people of a nation requires surrendering to the infinitely great; it requires faith in the most fundamental principle that keeps the world still turning. That principle is that your brother is the same as you.
The unilateral abolition of nuclear weapons has already started taking place. I am aware of one ex-Soviet state that has done just that. See at: http://www.gn.apc.org/cndyorks/news/articles/nukesdestroyed.htm
The advocates of the doctrine of deterrence will argue that Ukraine's abolition of nuclear weapons was not purely voluntary but out of necessity because the collapse of the Soviet Union and its financial needs. That is true, but it still does not answer the question: While Russia, the United States, Britain, China, and France gave security guarantees to Ukrainian officials and foreign governments gave financial assistance to assist their disarmament, who will provide wisdom to the officials of the strong to do likewise? While they assist the weak to disarm, they themselves continue to build up, their armaments. Who will make them see their folly?
I can say, therefore, with confidence that only a miracle will spare our leaders from falsehood. Do you believe in miracles? If you do not believe, and because now you know the facts, you are most likely in despair. But you need not be in despair. We need to act all together and act soon. Only our selfless acts can make the miracle happen.
Andreas Toupadakis, Ph.D.
Andreas Toupadakis Biography
After receiving my B.S. from the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki, I began graduate school in the U.S. I received my Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1990, and I have lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years. I did research as a chemist in industry, academia, and two USA national laboratories. I also taught at several colleges and universities in the USA and in Greece.
My resignation from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on January 31, 2000 received media coverage in many places, especially in the US, Japan, and Greece. In protest, I followed my conscience and resigned from a high-salaried permanent position rather than devote my knowledge and energy to the further development of nuclear weapons. Since then, I have been speaking on peace and environmental issues at universities, colleges, and various conferences.
I spoke at the 2000 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I saw first hand what most of us do not realize about nuclear weapons. I cried. When will our leaders cry? If you are interested in what I am trying to say to people about our future you can read some of my articles below.
I often remind people of Gandhi's words, "Be the change you want to see in the world;" of Plato's words, "Science without virtue is immoral;" and of Socrates', "Know yourself."