International Meeting
2001 World Conference against A and H Bombs

Peter Weiss
President, International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA)

I am sorry but I was not able to attend your meeting yesterday.  I was at the IALANA board meeting discussing, among other things, how to support the growing number of non-violent direct action nuclear resisters who are trying to get courts in various countries to affirm the obvious illegality of the threat and use of nuclear weapons.

After the Indian nuclear test in 1998, XXX Roy, the Indian novelist, wrote a powerful pamphlet called "The End of Imagination".  The title tells the whole story: "We have lost the capacity to imagine what a nuclear bombs would do to human beings, to the environment, to society.

All of us, that is, except those living in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  Here, the air is still filled with memories of the horror of that August 6 morning, 56 years ago. Before it happened, no one could have imagined how awful it would be.  After it happened, those who witnessed it tried to forget, but could not.

If we could today get people to imagine what another Hiroshima, not to mention a tenfold Hiroshima, would be like, we would build the antinuclear movement overnight into a force that could sweep away all nuclear weapons forever.

As it is, we must heed the call of another author; Jonathan Shell awoke the world to the reality of nuclear weapons some thirty years ago with his seminal book: "The Fate of the Earth".  In 1999, he returned to the antinuclear theme with another book, "The Gift of Time".  His thesis, this time, was that the end of the cold war had opened a window within which the elimination of nuclear weapons was possible, but that we must not squander this opportunity before time
runs out again.

That is the challenge before us.  We have President Bush to thank for putting the nuclear problem back on the front pages and the TV screens with his weird and incoherent plans for national and theater missile defense, NMD and TMD. We have only ourselves to blame if we do not seize this opportunity to complete our work.

On June 26 of this year, mayors of leading American cities signed a declaration calling on the U.S. government to take the lead in ridding the world of nuclear weapons.  Their statement was subsequently endorsed by the entire Conference of U.S. Mayors.

Here is what we anti-nuclearists must do:

1. To mobilize world opinion to demand that the unanimous mandate of the International Court of Justice to pursue and bring to a conclusion negotiations for complete nuclear disarmament be complied with now, not at some indefinite time in the unforeseeable future

2. To get the world know that the 13 steps toward nuclear disarmament to which the nuclear weapon states agreed at the end of the NPT Conference last year are very far from being carried out

3. To join the Hague Appeal for Peace in getting the message of peace , which include nuclear abolition, into as many educational institutions as possible, through a program of comprehensive peace education, and

4. To alert the world to the imminent danger of the weaponization of space.

Let me leave you with these thoughts:

The only deterrent worth supporting is that which will deter the nuclear weapon warriors from their mad drive toward world domination.

The only workable missile defense is that which will turn missiles into scrap heaps of metal to be converted into tractors and toys.

The only means at our disposal to accomplish these ends are public opinion and the force of law. Let us spare no effort in using both to the fullest.

And, if I may make a suggestion to my Japanese friends, rather than rescind Article 9, Japan should take the lead in making Article 9 a universal principle for the entire world.