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A Renunciation of Nuclear Weapons
One Citizen at a Time
Sample Paragraphs for Cover Letters to Elected Officials
Dear Mr. President,
Dear Senator ______________,
Dear Representative _____________,
This letter and the attached declaration express my deep concern about America's continuing reliance on nuclear weapons as instruments of both diplomacy and war.
I have come to believe that nuclear weapons, for a variety of reasons, can never be anything but instruments of the mass murder of civilians and the radioactive poisoning of entire districts and all their inhabitants. "Planning to use" nuclear weapons is therefore planning to commit mass murder, and this planning activity itself is a war crime under the Nuremberg Principles invoked by the United States at the end of World War Two.
For many years, nuclear weapons advocates have excused the illegality and immorality of nuclear weapons by saying that we would only use them in retaliation for a nuclear attack, and thus they might never be used again. While this was always a weak argument on moral grounds -- one is never morally justified in killing non-combatants -- at least it was some sort of argument. You have recently announced that the United States will now threaten the use of nuclear weapons "to deter any attack" on the United States, not only the threat of nuclear attack. This means America must now be ready to actually use nuclear weapons on a moment's notice in a wide variety of circumstances, a development I find extremely disturbing.
This new stance forces us to look again at the essential immorality of nuclear weapons: if we commit mass murder and poisonings in order to defend America, we will not have defended America, we will have lost America, because we will have turned ourselves into a nation of mass murderers and poisoners. I have reached the unhappy conclusion that threatening to use nuclear weapons is no different, morally, than threatening to use smallpox virus or poison gas on another country's children. These are all indiscriminant weapons. History may forgive us for using nuclear weapons the first time. But knowing what we know now about the effects of nuclear weapons, I doubt that history would forgive us for using them again.
As a voting citizen of the United States of America, I bear a direct and open-ended responsibility for the actions of the United States government. Thus I am bound by my own conscience and the Nuremberg Principles to do whatever I can to prevent nuclear weapons from being used again. As a believer in both God and humanity, I feel deeply bound to protect my brother and sister humans around the world, and the web of life that sustains them. My very serious concerns about the morality, legality, ecology, sanity and even military value of nuclear weapons have driven me to make the attached public disavowal of nuclear weapon use under any circumstances.
As the recent attacks on America demonstrate so tragically, overwhelming force will not keep us safe in a world where a billion people are angry, hungry and hopeless. Only a world that offers a better life for everyone will be a world in which Americans can be safe. I appeal to you to help create that world, rather than a world of ever-more-lethal arms races.
Please retain this letter and the attached declaration as a record of my deep and continuing objection to America's reliance on nuclear weapons.
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