With huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons at the disposal of questionable leaders, and rapidly dwindling ecology and natural resources, time is of the essence.  To not act to abolish nuclear weapons and protect this fragile planet would be intergenerational tyranny.  Such is the burden of a leader, a peace promoter, a parent and every free person.  To survive these challenges we must work in solidarity, and build a supportive capacity.  That is one of the characteristics of a Culture of Peace.

The greatest real threat to humanity: Nuclear weapons can destroy the planet and all life on it tomorrow.  

The following is an excerpt from 'THE HUMAN RIGHT TO PEACE' by Douglas Roche (Chapter 3).  We recommend reading the full chapter (for ordering information, see ) and related links (below).  

Douglas Roche was elected to the Parliament of Canada four times, serving from 1972 to 1984 and specializing in the subjects of development and disarmament.  He holds six honourary doctorates.  Canada's ambassador for disarmament from 1984 to 1989, he was elected Chairman of the United Nations Disarmament Committee, the main UN body dealing with political and security issues, at the 43rd General Assembly in 1988.  He was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1998.  He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Chairman of Canadian Pugwash and Chairman of the Middle Powers Initiative, a network of eight international non-governmental organizations specializing in nuclear disarmament.  In 1995, he received the United Nations Association's Medal of Honour and the Papal Medal for his service on disarmament and security matters.  In 2000, he received the Pomerance Award for work at the United Nations on nuclear disarmament.  Roche is the author of sixteen books, including Bread Not Bombs: A Political Agenda for Social Justice (University of Alberta Press, 1999).

The culture of war is built upon the enormous lie that weapons bring security

- any use of nuclear weapons today would constitute a criminal act - a crime against humanity
- the very idea of nuclear weapons is to kill massively
- such descriptions of the overwhelming effects of nuclear weapons are not found in the general political and military literature
- the proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used - accidentally or by decision - defies credibility.  The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and assurance that they will never be produced again.
- the responsibility for the looming prospect of a nuclear war of some dimension can be laid squarely on the U.S., Russia, the U.K, France and China
- the breakdown of the Non-Proliferation Treaty
- the U.S. turned its back on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
- nuclear weapons are the currency of power
- subterfuge that has characterized the nuclear disarmament agenda for more than three decades
- irreversibility
- verification
- sleight-of-hand nuclear disarmament
- they treat nuclear disarmament as a game
- "Not a single person of the many hundreds I have polled voiced the belief that the true intention of the United States is, or ever has been, to abolish nuclear weapons. ... the prospect of nuclear abolition is deemed so remote as to be implausible." Bruce Blair
- the other nuclear states are just as devious
- the nuclear weapons states hold the major responsibility for setting up legal regimes to ensure the elimination of all nuclear weapons
- the United States is in the dominant position of deciding which way the world will go on nuclear weapons: toward permanence or toward elimination
- it is futile to speak of nuclear disarmament without focusing intensely on the role of the U.S.
- startling new doctrine of pre-emptive attack, first used against Iraq in 2003
- international law does not countenance pre-emptive attacks in self-defence unless there is compelling evidence of an imminent attack
- its nuclear weapons stockpile remains a cornerstone of U.S. national security policy
- the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review says that there are four reasons to possess nuclear weapons: to "assure allies and friends, dissuade competitors, deter aggressors, and defeat enemies"
- astounding that, in the light of this development, the U.S. representative at the 2003 Geneva meeting of the parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty declared: "We are not developing new nuclear weapons."
- "nuclear weapons are necessary to deter a potential U.S. attack" ten U.S. senators led by Senator Edward Kennedy
- U.S. claims the right to set its own rules
- New Agenda Coalition
- NATO's Strategic Concept holds that nuclear weapons are "essential"
- kill the basis of trust
- the dark side of nanotechnology has been recognized by strategists who see it as a possibility for achieving a new level of effectiveness in fighting wars
- "mankind is confronted with a choice: we must halt the arms race and proceed to disarmament or face annihilation"
- "Quite often the big countries that are responsible for the peace of the world set a very poor example for those who might hunger for the esteem or the power or the threats that they can develop from nuclear weapons themselves." 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and past President Jimmy Carter
- the danger of a nuclear catastrophe grows
- that catastrophe may well be set off by terrorists
- virtually all experts on the subject say it is not a question of whether a massive attack will occur, but when
- so destabilize international relations that the law of the jungle might well replace the rule of law
- the radioactive materials needed to build a dirty bomb can be found in almost any country in the world
- biological weapons can be made cheaply in a small building, even in the back of a truck
- U.S. rejected
- biological and chemical weapons have long been considered the "poor man's" weapon
- but nuclear weapons are an elite form of destruction
- they have always claimed that nuclear weapons are necessary for their security.  This is not true.  But even if it were true, why would not non-nuclear states claim the right to the same weapons for their security?
- nuclear weapons are not about security; they are about power, and they are the most vivid expression of the culture of war
- the culture of war has a very strong hold on public thinking.  In fact, while people aspire to peace and say they support abolition of all weapons of mass destruction, they uncritically continue to accept the lies produced by the propaganda apparatuses of governments that nuclear weapons are essential to their security.
- "a collective form of psychic numbing"
- misleading official statements and government secrecy
- world consciousness has been dulled
- the ultimate evil appears to be too far removed from daily life to engage our attention.  It is almost as if the issue is too big to handle.
- Nuclear weapons not only assault life on the planet, they assault the planet itself, and in so doing they assault the process of continuing development of the planet.
- the circle of fear, perpetuated by those with a vested interest in maintaining nuclear weapons, is unending.
- deliberately deceiving the world.  Humanity faces the gravest of futures if the world is to be ruled by militarism and the culture of war rather than law.
- morally bankrupt
- condemned
- a world ruled by law is the only hope for a peace with security and stability
- in order to protect the civilian population, states must never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets ... states do not have unlimited freedom of choice of weapons
- the determined maintenance of nuclear weapons by the powerful few is the factor that inhibits the processes of building the conditions for peace in regions of conflict
- "Those who stand to lose wealth, prestige and control in a peaceful world are determined to maintain high levels of fear and hatred.  Gullible publics are being persuaded that only a powerful military backed by nuclear weapons can protect them from their enemies." Mayor of Hiroshima
- The very idea that a small group of wealthy and powerful individuals should have the power over government policies that spend billions of dollars on military overkill while so many people live in life-threatening poverty is intolerable.
- “If we are going to prevent a breakdown of the nonproliferation regime, the United States is going to have to lead by example rather than by force.  This would require a major shift in policy for this Administration.  Congress and the American public need to be active participants in order to create such a shift.”  David Krieger, Saving the Nuclear Nonproliferation Agreement March 4, 2005


What can you do?:

First, do not take our word for this, or any other "expert" with a bias -- do your own research and critical thinking on the matter.


1. mobilize the masses against nuclear proliferation - be a leader and educator; write and speak about the massive lie of nuclear weapons

2. act to  abolish nuclear weapons -  join the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons  (includes "What You Can Do" and a list of activist organizations against nuclear weapons); get the Canadian government to change its policy from supporting NATO nuclear weapons to supporting United Nations programs to abolish nuclear weapons


For more information:

- the text of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the most important arms control and disarmament treaty in the world
- President George W. Bush's National Security Strategy

- Nuclear Posture Review (2002) excerpts and an analysis

- New Agenda Coalition resolution

- analysis of the NATO review of its nuclear weapons policy

- UN First Special Session on Disarmament (1978)

- Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict

- The ABCs of Disarmament: The UN's Disarmament Machinery by William Epstein

- text of the McCloy-Zorin Accords

- the Middle Powers Initiative, a network of eight international non-governmental organizations specializing in nuclear disarmament

- Canada and the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons: A Window of Opportunity, Report on the Project Ploughshares 1996 Community Roundtables 

- Shooting down Canada's peaceful image By Jennifer Kennedy

- Physicians for Global Survival announces the launch, in pdf format, of a kit of resource materials on how to be active on nuclear disarmament issues at a community level. "Resource Kit for Community Involvement in Nuclear Disarmament Efforts .  The kit includes background information and planning materials on: Mayors for Peace  - background information and suggestions on how to get your Mayor involved; Lanterns for Peace Ceremony to Commemorate the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki . 2005 is the 60th anniversary of those catastrophic events. The "how to's" of planning a commemoration ceremony in your community; Shadow Painting Project. How to create a powerful memorial to the innocent victims of the first atomic bombings - people who were instantly vaporized leaving behind only their shadows. How to plan the event, mix the water-soluble paint etc. ; Background information on the threats posed nuclear weapons and efforts to eliminate them;  Tools for working with the media.  For more information: Debbie Grisdale, Executive Director, Physicians for Global Survival (Canada), #208-145 Spruce St., Ottawa ON CANADA  K1R 6P1; Tel: 613 233 1982 / Fax: 613 233 9028; email ; web site

Video: The Day After - "Apocalypse ... The End of the Familiar ... The Beginning of the End.  The most powerful and controversial television event of our time.  A potent drama -- probably the most controversial TV movie of its time.  Lawrence, Kansas is the very center of the United States, a small town community of good people whose daily lives embody the same hopes, dreams and fears of us all.  Then comes the day that the unthinkable happens: War is declared, and a full-scale exchange of nuclear missiles rains an atomic hell upon our very way of life.  Devastation is global, with America reduced to a ravaged wasteland of sickness, violence and death.  But for the survivors, this man-made apocalypse has only just begun.  Humanity's true horror starts on 'The Day After'.  The Day After is an astonishing glimpse into mankind's greatest nightmare and widely considered to be the most horrific depiction ever of nuclear holocaust.  Jason Robards, John Lithgow, JoBeth Williams, Amy Madigan and Steve Guttenberg lead a remarkable cast in this Emmy Award winning television landmark that continues to be one of the most disturbing -- and important -- films of our time.  The premiere of this TV movie was a major media event. No sponsors bought commercial time after the point in the movie where the nuclear war occurs, so the last half of the show was aired straight through, without commercials. ABC set up special 1-800 hotlines to calm people down during and after the original airing.  Immediately after the film's original broadcast, it was followed by a special news program, featuring a live discussion between scientist Dr. Carl Sagan (who opposed the use of nuclear weapons) and Conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr. (who promoted the concept of "nuclear deterrence"). It was during this heated discussion, aired live on network television, where Dr. Sagan introduced the world to the concept of "nuclear winter" and made his famous analogy, equating the nuclear arms race with "two men standing waist deep in gasoline; one with three matches, the other with five".  The Day After was watched by an estimated half the adult population, the largest audience for a made-for-TV movie to that time. To order: ; review: .  Other films of this genre: Threads ; The War Game available from 

Canadian Activist Organizations Against Nuclear Weapons:

Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons  (includes "What You Can Do" and a list of activist organizations against nuclear weapons)

Project Ploughshares: Nuclear Weapons activists:

Abolish Nuclear Weapons Control the Weapons Trade Reduce Reliance on Military Force
Project Ploughshares Build Peace and Prevent War

Physicians for Global Survival:

Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility