The warning by theoretical physicist Albert Einstein and philosopher Bertrand Russell against nuclear war issued 60 years ago is being ignored by the world's political leaders today at humanity's peril, MIT philosopher and Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky says.
Known as the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, it was issued on July 9, 1955, at a London news conference which Russell opened with the words, "I am bringing the warning pronounced by the signatories to the notice of all the powerful Governments of the world in the earnest hope that they may agree to allow their citizens to survive."
"Surveying the record of astonishingly reckless and irresponsible state actions, repeated and often frightening accidents, and pure luck, one can only conclude that it is remarkable that we have survived the nuclear age thus far," Chomsky says looking back.
"Internal government documents, oral histories, and other sources yield a chilling account of operative considerations," he noted. Chomsky said that nuclear war and climate catastrophe are "the two grim shadows" that hover "above all reflections on world affairs and the commitments we must pursue."
"Unlike the twin looming danger of climate catastrophe, the steps that can be taken to greatly mitigate the (nuclear)threat are reasonably clear, and can be implemented with dedication and political will. It would be criminal to let the opportunity pass," Chomsky said.
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Chomsky will speak on March 1st, the second day of a two-day conference about "The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction" sponsored by the Helen Caldicott Foundation at The New York Academy of Medicine.
Chomsky states, "A survey of the often shocking record also lends strong support to the conclusion that security is simply not a high priority for planners, if by 'security' we mean "security of the general population."
What's more, Chomsky recalls, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has warned that "Nuclear war is the black swan we can never see, except in that brief moment when it is killing us."
Dr. Caldicott is an Australian physician, author, and anti-nuclear advocate who has founded several associations dedicated to opposing the use of nuclear power, depleted uranium munitions, and nuclear weapons. She has been awarded 21 honorary doctoral degrees and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling. #
Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...