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January 6, 1999

Abolishing Nuclear Weapons—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.Winker, MDIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorsIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(1):36-37. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-1-jbk0106

In Reply: Nuclear weapons are instruments of genocide. Their possession is a crime against humanity. No reason of state can ever justify their use, which would inflict indiscriminate mass murder, injure generations yet unborn, and despoil an already degraded environment. We have defeated Hitler, yet have succumbed to his vicious philosophy. In going nuclear, India and Pakistan have extended the reach of barbarism.

Dr Fouts is completely on target. The nidus of the pathology is among the permanent members of the UN Security Council and especially in Washington, DC, which has initiated and been a key player in shaping the atomic age. The concept of nonproliferation was flawed from the outset. The superpowers retained the right to keep testing and modernizing weapons notwithstanding their huge arsenals and their qualitative and quantitative dominance. At the same time, the nonweapons states were expected permanently to forswear any intent of acquiring nuclear military capabilities. Such a double standard could not be permanently enforced. The options were 2: either eradicate the malignant virus, nuclearism, or witness its spread. The events in South Asia confirm the bankruptcy of nuclear apartheid policies.

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