Why do we build more?



This is an appeal to every secretary, technician, custodian, scientist, engineer, and any other person whose participation supports the world war machine to withhold their skills from weapons work and from activities that support or enable weapons work.

The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our thinking. Thus, we are drifting toward catastrophe beyond conception. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if [hu-]mankind is to survive. — Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

We have a moral obligation and duty to think, speak, and act first as citizens for a peaceful world, and next as scientists.  The higher our education is, the higher our responsibilities are for a humane world. Should we talk about science before we even think about what our science is for?  That is precisely what we are doing.  And that is why I resigned from my position as a scientist in the nuclear weapons program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as of January 31, 2000.

Albert Einstein warned us about the unleashed power of the atom: “This basic force of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalisms.” The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s logo is: Science in the National Interest.  I believe that if Albert Einstein were alive today, not only would he not be working at LLNL, but he would also be strongly condemning its mission.  And what is the logo of Los Alamos National Laboratory?  Science Serving Society.  Do the national labs believe that they are serving society by endangering its very existence through the ongoing maintenance and development of nuclear weapons? I cannot forget what my ancient Greek teachers taught me, which I now see being practiced worldwide: “Science without virtue is immoral science.” — Plato

Science, which ought always to be aiming at the good of humanity, is assisting in the work of destruction, and is constantly inventing new means for killing the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time. This twentieth century proved to be a century of inhuman slaughter.  In the 1914 war, 15% of casualties were civilian; in 1939: 50%; in the wars fought in the 1950s: 75%; in the 1990s: 90% of war casualties were civilian. Science that is used to terrorize people, kill them, or make them invalids is immoral science.  It must be abolished immediately.  If we do not act now, we may very well see our own children become victims in ways we have never dreamed of. We spend the majority of our lives tirelessly working to ensure our own personal security, while at the same time we are blindly putting it at risk by our own thoughtless actions.  The contradiction between what we love to do and what we are forced to do by our fears has brought us into a state of despair.  When we make our work the centerpiece of our existence, then we will find happiness.

Let’s not comfort ourselves that someone else, man or God, is watching out for humanity.  The train is now on the bridge and is going very fast.  The first compartment is full of scientists and educated people who profess that they know what they are doing.  The middle compartments are full of people, nearly six billion people!  The last compartment is loaded with ammunition, violence and death.  The compartments are being held together very tightly.  I am appealing to all who read these words to come out of the train now.  You will hear this appeal again and again, every time you look in the mirror of your soul, every time you look in the eyes of your children and in the eyes of the people you love, and yes, every time you look at a flower or a bird.  Come out.  I wonder how many scientists and world citizens have ever read the Russell-Einstein Manifesto? The general public, and even many men in positions of authority, has not realized what would be involved in a war with nuclear bombs.  The general public still thinks in terms of the obliteration of cities.  People can scarcely bring themselves to grasp that they, individually, and those whom they love are in imminent danger of perishing agonizingly.

We urgently need an international campaign to help scientists and engineers see that they must withhold their skills from war-science. We also need desperately a world campaign to bring awareness to college and high school students about what has been prepared for them in their future.  I hope that my resignation from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and my letter of appeal and activities from now will help to start this campaign and that individuals from every nation will offer their support.  This is a wake up call to all those who can hear the call of their conscience.  And for those of us who try to comfort ourselves while daring to call ourselves Christians, let it be known that Christianity is not compatible with war, with preparation for war, even for preparation to deter war.  It never was.

I wonder where the words on the dollar bill “IN GOD WE TRUST” came from? Until our warriors are disarmed and our armies disbanded, how can we say that we trust in God?

Having contemplated on these matters, and having recognized the real and misrepresented mission of the U.S. National Laboratories, I decided to resign.  I could not live my life in a way that goes against my conscience. These are some of the issues that concerned scientists and engineers should immediately start working on worldwide:

1) Establish informed consent hiring practices at national weapons laboratories and all other scientific/military establishments.

2) Stop bringing high school and college students into the weapons labs.

3) Stop accepting research programs that fuel the war machine.

4) Encourage and help scientists to withhold their skills from weapons work.

5) Bring awareness to college and high school students.

Mr. Andreas Toupadakis, Ph.D. is a Former Research Scientist of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.