Nuclear weapons are the only type of weapon in existence that have the capacity to annihilate the human species and countless other species.
The very existence of nuclear weapons leaves open the possibility that a nuclear exchange might take place. This could happen intentionally, inadvertently (as in the Cuban Missile Crisis when the U.S. and USSR almost blundered into nuclear war), or by an accidental launch. The list of historical false alarms is long; for instance, in 1979 someone fed a war game simulation into a North American Air Defense computer. Thinking that the alert was real, fighter planes were scrambled and nuclear bombers were readied before the error was discovered.
In the absence of total nuclear disarmament, terrorists might acquire nuclear weapons. Such a scenario has become more probable since the USSR dissolved. There have been many reports of attempts to smuggle weapons-grade plutonium from Russia. The fewer nuclear weapons there are in the world, the fewer there are for terrorists to try to steal. Every step toward the abolition of nuclear weapons would increase our security.
Without abolition, there is always the danger that nuclear weapons will proliferate - that more and more countries will obtain them. It is ultimately unrealistic to expect that in a world in which some nations rely upon nuclear weapons, other nations will not seek to attain them. A world where there are many nuclear-armed countries would be even more dangerous.
The end of the Cold War has meant that there are no more nuclear-armed opponents, except India and Pakistan. Nuclear weapons do not serve even an arguable purpose when a country has friendly relations with a former opponent.
Reason Two: The threat or use of nuclear weapons has been declared generally illegal by the World Court.
The July 8, 1996 decision of the International Court of Justice stated that it is generally illegal to use or to threaten to use nuclear weapons. From a legal point of view, it would be virtually impossible to use nuclear weapons without violating the laws of armed conflict. The International Security and Arms Control Committee of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded that "the inherent destructiveness of nuclear weapons, combined with the unavoidable risk that even the most restricted use of such weapons would escalate to broader attacks, makes it extremely unlikely that any contemplated threat or use of nuclear weapons would meet these [the Court's] criteria." If nuclear armed nations are serious about upholding international law, they ought to immediately commence negotiations for eliminating and prohibiting all nuclear weapons
Reason Three: Nuclear weapons are morally reprehensible.
The rightness of many issues is debatable, but nuclear weapons are morally insupportable. Even possessing something so deadly is wrong. These radiation-laden bombs can destroy most life on Earth and would be better described as national and global suicide devices rather than weapons. What could be more evil? As Joseph Rotblat, the 1995 Nobel Peace Laureate, urged when speaking against nuclear weapons, "Remember your humanity!"
Father Richard McSorley has written, "Can we go along with the intent to use nuclear weapons? What it is wrong to do, it is wrong to intend to do. If it is wrong for me to kill you, it is wrong for me to plan to do it. If I get my gun and go into your house to retaliate for a wrong done me, then find there are police guarding your house, I have already committed murder in my heart. I have intended it. Likewise, if I intend to use nuclear weapons in massive retaliation, I have already committed massive murder in my heart." (emphasis added)
Such intentions to harm violate the moral teachings of all religions. It is worth remembering that even in the middle of a war as bitterly fought as World War...