Statement issued on 2 October 2002
As scientists promoting the peaceful use of science and technology, Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) is deeply concerned about the possible use of military force by the USA and UK on Iraq.
SGR believes that unilateral pre-emptive military action against Iraq, or indeed any state, is an aggressive not defensive act and is therefore a breach of the UN Charter and fundamentally unethical. Hence, SGR opposes any unilateral US/UK military action. While we believe that Iraq should allow UN weapons inspectors unrestricted access within the country to identify and supervise the dismantling of any nuclear, biological and chemical weapons facilities, we also believe that efforts to achieve this should focus on peaceful means through the UN. We believe that these efforts should involve consideration of the interlinkages with the Israel/ Palestine conflict.
SGR also believes that it is essential not to forget that military action against Iraq will lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, and is likely to increase rather than decrease the threat of terrorist action against Western countries.
SGR further believes that the current threat to global security posed by weapons of mass destruction is due in no small part to the current and past policies of the US and UK Governments. Hence we believe that fundamental policy changes are required by those Governments to tackle this problem in the long term.
SGR believes that the five declared nuclear weapons states, including the USA and UK, have laid the foundations for the proliferation of nuclear weapons by their failure to "pursue negotiations in good faith" towards complete multilateral nuclear disarmament (as they agreed to do when they signed the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and re-affirmed in the review of that treaty in 2000). We believe the recent SORT treaty, agreed by the US and Russian Governments, is largely inadequate in this regard due to many loopholes and should be renegotiated, and cover also the nuclear weapons held by the UK, France and China. Further SGR calls for the US military to immediately cease its current attempts to develop 'bunker-busting' nuclear weapons.
SGR believes that the US Government must bear particular responsibility for effectively sabotaging attempts to control the threat from biological weapons by its withdrawal from negotiations on a Protocol to the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention. Hence, SGR calls for the US to re-enter negotiations to be concluded within one year.
SGR believes that the US Government's current unilateralist policies on these and many other issues, e.g. missile defence, landmines, climate change, and the International Criminal Court, undermines international law and therefore will lead to other countries and organisations disregarding it. Hence we call for the US to abandon its unilateralist stance.
SGR believes that to truly resolve international security issues, much greater emphasis must be placed on:
- measures to reduce and eventually eliminate the international trade in all weapons;
- tackling poverty and injustice;
- tackling racial and cultural intolerance.