Lawyers and the Nuclear Debate

Cohen, Maxwell and Gouin, Margaret E.(eds.)
Publisher:  University of Ottawa Press, Ottawa, Canada
Year Published:  1988  
Pages:  420pp   ISBN:  ISBN 0-7766-0199-7
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX3747

Abstract:  There are, thankfully, lawyers who are working conscientiously for peace and against nuclear war. A number of them, and other selected dignitaries, came together at the Canadian Conference on Nuclear Weapons and the Law. They discussed topics like: Is there a legal basis for nuclear deterrence theory and policy? and What is the responsibility of the legal profession regarding nuclear weapons issues? Their discussions are reproduced in this book, which contains a number of interesting points and analyses. Still, the reader is left asking why trees died to produce this volume. Much of the discussion, though on a sophisticated level, seems strangely beside the point. Does it matter whether or not it can be shown that a nuclear holocaust would be clear violation of international law? Does showing that nuclear war is `illegal' make it any less likely to happen? What are the dead to do -- hire a lawyer and launch a class action suit? It's hard to avoid the feeling that anti-war lawyers ought to find more practical ways of opposing nuclear war. But it's nice to see that their hearts are in the right place.