November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036-3959
To the Editor:
In raising the specter of genetically engineered smallpox (op-ed article, 10/14/02), Richard Preston offers the US military an alibi to develop a new generation of offensive biological weapons. Though Mr. Preston's purpose is of course nominally defensive, the logic of biology runs otherwise.
Living things -- including germs -- are astonishingly specific. If we genetically engineer vaccine-resistant smallpox, there is no guarantee that our strain will match one secretly developed by an enemy. If we also develop a vaccine for our new, lethal strain, the vaccine may well fail to protect against any germ but our own. Sword-and-shield pairs are objectively offensive: they permit the nation possessing them to vaccinate its own troops and population and then use the germ on others.
Mr. Preston surprisingly invokes the US-Soviet nuclear arms race to legitimate -- as inevitable -- the militarization of biotechnology. But our possession of biological weapons will not deter terrorists. What the history of nuclear weapons does show is that our pioneering technologies set an example for others. Rather than further undermine America's commitment to the Biological Weapons Convention, the Bush Administration should work to strengthen its verification -- joining a global effort that it has recklessly scuttled.
This letter is exclusive to The New York Times. If you choose not to run it, please forward it to the Editorial Page writers. The Times has been committed to the Biological Weapons Convection for years and should not permit misleading arguments that subvert it to pass without correction.
[David Keppel, an activist for nuclear and biological disarmament, recently moved from Connecticut to Bloomington, Indiana. He is writing a book on creative uncertainty as a principle of living things.]