Founded in 1982 and currently composed of more than 60,000 individuals worldwide, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) describes itself as a “non-partisan,” non-profit organization whose mission is “to educate and advocate for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons and to empower peace leaders.”
In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 al Qaeda attacks against the United States, NAPF founder and president David Krieger counseled Americans to recognize their own nation’s role in having provoked the rage that animated the hijackers. “These people hate us so much,” he explained, because of American “policies” that had bred “hopelessness,” “malnutrition,” and “preventable diseases” in many places throughout “the Middle East region.”
A year after the October 2001 U.S. military incursion against the Taliban government which had given safe haven to al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, Krieger charged that America “has probably killed more innocent Afghanis than the number of innocent persons who died in the [9/11] terrorist attacks.”
Krieger and NAPF also vigorously denounced Operation Iraqi Freedom and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In the summer of 2003, the Foundation’s president condemned the Iraq War as an “immoral, illegal and unnecessary” action. Years later, NAPF’s senior vice president, the radical law professor and socialist Richard Falk, stated: “The Iraq War was a war of aggression from its inception, being an unprovoked use of armed force against a sovereign state in a situation other than self-defense.”
Today, NAPF administers the following major programs:
* Nuclear Zero Lawsuits: Asserting that “the time has come for the Nuclear Weapon States to be held accountable for their inaction,” NAPF in April 2014 served as a consultant to the Republic of the Marshall Islands when the latter filed lawsuits against all nine Nuclear Weapon States in the International Court of Justice and, separately, against the United States in U.S. Federal District Court. At issue, said NAPF, was the fact that “the Nuclear Weapon States”—which included the U.S., Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel—“continue to rely heavily on nuclear weapons and are engaging in modernization programs to keep their nuclear weapons active for decades to come.”
* Education: NAPF produces and distributes videos, articles, books, and briefing booklets designed “to help people better understand the issues of peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons,” and “to empower concerned individuals with the knowledge that they need to make a positive difference in the world.”
* Advocacy: In an effort to influence the decisions of political leaders nationwide and across the globe, NAPF’s Action Alert Network provides the Foundation’s members and supporters, via email, with policy recommendations, advocacy opportunities, and an immediate way to contact elected lawmakers. NAPF representatives also interact on a regular basis with Members of Congress and the presidential administration in Washington, DC, as well as with international diplomats at the United Nations offices in New York and Geneva. Indeed, the Foundation has consultative status with the UN.
* Peace Leadership: This program offers lectures, courses, and leadership-training workshops for high-school, college, and graduate-level students as well as civic, religious, and veterans’ groups. The program is headed by Paul Chappell—a West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran, and former U.S. Army Captain who has authored four books on “waging peace” and related matters.
* Public Events: NAPF holds numerous peace-related public events each year, primarily in its home city of Santa Barbara, California. Among these are lectures on issues which the Foundation deems critical to humanity’s future, and awards ceremonies honoring some of today’s “most distinguished peace leaders.” In May 2011, for instance, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the featured guest an NAPF gathering. Ten months later, Dr. Helen Caldicott, an Australian physician and longtime opponent of nuclear weapons, was honored at a reception in the home of NAPF board member James Hara.
For the most part, NAPF views American military spending as an immense, morally unjustifiable squandering of funds that would be better spent on social welfare programs. As the NAPF document Ten Reasons to Abolish Nuclear Weapons puts it, “all these misspent resources represent lost opportunities for improving the health, education and welfare of the people of the world.”
NAPF is currently a member organization of the Abolition 2000 anti-war coalition and the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility. At one time, the Foundation was also a member of the United for Peace and Justice coalition.
NAPF today identifies nearly 40 groups as its Partner Organizations. Among these are the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, Pax Christi International, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Veterans For Peace, Women’s Action for New Directions, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
In recent years, NAPF has received funding from such philanthropies as the Compton Foundation, the Samuel Rubin Foundation, and the Turner Foundation. To view a list of additional noteworthy supporters of NAPF, click here.
Noteworthy members of NAPF’s advisory council include Harry Belafonte, Blase Bonpane, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michael Douglas, Paul Ehrlich, Daniel Ellsburg, Harrison Ford, Johan Galtung, Jane Goodall, Bianca Jagger, Rev. James Lawson, Queen Noor of Jordan, Rev. George Regas, Ted Turner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Peter Yarrow.