- Founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
- Claims that “America is hated because of policies that we’ve instituted perhaps in the Middle East region”
- Views terrorism as a matter requiring legal, rather than military, measures
David Krieger is the founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), and has served as the organization’s president since its 1982 inception. The NAPF describes itself as “a non-partisan international education and advocacy organization” that “initiates and supports worldwide efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, to strengthen international law and institutions, to use technology responsibly and sustainably, and to empower youth to create a more peaceful world.” In practice, this group’s stock-in-trade is singling out the United States for censure. Whether the issue is weapons proliferation, international terrorism, or war, the California-based NAPF has, since its 1982 founding, sought to put the blame for each squarely on the United States.
A graduate of Occidental College, Krieger holds Masters and Doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Hawaii, and a law degree from the Santa Barbara College of Law. He currently serves as a judge and arbitrator for the Santa Barbara Superior Court, and is a member of the American Society for International Law and the California Bar Association. Earlier in his career, he was an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii and San Francisco State University.
Like NAPF, Krieger has been a consistent critic of the United States over the years. “Our attacks against Afghanistan,” said Krieger in the wake of 9/11, “have resulted in the deaths and injuries of thousands of innocent Afghanis due to our high-altitude bombing. Our response to September 11 has probably killed more innocent Afghanis than the number of innocent persons who died in the terrorist attacks. But our President tells us we are a country at war, and dismisses the deaths of the innocent people we kill as collateral damage.”
Opposed to taking military action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 mass murder, Krieger counseled Americans instead to recognize their own role in having given rise to the rage that animated the Islamist hijackers. “[W]e need to really be thinking deeply about why these people hate us so much,” Krieger told a CNN interviewer shortly after 9/11. “I don’t think the reason that we’re so hated by these people, whoever they happen to be, is that they want to bring down democracy or they want to bring down our freedoms. I think that’s not it at all. I think they have some far deeper grievances against us with regard to policies that we’ve instituted perhaps in the Middle East region.” American policies, according to Krieger, had bred a hopelessness to which September 11 was the logical and predictable conclusion: “Hopelessness grows,” he explained, “when some 35,000 children die daily of malnutrition and preventable diseases, when 50,000 children a year die in Iraq as a result of U.S.-led economic sanctions on that country, when the Palestinians are increasingly marginalized and oppressed in their land.”
Krieger states that a “new approach to security [which] must be built on the power of diplomacy and aid rather than on military power. It must be built on policies that reverse inequities in the world and seek to provide basic human rights and human dignity for all. These policies must adhere to international law, and end the double standards that have helped to produce extreme misery in much of the Arab world.”
In a September 20, 2001 television interview, Krieger was asked, “Let’s suppose there’s enough evidence to suggest beyond a reasonable doubt that Osama bin Laden and his colleagues are behind this [attack]. Who gets the job done? Who goes after him? Whose responsibility does it become? How do we then address the problem once we decide who did it?” Krieger replied, “I would say that it [should] certainly be a multilateral force that would be authorized by the United Nations to apprehend Osama bin Laden. I would say once the United Nations has acted, it would be quite appropriate, then, for the Afghan leaders to do everything in their power to turn Osama bin Laden over to the international community. . . . I would personally like to see Osama bin Laden stand trial before a specially created international tribunal that would be put in place for that purpose. I think we need to – I think we need to go through a process of law similar to what happened at the Nuremberg trials.” In short, Krieger views the war on terror as a legal matter for international and Third World authorities to handle rather than the United States which is invariably culpable no matter what it does.
With regard to Iraq, Krieger expressed deep concern for the welfare of Iraqi citizens as the Bush administration began to speak of the possible need to depose Saddam Hussein. But Krieger’s concerns had nothing to do with the atrocities that Saddam and his secret police had visited upon the Iraqi population for decades. Rather, he focused solely on the sufferings that America had allegedly visited upon innocent Iraqis. Once Operation Iraqi Freedom was underway, Krieger and the NAPF joined the anti-war Left in vigorously denouncing it. Writing in the virulently anti-American Web magazine Counterpunch, Krieger condemned the Iraq war as “immoral, illegal and unnecessary.” In June 2003 Krieger wrote, “The ‘regime change’ that is needed most in the world is not by war in Iraq, but by peaceful means in the United States.” He then called for the impeachment of President Bush. “Lying about the reasons for war and misleading the American people into supporting a war has the look and feel of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ for which the Constitution provides impeachment as the remedy,” said Krieger.
Krieger has lectured widely throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, voicing his condemnation of American policies to audiences all over the world. He has been a frequent interviewee on television and radio programs discussing disarmament issues, and he is the author of numerous books, among which are the following: Peace: 100 Ideas; Hope in a Dark Time: Reflections on Humanity’s Future; The Poetry of Peace; Choose Hope: Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age; Nuclear Weapons and the World Court; A Maginot Line in the Sky: International Perspectives on Ballistic Missile Defense; Disarmament and Development: The Challenge of the International Control and Management of Dual-Purpose Technologies; Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age: Ideas for Action; Waging Peace II: Vision and Hope for the 21st Century; and The Tides of Change: Peace, Pollution, and Potential of the Oceans.
In addition to his duties with the NAPF, Dr. Krieger is the deputy chair of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility. He is also a founding member of the Global Council of Abolition 2000, a worldwide network of more than 2,000 organizations and municipalities committed to the elimination of nuclear weapons. Moreover, he is affiliated with numerous other anti-war and pro-disarmament groups, including Free the Children International; the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment; the International Council of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide; the International Institute for Peace; the Peace Resources Cooperative; the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research; the War and Peace Foundation; the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy; and the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. He also serves as adviser to a number of foundations, including the Foundation for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court.