Americans are not naïve about the risks nuclear weapons pose, but they have long valued freedom over safety . Nuclear weapons can defend not just lives, per se , but a way of life. But it seems treaty advocates prefer to avoid the risks that nuclear weapons might pose, even at the possible cost of freedom. Even accounting for the very real perils nuclear weapons entail, is there really nothing worth defending with them? No circumstance worthy of their use? Philosopher John Stuart Mill ’s observation that leads this essay remains apropos today.
In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu , a former technician at Dimona, fled to the United Kingdom and revealed to the media some evidence of Israel's nuclear program and explained the purposes of each building, also revealing a top-secret underground facility directly below the installation. The Mossad , Israel's secret service, sent a female agent named Cheryl Bentov (née Hanin) who lured Vanunu to Italy , where he was kidnapped by Mossad agents and smuggled to Israel aboard a freighter. An Israeli court then tried him in secret on charges of treason and espionage , and sentenced him to eighteen years imprisonment. At the time of Vanunu's kidnapping, The Times reported that Israel had material for approximately 20 hydrogen bombs and 200 fission bombs by 1986. In the spring of 2004, Vanunu was released from prison, and placed under several strict restrictions, such as the denial of a passport, freedom of movement limitations and restrictions on communications with the press. Since his release, he has been rearrested and charged multiple times for violations of the terms of his release.