Subject: THE HIGHEST GRADE OF SOLDIER -- STOP CASSINI #132
Date: May 31st, 1999
Time Frame: There are 24 days left to demand that NASA smash Cassini into Venus.
In America each May 31st, we pay tribute to our fallen heros in the Armed Services.
This issue is a Memorial Day Special. It is meant to convey the highest regard for those men and woman who fought and died for the uniquely American ideals which allow me to write these words at all. Among those who have fought for America in the Armed Services, are my father, my uncle, and at least one of my great great great grandfathers (for the Confederate Army) and others. Still others (including even myself) have sold, built, or designed equipment used by the U. S. military or the military/industrial complex (in my case, software). Other of my ancestors arrived here through Ellis Island from Estonia and Lithuania.
This is admittedly an exceptionally long issue, nearly four times the normal STOP CASSINI newsletter's length, but we hope readers will bear with us, because we believe these concepts are fundamental principals that need to be discussed by ALL Americans, not just generals and people like J. R. Nyquist, but also by civilians, soldiers, students, politicians and even sitting Presidents.
J. R. Nyquist, by-weekly writer for World Net Daily, has accused the founder and editor of this newsletter of being a Communist, of gross exaggeration, of purposefully misleading the public -- this issue is my answer. I challenge him to publicly retract the utterly irresponsible misrepresentations he has made about what I have written. The details of his accusations are shown and properly dissected below.
-- Russell D. Hoffman, Founder and Editor, STOP CASSINI newsletter, now in its 132nd issue
The Friday afternoon before Memorial Day, we received a response from J. R. Nyquist to our earlier dissection of his utterly absurd pro-military article. In his response (shown below), notice that Mr. Nyquist challenges ME to publish HIS absurdities, but let's watch to see how poorly they edit MY COMMENTS for THEIR PUBLICATION, if they PUBLISH ANYTHING AT ALL! (Let's see if they'll at least link to the Stop Cassini web site.) They will most likely pick out one or two statements (we can all guess which ones) and use them to show his biased military readership that I must be a Commie.
Meanwhile, he is clearly the one who is destroying American freedom and safety, and he is in close contact with "Russian ex-generals", whom HE TRUSTS TO BE TELLING HIM THE TRUTH! He trusts Russian generals, yet he calls ME the commie!
As you read his remarks, notice throughout, that his entire thesis is based on the unprovable assumption that any nuclear war will be a "small" one.
Here is the order of what is appearing below:
First, Nyquist has responded with imbedded commentary (shown in bold) to my original remarks (shown in italics) answering his article located at the following URL:
My response was originally published in STOP CASSINI newsletter #128:
Followup comments appeared in STOP CASSINI newsletter #129:
I have imbedded some commentary into his remarks; that commentary is separated by triple brackets [[[...]]]. If the remarks splice Mr. Nyquist's commentary, the continuation portion is marked as such [in single brackets]. (None of his incoming letter has been changed or deleted.)
Much of his jingoistic propaganda is not rebutted inside the piece because it would get too complicated -- every sentence in some paragraphs would need commentary, so a full rebuttal appears after his email. Following that is a relevant quote from a 1998 United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) document.
Russell D. Hoffman
Free American (today, but for how long?)
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Subject: A more detailed reply to Hoffman
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Mr. Hoffman, you promised to publish my response. I should hope you will honor that. Here is my detailed response to your article. -- J. R. Nyquist
THE FINAL PHASE is absurd. Just for starters, the author should know that the reason America stopped building bomb shelters is because it became obvious that nuclear war was NOT survivable in any reasonable sense of the term (described in more detail below), and only a madman would start one. It was called MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) and rightly so. So we didn't need bomb shelters, did we?
JRN: The United States needs a system of shelters. This would save millions of lives in a war. To oppose shelter construction is irresponsible and unpatriotic. There has been no scientific conclusion that nuclear war is the end of all life on earth. Hoffman does not cite any Congressional finding or scientific studies to show this conclusion.
[[[ Why should I have to do so? I NEVER made the claim Nyquist accuses me of making! ]]]
[ JRN continues...] The failure to build shelters in this country was political, and largely due to our Epicurean orientation. We didn't want to pay the price required, or undergo the inconvenience entailed. Furthermore, countries with forward-looking leaders, like Switzerland and Russia have made extensive underground shelters stocked with massive food supplies. Is Hoffman suggesting they are stupid and ignorant? Let him go to Switzerland and tell it to the Swiss! The Russian leaders have always stated, and yet believe privately, that a nuclear exchange is winnable. Mr. Hoffman's disagreement with them has no scientific or military-strategic basis. His objection amounts to mere protest against the fact that hundreds of millions of people will die. As one former Soviet officer said to me in this regard, "So what?"
[[[ Which one, Mr. Nyquist? NAME HIM. Place that comment in time and in space, at least so that any Russians who might ever be lucky enough to read this will know who the madman in their midst is. And so we Americans will all know who as well, so that we can write him letters such as this. (And please forward these comments to as many Russian (and American) generals or ex-generals as you know!) Remember, we are a free country here. We can speak freely and as long as we speak truthfully no one should want to stop us (at least, theoretically). So, NAME HIM. For Russia's sake. And for ours. ]]]
Also, the author indicates that perhaps 100 United States cities might be destroyed in some sort of "limited" nuclear exchange. That is true if the first missile is a small one. One modern nuclear warhead has hundreds of nuclear bombs on ONE missile!
JRN: There's a bit of confusion here for Hoffman. One warhead is one bomb. But more than one warhead can be placed on a single missile. There are no missiles with hundreds of nuclear bombs on them. This is nonsense. At present, the typical MIRV warhead has three to ten warheads, not hundreds. Also, the START I & II Treaties have limited the MIRVing of certain missile types, like the MX.
[[[ See full rebuttal, which appears below. ]]]
So 400 cities, or perhaps 4,000 is a more reasonable expectation, plus military targets, for the first wave of attack.
JRN: The Russians would not waste so many nuclear warheads against cities. They would rely upon biological and chemical weapons to exterminate the civilian population. Remember, victory in a nuclear war means surviving with a large reserve of nuclear weapons to point at the unharmed countries, so as to blackmail them into surrender.
400,000,000 dead in the first 20 minutes is not an unreasonable expectation from a "limited" nuclear war. Perhaps 100,000,000 more, condemned to a brutal death over the following months. And hundreds of millions more, plucked from life randomly by radioactive byproducts of the war, for hundreds of millions of years -- if anything survives (and something, God help them, probably will).
JRN: Really, Hoffman, this is such an exaggeration. Have you studied nuclear war? Do you know the principles taught by the generals to their officers? May we attempt precision here? How many scientific studies from the last couple of decades have you read? Realistic estimates for US casualties depend on whether the Russians launch an counterforce attack or whether they go to exterminate the American people. In a counterforce attack US losses would be anywhere from 28 to 42 million dead, that is, between 10 and 15 percent of the population. In an extermination attack, US losses could be 80 to 99 percent. This is because the USA has no shelter system, no food stockpiling, and no preparation for civil defense. On the other side, in Russia, estimates range anywhere from 8 to 20 percent casualties if the USA attempted to kill as many Russians as possible. Russia has created huge underground spaces for its people. Russia has stockpiled large quantities of food and fuel in those spaces. This hasn't been done out of stupidity, but out of foresight. Russia would not suffer the number of casualties Hoffman is talking about.
[[[ Such exact numbers! From HOW MANY BOMBS, on what cities? Do you think in 1934, when Hitler could easily have been stopped, the majority of the people properly understood the extent of the damage World War II would cause? Do you think in 1913 ANYONE correctly predicted the extent of the damage World War I would cause? Do you assume all those Russians can all get into their shelters in the 10 or 20 minutes (tops) they would need to be able to do it in? The Russians couldn't even empty Kiev in TWO WEEKS after Chernobyl! ]]]
If in the end, there remains more of "us" than of "them", whoever "they" are, that is not "winning"! Winning stops this before it happens -- all other strategic options are losses. Nuclear wars are not won, no matter what the count is of cities we have lost, versus cities "they" have lost. Anyone who thinks otherwise is criminally insane.
JRN: The attacker in a nuclear war may be criminally insane, but he can still win the war if he obtains -- through a first strike -- a superiority in nuclear missile weapons. If the aforesaid insane person ends up with 3,000 nuclear warheads after an exchange (destroying the US arsenal), he could use those warheads to force the surrender of Japan, Western Europe, the Middle East, or other territories. Those countries would have no choice but to surrender.
[[[ The above is utterly absurd, like kids with more candy than they can eat at Halloween. Only instead of just the kids getting stomach aches, people get cancer, leukemia and birth defects as rates for these things go up for everyone on the planet -- except Nyquist's theoretical Australian healthy adult white male office-worker living and working in HEPA-filtered air conditioned comfort who smokes three packs of Camels a day and gives them up the day of the war (because Camels become hard to get.) I admit, Mr. Nyquist, such a person might benefit from the war. Such people are few and far between. ]]]
And what about those stolen American satellite secrets that the Chinese supposedly have? What option do we have there? Just one! Stop researching this filth! Secrets will always be stolen! What bigger bomb is better? NONE! There is no valid research left in nuclear weapons technology, except how to account for, defuse and destroy them all. There is no money for other options. There is no need to research bigger bombs anymore. We have proven, time and again, that American scientists cannot keep a secret.
JRN: Countries do not research bigger bombs. They research more efficient bombs. The idea is to make them more accurate, smaller, cheaper, etc. This research will continue, regardless of Hoffman's opposition. More and more countries are acquiring nuclear weapons, because they are so powerful and effective. We cannot uninvent such weapons. The only true nuclear disarmament would be to lobotomize the whole human race. War is not a good thing, but it has always happened and it always will happen.
[[[ This is a pessimistic view of humanity. It is the policy of a loser. Of a man without good faith. Of a man without answers to dangerous problems. His response is as if he would always say, to any conflict: "Let me get a bigger gun and we can discuss this further". It is outmoded and unworkable. Yet he clings to it, and grasps at "patriotism", and "survivability of nuclear war" as some sort of proof of his twisted logic. He is sure the Russians, and the Chinese as well, are different from us, fundamentally, their human spirit is not exactly like ours. Therefore, if a few of their mad generals set off a limited nuclear exchange, it is alright to bomb them back! I ask Mr. Nyquist: If by chance, one State in this Union bombed another state in this Union with a nuclear device, what would you consider a proper response?
Yet less than 150 years ago, we killed some 20% of the population in the bloodiest conflict (for Americans) we have ever seen! Could it happen again? Maybe -- you don't know. Anyone could set one off, you know, here, there -- anywhere. There are no good nuclear weapons. There are no causes just enough to justify their use. You and your General friends on both sides must find another way to fight, because 99.9% of the population doesn't want war at all, for any reason, and wants all these bombs put away forever. Or let's just say, 99.9% of the population that fully understands what we are facing -- does not want nuclear exchanges and will not tolerate them, even if it means sacrificing their own lives to prevent it, by asking that no nuclear-based retaliation be committed in their name, should their city be the first to go. And San Diego, 30 miles way, or Los Angeles, 90 miles away, are not unreasonable choices -- I'm in a rather bad spot, so I don't make that statement lightly. But I do it for my country, because my country needs me to, because I know the truth about how bad these weapons really are. Perhaps you do, too, but you deny it. Perhaps you deny the full effects of nuclear weapons because you think you are helping the country not to become alarmed and agitated against not just Russian generals, but our own, who lead us down these dangerous paths.
Whatever your reason, it is a truly unAmerican act. In fact, it smacks of commie censorship, commie propaganda, commie everything to me! ]]]
What should we have learned? That we must not continue to research weapons of mass destruction! And most of all, we must not finance the weaponization of space. That 20 minute war I referred to (above) could be reduced to a 3 minute war with the proper already-existing technology placed into orbit. If we don't stop that, we will lose even the 20 minute warning we now expect to have -- the warning that soon we will need to "duck and cover" and it will NOT be a drill. Furthermore, by employing weapons in space, we further guarantee that the first blow in any nuclear exchange will be an EMP just above the atmosphere. Such a blast, with no atmosphere to weaken the pulse, would wipe out all the military and civilian satellites in line-of-sight of the explosion. Three simultaneous bursts would wipe out all the orbiting satellites and most of the electronics on earth as well (all the civilian electronics, including production facilities for new chips).
JRN: EMP attack has been a standard feature of nuclear war plans for a long time now. This is nothing new. One needs to disrupt the enemy power grid and communications network at the outset of a surprise attack. This is the approach the Russian attack will take.
[[[ Again you come with inside knowledge of how they will attack! But you completely ignore the fact that the destructive effects of the EMP has mushroomed in the past 20 years, the past 10 especially, because of the proliferation of computers and imbedded controllers with faster and faster, and more and more delicate electronics. ]]]
Only the most "hardened" electronics would survive. New spy and control/communications satellites would have to be launched immediately, but a temporary blindness would still occur, during which time, targeted cities could not be identified. Anything launched would be vulnerable to a second above-atmosphere EMP and to the EMPs from the nuclear blasts going on nearer the ground.
JRN: Nuclear missiles are hardened against EMP.
[[[ Are you sure? Let me guess -- they told you again, right? How was this tested? At what range? Where can you verify this statement? ]]]
[ JNR continues... ] There are two vulnerabilities of missiles in terms of radiation. One is exo-atmospheric x-ray radiation, which has a limited kill radius, and atmospheric neutron radiation (with an even more limited kill radius). The Russian ABM system, which employs 10,000 to 12,000 missiles, is built to use both ex-ray and neutron weapons to intercept and destroy American warheads. This has been documented by William Lee in his book, *The ABM Treaty Fiasco*. Russia is, in fact, planning to defend its people and to prevail.
[[[ Defend and prevail? What's wrong with a nation planning to defend itself? I don't begrudge the Russians for that. I begrudge the method, which would have "collateral damage" like the world never saw before the nuclear age. Is MAD off or on now? Have your Russian general friends promised you it is "off"? Have our generals promised it is "off"? History has already taught the Russians that American promises don't mean a thing. American actions do. If we didn't prepare for war, if we prepared instead for peace, that is what the Russians would see we are doing, and the level of threat would go down, not up. Refusing the nuclear option is not the end of all defense. Just because we had no such weapons, there is no way Russia would expect us to let them walk in and -- how did you put it -- put us in a Gulag? (Note that we have more people in "Gulags" right now than any other country in history, both as a percentage of the population and as a raw number (one in seven black males in America cannot vote because of their prison record, often for crimes like ingesting some drug far less dangerous than alcohol, or perhaps for as little as "DWB" (Driving While Black)! And that's ignoring the things Jack Anderson and many others are reporting about Internment camps being built across this nation. If they come for you first, I'll fight for you. But what will you do if they come for me before the come for you, Mr. Nyquist? The time's a-coming when you might have to answer that question. I hope you're ready.) ]]]
This is not easy to defend against. If Russia is building an underground bunker as has been reported periodically over the past few years, only a few Russians could possibly benefit. Not "the people".
JRN: Hoffman hasn't been reading much. Russia began underground shelter construction in 1955. This construction has been continuous and steady ever since. By 1976 the chief of USAF intelligence said that the equivalent of hundreds of billions, if not trillions, had been spent on these underground structures, which extended throughout Russia. This is not ONE solitary Russian bunker, but a massive system of bunkers and underground tunnels, meant to shelter the entire urban population of the country. Even now, Russia is modernizing and improving these structures.
[[[ Given the expense of such an extensive network, this must have hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union! Indeed, if it were true, then they wouldn't be so incredibly bankrupt in every OTHER way we know! You need too much excess infrastructure for a multi-trillion dollar (in 1976 dollars, I assume) enterprise like that. Workers need to be fed, clothed, tools provided, from shovels to backhoes to dynamite, to rail systems -- a bankrupt country in every other way, is building a multi-trillion dollar system of tunnels, being "modernized" and "improved" along the way!?!? Sorry, but it doesn't add up! (Not that they haven't built some.) Furthermore, the system wouldn't save their lives (only prolong their deaths). And it wouldn't stop their nuclear power plants from melting down if we attacked. (Or, have OUR generals assured you they would not use an EMP? Or are you simply still in denial of its consequences?)
If the Russian military does something stupid, that's no reason for us to match them, act-for-act. It would make much more sense to try to reason with them. That would save everyone a lot of time, money, and worry. ]]]
If the Russians believe that their own missiles can survive their own EMP, expect the first blasts to be upper-atmosphere or above-atmosphere bursts, possibly from already-orbiting nuclear devices. Does anyone really expect the first wave to be a nuclear "toe in the water"? If the Russians DON'T think their own missiles could survive that particular EMP, then expect the EMP or EMPs to be the last of the first barrage of nuclear weapons. One way or the other, one can rest UNassured, knowing that an EMP will accompany ANY nuclear attack on the United States. If the EMP device is exploded at a high enough altitude, at night, everyone in America will see the light -- (uh, perhaps I could word that differently...) And note that my description in newsletter #123 was generally for a 1 megaton burst. 20 megaton bursts are much, much worse.
JRN: The first sign of nuclear attack will be the exploding of nuclear suitcase bombs by Russian Spetsnaz, and the poisoning of water supplies with chemical or toxic weapons, and the releasing of biological weapons. Russia plans to send 7,000 Spetsnaz commandos in advance of any nuclear attack.
[[[ So are you a double-agent or something, with all this exact knowledge? Who tells you these things, and more importantly, why do you believe them? (Not that I doubt a word of it. I'd start with a multi-faceted "NBC" (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) attack too if I were a diabolical madman.) ]]]
Nyquist appears to base his entire article on the presumption that if more Americans survive than Russians, we have somehow "won" and done a good thing by fighting "the good fight". Well, maybe there comes a time when the only good fight is to lay down your weapons.
JRN: Hoffman apparently thinks we should surrender at the outset of a nuclear war, or even before the war begins, in order to prevent the destruction that would occur. I do not agree with this formula.
[[[ You want MAD. I do not agree with you. (Much more related commentary, below.) ]]]
MAD may have served us well (that is certainly debatable) during the "Cold War" which we have heard (on CNN) ended, but it is clearly not serving us now. We know that if we threaten MAD, it is us who are, indeed, MAD. Totally bonkers. To inflict such cruelty upon civilians would be, by any and all definitions, genocide. Yet we've pretty much proven we -- our entire military/industrial complex -- don't care about the lives of civilians who suffer under a mad leader. And we don't care about the truth. Should we expect others to care about OUR civilians? NO! (Our civilians, who by the way, are supposed to be running this country, but who have been lied to for TWO GENERATIONS about the nuclear demon, and who have been left UNEDUCATED and who thus, are now UNABLE to perform their civic duty, which demands knowing the full truth first! (But some citizens DO understand, and they must tell the others.))
JRN: If the United States puts away all its nuclear weapons, what is to defend us against the North Koreans, the Chinese, or the Russians?
[[[ So is 20,000 enough or do we need 40,000 nuclear weapons? You know, Mr. Nyquist, I didn't say everyone would die. I said we should completely rethink current policy. Yet you misrepresent everything I said to serve your own unprovable, warped image of what a nuclear war would be like, and what the options are. I do not believe the options are limited simply to building more weapons. I am for building more cooperation among all the peoples of the world. THAT is how peace has always been brought about. Europe suffered many, many wars big and small until she became sufficiently economically and socially intermingled. That is what I recommend we do, instead of painting the Russians as the devils you try to make them out to be, we should accept the premise that people are people wherever they are. AND the premise that there are millions of Russians whose only fear of us is due to their lying general's statements, and yours. If I were a peace-loving Russian citizen, I would certainly fear YOU. I would despise America if I thought it was filled with people like you. But I don't think the Russian generals fear you or your attitude. They've been dealing with your type for decades. They know you will let them continue to build their war industry and support their war effort. Besides, they have MAD on their side. THEY ARE MAD. If I were a Russian general, I would fear America because of people like me! Because alternatives can be considered here! Because, despite people like you, the truth can ring out across this great land in emails like this! That is what I would fear most about America -- that American citizens know the whole truth and are willing and able to tell others. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] Do you imagine these countries would give up their nuclear weapons in good faith? Given their history of cheating on agreements, and the hatred for America which is found in the leadership of these countries, any kind of US disarmament would be an invitation to attack and destruction.
[[[ Same old arguments. We cheat on our agreements too. Or do you deny that reality as well? Sometimes being better than other people means unilaterally doing the right thing. Always, being responsible means facing facts honestly, which you continue not to be able to do (such as the facts about what a nuclear EMP above the atmosphere would mean to American civilization. ]]]
I think one can assume that if you let off tens of thousands of nuclear bombs into the environment, despite the fact that life would generally not be WORTH living, there is a certain probability that some people will be able to give birth to healthy children. Sure, life might continue, but a life like what?
JRN: I refer you to studies on the long term fallout effects, which indicate that the long term birth defects and deaths would not be as great as you depict, but would be within limits already tolerated by smoking, car accidents, etc.
[[[ For EXACTLY how many bombs going off? How limited is your ideal nuclear exchange? And please do reference the studies you refer to (or better yet, quote them). A reference without references! How contradictory, Mr. Nyquist. How typical of you. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] In fact, less than these. In a study conducted by the Australian authorities, it was determined that a full scale nuclear war in the northern hemisphere would result in a decrease in the cancer rate in Australia. Yes, there would be a slight increase in cancers from the fallout. But there would be a huge decrease in cancers due to the cut-off of tobacco imports from the USA (due to the war).
[[[ Gee. You're funny. Again: This would be true for HOW MANY BOMBS going off? ]]]
That is what we are now being mentally prepared for, because of Y2K, because of Russian threats, because of the atrocities WE are committing in Yugoslavia. Because of the atrocities Milosevic's troops are committing in Kosovo, we are threatened with bringing hell upon all the people of the Earth. And still some people deny it, like Mr. Nyquist. He thinks the Russian Generals he quotes are right -- nuclear war is winnable. That is a MAD point of view, and it is utterly unrealistic.
JRN: I do not deny that nuclear war would be hell, that it would be terrible beyond imagining. However, I do not exaggerate as you do.
[[[ No, you don't exaggerate it. Neither do I. But you minimize it, and I simply discuss it in all it's utter ugliness. ]]]
[ JRN continues...] We need to stick to the scientific facts.
[[[ Yup. Let's start by you naming the "22" operational nuclear reactors in Yugoslavia! ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] Military leaders are all about winning wars by killing large numbers of people.
[[[ Actually, that is not a very classic definition of war. War is about fulfilling political objectives. Indeed, that is war's only purpose! Certainly not to kill people, especially civilians and descendents of people who weren't even involved in the fighting! But that is what you advocate -- wholesale slaughter. Most military leaders are picked (in part) for their ability to understand that war is NOT about killing as many people as possible, but as FEW as possible while achieving a political objective. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] Has that been understood yet? Therefore, from a strictly military perspective, without regard for human fatalities, nuclear war is yet winnable. This is the position of the Russian generals. Therefore, they are planning for a future war, and preparing for one. The fact that we are not planning to fight and win such a war doesn't do us any good. It only ensures our defeat once the war begins. In this respect, you are a defeatist, and your rhetoric only serves to mislead the American public into a policy of surrender. If you want peace, you'd better prepare for war.
[[[ If you want Global Thermonuclear War, just keep doing what you are doing, Mr. Nyquist. Don't look forward, to alternatives to 100 rusting Russian nuclear subs, two dozen nuclear space shots, Hanford, ORNL, Beatty NV, and wherever the Thresher and the Scorpion are. You ignore all that, Mr. Nyquist -- You don't call any of it a disaster.
If we continue to build weapons of mass destruction and give them to people, then sooner or later, people will use them. That fact you even acknowledged. You simply cannot acknowledge the obvious solution. ]]]
What is a "win", where afterwards, radioactive byproducts poison the country, not only from the bombs themselves but also from the meltdowns that would inevitably occur in the nuclear power plants, and subsequent leakage? What is a win, if in the victorious post-war world, for instance, less than 5% or 10% of those souls who survive past childhood manage to die of anything OTHER THAN cancer or leukemia, and usually by the age of 30? Is that a "victory" to J. R. Nyquist? Apparently so, if there are slightly more of "us" than of "them", or if we have somehow upheld some twisted moral principal he must think we would all wish to fight and die for -- but I certainly wouldn't vote for that war, and I know of no sane person who would. And I don't think our children will understand why we could not find diplomatic solutions.
JRN: Certainly I am not an advocate of nuclear war. So you shouldn't misrepresent my position. However, if nuclear war is forced on us, I do advocate survival. Your picture of only 5 to 10 percent of people surviving past childhood after a war has no scientific basis whatsoever.
[[[ HOW MANY bombs are you talking about? HOW MANY MELTDOWNS? ]]]
[JRN continues... ] It is not a realistic assessment, nor would any experts in this area agree. Furthermore, nuclear power plants would not be targeted in a nuclear attack, because the objective is not environmental destruction, but victory.
[[[ This is contradicted by other of JRN's comments. See notes, below. Also, nuclear power plants would be among the first strike targets because of their role in making new bombs. Reality is SO HARD TO HANDLE, isn't it, Mr. Nyquist! ]]]
[JRN continues ... ] Nuclear weapons are not made to contaminate the land, but to destroy important targets in a timely fashion. In your extreme fear of war, you have exaggerated the effects, making them even more horrible than they already are. This sort of misinformation is bad, and will not serve any useful purpose except to demoralize people, and lead them to feelings of hopelessness.
Nyquist apparently doesn't realize what the trigger event would probably be. The next nuclear device to go off will probably be either an accident or a solitary terrorist act -- NOT the purposeful start of World War Three, phase two (methinks we are already in WWIII phase one, in Yugoslavia). It could happen here, or in Russia, or even in Belgrade. It wouldn't matter. One bomb, set off anywhere, could trigger one retaliatory bomb, and one preemptive strike, one EMP, over one hundred meltdowns, and one World War.
JRN: Intentional or unintentional, the Russian have a plan of attack and they would follow through. We, on our side, have no defenses whatsoever. Our leadership, therefore, is actually hesitant about launch on warning. The President has moved away from launch on warning.
[[[ We don't launch on warning because no reasonable person would choose to kill millions of innocent people based solely on the advice of a computer. A computer that has even been designed to simulate such events for training and testing purposes! We have no defense because reasonable people have concluded that there is no defense against an all-out Russian nuclear attack, and no other type of attack is reasonable to expect. The real purpose of these so-called defense programs has always been to line the pockets of defense contractors, and at that, they have been singularly successful. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] Further, I don't think you've followed Russian war preparations closely enough. You have yet to realize how serious they are.
[[[ SO YOU SAY. Let's start by finding some of those multi-trillion dollar bunkers you say they have. Trillions? Multi-Trillions? So you say. These have been secretly dug out by a country whose Gross National Product right now is reportedly about the size of BELGIUM'S? Either you are lying, joking, misinformed, or the victim of a hoax -- your leg has been pulled. ]]]
Sure, the species would survive, and it would try to remain beautiful and perfect, and if some random genetic mutations (say, a thicker skin) turn out to be more effective against radiation than other mutations or than "normal", those mutations would "soon" be adopted by more and more people. But it would take eons and eons! Thousands or even tens of thousands of generations! This is not something that would happen in a generation or two, as if it would just be bad for a while, and then everyone who survived would have been either genetically altered, or only those who already are somehow "hardened" to the effects would have survived. Radiation doesn't generally work like that. It's not a virus, or a bacteria, or anything complex. It's just a shooting spear of energy (gamma rays, for instance), or a couple of neutrons and protons together (alpha radiation particles), or just one electron (beta radiation particles). No known living cell, of any animal, is completely protected from that sort of thing. None of us are completely protected. Maybe some people, plants and animals are a little more resistant to random mutations, but absolutely no known living entity is immune. None.
JRN: I hate to tell Hoffman that he's being bombarded by a great deal of radiation, even as he writes these words.
[[[ Duh. See notes, below. Nyquist is clearly not well versed on the dangers of inhaled or ingested radioactive byproducts of nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants, and the many differences between a little bit of something, and a powerful internal emitter which nature never planned for, such as vaporized plutonium, and runoff from meltdowns, atmospheric releases, etc.. Nor does he even seem to be aware that these effects are additive; even if a little radiation won't kill you, that doesn't mean a lot more is also good for you. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] Yet he's going to survive that radiation. Everyone loves sunshine. And sunshine is pure radiation. Once again, Hoffman exaggerates the effects and the long-term dangers -- which are quite bad enough. (I never said there wouldn't be an increase in the cancer rate, but not nearly the kind of increase Hoffman claims)
[[[ HOW MANY BOMBS ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT HERE, MR. NYQUIST? ]]]
The worst of it comes from the nuclear power plants, those "benign" electrical power generating plants with the familiar circular domes and the hour-glass cooling towers, those "clean, harmless, safe, efficient" monstrosities which each contain 10,000 nuclear bombs' worth of radioactive substances. Therein, is the biggest problem.
JRN: Yes, it is a danger and a problem. No doubt the Russian generals are aware of this, and will be careful not to cause any unnecessary environmental damage. After all, no military purpose would be served. Besides, EMP would shut down these plants prior to the nuclear attack.
[[[ This is the most inaccurate paragraph Mr. Nyquist has written. (See additional rebuttal, below.) ]]]
Once a nuclear plant melts down, you can't "unmelt" it. It oozes, and oozes, and spreads it sickening death tendrils out and about, down the waterways, into the stream beds, up into the atmosphere to rain down upon the crop fields, or even if it goes out to sea, it will then be collected in various fish, to be eaten by humans, over and over and over, until it has all decayed. It won't just be the whales and dolphins who will suffer, though Nyquist dismisses with a snicker, even that.
JRN: Please don't caricature me as "snickering." That's not fair.
[[[ I don't see you worrying about the effect those "lost" subs I've mentioned are having on whales or dolphins. I see you ignoring their plight and then joking about it, and now calling me unfair for pointing out the callousness of your remarks. ]]]
An EMP above America would cause every nuclear power plant to melt down. Think about that, Mr. Nyquist, before you think of a "winnable" nuclear exchange.
JRN: It is hardly likely that EMP would cause a meltdown of all nuclear power plants. There are 22 nuclear power plants in Yugoslavia, and we've used EMP over there and no meltdown's have happened.
[[[ This is Mr. Nyquist's second-most absurd paragraph. I must say, that this is the first I've read about anyone actually using non-nuclear EMP weapons (I wonder if Mr. Nyquist is mistaking the use of carbon-fiber-filament "chaff" against power grids in Yugoslavia for an EMP attack?). However, even if some sort of true EMP weapons are in fact being used, the scales of the EMP blasts which might be occurring in Yugoslavia would be vastly different from what a single nuclear blast above the atmosphere of the United States would produce. No nuclear plant has been attacked. No EMP has occurred to knock out all the on-site pumps and electronic control systems, on-site generators, etc. Besides, my understanding (see list, below) is that there are four nuclear reactors in all of the former Yugoslavia including three outside Serbia, and that none in Serbia are operational or have been recently, and thus they would probably not need electrical power to prevent a meltdown anymore. That is very different from an operating reactor. (See additional notes, below.) ]]]
That is the pact that anyone who supports nuclear weapons is making. That is the deal. And that is true too, for whoever supports the continued reliance on nuclear power plants, when clearly they are in grave, grave danger of meltdowns from threats that were NOT CONSIDERED when they were built. Such as the EMP -- which will surely be one of the first nuclear blasts in ANY exchange, even a limited one.
JRN: This is an assumption, without proof.
[[[ Yeah! Let's either prepare for it, or take YOUR word on what YOUR commie general friends told you they will do! Not for me. That's undemocratic. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] There have been EMPs before, which have affected the US and other countries, and no meltdowns occurred.
[[[ That was years ago, when delicate and vulnerable electronics did not exist. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] I am not sure what the basis for these assertions are. Perhaps an expert in nuclear power-plant safety should be consulted before you go on making such statements.
[[[ They were. I have no doubt about the veracity of my statements about the dangers from the EMP. ]]]
Would the fallout from a "small" or medium-sized nuclear exchange wipe out human life on Earth? Personally, I very much doubt it. Instead, it will (as Mr. Nyquist points out) increase the rate of current deaths from radiation-induced illnesses -- cancer, leukemia, and so on. An imperceptible increase, statistically, could be, in reality, millions of people! So how dare anyone not consider these types of deaths! It is clear from the article that Mr. Nyquist is not considering the research of Dr. John W. Gofman and others, as expressed in Gofman's "Letter of Concern", published in the last STOP CASSINI newsletter (#127). When Nyquist talks about "fallout" deaths, he is referring only to obvious, immediate deaths or ones that occur shortly thereafter, easily proven, closely related by time and distance. He refuses to accept as significant, additional deaths around the world from EACH release of nuclear materials into the environment. In short, he makes the assumption that a little poison being survivable by most of us means a little more will be survivable by the same number of us, and it just doesn't work like that. Nothing does.
JRN: A small increase in the cancer rate would be expected. I do not advocate this increase, I merely make note of it, as one of the effects of a nuclear war. To state a fact is not to enjoy it.
[[[ A SMALL INCREASE? EXACTLY how many bombs are you talking about, Mr. Nyquist? One? 10? 100? 1000? 10,000? And are you including the effects of numerous simultaneous meltdowns of the nuclear power plants? We both know you are not. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] I do not like the idea of millions of people dying. No doubt millions have already died from the nuclear tests of the forties, fifties and sixties. In fact, according to one study I read, more long-term fallout was released by those tests than by a full-blown hydrogen bomb war today, because the bombs today are cleaner. I have also read studies which contradict this, but which affirm that the amount of radiation released is somewhat comparable. No doubt millions of people have died of cancer during the last forty years, and some of these cancers are due to long-term fallout. But most of us born in the 1950s are still here, and most of our children are healthy. Therefore, it is not as you depict.
[[[ Is even simple logic hard for you? Yes, "most of us born in the 1950s" are still here. That's true. But that certainly doesn't mean millions have not died prematurely from nuclear weapons testing already, as you yourself pointed out. In fact, it appears from the above statement that all "millions" are the same and indistinguishable by you. However in reality, some "millions" are 10s or 100s of times (or more) bigger than other millions. Hundreds of millions of people (and countless animals), have died of cancer in the past 40 years. Of these, millions have undoubtedly died from weapons testing. It could be 10s of millions instead of millions. No one -- not you, not anyone -- knows for sure, but few -- at least, not you and not me -- doubt it is less than "millions". These are long-term deaths and the exact numbers are unknown. People are not repopulating the test areas. However, if New York City were blown up in a nuclear explosion, there is a good chance it would be repopulated relatively quickly. This would add to the human toll.
You use the term "millions" for both sets and subsets of those same sets, as if you cannot mentally perceive the difference in magnitude. But enough talk about millions. My older brother is dead of leukemia (leukemia is usually caused by man-made pollutants, especially plutonium) and that's one too many for me. I blame you and your sick, uncaring attitude. ]]]
Sure, nuclear war would probably be survived by many people -- millions and millions. But who would want to be one of those? Nyquist quotes a RAND study (a bastion of jingoistic right-wing war propaganda)....
JRN: Name calling will not substantiate your point.
[[[ Hah! Yes, Mister "Russell's an unpatriotic Red" Nyquist! Mustn't call names to substantiate your pointless arguments! ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] The RAND study was projecting a future nuclear war (in the mid-1970s) and it projected the existence of nuclear arsenals similar in size to the ones existing today. Therefore, despite the passage of time, the RAND study remains a classic of its kind. But I do not simply rely on it. I quoted it because of its eloquence, and because its findings have continued to be confirmed by more recent studies.
[[[ Classic bluff and bravado. Classic myopia, supported by "recent studies" (which go unnamed). Simple logic having flown out the window, enough money will buy any report, and any report to back up the first report. ]]]
Everyone, all Americans, all Russians, everyone, must stop this talk of "survivability" and a "limited exchange". Sure, there would be survivors. Genocide doesn't have to kill everyone to be genocide. Describing nuclear war as survivable or thinkable is disgusting. It's propaganda. It's hawk talk. The dangers from low level radiation are now well known to scientists, even if J. R. Nyquist has not researched the facts sufficiently to convince himself of the problem.
JRN: I didn't say there wasn't a problem with radiation. But, the survivors will be able to cope with it, as we cope with smoking and drunk driving today, and the human race will continue despite the losses and the pain.
[[[ HOW MANY BOMBS are you talking about? And what about the nuke meltdowns? Yet all you can say is "I didn't say there wasn't a problem with radiation"? "A problem"? That's it? That is an understatement of the highest ranking, Mr. Nyquist. Clearly it is you who wishes to mislead the public. "Cope"? Yes, they will cope with it. They will cope with it by dying, the same way people "cope" with cigarettes and drunk driving today. The difference will be, they did not have the choice to force it upon themselves or not. They will not be able to change the laws to prevent second-hand nuclear war deaths. They cannot lock their DNA away from the nuclear death rays emitted by the inhaled and ingested "by-products" of a nuclear explosion or meltdown.
Yes, they will cope. And may God help them, because you wouldn't and I couldn't. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] In this context, you seem to think that the facts I present are "disgusting." Well, I am sorry. Facts are disgusting at times, but what can we do? Respect for the facts is basic. To call such facts "propaganda" is mere escapism.
[[[ Describing nuclear war as winnable, survivable, or thinkable is disgusting and absurd, and there is nothing factual about it. What you write is propaganda. Your misrepresentation of my remarks is vile and as you would put it, "unpatriotic". ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] My point is: people should not lose hope. They should take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones. Is that so vile? Is that so depraved? I'm sorry I do not share your defeatism and pessimism.
[[[ Losing hope and facing reality are two different things. You ignore the facts and mislead the public by making up numbers of dead, numbers of bombs, etc. for "your preferred scenario", then not admitting what fanciful numbers you have cooked up Is it one bomb or 10? A hundred or a thousand? A twenty minute war, or one where the Russians go into their shelters, come out three months later, and then our submarines -- which have been waiting patiently and are well stocked with provisions, warheads, and obedient sailors -- blow them to bits? You haven't said which scenario you have decided is the one that will happen. I simply pointed out what ONE bomb (or 1000) would do, yet if I suggest the whole game is unreasonable, you proceed to question my numbers! Well, what are your actual numbers? How will the war end once you've started it by retaliating to a first attack, which might even have been utterly accidental, and surely would NOT be the result of the entire Russian populace wanting us dead -- rather, just a few MAD generals is all it takes, yet you wish to set up a system where there will be no end, regardless of why it starts. And to back up your ideas, you assure me that the Russian generals plan to only fight a limited nuclear war, so we can beat the crap out of them with our counterpunch. And you claim to know this on good authority. Do name these generals and introduce me to them! Maybe they will be less likely to want to blow us all up if they realize we aren't all like you!
Frankly, I'll bet the Russian generals don't have any idea what they would do on DAY TWO of a nuclear exchange with America. I bet they know there will be no DAY TWO for them. And that fact does not come about from the American military and its lackeys lying to the American people. ]]]
[ JRN continues... ] But we should never give in to evil people with nuclear weapons merely because we are afraid of nuclear war. This would be a tragic mistake. You write in your article: "If I have a moment to think about it, I pray now that I will pray then, that America does NOT retaliate." This, sir, is the real madness. That the United States would not fight to defend itself if preemptively attacked by its enemy. Such an attitude, if it triumphed in our land, would lead to our certain destruction. Why, indeed, do I want to live at all as a prisoner in some Russian or Chinese GULAG? Why live as a slave? We are Americans. We are free men. I say with Patrick Henry: "Give me liberty or give me death." For you, mere life is all that matters. Mere survival. "Better Red than dead" is your slogan. It is not mine.
[[[ What a jingoistic lot of crap! These are not the real choices! Recognizing the common link in humanity is the real choice. Recognizing that building "better" bombs ALWAYS fails -- the Chinese steal them, and before that, the Russians steal them! So what did we gain from the last 20 years of nuke research? NOTHING but a more dangerous world, where China and Russia both have our most guarded secrets that were supposed to protect us from them. That is what we have gained, but it is easy to document what we have lost to the trillions of dollars we have put into the nuclear nightmare.
You, J. R. Nyquist, are, thankfully, of a dying breed. You may be able to overpower me today, with your contacts in high places, with your twice-weekly column, with your influence and affluence (whatever they may be), but reason will win in the end, unless of course, we all blow ourselves up.
I believe that people that think like you -- who have no sense of their own self-worthlessness, no sense of what it will take to keep America strong for a thousand years, no sense of our small place in the history of this country and the great consequences that might arise from our overreacting to even the strongest of provocations -- people who think thusly, are the greatest danger to peace, and to this country's principals, that the world has ever known.
If America were "flattened" tomorrow, unlike you, I do not believe that would be the end of this country. This country is an idea. An idea that everyone (even dangerous ones such as yourself) can be free. If we lost our land, those Americans remaining here, and those who are now expatriated for whatever reason around the world, and those who simply believe in our creed -- which starts with TRUTH -- from those people, America the IDEA would be rebuilt. Russia could never crush it. China could never defeat it. No one can. The idea is too good.
But some of the implementations have been a bit faulty. Some of our members are a bit faulty and have a screw loose here and there. You are one of them, but unlike you, I don't see your MADness as requiring that we toss out the baby with the bath water, or pollute the bath water for tomorrow's babies. Truth can still lead this country, and I urge you to speak the truth, as I have tried my very best to do here and everywhere.
-- rdh ]]]
To: J. R. Nyquist
From: Russell D. Hoffman
Subject: Misquoting me looks like a tactical move on your part...
May 29th, 1999
You are unfair. I will not question your motives (not here, not today, anyway) but your comments are out of line. I have read in the papers, just in the past few months, about how afraid everyone is of "bringing back McCarthyism". Now I know WHO to be afraid of. You. If you accuse me of being a commie, God only knows what you will say when you actually find one -- if you ever do. Anyway, I'll take it as a sign of your fear of truth, Mr. Nyquist, that you would stoop so low, so quickly, and so erroneously to answer my charges.
I say, better dead in a fair fight, not better Red. I'm no commie and I defy you to show me what commie friends I have that are leading me. What commie writing I have read that is guiding me. What commie meeting I attended. And what difference it would make if I had done any or all of those things. I am what I write, and nothing I wrote indicates a pro-communist viewpoint of any sort. Sympathy for any enemy? Yup, I've got that. I confess to that. Sympathy for our own descendants, who will have to wade through your nuclear swamp? Yup, I've got that too, but neither fact makes me a communist any more than being a vegetarian makes me Adolf Hitler -- or Mahatmas Gandhi.
Oh, I love Yugoslavia? I was there in 1970, when Tito was alive (he died in 1980) and I was 14. I got a terrible sunburn along the Adriatic Coast (Yes, Mr. Nyquist, I understand there is radiation all around us. But as the German writer Herman Noordung wrote in 1929 about concentrated solar radiation, it's just a matter of "too much of a good thing" Besides, there was essentially NO plutonium in the natural world to be INHALED before the nuclear age came along!). Does any of this make me a communist?
I'm a lousy businessman and can't turn a profit. Does that make me a communist? Or just a lousy businessman?
You have boiled this fight down to nothing appropriate. This is not about communism versus capitalism or democracy or whatever ideal you would commit genocide over. I didn't mean we wouldn't retaliate at all, I meant we needed to find a different way. Nuclear war is not the answer, even to a nuclear attack! Indeed, maybe "turning the other cheek" IS the answer!
This is about the survival of the country, the planet, the species -- not political answers to political actions among one puny and insignificant group of boneheaded generals (and those who listen to them with rapt attention) and another. Do you think anyone would care 100 years from now why we risked escalating a nuclear exchange by answering the first missile with our own, or with two, or 1000?
And why SHOULD I like communism? You must have a reason you think I would like it -- name it. Shall I list some of the nuclear insults the Russians have committed? Then shall you tell me why I should think I would be more free there than here, to fight out my various environmental battles?
2) Lying about Chernobyl until other countries started getting fallout from it.
3) Lying to their own people about the dangers from Chernobyl, the numbers of dead, etc.
4) 100s of nuclear subs rusting in the northern ports, such as Murmansk. Many more scuttled or accidentally lost at sea (we have lost two, each with all hands) to harm and endanger whales, dolphins, and anything that feeds on anything that goes near them (and so on up the food chain). People used to think the oceans were vast dumping grounds for nuclear waste, Mr. Nyquist. Don't you think it's time we stopped such narrow thinking? Hundreds of thousands of barrels of nuclear waste have been improperly prepared and improperly dumped off America's shores. Do you honestly think that wanting to find them and recover them before they leak their contents further into the environment is some sort of communist plot? If so, maybe those commies are better than I thought! Certainly, the ex-Russian soldier (Aleksandr Nikitin) who brought this news to the world's attention now languishes in a Russian jail, because people like YOU aren't LIVID and DEMANDING that RUSSIA free him. Because people like YOU won't admit of ANYTHING that speaks of the nuclear horror BOTH SIDES have foisted upon the world! So as not to alarm the populace.
5) Mars '96. Do you think the average Russian can just order the documents on Russian nuclear space probes from Russia's NASA, with or without a fee? Granted, it's not all that easy here to get full documentation -- Karl Grossman (firstname.lastname@example.org) needed 10 years to get the D. E. Rockey et al 1981 JPL report we've quoted so often (and NASA's misquoted). But at least we have an FOIA. Frankly, I feel sorry for Russians. I have compassion for them. But I'm not one of them.
6) About TWO DOZEN orbiting nuclear reactors, which were used to spy on America for all of about TWO MONTHS EACH. That's it. Maybe four months, tops. All those blasted things are going to descend back to Earth and incinerate into the atmosphere, in varying time frames (when successful, they were boosted to about a 400 year orbital life-span [NOTE: The correct figure for most of the Russian nuke birds is a 600 year orbital lifespan -- RDH], but some didn't make it to the proper "parking orbit" after use). Some are leaking primary coolant into space, which of course descends at the same rate. The busted reactors cannot be "collected up" by some future space mission to be returned SAFELY to Earth, and all of them are susceptible to explosive damage from space debris -- but they will continue to descend. Russia put those up fighting the Cold War, and we LET THEM. People in America with YOUR ATTITUDE prevailed then, and the current state of affairs is the result. It is time to rethink this mess, and that starts with complete honesty about what is happening everywhere. The jig is up, Mr. Nyquist -- we know this so-called Cold War has killed millions of people already. We also know that the common Russian has no more choice about being in this war than I do.
7) Chernobyl and Russia's other nuclear power plants. Not the one that already melted down, the one that continues to operate, in danger of Y2K or perhaps YOUR nuclear attack.
And now compare the freedom I would have there to complain about those things, and to run my little electronic newsletter, which you claim is commie-inspired. I don't think so, Mr. Nyquist. I bet in Russia any talk of environmental or humanitarian concerns is considered Capitalist Bourgeois Propaganda. Here it is called communist. But I believe, only by fascists.
I do what I do precisely because I love America and want it to remain free, clean, and dedicated to the ideals it was founded on. TRUTH. JUSTICE. EQUALITY. You know those things. Perhaps they are just words from the past to you, Mr. Nyquist, but to me, they mean everything. You wanted a debate, your article begged for it and I gave it to you. And all you can do is call me a commie. Instead, let's be honest about what each other is saying. Don't incite the public and your friends and/or co-workers with claims at the top and bottom of your article (which everyone reads first), that I have claimed to be a commie, or act like a commie, or that I said "everyone will die" in a nuclear war -- even a bad one. None of those statements are true.
I am fighting for America's own soil. For her land, her air, her water. Her honor and her children. For her national parks to be worth something some day. For her borders to be secure. For the principals on which she was founded -- truth, justice, the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness (not possible if one is dying of cancer, is it, Mr. Nyquist?) -- these are what I grew up with. These ideals. These are what I fight for. My environment. My country. Our descendents.
Of course, if that makes me a communist as you proclaim, then I'll have to reconsider my position, but as far as I know, it doesn't.
If you wish to fight an honorable fight against a nuclear attack, then you will not lay further waste to the planetary ecosystem for your squabble. This is a closed surface, really a tiny sphere -- and each of us are on this planet for only a short while.
The Union is the thing -- that is what must survive. The plan. Not you or me. THE HONOR OF AMERICA is exactly what *I* am fighting for -- not my life (or yours, sorry to say, except that I would defend to the death your right to say such disagreeable things).
How can you accuse me of saying that I am claiming that "nuclear war is the end of all life on earth"?
I DIDN'T SAY THAT. In fact, I claimed specifically the opposite! I even said you were probably right about nuclear winter being a bunch of hogwash! I just said survivors would have a substantially increased rate of cancer, leukemia, and birth defects. The number I postulated was essentially picked out of a hat and I admitted it at the time! But you want a scientific estimate of some sort! That's goofy! I don't know which cites they'll hit and neither do you! There are 6 billion people on this planet. If nuclear war wipes out SIX HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE, that is only a tenth of the living population at the time! A 10% reduction in humanity is hardly "the end of all life". If you must misquote me on anything, let it not be that!
But what will prevent a hundred nuclear meltdowns resulting from an EMP burst above the atmosphere? Nothing. It would be an inevitable consequence.
I am recommending -- as are many others -- that we stop pretending we are "the sole remaining superpower" and realize that we, too, are vulnerable, and must begin to reason with our enemies, rather than threaten the use of weapons of mass destruction. We don't have a coalition against Yugoslavia, for instance. We barely had one against Iraq, and we certainly don't have one for the sanctions which should have been lifted years ago, if they ever should have been implemented at all.
I am recommending -- as are many others -- that all nuclear power plants be immediately shut down and that alternative energy sources be immediately implemented. The relatively brief loss of about 20% (maximum) of the supply of electricity to this country is something that Americans could easily cope with, if properly motivated with the truth of why it is necessary. It would be much easier than coping with even ONE meltdown or atomic explosion.
By the way, yes, I agree, the upper limit I've specifically read about since writing the earlier critique about your original essay is indeed, about 10 nuclear warheads on each missile, not 100 as I mentioned. But bomb size is going down (and where would YOU put a "suitcase-sized bomb" if you had one, like we've been hearing the Russians have had for years, if not atop a missile?), secrecy is going up, missile payload capacity is going up -- 100 may not be so far off from what is possible TODAY, perhaps even what is being DEVELOPED AND IMPLEMENTED today. 10 is just what we are absolutely sure everyone has. But figuring 100 when considering what a war in the next 10 years or the next 100 years might be like is hardly unreasonable at all. You didn't score the big points on that one you think you did, Mr. Nyquist.
Like it makes a big difference anyway... One Nuclear Submarine -- one commander, one person good at unquestionably following orders -- can destroy many hundreds of cities. That's genocide no matter how you excuse it. No matter how "survivable" you think it is. No matter how little you think the Ruskies will retaliate.
You are full of contradictions, Mr. Nyquist. Explain this one:
A) "One needs to disrupt the enemy power grid and communications network at the outset of a surprise attack. This is the approach the Russian attack will take." [Like you have inside information?]
B) "Nuclear power plants would not be targeted in a nuclear attack, because the objective is not environmental destruction, but victory." [Again: They told you? You have inside information? Yet YOU call ME a Commie?]
Well, the answer to what military purpose would be served is that a starter nuclear EMP would be an attack on our power grid -- just like we are doing in Yugoslavia, but it would be far more effective -- one above-atmosphere burst would mean an immediate nationwide disaster and power outage. Furthermore, the REAL purpose of the first bombs (actually, of all the bombs) would be to demoralize the country. That would certainly do it. Furthermore, the EMP which you credit with "shutting down" the nuclear power plants, would in fact be the cause of their meltdown (see quote, below). You think the EMP will "shut down" the nukes -- in fact, even the pools of spent fuel rods can melt down if there is not power to operate the pumps which circulate the water around them. Do you deny it in order not to alarm the public? Sounds like a commie plot to me, personally.
If we retaliate against a nuclear attack-- where EXACTLY do you believe the person who "pushes the button" gets the "moral authority", in the vernacular of the military, to commit such an atrocity? From some report he gets (which may or may not be true) that America has been attacked? Or just by nature of the fact that someone ordered him to PUSH THE BUTTON and he can follow orders. Where? Have you no sense of scale, Mr. Nyquist? Life isn't a video game, or a theory. These are real people. Nuclear weapons are not the answer to ANY conflict, on any political level.
IF, just supposing, IF a commander shot off even ONE nuclear weapon BY ACCIDENT, on either side, would you recommend an immediate retaliation? Of would you wait to find out what happened? No -- you wouldn't even wait to be sure there really was an attack -- you would "launch on warning"! You would destroy Russia (and by retaliation, the U. S.) just because some mad, drunk Russian fell on his "launch button"! Hasty, Mr. Nyquist, way too hasty! With an attitude like that, the next war crimes trial may be your own!
Tell me, Mr. Nyquist: Would you recommend blowing up one city the same size, like in the old movie Fail-Safe, or two cities each half the size, or what? Perhaps you would prefer that we "merely" double the response?
What if both sides doubled the response to a nuclear attack -- that would not be so much of a response, would it, Mr. Nyquist?
Every 20 minutes, double the response, until one side or the other stops fighting.
Do the math.
(A quick history lesson: The inventor of the game of chess was reported to have been beheaded because, when offered a reward by his king for such a wonderful invention, he asked for a grain of wheat for the first square on the board, two grains for the second, four for the third, eight for the fourth, and so on, doubling the amount on each square through the 64th square. Quickly, the numbers rose to where bags and bags of wheat were being brought in to pay the debt, and the king had barely made it 1/3rd of the way around the board! He soon realized he would have to give up more than his whole stock of wheat! So he beheaded the inventor. One nuclear weapon is not a grain of wheat, and we are not starting on square one. To double the response to a nuclear attack would be an abomination -- even to respond at the exact level, megaton for megaton, will be unfair to millions and would condemn to ugly death, noncombatants all over the globe, for many generations. There has to be a better way, but you aren't even looking.)
Don't forget about the EMP. You mention it occurring in Yugoslavia now. Where's your sense of scale? A nuclear EMP above the atmosphere would be millions of times worse than the small, localized effects that might be created from anything being used there today, although I had not heard that these weapons were being used at all, yet (indeed, as mentioned above I wonder if you are mistaking the new short-circuiting clusters of carbon filament for an EMP weapon).
You describe the idea that the Russians, with 10s of thousands of nuclear weapons, "would not waste so many [400 or perhaps 4,000] nuclear warheads against cities." Where do you get such confidence? Are you advising their military or something? They would have plenty of nukes left to blackmail anyone they want. You haven't described an end to you "little" nuclear excursion.
As to whether a half billion dead is an exaggeration, again, you say it is, then proceed to outline a Russian attack where sure enough, about 300,000,000 Americans die. What about the aftereffects not only of the radiation released from all those bombs, but also that from the nuclear power plants which would melt down? Show me ONE scientific study which YOU USED in your research which calculates the death toll from the "counterforce attack" (28 to 42 million U. S. dead) and which INCLUDED a separate estimate for the loss of land mass, loss of life, loss of value, loss of electricity, etc. etc. for the loss of all the nuclear power plants across the country due to meltdowns from the EMP. Or even from the loss of the nuke power plant under the blast.
Even if Rooskie forgets to set off the EMP, at least whatever nuclear power plants are in the cities they hit would be doomed, wouldn't they? Or are you of the opinion that those domes would contain everything, even if they were at ground zero of a nuclear attack? If so you are sadly mistaken, Mr. Nyquist, as you appear to be about a great many things.
As to Russia's bomb shelters, I have heard they can hold at most a few hundred thousand people, maybe a million tops, but for how long? It's a charade. The average Russian will not benefit. Only a few of the most affluent and influential. You say Russia has put as much as "trillions" (one trillion is a million million dollars!) into these things. I say that's crap. 100 rusting nuclear subs says that's crap. Failure to find the money to close Chernobyl's sisters says that's crap. Inability to pay for MIR or their part of Space Station Freedom says that's crap. Dilapidated Russian heavy industry says that's crap. A simple look at reality says... Oh, never mind.
By the way, if it means anything to you, I'm all for building shelters, stockpiling food, and teaching emergency preparedness to all Americans. After all, there are floods, earthquakes, riots, tornados, hurricanes, Y2K-related meltdowns, and not to mention meteors from outer space, which you probably laugh about as well, but hey -- any of these can happen, and basically the same level of preparedness will get us to 99% of what we can do at all.
Add "duck and cover" to the list? I don't really mind, as long as we teach them about the REAL dangers of nuclear proliferation -- namely, that sooner or later, an accident or something J. R. Nyquist thinks is worth fighting over will happen, and there will be a nuclear war. When that happens, there will be meltdowns all over the place.
And then there will be cancers, leukemias, and birth defects. All in greatly increased numbers locally to the war zone, and slightly (or greatly) increased numbers everywhere else.
Unless we dismantle the weapons AND the nuke plants as quickly as possible. After all, Y2K awaits -- stock water, too (you only mentioned food, which isn't nearly as important as storing water).
I remember those stockpiles from when I was in grade school in Connecticut in the 60's. Looking back, I now know there wasn't enough water stored there to last more than two or three days, let alone the months that would be needed. We never had a shelter plan that would have worked. It was just a commie plot, I think, to make Americans not think about things.
By the way, I used to write laser control software -- I am pretty well aware of the various military options (and technological hazards) that are around the next corner and have plagued the military for years. And I am also aware that loss of secrets has hurt this country since just about DAY ONE of the nuclear era -- how do you propose to stop that loss? By declaring people like me to be communists? You think that will stop it? By stopping computer disks from leaving the military labs? You think that will stop it? Stop paper, microfilm, and human memory from leaving the lab as well? It didn't stop it in 1944, when Russia stole our nuclear secrets! I'll tell you what would work -- we could cease and desist from trying to build bigger (or "more efficient") nuclear bombs. That would have a 100% success rate in stopping the loss of nuclear secrets. Nothing else has ever worked.
What America should be doing -- including you in your columns -- is educating itself and the rest of the world to the horror we are attempting to stare down. But Mr. Nyquist: Nature never blinks. If there is no accident, no madman, no over-zealous commander, no war for any reason in the next 10 years, will that give you the assurance that there will be none in the next hundred years as well? The next thousand? How long can your game go on?
Who let the Russians put those dozens of nuclear satellites into orbit? It was a policy called "live and let live" and has been practiced by people for centuries, to the great consternation of their leaders. In the trenches of World War One it became particularly difficult to prosecute the war at times, because soldiers would only shell the other side at set times and in set places, and so forth. People just didn't want to fight that war, and why should they have? They should die for a few hundred yards of mud, which they had captured and subsequently given up several times already? You would probably have been amongst those that would have those doughboys shot for not fighting, just as you now would surely accuse a soldier who refused to "push the button" of being a coward, of dereliction of duty, indeed of treason. I would say that such a person, who would NOT "push the button", would be the highest grade of soldier; America's greatest hero.
And what are those Americans you think are acceptable losses in a nuclear war going to die for? Because diplomacy did not work, that's all! They won't be heros! When we bombed Dresden, a glorious city with a rich history was lost, for ZERO military gain. It is now commonly admitted to have been a dastardly act -- regardless of the provocation. What city would Russia bomb that would NOT represent a priceless loss to America? What city in Russia would we bomb, which would not be a priceless loss to the human race? And most of all, what precedent would we have set if we ever again use a nuclear device? What rate of nuclear conflicts can humanity withstand per century? Do your RAND reports tell you that? And why do you wish to condemn us to it, for it is an inevitable consequence of an insane policy?
And what about the money? Naturally, you've ignored that issue entirely. The safety that can come about from trade with other peoples, who then get to experience our wondrous culture, our friendly people, and our humble way of life. Granted, the modern American media (movies, records, T. V. shows, etc.) is a shame and it saddens me to see it exported to anyone, but we DO have lots of wonderful technologies which are NOT being properly exported from this country to others. Perhaps, if we did not waste so much money on weapons of mass destruction we have so far been smart enough not to use (again), there would be a global economic reawakening.
You probably think the economy is doing well, because the stock market is up. But take stock of what is really happening. Our schools are a shambles. We cannot afford to purchase Russian nukes for safekeeping. We cannot pay for a ground-based fiber-optic Internet which would be far, far more useful than the orbital one they are building instead. We never even try to build anything useful like maglev rail systems between major cities, because anything with a 30 or 40 billion dollar price tag is considered too expensive. That is what your war is costing us today, without even a skirmish.
And yet for complaining about any of this, you call me a communist!
You accuse me of exaggerating, but that is only because you and your military friends have apparently advised the Russian generals (and now you feel they have taken your advice) not to engage in a "big" nuclear war, only a "small" one. You have defined your terms and settled the matter by ignoring real possibilities. But the Russians may not take your advice. And your Russian contacts may have lied to you.
Lastly, I never said "surrender". Not once. Not at the outset, not in the middle, NEVER. But MAD doesn't work. It's killing people now though cancers, leukemias and birth defects. It's causing the American public to suffer the lies that have gone with 50 years of "not alarming the public". It's sucking our money and our precious resources which could be better used to build a world where global war IS eliminated amongst ALL people -- how?
First of all, just because I have come to you with a problem does not mean that you have the right to demand that I know the perfect solution. Your solution has a thousand fallacies -- it is based on absurd presumptions, such as the idea that a nuclear war will be "limited". That the EMP will NOT cause nuclear plants to melt down. You MAY be wrong in the first case, and I am SURE you are wrong in the second.
Nuclear power is a non-renewable resource, and it brings with it a variety of problems which have not been solved in 50 years of trying (or not trying, as the case may be). It is a financial disaster and has NEVER provided cheap energy. The waste problem remains unsolved. Nukes are susceptible to catastrophic meltdowns for any number of reasons including war. A nuclear power plant is nowhere near as reliable as, say, Hoover Dam. And forcing the nuclear option down our throats has caused America to become a society built on lies about how "safe" and well-taken-care-of the plants are. The Cold War nearly bankrupted us, but, presumably because the Russians went at it with even more fervor, it bankrupted them first (it must have been those tunnels they built!). But it is still dragging us down.
If you really want to protect this country, you will at least start by letting its own citizens know the full truth of what games we are playing. You won't hide the truth behind absurd statements like saying that I have an "extreme fear of war" (is there any other kind?) or claiming that I have exaggerated the effects.
You claim I will "demoralize the people, and lead them to feelings of hopelessness". It is you who are leading your readers to feelings of hopelessness. As long as people like you are in charge, there will indeed be a nuclear war some day. America will find that very demoralizing indeed. I advocate alternatives which will lead to a safer democracy and a more humane approach towards solving world strife. All you can think of is how to fight. Anyone who even tries to think of something better, you label a communist. I wonder, Mr. Nyquist -- how many people have you labeled communist in the last ten years? And who? I want to know the company you force me to keep.
Russell D. Hoffman
A few notes:
"Fail-Safe" was originally a book by Eugene Burdick (co-author of The Ugly American) and John Harvey Wheeler Jr., published 1962 by McGraw-Hill
Known nuclear reactors anywhere in the area known as the former Yugoslavia:
(Source: "Yugoslavia's Nuclear Legacy: Should We Worry? by Andrew Koch " The Nonproliferation Review, Spring-Summer 1997, Volume 4 • Number 3. URL: http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/npr/koch43.htm)
1) Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences, 12 kilometers from Belgrade (research reactor, currently shut down.)
2) Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia (Also a closed research reactor. The U.S. firm General Atomics provided the reactor with uranium fuel.)
3) Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, Croatia (Also a research reactor.)
4) Krsko nuclear power plant, Slovenia (Built and fueled by Westinghouse.)
Only ONE -- NOT the 22 Mr. Nyquist claims -- is in the war zone.
Here is some detailed information regarding the Russian nuclear fleet: http://www.bellona.no/e/russia/nfl/nfl4.htm
Previous STOP CASSINI newsletters (#123, #128, others) have links to other web sites related to the topics discussed here, as well as further discussion of the effects of nuclear weapons.
We have warned about the Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) which occurs from a nuclear weapons explosion and which can cover the entire United States if exploded above our heads. We have tried to describe what such a blast would do to America, especially to her nuclear power plants. Here is what the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission's own documents say about the need for offsite power to keep a nuclear power plant running -- and this is without the added trouble of all the pumps and everything else in the power plant not functioning because of the damage from the EMP.
Evaluation of Loss of Offsite Power Events at Nuclear Power Plants: 1980 - 1996
Manuscript Completed: June 1998
Date Published: November, 1998
Prepared by: C. L. Atwood, D. L. Kelly, F. M. Marshall, D. A. Prawdzik, J. W. Stetkar
Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory
Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company
Idaho Falls ID 83415-3129
Safety Programs Division
Office for Analysis and Evaluation of Operational Data
U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001
NRC Job Code E8247
It is recognized that the availability of alternating current (AC) power to commercial nuclear power plants is essential for safe operations and recovery. Unavailability of AC power can have a major negative impact on a power plant's ability to achieve and maintain a safe shutdown condition....
The entire rest of the study appears to be utterly useless. It says, in short, we ain't seen nothin' yet, and gives various "precise" odds regarding how close we've come. Drawn out to three, or to a hundred decimal places, nuclear power plants are vulnerable to Y2K, EMP, terrorists, airplane crashes, space debris, operator error, pump failure, generator failure, poor design, and not to mention -- if they ever had to pay a penny on a dollar for the storage of the waste they generate, they would be out of business tomorrow.
To stop NASA's dangerous upcoming August 18th, 1999 flyby of Earth by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, with its deadly cargo of 72.3 pounds of plutonium 238 dioxide, arrogantly launched in 1997 amidst strong protests, please start by asking NASA for the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission and all subsequent related documents. Tell them you need it IMMEDIATELY (members of the world press should do this too). All citizens of the world are ENTITLED to these documents because of the global threat Cassini poses. Here's where to get information:
Cassini Public Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
NASA states that they do not have the resources anymore to answer most emails they receive. Liars! They have $13 billion dollars to play with. They can answer the public's questions. At least, ask them one specific question: How many letters did they get opposing Cassini today? (And tell them you oppose it too!) If each reader asks them that...
Here's NASA's "comments" email address:
Daniel Goldin is the head of NASA. Here's his email address:
Here's the NASA URL to find additional addresses to submit written questions to:
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT NASA IS DOING TO YOUR HEALTH.
Be sure to "cc" the president and VP and your senators and congresspeople, too.
Always include your full name and postal address in all correspondence to any Government official of any country.
After you have acquainted yourself with what NASA is doing, please:
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