Subject: Is Nuclear War Winnable? -- STOP CASSINI newsletter #128
Date: May 23rd, 1999
Time Frame: There are 33 days left to demand that NASA smash Cassini into Venus!
What follows is in response to an article which appeared at the World Net Daily web site at the following URL:
Title: THE FINAL PHASE by J. R. NYQUIST, May 20th, 1999
Biography from article: "J.R. Nyquist is a WorldNetDaily contributing editor and author of 'Origins of the Fourth World War.'"
(Note that when used below, quote marks are used to indicate common phrases, NOT quotes from Mr. Nyquist's text. Those are explicitly marked as such.)
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?
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! So 400 cities, or perhaps 4,000 is a more reasonable expectation, plus military targets, for the first wave of attack. 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).
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.
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. The Russians get one thing (nuclear bomb technology, even before World War II was over). The Chinese get another (satellite technology, even before a STAR WARS missile defense system is built).
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).
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.
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".
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.
The first blasts will probably be 20 megaton snarling dogs. Not 1 megaton puppies.
Now that just about any madman can get a nuke, and any country can either freely elect a madman or suffer the unelected rule of one, it is perhaps, time to reconsider our options. 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.
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.))
I have always been a bit suspicious of the "nuclear winter" theory for just the reasons Nyquist mentions -- that is, the fact that other things (like Krakatoa in 1883) have spit out so much dust (much of it mildly radioactive) that it would take the expenditure of many thousands of nuclear bombs, maybe tens of thousands, to create the necessary conditions. I think the coming nuclear exchange (it appears no longer to be a question of if, but rather one of when and how big, I am afraid) will not bring on nuclear winter. I have previously described what it will do for those immediately effected by the blast (in The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, an article originally published in newsletter #123, now reproduced as a separate article, with photographs (URL given below). Next I will attempt to describe the longer-term after-effects of a nuclear exchange.
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? Those that give birth to healthy babies will NOT have significantly better genes, and be somehow "hardened" like a piece of military electronics. Hardly! They will merely be a little more lucky -- statistically speaking, of course. Where three out of every four babies are born deformed, only to suffer and die, and vastly more are miscarried, then the species will survive by having more babies. How cruel a thing to have purposefully built weapons for! Yet that is what the world prepares for. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Since we already have a significant amount of radiation in the environment, and since we have not been able, in billions of years of evolution, to shield life completely from the danger, it is unlikely in the extreme, that merely by introducing additional radiation poison to the environment, a "super race" will appear. If it were possible, one would think that evolution would have already selected for it, it would be so advantageous.
A significant nuclear exchange, say, 2 (after all, it WON'T be just one, will it? Not with every country that has them, promising to use them in revenge!), or 20, or maybe (here's where the debate starts, I guess) 200 bombs -- none of these numbers, in my opinion, would wipe out the human race.
Destroy society? Yes, absolutely. Even one EMP above the atmosphere may well be able to do that. In an instant, America would be brought back to the 18th century, before electricity, before internal combustion engines, before fire trucks, before the Internet.
Not only would there be nothing running, no trains, no planes, no hospitals, no banks, no insurance companies, but there would be no chip-making facilities to rebuild society with, either. Intel stock would be wiped out, for instance, DESPITE the fact that EVERYONE would need new chips for new machines!
But that's not the worst of it, not by a long shot.
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.
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.
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.
We are each great filters for all the other creatures on Spaceship Earth. Take our lungs, for instance. Some 90 square yards of filtration material, very capable of straining and retaining radioactive particles (sure, perhaps as much as "90%" or "95%" is not retained (the pro-nuclear people love to express the expected expectoration rate), but 10% or even 5% is awful -- even a 1% retention rate is a terrible thing! .00001% is not any good either. Even the decay of one atom can harm your DNA, so regardless of the dose, if it kills you, it kills you the same awful way -- though cancer, leukemia and other mutations -- and if it doesn't kill you, you still can pass on horrifying birth defects to your children.
Besides the lungs, the body also is a filtration system for water and food. Your body retains a certain percentage of radioactive substances that pass through your alimentary canal. (And most of us (in First World countries) spend our life passing gluttonous amounts of food and drink through our system -- far more than we need to sustain ourselves.)
Thus, each of us have in effect acted as a filters for all the rest of us -- or vice-versa. We all have no choice, really, but to see the world this way:
1) There are radioactive substances in the world. These are generally bad if my body comes in contact with them, but especially dangerous if inhaled or ingested. Life has spent billions of years learning how to protect itself, for example, from alpha radiation by developing skin -- and now we introduce inhalable particles (plutonium, for example) which bypass that protective barrier. This is bad.
2) There are 6 billion people -- who are not me -- in this world, and countless billions of other living, breathing animals who also are not me. Each of these other creatures act as filters to catch and retain radioactive substances which would otherwise be available to harm me.
3) There is only one of me.
How egocentric! How rude!
Thus, it is truly a pact with the devil, to back the production of these substances or to advocate their release into the environment. It is to demand of God (if he/she/they exist, and whomever he/she/they may be) that He (or whomever...) use your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors -- ANYONE BUT YOU -- to filter this dreadful poison away from you, during your lifetime. Or if it does enter your body -- let it hit your gonads and damage your children, instead of yourself!
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.
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.
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) "The United States is a very wealthy and well-educated country." Well educated? What decade are they living in? (Well, actually, it WAS a 1960 RAND report!) The article continues:
"The Rand study states that even if half the U.S. population were killed, "the survivors would not just lie down and die. Nor would they necessarily suffer a disastrous social disorganization." "
Of course, that was in 1960, when the EMP would not have been nearly as disruptive as it would be now. And when society had a bit more faith in our national leader's blind and hollow promises.
Further proof (to go along with the proof presented in newsletter #127) that Russia is close to nuclear war, MAD, crazy, Russian style, -- MAD, crazy, American style -- with lots of bombs. This is from the article referred to above and apparently is a recent quote:
----- CLIP FROM:
"According to the Russian military writer, A. S. Milovidov, "There is profound error and harm in the disoriented claims of bourgeois ideologues that there will be no victor in a thermonuclear world war." Milovidov explains that Western objections to the mass use of nuclear weapons are based on "a subjective judgment. It expresses mere protest against nuclear war." "
----- END OF CLIP -----
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. Perhaps a nuclear winter will not set in if the exchange is limited enough. But a nuclear pestilence WILL set in, crops will be covered with the residues of the fight, lakes and streams will become polluted, and the accompanying meltdowns (caused by the EMP) will release tens of thousands of times more nuclear waste into the environment -- unmentioned and unconsidered by Mr. Nyquist. The EMP is unconsidered by Mr. Nyquist. In fact, little of what reality has to hold is considered.
A short poem:
If by chance there be a flash
tuck your head between your ash
for you won't have time for much that's else
than to the devil with yourself
Someone once told me poems don't HAVE to rhyme. None of the rest of the world makes any sense, so why should poetry?
If I have a moment to think about it, I pray now that I will pray then, that America does NOT retaliate. I will hope against hope that it will only be the one city, not twenty or 40 or 400 cities on each side, not the Big Chill, nuclear winter, the death of civilization. The end of the world as we loved it.
I hope that the biggest secret in the Pentagon, the highest secret of all, the one that will not get out no matter what, is that MAD simply does not exist as a policy. That the only post-nuclear attack option is diplomacy -- the same option available now, which Clinton is not using.
-- Russell D. Hoffman (dreaming again...)
URL for THE EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS:
URL for STOP CASSINI newsletters index:
[Note: Mr. Nyquist responded in detail to these comments, and that response (with additional commentary) appears in newsletter #132.
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