]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]        NUKING YOUR TOWN         [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                                                                (1983)
     Maps of your town with circles of death, devastation and
     pestilence superimposed is the latest gimmick in cowing
                      you into surrender

Reply to such gimmicks with letters to the editor and all other means 
at your disposal. You might find it useful to extract items from the
following article, written for the DAYTON JOURNAL HERALD in May 1983:


                    NUCLEAR MYTHS: A Response
                         By Petr Beckmann

     That was quite a response evoked by Prof. Williams's article 
quoting my brief essay on nuclear myths. 
     There were letters that simply abused ("William Wild, editorial 
page editor, enjoys using Pentagon lackeys to help him do his dirty 
work..."), and those I will let go unanswered.
     Some thought that I want to fight a nuclear war. Not so: I want 
to prevent it. And wars are prevented by the will to resist and the 
capacity to win; not by wishful thinking inviting surrender.
     Paradoxical as it may seem, the idea that nuclear war would wipe 
out civilization (not to mention life on earth) is wishful thinking, 
for if it were true, we would have nothing to fear: the Soviets would 
be very careful not to blunder into suicide. "The dead will envy the 
living," say the Soviet leaders when they address the West; but their 
military manuals tell their army that a nuclear war can be won and how 
to win it; and their grandiose civil defense program instructs their 
citizens how to protect themselves from radioactivity and other 
effects of nuclear warfare.
     Is there any protection?
     None that is perfect; but then, there is no perfect protection 
from old-fashioned high-explosive bombs; there is no perfect protec-
tion from artillery shells or, for that matter, from rifle bullets.
     Yet people with the will to survive in freedom defended them-
selves, however imperfectly, from all of these; and the vast majority 
of the defenders survived in freedom.
     And all of them would have survived, in fact, they would not even 
have been attacked, had they seen to their defenses in good time.
     "But this time it will be much worse," you say. 
     Of course it will. It is always much worse the next time. But if 
America prepares for it, there may not be any next time. 
     Several readers were incredulous about the 438 one-megaton bombs 
that would have to be placed with pin-point accuracy to destroy all of 
Los Angeles. The figure comes from Gen. Graham's book, "Shall America 
be defended?" and applies to the 3,000 square miles of Metropolitan 
Los Angeles (the inner city is only about 400 square miles). I checked 
it with the standard work on the subject, "The effect of nuclear 
weapons" (3rd edition) by the Department of Defense.
     But how can that be, you may ask, when the Hiroshima bomb had 
only some 30 kilotons?
     The diameter of the area destroyed varies as the cube root of the 
power; thus, a bomb one thousand times as powerful will destroy an 
area with a diameter only ten times as large.
     But how about the radioactivity?
     If the detonation is high above the earth (as it was in Japan), 
radiation will cause only a small fraction of the casualties due to 
heat and blast; if it is detonated on or near the ground, the par-
ticles sucked up by the explosion will eventually come down as radio-
active fall-out over a much wider area, but it is far easier to 
protect oneself against fall-out than against heat and blast. It is, 
in fact, typical of the scare-mongering that it concentrates not on 
what is most dangerous, but on what is most frightening: radioacti-
vity.
     It is the unknown which is the most scary, and there is an easy 
cure: know more about it.  For example, it is the fall-out that could 
contaminate food and water, but they can be protected from it. The 
radiation itself does not harm the food. 
     Genetic mutations are another example of whipping up emotional 
fear. For one thing, genetic mutations are virtually negligible com-
pared with the rcal dangers of nuclear weapons. None have ever been 
found in Japan despite decades of an extremely intensive search. 
     "Not true!" say readers who have been shamefully confused by 
slanted TV documentaries. Yes, radiation can kill, and it can deform, 
especially if it hits fetuses in the womb. There were such cases in 
Japan, but that has nothing to do with genetic mutations -- which 
damage offspring by inheritance. When TV shows such deformed adults, 
it is playing on ignorance about what can be inherited and what is an 
injury that cannot be passed on. 
     A brief newspaper article cannot even begin to give full explana-
tions, but if you would like a little more detail, and references to 
further easy-to-read literature, write me for the original brochure 
(free) at Box 2298, Boulder, CO 80306. 
     The capacity to win a war is what has always deterred wars in the 
past; but no less important is the will to resist.
     That will is being sapped by cheap shots like superimposing rings 
of equal devastation on a map of Dayton, which I saw in the "Dayton 
Daily News" not long ago. 
     The point, of course, is to cow people into the belief that 
freedom can no longer be defended.
     But there are other maps of cities where these rings were not 
imposed by fantasy: they were imposed by the bombers of a tyranny -- 
in London, or Coventry, for example. The people in those cities could 
have surrendered, but they fought on so that they and the world could 
live in freedom. Freedom of the press abused to goad people into 
surrender is freedom stolen from these defenders.
     Why did the children of London and Coventry have to die?
     They didn't have to.
     They died because their parents thought they could negotiate with 
totalitarians; because they believed that another war would be the end 
of the world; and that it could be avoided by having fewer weapons so 
as not to irritate the tyrants.


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