]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] 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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