]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]       DEFENSELESS COWARDS        [[[[[[[[[[[[[[
                         by Tom Bethell              (2/14/1989)
     From The American Spectator, March 1989, p. 11
Tom Bethell is The American Spectator's Washington correspondent.

              [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 10602PANC]

   On  September 30,  1988, in  a  Wall Street  Journal editorial
entitled ``Curious Chemistry,'' Air Force chief of Staff Larry D.
Welch  was quoted  as  saying in  an  interview with  the paper's
editors: ``As  soon as  the President  announced his  vision of a
Strategic Defense  Initiative, there was  an immediate opposition
to  the  idea.   It  wasn't  an  argument  over  whether  SDI was
technically feasible.  It was an argument over whether defense is
destabilizing,  and I  think  that is  an  absolutely nonsensical
argument.   We  have  no  defense   worthy  of  the  name.   This
tremendous opposition to  introducing a defensive  element to the
U.S.  deterrent strategy  has to  be one  of the  most mysterious
pieces of political chemistry we've seen.''
   The  newspaper   then  editorially   noted  that   the  Reagan
Administration  had  compromised with  the  ``curious'' sentiment
that defensive missiles  are immoral and  offensive ones are not,
thereby ``perhaps  compromising our national  security as well.''
This may have been the  strongest criticism directed at Reagan in
his eight years in office, but no one seemed to notice it.
   I  write  on  Inauguration  day,  amidst  a  general  sense of
euphoria in Washington.  Bipartisan consensus has once again been
restored to foreign policy, we  are told.  ``The Establishment is
back,'' a Washington Post editor wrote a few days ago, ``not just
the  individuals  and the  pedigrees,  but the  state  of mind.''
Which is what  I am worried  about, frankly.  We  are supposed to
feel reassured that  Andover, St. Marks,  Yale, and Princeton are
back  in  the saddle.   And  we  are supposed  to  derive comfort
because the left-wing senator from  Maine and new Senate Majority
Leader, George Mitchell, is ``trying  very hard to establish from
our side an atmosphere of cooperation and bipartisanship.''
   David Ignatius,  the editor  of the  Washington Post's Outlook
section, noted  that Secretary  of State  James A.  Baker III was
dutifully consulting  with his  predecessors, in  a way  that was
reminiscent of  ``the best and  the brightest'' at  the outset of
John F. Kennedy's Administration.  Lurking beneath the comparison
with the ironically named ``best  and brightest,'' of course, was
an  implicit  prediction  of  disaster  ahead:  Kennedy's  highly
qualified  Ivy  Leaguers  soon  strolled  into  the  quagmire  of
Vietnam.  Does a comparable fate  await President Bush's team, so
many of whom come from a comparable background.
   What is disturbing about the  present situation is not so much
that the country  is undefended as that  it is undefended because
we are afraid to defend ourselves.  In an article in Human Events
last summer [9 July 1988], Jon  Utley, a friend of mine who lives
in the Washington area, put  the matter somewhat differently, but
he too is disturbed.  ``The  studied absence of any civil defense
is a sin of pride of Biblical proportions.  Are many Americans so
arrogant as to consider a nuclear attack on us as meaning the end
of civilization?''
   By  all  accounts  the Soviet  economy  is  collapsing; Soviet
troops are retreating  from Afghanistan (they  are supposed to be
out by February  15), having been beaten  back by ragtag brigades
of free-lance mujahedeen (armed, however, with the willingness to
die for  their cause).   Still, the  Soviet strategic  arsenal is
intact and there can be little  doubt that the U.S. leadership is
afraid to construct  an air-defense against it.   And we will not
even think about civil defense for the American people.
   Has  anything comparable  to this  ever  happened before  -- a
great power so fearful of its collapsing adversary that it cannot
muster the  will to  defend itself?  ``The  sad fact  is that few
nations in history have adopted such  a `strategy' as that of the
United  States,  purposely leaving  its  citizens  as unprotected
hostages to attack,'' Utley  wrote.  Petr Beckmann, the publisher
of  Access  to Energy  in  Boulder, Colorado,  believes  that the
present lack of will among  the American leadership class is more
grave than it was in Neville Chamberlain's England of fifty years
   The predicament we are in is disguised by the existence of the
misnamed  Department  of  Defense,   which  spends  $300  billion
annually, none of  it on defense.   The very large  sums of money
that the  department disposes of  every year amount  largely to a
form  of  domestic  pork barrel,  the  money  going  to salaries,
pensions,  the maintenance  of  many obsolete,  World  War II-era
bases, the subsidy of foreign  governments and taxpayers, and (to
be fair) the procurement of offensive weapons.
   The Pentagon spends nothing on civil defense, that task having
been delegated to the  Federal Emergency Management Agency, which
is housed on  the campus of  what once was  a Catholic college in
Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Its  budget is about  $150 million a year,
part of which  is dedicated to  earthquake preparedness.  One day
recently I  drove out  to Emmitsburg to  hear two  talks on civil
defense, one given by Arthur  Robinson, who publishes a pro-civil
defense newsletter  entitled ``Fighting Chance''  (P.O. Box 1279,
Cave  Junction, Oregon,  97523).   The other  speaker  was Justin
Frank, the president of the  Washington chapter of Physicians for
Social Responsibility.  He said that  when Jimmy Carter began his
``defense  buildup''   in  1978   it  ``frightened   a  group  of
physicians,''  the   best  known   of  whom   was  the  left-wing
pediatrician Helen Caldicott.  Dr. Frank said he joined the group
about eight  years ago,  ``the day after  my son  was born.''  He
said the ``goal'' of PSR was  ``to prevent nuclear war,'' and its
``values'' were enshrined in the belief that life is ``precious''
and ``vulnerable.''
   Justin  Frank  had one  and  only one  argument  against civil
defense, and  it is  the same  as the  argument against strategic
defense: whether  civil or  strategic, defense  makes nuclear war
more  ``thinkable,''  because   if  ``one  side''   has  it,  the
temptation to launch a first strike would be irresistible; he who
has defense can strike first and win.
   This is the argument that Air Force Chief of Staff Welch calls
``nonsensical.''   Imagine  the reaction  if  someone  in Neville
Chamberlain's Britain  had denigrated the  British development of
radar, on the grounds  that that would make  war with Hitler more
``thinkable.''   The  makes-war-thinkable  argument  contains the
following hidden assumption: ``We''  are no better than ``they.''
There  are simply  ``two sides,''  both  alike threatened  by the
awful technology of nuclear  weapons.  But this is  a lie and the
American  willingness  to  be  bullied  into  silence  by  it  is
disturbing.  ``We'' should not  accept this slanderous imputation
of bad  faith and of  evil, aggressive  intentions, awaiting only
the security of  civil and strategic defenses  before they can be
carried out in the form of a first strike.
   The Soviets  meanwhile are  building both  strategic and civil
defenses. By contrast, we would do well to suspect their motives,
because of  the yawning  gap between  their form  of totalitarian
government, imprisoning and subjugating  all those who live under
it,   and  our   democracy.   But   the  Physicians   for  Social
Responsibility do  not protest the  Soviet programs  of civil and
strategic defense.  They know about  it but don't mind.  And this
can lead only  to the following conclusion:  they believe that if
the U.S.  is defended,  it is  more likely  to attack  the Soviet
Union  than  a  defended  Soviet Union  is  likely  to  attack an
undefended U.S.
   Notice also  the following:  all of  PSR's stated  goals (``to
prevent nuclear war,'' ``to eliminate  the use of weapons of mass
destruction,'' etc.) could  be achieved by  a U.S. surrender.  No
one  ever points  out that  those who  argue that  ``defense'' is
destabilizing tend to be in  sympathy with the socialist ideology
that has  legitimized the  exercise of power  in only  one of the
``two sides.''  May we not conclude that the true goal of PSR and
of all organizations  that deplore a defended  U.S. is the spread
of international socialism?  Helen Caldicott may have embarrassed
her PSR  colleagues, but  only by  her candor,  when in  1988 she
compared Mikhail Gorbachev to Jesus Christ.  If British opponents
of radar in  1938 had turned  out to be  Nazi sympathizers, would
they not have been  regarded with a certain  suspicion, to put it
mildly? But in the U.S. today it is the greatest of all political
taboos to cast  suspicion on the  designs of those  who really do
sympathize with the ideology that has legitimized Soviet rule for
seventy years.
   Arthur Robinson is  a biochemist, who used  to work with Linus
Pauling until the two split  irrevocably ten years ago.  Robinson
is now one of  the leading U.S. experts  on civil defense, and he
has much to say on the subject.  Perhaps his most important point
directly contradicts PSR's makes-war-more-thinkable argument.  In
fact,  says  Robinson,  civil defense  makes  war  less thinkable
because  if  ``one  side''  knows  ``the  other  side''  has  its
population in  shelters, then it  knows that tens  of millions of
people  will  survive  a nuclear  attack.   And  the  prospect of
confronting these survivors deters  the attack.  For this reason,
Robinson  believes,  the Soviet  Union  is now  most  unlikely to
attack China,  which has large  civil defense  shelters under its
major cities.   As Jon Utley  wrote in Human  Events: ``The great
irony is  that if  Americans had  shelters, and  enemy would have
infinitely less incentive  to launch a  surprise attack.  Just by
their existence they would probably never be needed.  But without
them  America makes  itself  more and  more  inviting to  a first
   In its  latest (1988)  edition of  Soviet Military  Power, the
Pentagon devotes a  few pages to Soviet  civil defense.  ``For 40
years, the Soviet Union has had a vast program underway to ensure
the survival of the leadership in the event of nuclear war,'' the
document reports.  ``This  program is designed  solely to protect
the  senior Soviet  leadership from  the  effect of  nuclear war.
These  deep  underground  facilities today  are,  in  some cases,
hundreds  of  meters  deep   and  can  accommodate  thousands  of
   Another speaker at the FEMA  conference was Leon Goure, Soviet
emigre [acute  accents over the  e's] who is  perhaps the leading
expert in the U.S. on Soviet  civil defense.  He has an elaborate
slide  show  to  prove  that the  word  ``solely''  in  the above
paragraph is  incorrect.  Increasingly, the  Soviet civil defense
program can  protect ordinary  Soviet citizens  as well  as party
members.  Soviet Military Power does go on to say:
     The secrecy of the program  and the uncertainty about the
   extent and nature of these  facilities are major causes for
   concern.  The deep underground program, which rivals Soviet
   offensive strategic  weapons both in  scale and commitment,
   remained undiminished even  as the Soviets  agreed to limit
   their  defenses  against  ballistic  missiles  in  the  ABM
   treaty. ...
     The  deep  underground  facilities  beneath  the  city of
   Moscow  are directly  associated with  the main  centers of
   state  power.   They  provide the  leaders  of  the various
   organizations of state control the opportunity to move from
   their peacetime offices through concealed entryways down to
   protective quarters below the  city, in some cases hundreds
   of  meters down.   Once  there the  Politburo,  the Central
   Committee,  the  Ministry  of  Defense,  the  KGB  and  the
   apparatuses of the  many other state  ministries can remain
   sheltered while the USSR coverts to a wartime posture.  The
   fruits of this  40-year construction program  now offer the
   Soviet wartime  leadership the option  of remaining beneath
   Moscow,  or, at  some point,  boarding secret  subway lines
   connecting these  deep underground  facilities.  From there
   the  Soviets  can  make  their  way  to  nearby underground
   complexes outside Moscow where they plan to survive nuclear
   strikes and to direct the war effort.
   In  response, Secretary  of Defense  Frank Carlucci  called in
September 1988  for the development  of earth-penetrating nuclear
weapons designed to burrow down into these shelters.  But is this
the way  to go?  Should  we not be  developing strategic defense,
and civil defense?  If the Defense Department does not soon avail
itself  of  the  latest available  technology,  which  is  to say
technology with real defensive  capability, then the country will
be imperiled, if it is not already.
   The  collapse of  socialist economies  makes the  Soviets more
dangerous, not  less so.  Their  leaders must now  know that they
are  doomed to  fall further  and further  behind.  As  for their
strategic arsenal, they must fairly  soon either ``use it or lose
it,'' as Arthur Robinson  put it to me.   A more likely scenario,
he  added, was  a contrived  international crisis,  whereupon the
Soviet leaders would order their  population into shelters -- and
call upon ours to surrender.  Then what would we do?
   As I left the Emmitsburg  conference, I recalled a remark made
by a FEMA  employee from the audience  during the question period
after Arthur  Robinson and Justin  Frank had spoken.   I wrote it
down: ``A  group of  us laughed  ourselves sick  in the  pub last
night, because  we're supposed to  be preparing  for nuclear war,
and we're utilizing  that money to  deal with hazardous-materials
incidents and to  deal with earthquakes.   And the general public
doesn't know that.''

          [The following is part of the article above.]

Jon Basil Utley, ``America Needs a Privatized Civil Defense'',
   Human Events, Vol. 48, No. 28 (9 July 1988), pp. 12-13.

An  annual subscription  to  the informative  monthly  Journal of
Civil  Defense  costs $18.   Address  inquiries to  P.O.  Box 910
Starke, FL  32091.

FEMA's address is:
   Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C. 20472

FEMA also makes  available a six-hour  home-study course.  To get
it write:
   FEMA Home Study Program
   Emergency Management Institute
   16825 South Seton Ave.
   Emmitsburg, Md. 21727

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