Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Daniel Ellsberg on dismantling the doomsday machine

You would not have these arsenals, in the US or elsewhere, if it were not the case that it was highly profitable to the military-industrial complex, to the aerospace industry, to the electronics industry, and to the weapons design labs to keep modernizing these weapons, improving accuracy, improving launch time, all that. The military–industrial complex that Eisenhower talked about is a very powerful influence. We’ve talked about unwarranted influence. We’ve had that for more than half a century.

……….  What’s it all for? It is for [military] service share of the budget. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Grumman, Northrop. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, as one after another official has put it, from James Baker to others. Profits, as I say, jobs, and campaign donations. 

Daniel Ellsberg on dismantling the doomsday machine,  Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, John Mecklin , 26 FEBRUARY 2018

More than 45 years after he became famous for leaking the Pentagon Papers and earning the wrath of President Richard Nixon and his plumbers, Daniel Ellsberg is again a focus of public consciousness. The hit movie The Post reprises part of the Pentagon Papers story, reminding older Americans (and explaining to younger viewers) how Ellsberg’s decision to reveal a top-secret history of duplicitous US policy in Indochina changed the course of the Vietnam War and American history.

And shortly before The Post premiered early in January, Ellsberg’s latest book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Plannerwas published to significant national media attention.

In the book, Ellsberg chronicles his early career as a RAND Corporation analyst deeply involved in the crafting of American nuclear war plans in the 1960s—plans that were meant to be more controlled and discriminating than earlier versions but, he came eventually to understand, were actually blueprints for the obliteration of civilization. “Working, conscientiously, obsessively, on a wrong problem, countering an illusory threat, I and my colleagues at RAND had distracted ourselves and helped distract others from dealing with the real dangers posed by the mutual superpower pursuit of nuclear weapons—dangers which we were helping make worse—and from real opportunities to make the world more secure,” Ellsberg writes. “Unintentionally, yet inexcusably, we made our country and the world less safe.”

Since the 1970s, Ellsberg has been deeply involved in efforts to reduce world nuclear arsenals and eventually eliminate them altogether. He and I spoke at length earlier this year about how the danger of nuclear weapons might be conveyed more effectively to the general public. What follows is an edited transcript of parts of that wide-ranging conversation……….

John Mecklin: The major media tend to almost never actually confront or describe the actual effects of a major nuclear war. Why do you think that is?

Daniel Ellsberg: That’s hard for me to say, really. I certainly agree with you. I would say they have been shockingly derelict in reporting this. I can’t give an answer. I haven’t been able to ask their editors what’s going on

But it’s a very interesting question. My speculative answer would have to be that the major media have always supported basically—until quite recently perhaps—our basic nuclear arsenals. Insane as they are; they’re unjustifiable, if you really look at them critically. And yet they’re treated as though they are reasonable responses to the nuclear era, which they are not. Nothing reasonable about them at all.

You would not have these arsenals, in the US or elsewhere, if it were not the case that it was highly profitable to the military-industrial complex, to the aerospace industry, to the electronics industry, and to the weapons design labs to keep modernizing these weapons, improving accuracy, improving launch time, all that. The military–industrial complex that Eisenhower talked about is a very powerful influence. We’ve talked about unwarranted influence. We’ve had that for more than half a century.

……….  What’s it all for? It is for [military] service share of the budget. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Grumman, Northrop. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, as one after another official has put it, from James Baker to others. Profits, as I say, jobs, and campaign donations. It’s embedded in all 50 states of the union, one way or another, in the various expenditures, and very hard to get rid of. Almost impossible. I just don’t see that you can say it’s impossible……….I would also say that no significant change has occurred at all, and we are maintaining this mad policy. But it is being done, again, in the absence of almost any public awareness or debate. In the last several elections—but let’s take the last one in particular—nuclear winter, of course is not mentioned. But there’s really no dispute that came up significantly about the arms budget, about the nuclear budget, or any of the rest of it. That’s hardly an excuse, but it’s an explanation in a way for no media discussion of it, except in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, thanks a lot. Your role is essential but not sufficient, it would seem. ………. https://thebulletin.org/daniel-ellsberg-dismantling-doomsday-machine11539

 

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March 2, 2018 - Posted by | General News

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