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This deathbed memoir by Dr. Paul H. Johnstone, former senior analyst in the Strategic Weapons Evaluation Group (WSEG) in the Pentagon and a co-author of The Pentagon Papers, provides an authoritative analysis of the implications of nuclear war that remain insurmountable today. Indeed, such research has been kept largely secret, with the intention "not to alarm the public" about what was being cooked up.
This is the story of how U.S. strategic planners in the 1950s and 1960s worked their way to the conclusion that nuclear war was unthinkable. It drives home these key understandings:
- That whichever way you look at it -- and this book shows the many ways analysts tried to skirt the problem -- nuclear war means mutual destruction
- That Pentagon planners could accept the possibility of totally destroying another nation, while taking massive destructive losses ourselves, and still conclude that "we would prevail".
- That the supposedly "scientific answers" provided to a wide range of unanswerable questions are of highly dubious standing.
- That official spheres neglect anything near a comparable effort to understand the "enemy" point of view, rather than to annihilate him, or to use such understanding to make peace.
Dr. Johnstone's memoirs of twenty years in the Pentagon tell that story succinctly, coolly and objectively. He largely lets the facts speak for themselves, while commenting on the influence of the Cold War spirit of the times and its influence on decision-makers. Johnstone writes: "Theorizing about nuclear war was a sort of virtuoso exercise in creating an imaginary world wherein all statements must be consistent with each other, but nothing need be consistent with reality because there was no reality to be checked against."
The alarming truth today is that these lessons seem to have been forgotten in Washington, just as United States policy has become as hostile to Russia as it was toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War. U.S. foreign policy is pursuing hostile encirclement of two major nuclear powers, Russia and China. Without public debate, apparently without much of any public interest, the United States is preparing to allocate a trillion dollars over the next thirty years to modernize its entire nuclear arsenal. It is as if all that was once understood about the danger of nuclear war has been forgotten.
|Publisher:||Clarity Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Diana Johnstone is a former European editor of In These Times and press officer of the Green group in the European Parliament from 1990 to 1996. She is the author of The Politics of Euromissiles, Fools' Crusade and Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton.. She lives in Paris.
Table of Contents
Foreword Paul Craig Roberts 6
The Dangerous Seduction of Absolute Power Diana Johnstone 15
The Spirit of the Times 15
The Fog of War Planning 21
Memoirs of a Humanist in the Pentagon Paul H. Johnstone
Foreword: From Behind the Scenes 32
Part I The World of Target Planning
Chapter 1 Air Targets Intelligence 36
Chapter 2 Air Targets Doctrine 46
Economic War Potential Doctrine Applied to Occupation Policies 55
Some Problems and Methods 62
Chapter 3 Playing Games with Nuclear War 78
The Cold War Atmosphere 79
Games and Bonuses 82
The Rise of Fear 85
Part II Imagining Doomsday
Chapter 1 The Fallout Study 99
Chapter 2 The "Humane Alternative" 130
Chapter 3 The Civilian Morale Project 134
Chapter 4 The Strategic Weapons Study 141
The Tenor of the Times 141
The Command and Control Dilemma 148
Exploring "Implications" 152
Part III The Critical Incident Studies
Chapter 1 The Laos Crisis: 1960-1961 159
Chapter 2 The Berlin Crisis of 1961 192
New Appraisals of the Soviet Missile Threat 205
Acheson's Berlin Paper 211
Rebuff of the Acheson Proposals 216
Emphasis on General Buildup as Keystone of Strategy 217
NSAM 59 218
EUCOM Objection to Acheson Probe Strategies 221
The Building of the Berlin Wall 228
Deepening Gloom 233
Non-Military Considerations Underlying the Choice of Military Strategy 240
Beginnings of a Slow Unwinding 242
Recovery of Confidence in Our Strategic Forces Strength 246
The Exhaustive Search For Countermeasures: An Exercise in Futility 252
Beginnings of the Tank Confrontation 255
Origins of NSAM 109: The Nitze-Kohler Formula 257
The New U.S. Policy: NSAM 109 264
The Allied Agreement: The Uses of Ambiguity and Sleight-of-Hand 268
Doomsday Postponed? Diana Johnstone 272
The Death of MAD 275
The Political Relationship of Forces 284
Glossary of Acronyms 292