Video: “We the People: A Prescription for Ending the Arms Race”
Robert MacVicar: Thank you very much, and it is my pleasure to welcome Doctor Helen Mary Caldicott to be our third Ava Pauling Lecturer. Dr. Caldicott is a native of Australia, a graduate of Adelaide Medical School, where she was an honors student. Her career in medicine began in early the 1960s and led her into the field of pediatric medicine and ultimately to Harvard and to the United States, where she headed the Children's Hospital Medical Center and was an instructor in pediatrics. At the same time that she was practicing medicine, she became very much involved and concerned about the nuclear movement. She was part of the effort to try and prevent the French atmospheric tests in the Pacific Ocean in the early 1970s. She's the organizers for Physicians' for Social Responsibility and was its president from 1978 to 1983. In 1980, she became a founding organizer of the Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament. An author, a lecturer, a person that has been deeply concerned about the issue of the arms race and the nuclear holocaust that could destroy mankind, it's a great pleasure that I ask you to join me in welcoming Dr. Caldicott.
Helen Caldicott: Thank you. I am indeed privileged to be giving this lecture on behalf a very wonderful lady, Dr. Pauling's wife. I think these two have contributed more to peace than most people in the world and I doff my cap to you Dr. Pauling. I am also honored to be here at Oregon State University, where I think you have the most enlightened faculty, and if only all universities were similar to this throughout the country we would have no problems in stopping the nuclear arms race.
I want to describe to you the problems now in the world and how lucky we are to be sitting in this lecture theater and that we're not in fact radioactive molecules floating up there in the stratosphere. Things are very grim. We're in a race for our lives and right now, you and I are deciding whether or not the human race will become extinct. This election in November is a referendum on the fate of the Earth. I speak to you not as a political activist but as a pediatrician who took the Hippocratic Oath and who has realized that the only way to practice preventative medicine is through the political process. There was a great German pathologist, Rudolph Virchow, who lived last century, who said, "Medicine is a social science and politics is medicine writ large," and I've realized in this work that the only way to stop the nuclear arms race is to educate the politicians that nuclear war is medically contraindicated and, if they don't believe us, remove them from office for the public health of the people of the world.
We indeed taught the politicians Cox's postulates so that they immunized our children so they now don't develop poliomyelitis or pertussis whooping cough or tetanus or diphtheria. We also organized the politicians internationally quite recently to eradicate smallpox off the face of the globe. Now we must organize them internationally and starting nationally to eradicate nuclear weapons because they are medically contraindicated. The planet we live on is terminally ill - it is infected with lethal microbes, the nuclear weapons which are metastasizing rapidly. That's what cancer does, it spreads throughout the body and eventually the patient dies. To say the planet is terminally ill doesn't necessarily mean to say it will die. When a patient comes into the emergency room we don't say, "Nurse, that patient's terminally ill; take them straight to the mortuary and put them in the icebox." We actually give them a chance and we put them in the intensive care unit and work assiduously day and night, twenty-four hours a day and occasionally the patient survives. That is a totally appropriate analogy for our planet. [5:05]
The history of this illness began, I think, when Einstein discovered E=mc2, and continued when Einstein and Leó Szilárd became convinced that Hitler was developing nuclear weapons and that America should become involved in the same process. They wrote a letter to Roosevelt suggesting that and he instituted the Manhattan Project, which developed three bombs. The first one was code named Trinity - I think an inappropriate name for a nuclear weapon. The second one was code named Little Boy and the third one was code named Fat Man. Before the nuclear weapons were completed, Hitler was defeated, so the rationale to have the weapons suddenly disappeared. The scientists at Los Alamos called a meeting and said, "what are we going to do now?" Some of them prevailed and said they were so fascinated with what they were doing - Oppenheimer called the problems that they were solving, "technically sweet" - that they will continue making the weapons and blow them up to show the world how dreadful they were, and that man would never use them again. Nobel had a similar theory about dynamite, which has not prevailed to this day.
Just before the first bomb was tested in the desert in Alamogordo in July 1945, there was another theory that when the bombs exploded, the atmosphere of the world could be rendered critical and the Earth could be consumed in fire. They were worried about this probability. They went back to the drawing boards and redid their calculations - it remained the same, small but finite. So they decided to go ahead anyway and test the first bomb. In fact, the atmosphere did not become critical, the Earth was not consumed in fire, but when the bomb exploded Robert Oppenheimer said he'd never seen anything like it. The desert in which it exploded suddenly became minute as it was filled with a violent blue light, and the sound of thunder occurred, which seemed to go on endlessly. A huge radioactive cloud appeared overhead and hovered, then just at the right moment the wind turned and the cloud was blown away and the scientists were not contaminated by radioactive fallout. That night they had a party to celebrate this incredible scientific achievement.
The next bomb, Little Boy, was dropped on a city called Hiroshima at 8:15 AM, August the 6th, 1945. A plane appeared overhead and a parachute opened and the people watching it thought that the pilot was evacuating, and a second parachute opened adjacent to the first and there was a blinding flash. A little boy was reaching up to catch a red dragonfly on his hand against the blur of the sky and he disappeared and so did thousands of other people, they were vaporized. At that time approximately a thousand people were killed. The effects of that bomb were new in the history of clinical medicine. People were just vaporized leaving their shadows behind them on the pavement. A man was standing clinically shocked, holding his eye in the palm of his hand; such are the over pressures created by the nuclear explosion that the eye is extravasated from the orbit. A woman was running holding her baby, and her and the baby had been transformed into a charcoal statue. Some people escaped Hiroshima and they ran to the only Christian center in Japan, which was Nagasaki, thinking that the United States would never bomb that city, and they arrived just in time for the second bomb, which was called Fat Man.
The scientists had a party after Hiroshima that night too, to celebrate that bomb, but one man said he couldn't go, he felt so profoundly depressed and nauseated he had to go to bed and he said, "You know when we did the calculations for the bombs, we never calculated human beings as matter." In other words, most scientists had never extracted on to wonder what would happen to people should these bombs be used on human beings.
Over half the scientists and engineers in this country at this particular moment are engaged in exactly the same dynamics, making weapons for genocide.
After the war there was an attempt to internationalize the secret of atomic energy, but it failed, so America decided to continue developing nuclear weapons on the theory Russia wouldn't get the secret. Remember though, that Russia and America were allies in the Second World War and I can remember when Hitler turned against the Soviet Union, my mother in Melbourne, Australia said, "Thank God we're saved. Hitler will never defeat the Soviet Union." But remember they lost twenty million people in the Second World War and every family lost a member. Seventy-three thousand towns and cities were razed and a million people died in Leningrad from starvation, after the siege of Leningrad. [10:28]
So America decided after Pearl Harbor never to be vulnerable again and to develop the nuclear weapons when Russia suddenly became the enemy and replaced Germany. They thought that Russia would never get the secret, but within four years Russia developed her first atomic bomb. Then Edward Teller developed his so-called Super bomb, or Hydrogen bomb, which could be made infinitely large. And they are very cheap to make. Within a year, Russia developed her first hydrogen bomb and thus the arms race began, led at every step but one by the brilliance in technology of the United States, blindly and stupidly copied and followed by the Soviet Union.
In the Sixties, Robert McNamara, who was Secretary of Defense for Kennedy, said, "If America had two-hundred hydrogen bombs, that would be enough to kill one-third of the Russian people and destroy two-thirds of their industry," and that became the official policy of deterrence. If Russia did something we didn't like, we were prepared, if necessary, to kill up to a hundred-million human beings. That policy was annunciated by this country with a Judaic constitution some twenty years after Hitler died, and as Albert Einstein said so brilliantly, "The splitting of the atom changed everything, save man's mode of thinking, thus we drift toward unparalleled destruction."
However, at that time the Air Force had all the bombs and the Army and Navy were jealous. If you've ever been in the military, you'll understand there is an intense rivalry between the Army, Navy and Air Force which surpasses the rivalry and hostility between Russia and America, the latter is used to justify the former. So they decided everybody could have nuclear weapons. So today instead of having just two-hundred bombs, America has thirty-thousand nuclear weapons. There are only two-hundred major cities in the Soviet Union and Russia has twenty-thousand nuclear weapons. President Reagan says he doesn't have enough because he has to be strong and he plans to build seventeen-thousand more hydrogen bombs in the next ten years. I don't understand what his definition of strength is and I think people that talk like this practice what we call "pre-nuclear thinking." It was true in the second world war - the more bombs, the more ships, the more planes you had, the safer you were, because you could destroy your enemy and rebuild from the rubble. Now, the opposite is true - the more bombs we have, the greater the probability is that we will annihilate the planet. I want to give you a visual indication of what I'm talking about and I need three volunteers.
This is a model produced and it's a bit dim for you up there, but it was produced by a physician on his home computer in Miami. So home computers do, in fact, have some uses. This panel represents a missile from a Trident submarine. It has ten hydrogen bombs - each one of these that looks like a pencil is a hydrogen bomb. Each is equivalent to a hundred-thousand tons of TNT. The Hiroshima bomb was thirteen-thousand tons. Now, let's show you a Trident submarine.
Now, that represents a Trident submarine, it's got twenty-four missiles on it, each containing ten bombs. So that's two-hundred-and-forty hydrogen bombs and that little dot that Ruben is pointing to at the top, it represents the size of the Hiroshima bomb, which took out a city and killed a hundred-thousand people. This weapon has enough bombs to destroy every major city in the Northern Hemisphere and could induce, we think, the threshold of a nuclear winter and destroy life on the planet. The archbishop of Seattle, the Reverend Hunthausen, calls it "the Auschwitz of Puget Sound," which is where it's docked. Of course that's an inadequate analogy because Auschwitz may only have killed a million people, this could vaporize hundreds of millions of human beings. President Reagan wants to build thirty of them. The seventh is about to be launched and will violate the SALT II Treaty, which was not ratified by this country, but has been abided by this country. Already in the oceans now, we have thirty-two submarines, Polaris and Poseidon, each containing a hundred-and-sixty bombs. But this particular weapon is the most lethal weapon ever created by man and it's being built to fight and win a protracted nuclear war fought over a six-month period, which is now the official doctrine of the United States of America, introduced under the Reagan administration. [15:43]
That gives you a visual representation of what I'm talking about in redundancy of weapons and the madness of the nuclear age of which we now live. There are other countries that have nuclear weapons too: China, France and Britain. There are five large nuclear nations, four of whom have their weapons targeted in on the Soviet Union. Each of whom independently, at any time, could destroy the Soviet Union. You understand that the Russian leaders are slightly jumpy. We would be too if we were in an analogous position. They are also the only country in the world surrounded by hostile Communist nations - China on one side with a billion people and the Warsaw Pact countries on the other. Therefore, they're isolated in the world and have, in truth, only seven allies; big powerful countries like Cuba, South Yemen, Angola, Ethiopia, Vietnam and a couple of others. So they're ostracized, isolated and paranoid, and we know in medicine it is medically contraindicated to threaten a paranoid patient.
I may say too that this country is slightly paranoid about the Soviet Union. I find as I travel around that there's a compulsory course in Florida high schools called AVC, Americanism versus Communism, which really surprised me - the children in school are taught to hate the Communists. It's not even anything to do with the Communists because Richard Milhouse Nixon, who was an ardent anti-Communist, one day decided to go to China and made friends with Mao Tse-Tung, so that now we've got more Communists on our side than they've got on their side. So this issue, in truth, has absolutely nothing to do with Communism. It is the projection of the dark side out onto another nation. We are still behaving like tribes, like we did when we were troglodytes living in caves, saying we're the best tribe and you're the worst tribe, which is primitive, hypothalamic behavior which is medically contraindicated in the nuclear age. That's what Einstein meant when he said, "the splitting of the atom changed everything, save man's mode of thinking." We still think the way we did when we lived in caves.
Now I want to describe to you how a nuclear war could occur briefly and then describe the medical effects of nuclear war. I want you to know that computers that are a part of the early warning system that determine whether or not we're under attack, keep breaking down. They had a hundred-and-fifty-one errors in an eighteen-month period, putting us on red alert, thinking we were under nuclear attack. The most serious error occurred in November 1979, when someone plugged a war games tape into the fail safe computer and the computer said, "we're under attack." It put the whole world on red alert for six minutes. The men in the missile silos put their keys in the locks ready to turn them to launch the missiles like in "The Day After." They are programmed to do it; they will do it asking no questions. Three squadrons of B-52's took off heading towards Russia armed with nuclear weapons. At the seventh minute the President was to be officially notified, but he couldn't be found. When the mistake was realized we were thirteen minutes from nuclear war, November '79, think of where you were. There were headlines in the London Guardian and there was a little tiny article near the obituaries in the New York Times reporting that particular event. That is called "national psychic numbing."
The number of errors now is up to 240 per year and rising. Of course the Soviet computers, we know, are less-sophisticated than the American computers. One of the reasons they shot that Korean jetliner down, was that they tracked it down for two-and-a-half hours and at the end of that time, according to the CIA, still didn't know what it was when they shot it down. Our destiny lies in the hands of the Soviet computers, right? We don't know how many mistakes they make, but President Reagan refuses to sell them high technology. I would think that it would be in our very best interests for the Russians to have the best computers that money can buy. [20:26]
So nuclear war could start by error produced by a computer, and indeed there's a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, who's just written an article for Nature magazine, who says that there are two-hundred-and-forty accidents in the computer system per year and they're rising. Each accident requires a conference with high-level military people. During a crisis like the KAL jetliner, these accidents would be taken more seriously and he assumes seventy-five of them would be extremely serious and assumes the same on the side of the Soviets. He said that during such a crisis like the KAL jetliner or the Cuban Missile Crisis we would go to defect or launch on warning, whereby the computer decides to press the button by itself. He says that in a crisis lasting thirteen days, which is the length of the Cuban Missile Crisis, there would be a fifty-percent chance of self-activation of the system whereby nuclear war began by accident, triggered by a computer.
So nuclear war could start by accident any day. Also the human fallibility comes into the situation. Every year, five-thousand men in the American military who are in charge of nuclear weapons who could, if they so desired, could start a nuclear war - I've heard from an Admiral that no system is fail safe enough that an intelligent man can't bypass it if he so desires - five-thousand are discharged because they're on drugs like LSD or heroin, they're alcoholics or they're mentally unstable. On the Soviet side, a large proportion of the people in their military are alcoholics, so much so that there are stories that the men drink the anti-freeze liquid that they put in the engines of their tanks.
Then there are the leaders of the world whose super powers could destroy life on Earth, are run by old men. True? Chernenko is old men who's seriously ill, who has advanced emphysema, he's destroyed his lungs by smoking and if you listen to him speak, he can hardly finish a sentence he is so short of breath or dyspneic. President Reagan will be seventy-four soon and if he's reelected he'll be seventy-eight at the end of his term. You heard him the other night on the debate. The Wall Street Journal has discussed signs of impending senility. I speak to you now as a physician, it's true that old men in his age category have a much-higher probability than a younger person of developing a small or large stroke. You can all think of people you have known and loved who are old, your grandparents, and let me explain what happened to my father-in-law. He was living with us and he started wearing two shirts to breakfast and I thought that's nice, that's the layered look. Then, a few weeks later, he had three shirts on for breakfast and I thought that's really getting into it. Then, when he came down with four shirts on for breakfast, I knew something had happened and he was crossing against red lights. But it took us, both physicians, several months to diagnose advancing senility. Something must have happened, he may have had an obstruction in one of the vessels in his brain. So we don't make the diagnosis necessarily early before irrational things are done. These two men in the superpowers hold life on Earth in their palm of their hands and we are all hostages - 4.5 billion people to these two superpowers. I think it's medically indicated for these two superpowers to have six monthly medical, neurological, psychological examinations for the public health of the people of the world. We do this for pilots and pilots only fly a few hundred of us around at all times.
Then, there's the problem of superpower hostility. When the First World War occurred, two nations armed themselves to the teeth, for no real apparent reason except the military corporations made a lot of money out of it. They got into such a position of hostility and readiness that war became inevitable and then someone shot an Archduke in Sarajevo and because of that, millions of beautiful young men on both sides were slaughtered with a machine gun, for no real reason except that people were making money out of it and the old men didn't want to suffer a lack of pride and face. We are in a similar position today with two huge superpowers armed to the teeth with military corporations making enormous profits and war is almost inevitable unless all of us rise up, en masse, and decide to stop it. [25:33]
Let me now describe to you the medical consequences of nuclear war, and I want to tell you that Russia has eight-and-a-half-thousand hydrogen bombs that can drop on us in a half an hour. Now, next time you get in an airplane, look at a map and count the number of cities in America; there are only 200 cities with populations of greater than a hundred-thousand people in the country. The Russians have targeted everything, they have such a redundancy of weapons. The nuclear power plant, seventy-nine of those inside each large reactor, has as much long-lived radiation as that released by one-thousand Hiroshima-sized bombs. You drop a large bomb on one of those you could contaminate permanently an area the size of West Germany with radiation. All other power plants are targeted, every military and every industrial facility, every town with a population greater than ten-thousand is probably targeted with at least one bomb.
We have such a redundancy of weapons, we've got sixty hydrogen bombs targeted on Moscow alone. America has eleven-thousand bombs they can drop on Russia in a short time and there are only two-hundred major cities in the entire Soviet Union. So now I want to drop a bomb right here on this auditorium to describe to you the medical consequences of an attack and as I talk I want you to think to yourselves that the button was pressed in Moscow twenty minutes ago by accident and we don't know because we haven't got our radios on to hear this noise - the emergency broadcasting system, this is an emergency, you have ten minutes left. That is the sound that will signal the end of life on Earth. We don't know because we haven't got our radio sets on. Maybe someone will come in the door in a minute, screaming, saying "We're under attack!"
As I talk I want you to think of where you live associated with the radius of distance from this auditorium and I want you to ponder your life and to think about what you've loved most in your life and why you, in fact, were born and what you hope to leave behind when you die. This bomb is a twenty megaton bomb, equivalent to twenty million tons of TNT or seven times the collective energy of all the bombs dropped in the Second World War. It will come in twenty times the speed of sound and explode here with the heat of the sun, and dig a hole three-quarters of a mile wide and eight-hundred feet deep, turning us, the buildings and the Earth below us into radioactive fallout injected in the mushroom cloud.
Six miles from here in all directions, every building will be flattened. The heat is so intense that concrete and steel will melt because this bomb is a small sun. Every person will be killed, many will be vaporized and disappear. Up to twenty miles, everyone will be killed or lethally injured. Wind of five-hundred miles an hour will now literally pick people up and turn them into missiles traveling at one-hundred miles an hour 'til they hit the next solid object, when they will be killed instantly. The windows popcorn and shards of glass flying at a hundred miles will decapitate people; will enter human flesh producing shocking lacerations and hemorrhage. Those who are close-in who look at the flash, their eyes will degenerate and run down their cheek. That happened in Hiroshima.
Everyone after twenty miles will be grotesquely burnt. A burn patient is the most difficult patient we treat in medicine - it takes six months to a year to treat them. They need hundreds of units of blood and plasma, skin grafts every couple of days and we usually lose those patients, they are so difficult to treat. There are only one-thousand acute burn beds in the whole of this country, every one of those people die in intense agony over days unless they've died immediately having never seeing a physician for their pain. But the White House has been stockpiling huge quantities of morphine just in case we're going to have a nuclear war. The physicians haven't been notified as to its exact location. [29:48]
Twenty-six miles from here the heat flash, traveling at the speed of light, will cause dry objects like clothes to instantaneously ignite, so you will be walking around and just burst into flames. Fifty miles out, a reflex glance at the flash will produce instant and permanent retinal blindness and the whole area could be covered with a firestorm of three-thousand square miles, increasing the lethal area by a factor of five. So if you got into a fallout shelter, the fire will literally use the oxygen in the shelter and you'll die of oxygen deprivation and the blast and heat will turn the fallout shelters into crematoria. I only dropped one bomb. Everything is so targeted in this country it will be a nuclear carpet bombing and it could happen tonight by human fallibility, by mechanical error, by design or increased international national tension.
The Federation of American Scientists say that if the attack occurs in the summer, America could burn coast to coast, north to south and just disappear. Last year the World Health Organization did a study of nuclear war and they took only these seven-thousand bombs, which is a very small nuclear war, because they couldn't find any more significant targets in the whole world to bomb. Remember this superpower owns fifty-thousand nuclear weapons. They've targeted every city and significant town in America, Canada, Russia, China, Europe, England, India, Vietnam, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam and some others nations.
Before I say what I'm going to say next, I want you all to think about someone in your life who's died, who you've loved intensely. Have you lost a baby, or a child, or a brother or a sister, or a parent? Now remember the grief and how much you loved that person and how you've never really ever recovered from their loss and how precious that person was to you. In the first hour alone in the northern hemisphere from this limited nuclear war, one billion people - I repeat, one billion people - died from the blast alone. And in the next two weeks alone, one billion more died from the effects I just described, that's half the world's population.
Then, Carl Sagan has done some recent studies to show as the cities burn with intense ferocity a huge cloud of toxic black smoke and dust will rise into the troposphere and envelope the Earth with a cloud of smoke so thick it will obliterate the sun from the surface of the Earth for up to one year. The temperatures will then fall to minus fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit. There will be no sunlight or light for up to a year. There will be snowstorms raging across the planet in the middle of summer, huge tidal waves coming in from the coast because of the temperature differential between the sea and the land. The plants will all die because of a lack of photosynthesis and we and the animals all will freeze to death in the dark, dying of acute radiation illness with our hair falling out, vomiting and bleeding to death, and hungry and thirsty. He thinks that such an event, nuclear winter, could destroy all organisms, all living matter on the planet. He finds by extrapolation that maybe only a thousand bombs dropping on a hundred cities may be the threshold for nuclear winter and extermination of life on Earth. America has got thirty-thousand bombs, which is thirty times nuclear winter, and Russia's got twenty-thousand bombs and President Reagan says we don't have enough and he's got to build seventeen-thousand more in the next ten years.
I went to see the president, a year and a half ago, to try and explain to him the medical consequences of nuclear war so that he may alter his polices. I was brought in there by his daughter, Patti Davis, who thought I could change his mind. I want to now describe to you that interview from a clinical perspective and as I talk I stress again that I respect the office of the Presidency of this country and that it is a non-partisan issue and in retrospect Richard Nixon was a great statesman and he was a Republican.
I prayed before I went in that I could convince President Reagan to be like Richard Nixon so that he would go to Russia and make friends with Andropov and be the greatest President who ever lived. We went into the downstairs library in the White House and met him and he's an affable enough man. And I said "you probably don't know who I am," and he said "yes I do. You're an Australian you read On the Beach as a young girl and you're afraid of nuclear war." He said "I too believe in preventing nuclear war but our ways to prevent it differ, I believe in building more bombs." Then he told me the Russians are totally-evil Godless Communists. So being a good clinical I asked for objective data and I said, "have you ever met one?" He said, no he hadn't. When I did psychiatry twenty years ago that was a sign of paranoia. [35:17]
Then I wanted to talk to him about the medical effect of nuclear war. He was not interested. He just wanted to talk about numbers of missiles, which is partly why I called my new book, Missile Envy a la Freud. I was really shocked to find that everything he said to me was factually inaccurate. To give you an indication of his lack of knowledge, he said recently he thought submarine-launched ballistic missiles were recallable after they were launched. That's analogous to recalling a bullet once you've shot it from a gun, because these missiles are big bullets, that's all. He also said that he thought that the submarine launch missiles did not carry nuclear weapons. Half the strategic arsenal - five-thousand bombs - are carried on submarine-launched ballistic missiles. He also said in Time magazine recently he thought that the intercontinental missiles were more dangerous than cruise missiles or B-52 bombers because only the ICBMs carry nuclear weapons. As Time magazine pointed out, twenty-seven percent of the strategic arsenal is carried on cruise missiles and B-52 bombers.
Everything he said to me was of similar factual inaccuracy. I would let him talk for awhile, anecdote on, and I would stop him and correct every point he made, so it was a spirited conversation. There was absolutely no animosity but he had no background knowledge to debate any point with me at all. Then he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. He said, "Look I took some notes before I came down." And he read to me that people who work for the nuclear freeze are either KGB dupes or Soviet agents. And I said to him, "But that's from Reader's Digest," and it was. And he said "No, it's from my intelligence files." Then his daughter Patti was getting very frustrated at a certain point and she said, "Daddy, I know that what Dr. Caldicott is saying is right because I've got a 1982 Pentagon document to prove it." He looked at her and said, "That's a forgery." She didn't have it with her. I left the White House clinically shocked. I felt like Paul Revere going back to the hotel going up to people and saying, "Do you know what I've just seen?" In other words, I'm reporting to you that everything you read in the press is true.
When Caspar Weinberger and George Shultz were interviewed before the last election - when they worked at Bechtel - by an L. A. Times reporter called Bob Scheer, both of them said, "Look, you can ask me anything you want but don't ask me about defense or foreign policy because I don't know anything about those two subjects." We now have them as the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.
Now I want to describe to you what happened to détente. Richard Nixon decided we could live with the Russians. We could produce arms control agreements, and he negotiated, indeed, nine of them. He decided we could swap ballet dancers and doctors and scientists and live in peace with them and trade with them. However, in 1975, there was a group of people led by Henry Jackson and others, like Paul Nitze, Eugene Rostow, Edwin Rowney, Caspar Weinberger, George Shultz, Richard Perle, Richard Burt - if you recognize those names they are this administration - who put together a committee called the Committee on the Present Danger, who said we don't like détente with Russia, we want to build more missiles and compete with them that way. They made a film called "The SALT II Syndrome" which showed big Russian missiles coming through dark woods, appealing to the archetypal fear in people. They said that Russia was ahead in nuclear weapons, which was a lie; they never have been qualitatively or quantitatively. And they said that you couldn't trust the Russians, which was also a lie. The Russians have signed seventeen major treaties on nuclear weapons, none of which have been substantially violated on either side. This film was financed by many wealthy individuals, including corporations who make the weapons, and it was shown on every TV station in the country.
I saw a change in the Seventies, nothing changed in Russia - Brezhnev was still there, getting more and more rigid by the day and older. Russians don't change, you know that. The only thing that changed was the American perception from "yes, we can trust the Russians, trade with them and work with and produce arms control treaties" to "oh, but you can't trust the Russians, they don't keep their treaties and they're ahead in nuclear weapons." On the coattails of that brilliant propaganda exercise was swept in the Reagan Administration, The Committee on the Present Danger. If you want to check my facts then please do, read my book Missile Envy which is all documented and referenced. [40:17]
So this is this administration. I want to tell you who actually runs the administration. It's a man on arms control. It's a man called Richard Perle, in the Pentagon, P-E-R-L-E. He's called by his colleagues the Prince of Darkness. He has said on several public occasions that he does not believe in arms control, period. He designed the START talks and the INF talks to fail. He asked the Russians to give up half their land-based missiles while America can build some more. He said he knew the Russians would walk out of the talks and indeed they did. He totally runs the Pentagon. Paul Nitze went for a walk in the woods - it's called a "Walk in the Woods Proposal" - with his Russian counterpart when he got sick of negotiating with his government behind him and so did the Russian counterpart. They worked out a proposal, called the 'Walk in the Woods Proposal' whereby the Russians would reduce down to seventy-five their SS-20's and America would only deploy seventy-five cruise missiles. He brought it back, Nitze did, to the Pentagon. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were in favor, the National Security Council liked it, State Department liked it, and even the President liked it. Richard Perle was on vacation, he came scampering back and totally destroyed the Walk in the Woods Proposal and soon after the Russians said they didn't like it either. That's Richard Perle and you should all understand who runs this administration. And to check up on this, there is a book on this that has just been written by a man called Strobe Talbott, who is a Time magazine correspondent, called Deadly Gambits, which talks about Richard Perle at length.
Now, I mentioned once before the administrations plan to fight and win a nuclear war. It's called the Defense Five Year Guidance Plan, which calls for America to fight and win a protracted nuclear war fought over a six-month period. Trouble is that such a war would use at least seven-thousand bombs, which would produce nuclear winter and destroy life on Earth. So this country now has an official plan for the suicide of the planet. I think that the people who devised the plan should be removed from office for the public health of the people of this country and the world.
When Caspar Weinberger was accused by the physicians and said you can't win a nuclear war, he said, "Oh I didn't really mean win, I meant prevail." The Pentagon's definition of prevailing in a nuclear war is, after the nuclear war when everything is smoking and dead, America has more nuclear weapons than Russia does, so America can prepare immediately to fight World War Four. That's the Pentagon's definition of prevailing in a nuclear war. The weapons they are building though, will make nuclear war a mathematical certainty. One of them is this Trident II missile which is incredibly accurate and is to be used to take out Russian missiles before they press their button. Oh, it's tremendous technology.
For those of you who are doing science and engineering you're going to find it hard to get a job out in the world that is not related in some way or another to producing weapons of mass genocide that will produce the global gas oven. Most R and D from this government now is going into the military to produce these weapons. The next one is the MX and exceedingly accurate missile with ten hydrogen bombs, each of which will land on the Soviet missiles before they launch their missiles. Next is the cruise missile - America is building eight-thousand of those. Cruise missiles are extraordinary technology. They fly underneath the radar just close to the Earth and they have a computerized map of the terrain in their nose and they match the map with the actual terrain and they fly over the hills and down the hill and across the valleys, several thousand miles, and when they get to their target they go look for it. They've got a bomb fifteen times larger than the Hiroshima bomb. You'd wonder why they need so much accuracy. But more than that, they're versatile, they carry either conventional or nuclear warheads and they're so small - they're fourteen feet long - they can be hidden from verification from satellite detection. We don't trust the Russians, they don't trust us. We know what they are doing because we watch them, but cruise missiles end arms control because they can be hidden in ships, in fishing trawlers, on the land, in semi-trailers. You see the other day, Russians are now deploying their long-range cruise missiles. So we're on the verge of the end of any control in nuclear weapons and arms control and treaties. That's why I left Madison, to try and save lives.
The second one is the Pershing II going into West Germany now. The Pershing II missile is to be used, according to the Pentagon, for decapitation of the Soviet leadership, a pleasant term, as I find as a physician. Anyway, it gets to Moscow in six minutes instead of thirty minutes, so in six minutes there is not enough time to call a conference to say "Gee, the computers made another mistake." Will we press the button? As the Soviet leaders are to be decapitated and as they control their whole arsenal and as they want their arsenal to be launched before or after they're decapitated, despite their being decapitated, they're going to computerize the button so the computer presses the button by itself with no human input. That's called launch on warning. So if a computer error last six minutes like the one I described to you, that's the end of the Earth. A mathematician has done a study to show us the number of computer errors increases and as the transit time for the new system decreases, it's going to be only a matter of time before accidental nuclear war occurs. [46:14]
Now let me tell you something else I learned the other day. You know Jerry Falwell? Jerry Falwell gave the benediction at the Republican Convention. Jerry Falwell believes in Revelations. He literally interprets Revelations that good will prevail over evil. Evil is the Soviet Empire, you've heard that before, the focus of all evil, the Soviet Empire - the President says it - and good is this country. I don't know about the rest of the world, they seem not to figure in these conversations. Armageddon is, in fact, nuclear war. Just before Armageddon occurs, one-third of man has the mark of God on their forehead and they're going to go straight up to heaven in the Rapture and meet Jesus up in the sky. I saw Jerry Falwell on TV the other day, he said, "Look, I don't know about you, but I've got my bags packed, and when the Rapture comes I'm going to go straight up to heaven." I thought that was a little un-Christian of him not to worry about us. But anyway, he's all fixed.
I was listening to "All Things Considered" last night and this man said "Look, you're flying around on an airplane and suddenly 'puff,' suddenly the pilot disappears and he goes straight up to heaven." Well, President Reagan got Jerry Falwell to brief the National Security Council last year, did you know that? President Reagan has said, and this has been documented eleven times since 1968, that he thinks we're the last generation before Armageddon comes. He literally interprets Revelations. He believes that the Soviet Union is the focus of all evil. He thinks a nuclear war will start in Israel and that the Soviet Union will be destroyed, hence the plan to fight and win a protracted nuclear war fought over a six-month period. Hence the Star Wars plans to block out a few Russian missiles that are not knocked out by the first strike. Winnable nuclear war and those that are in the know are going to go straight up and meet Jesus in the sky.
Let me give you some quotes from this administration. James Robinson, who gave the invocation to the Dallas Republican Convention: "Any teaching of peace is heresy, it's against the word of God." Well, that's because they want the Rapture to come and there are bumper stickers saying, "I'm praying for the Rapture." Casper Weinberger: "I have read the book of Revelations, and yes, I believe the world is going to end every day, I think that time is running out." Secretary of Defense, he and the President are the national command authority, and they have the authority in this country to press the button. President Reagan: "There have been times in the past when we have thought the end of the world was coming but never anything like this." James Watt: "I don't know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns." And Jerry Falwell: "Reagan told me, 'Jerry I sometimes believe we're heading very fast for Armageddon right now.'"
Do you know what it reminds me of? Do you remember Jim Jones in Guyana and the Kool-Aid vet? And everyone who - all his followers - loved Jim Jones and he got a thousand people to drink cyanide, and they killed themselves. Everybody, or lots of people, love President Reagan and he's being sold on television by the company that do the Pepsi-Cola ads, all packaged up like Pepsi-Cola. Now, I'm not saying he's not a nice man and I'm not saying he wouldn't have been a good President a hundred years ago; it wouldn't have mattered a darn. Now it's extremely dangerous. Are we really going to buy our President like a bottle of Pepsi-Cola or a bar of soap? Or are we going to use our brains and work out where we are in the nuclear age and that we're all about to be killed, by accident or by design?
People say what about Walter Mondale? I heard him speak the other day - he gave the most intelligent speech I've ever heard a politician give. He's charming and compassionate and he says if he's elected he's going to sit down with the Russian leaders and negotiate a freeze. We need a man in the White House with the courage to go and sit down with the Russian leaders like Richard Nixon did - it's easy! All he'll need to do is get in Air Force One, land in Moscow and say, "Hi Chernenko, I'm Reagan, let's talk," and I guarantee within a month he could get a nuclear weapons freeze. How do I know? Well, the Russians put a freeze on the table in Geneva two years ago. When eighty-percent of Americans wanted a freeze, it's been totally ignored by this administration. How dare they ignore the mandate from the American people? The Russians proposed a freeze in the United Nations eight months ago, the whole world voted to adopt it except America and a couple of its allies. [51:22]
How do I know how the Russian leaders feel? We work with their physicians in International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Dr. Chazov was Andropov's and Brezhnev's is now Chernenko's cardiologist - he's not having a very good track record, actually. He is the co-chairman of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. He frequently goes on national Soviet TV and talks to a hundred million Russians and tells them the effects of nuclear war. God give me an hour on national TV at prime time to tell the American people the medical consequences of nuclear war. The Russians know about it, what about the leaders? They are desperate, like desperate to negotiate. They got their backs to the wall and they just don't know what to do next.
What about the Russians, do we trust them? Do you know what, we trust them every second of our lives, because by leading the arms race in America and Russia copying and following, we've put the destiny of this nation into the hands of the Russian leaders. What an unpatriotic thing to have done. I told you, you shouldn't threaten paranoid patients. They are paranoid. If the dictum says if you don't like the guy in the other end of your life boat, you don't drill a hole in his end to fix him. If you're going to have a heart transplant tomorrow, when you surgeon comes in the night before do you tell him he's an evil surgeon, because he's going to be holding your heart in his hand tomorrow. The Russians hold our heart in their hands, true? We wake up each morning per favor of the Russians. Isn't it strange, they're really our best friends on the face of the Earth? Remember what Jesus said, it's easy to love your friends, what it's hard to do is love your enemies. The nuclear ages brought us full circle so that now it becomes a moral imperative to save the creation.
The marriage oath holds true to the Russians, we are married to them. Listen: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others 'til death do us part, according to God's holy name, I pledge thee my truth. Let's make friends with them like we did China and let's open the trading gates that they want to do and fill them up with McDonald's hamburgers and hot dogs and blue jeans and transistor radios and moderate their regime. Over night their weapons would come obsolete, we wouldn't even need them. Oh, but people say what about jobs? Well, what about jobs? We pay the farmers not to grow food and two-thirds of the world's children are malnourished and starving and every twenty-four hours forty-thousand babies under the age of one die of starvation. We can't sell the bombs, we can't eat them, we can't drive them to work, we can't wear them, they're a dead end industry. You hope to God they're never used. Over half the scientists are making them instead of making things we can buy and sell. Let's pay the men not to build the bombs, it would be much safer.
Remember after the Second World War, America with its brilliance, quickly converted from a military to a civilian economy over night? We can do it! All we have to do is make a decision, okay? [55:28]
Now I just want to give you a little bit of light humor. Don't worry about all of this. There are plans for you in the event of a nuclear war, worked out by a man called T. K. Jones, who is in the Pentagon who is in charge of civil defense. T. K. Jones said, "Don't worry, if there's a nuclear war, if there are enough shovels to go around, we're all going to make it." The plan is, and this is the official plan from your government, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as the bombs are coming across the pole at twenty times the speed of sound, you get out your shovel and you dig yourself a hole. Six-feet or five-feet long by three-feet wide and you put two doors on top of it, so you must carry around a screw driver at all times. You put three feet of dirt on top of the hole and you get in your hole. T. K. says, "It's the dirt that does it." Somebody legitimately asked the other day, "who puts the dirt on top of your hole after you get in the hole?" Well, there was a rather nasty, sexist remark - someone says, "Your mother in-law does."
Anyway, at a time of hardened international attention, they're going to evacuate a hundred-and-eighty-million Americans from risk areas to host areas, little villages out in the country. But it takes eight days to do that. The Russians have got satellites and they can see everything and they can say, "My God, all those Americans are evacuating, America is planning to strike first and win the nuclear war," and they just need to retarget their missiles on the evacuating population and also the cities from which you evacuated and the host areas. They have enough bombs to do that. Anyway, when you evacuate you must remember to take with you your credit cards, your bank books, your insurance policies and your wills, but you must not take any drugs or alcohol. As one of our physicians said recently, he thought that's just what he might like to take as he's sitting in his car in a traffic jam on the highway waiting to be vaporized. Well, don't worry if you get in a traffic jam, there's another plan. You drive your car to the side of the road and you get out the ubiquitous shovel and you dig a hole five feet by eight feet big. Now, you know, when the ground is frozen it's going to take some time to do. You drive your car over the top of the hole and cover with a tarpaulin and you get in the hole. Then after the nuclear war, about three or four weeks later, you get out the Geiger counter, stick it out behind the rear left wheel, and measure the ambient levels of radiation. And if it's safe you get out of your hole. So, don't worry, it's all taken care of - I'm glad you feel better.
Ok, now let's just move on to our children. The American Psychiatric Association examined our children recently, pre-college aged children, primary and secondary students, and found that most of them, the majority, seventy-five percent, believe they will die in a nuclear war before they grew up. Now, you might say they're just kids and kids don't know anything. You know that's not true, you know that children are incredibly smart, they're totally vulnerable to the truth and they don't develop the denial mechanism 'til late in adolescence. I know that, I treat children who die of a lethal disease called cystic fibrosis, anytime from birth to thirty years old. I've had little tiny children aged age four, who've said to me, "Doctor I'm going to die tonight," when I didn't know they were. Did you know they're always right? It was Jesus who said that out of the mouth of babes and sucklings comes the faith. A little girl was sitting at breakfast the other day in San Jose, four, out of the blue she said, "Mommy, if there's a nuclear war will God make us another world because we've been careless with this one?" An eight year old stood up before a forum of physicians and she said, "Nobody likes to be given a broken present at Christmas, that's how I feel about my life." A fifteen year old boy came up after he heard me talk, a pubertal boy, and he handed me a dirty note - listen to this for truth and take it on - he said "Remember people should be more afraid of nuclear war then they are to act or speak out against it." I looked at his face and it was trembling, he started to cry and he said, "I'm so frightened." I took him into my arms and I held him and I said, "We'll fix it for you." Will we? The children feel betrayed and isolated and alone. The only children who have a sense of emotional security are those children whose parents are working full time to stop this, and the little ones say, "Well, there's not going to be a nuclear war because my mommy and daddy, they go to meetings every night to stop it." [1:00:31]
If you've taken in what I've said to you tonight, you're going to enter the stages of grief because I've broken through your psychic numbing. That's what I wanted to do. Let me tell you how you're going to feel so you know that you're not abnormal. The first stage is shock and disbelief, 'this is unbelievable,' anyway, she's a bit emotional, some of the effects are wrong, first stage of grief. The next stage is profound depression. You'll look out on the world and you won't feel like getting up in the morning, you'll lose your sexual drive and your appetite, normal. If you don't feel it, wonder why you're still denying. The next stage is profound anger; use it constructively to save the Earth. The final stage is acceptance, which is where I am, "yes, the world might die, but I'm going to do everything I can do to stop it." Do you know how I feel? I've been terribly frightened these last few weeks as the election is coming on, almost desperate.
I can face my own death, I think. I know my children have to die because life is a terminal illness. But what I can't face is the tragedy of the end of the Earth. So I went out the other night and I looked up at the stars and I pondered that. That goes on forever, we think, and maybe we're the only life in the whole universe, and so why does it matter and anyway the sun is going to blow up in ninety-billion years. Then I come back to my children and the Earth. I've come to terms with it and I've worked out that if it happens I can look at my kids and I can say, "I tried," and I can look to God and I'll say, "I tried God, I tried to save it." Do you know what we've got to do? We have to make a total commitment to saving our planet. I'm asking you to do that tonight, to commit your life, your fortune and your sacred honor to your children and to the Earth. That means money.
Now, you're all committed to a car, you all have a car - you spend ten-thousand dollars for a car. When we ask for twenty-five dollars people say, "Is it tax deductible?" How much is it worth to you to save the lives of your children. If your child developed leukemia, how much would you spend to save that child's life? I would spend every single penny and borrow. I would spend every minute waking and sleeping to make sure my child survived. That's why I do this, for my kids. I've giving up medicine. My husband's just left Harvard Medical School. We've sold our big house and we're committing our life, our fortune and our sacred honor to our kids and to all the children of the world, and there aren't Communist babies or capitalist babies, a baby is a baby is a baby. I want you tonight to change the priorities in your life and realize everything else you're doing has absolutely no relevance at all.
If President Reagan is re-elected the weapons he's building will make nuclear war a mathematical certainty, if we allow them to go ahead and be built. Even if he's elected he may or may not press the button, I don't know. The only way to stop this is through the political process, I told you that before and I'm not speaking as a political activist, I'm speaking as a physician. In this congressional district is running a woman called Ruth McFarland who is a grandmother and a biologist and who is excellent on this issue, running against the incumbent called Danny Smith who has voted for all of these weapons systems which will create the global gas oven. I'm asking you tonight to stop what you're doing for the next three weeks - which are the most important weeks in the history of your life and the history of the planet - and put on your running shoes and get out there. You people in this theater could win the election for Ruth McFarland. She's going to be fantastic in Congress. Can't you imagine, walking around the halls of Congress? I want you to volunteer and work for her, I'm asking you to do that. If you want to live you'll do it. If you want to die and practice passive suicide, you won't do it. I'm laying a heavy trip on you now because I'm a physician and I'm pretty tough with my patients and I'm a darn good doctor and I keep them alive even when they should be dead. When they're lying there dying I say, "Okay, you can't die yet, it's not time," and they sit up in bed and they live for another year. Okay, I'm doing it to you now. Next, you volunteer for Walter Mondale, and let me give you the number you can call to work for him. Get your pencils out, here it is: 270-8200, got it? A lot of you haven't got their pencils out, do you want to die or not? Local number, 752-2420, have you written it down? If you haven't you're crazy. I'm laying it on you, this is not a political message I'm giving you this is in order to save your lives. [1:06:39]
Now, what else? What if President Reagan gets re-elected, is that the end? No. There is an election coming up in two years where the whole house and one-third of the Senate are up for election. Why do I stress the Congress? It's the Congress that appropriates the money for the weapons. If we tell them not to appropriate our money to build these weapons to kill us all, they won't do it. Let me give you a parable. There was a little old lady called Betty Tuttle - this is a Betty Tuttle parable - who heard me talk three years ago. She's shy and diminutive and lacks self-confidence. She got a big shock, decided to work for Nick Mavroulis, who was in her area and represented the MX because it was being built in his district, but he was better than the guy running against him. She registered voters, she held big public forums, she educated the press, she did it all by herself and she got Nick elected by a couple thousand votes because that's how many most elections are won or lost by. He changed from being a big time hawk to a leading opponent of the MX on the House floor and the leading supporter of the freeze. If he ever dares to vote the wrong way now, he's gets a call, "This is Betty Tuttle speaking." Who owns Nick Mavroulis, Rockwell International or Betty Tuttle? That is the magic of America and that's why you live.
Hands up those of you who think you live in a true democracy? You know, that's what I get from coast to coast. Who runs your country? Do you agree the corporations do? Do you know why they run your country? Because you've abdicated your responsibility as American citizens and if you don't use your democracy you have no right to live here - it's a privilege and an honor to live in America. People are dying all over the world to establish themselves a democracy, and here you've got one. How many of you, you'll probably be embarrassed, how many of you are registered to vote? Okay, the ones who didn't put up their hands will go and register tomorrow and will stand tall as true Americans and vote, that's the least you can do. Hands up for those of you who are going to go and work for Ruth McFarland - come on, put your hands up for God's sake, come on! Do you want to live or do you want to die? Okay, now in 1986 is another election, we are going to run women and good men, who are in touch with their feminine principle, against every bad Congressperson in 1986. We are going to form the 200 Club like Jerry Falwell's 700 Club and we're going to elect two-hundred women to the Congress in 1986, and that means you and you. That means you've all got to start deciding to become political and take over your country. We can easily do this. By 1986 the people who are for life and not for death can take over the country, it's so simple. Then we'll appropriate money to the corporations who build things to save this country, to clean up the pollution, to buy and sell things overseas, to feed all the people of the world, it's so easy it's like falling off a log and we're going to do it by '86. [1:10:18]
Now, if you want to help us there's an organization I've founded called, Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament. You don't have to be a woman, just a kind loving man. The woman in most need of liberation is the woman in every man, okay? We know all you guys are really soft, kind and loving people inside who want to do the right thing, so you're all welcome. To join you can get the brochures in the back of the hall as you go out. We'll tell you how to run for Congress, we'll tell you how to work for the people who are running for Congress, we'll tell you how to save this country and save the world, of the people, by the people and for the children. Okay? You got the message? We've got three weeks to vote on the fate of the Earth and then we've got two years, and after that, if it doesn't work, I think it's probably too late.
Do you know what we were born for, this generation? You and I were conceived for one reason only and that was to save the Earth. What an incredible privilege, what an enormous responsibility. The hope lies not in me, not in Mondale, but in each one of you, in your hearts, in your souls, in your mind. I stress again, nothing else you do in life, passing exams, going to parties, making money, has any significance besides saving God's creation. If there's a nuclear war, not only will we kill our babies and our children and our future babies yet to be conceived, but we will destroy our heritage, millions of years of evolution, left to use by our ancestors. Imagine a world with no more of Handel's Water Music, no more Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, no Beethoven's Violin Concerto, no more Shakespeare or Dickens or Rembrandt or Picasso or Renoir.
Now, you've all been in love, some of you might be in love right now, it's the most incredible feeling that any of us can ever experience, the generosity between two people. And it's love that makes the babies. Can I have that baby?
This is Rosie, she's five months old. Rosie is the symbol of what I'm talking about all night, only Rosie. Will Rosie live to be a grandmother? That's your decision, not mine, yours. Russian babies look just like Rosie.
I want to end by reciting the most beautiful love poem that was ever written, because it was love that created Rosie. It was written by William Shakespeare and it's his 18th Sonnet and it epitomizes everything I've talked about - the past, the future, the present and what we've got to do to save the Earth. It goes like this:
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, and summer's lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, and often is his gold complexion dimm'd; and every fair from fair sometime declines, by chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd. But thy eternal summer shall not fade nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade, when in eternal lines to time thou growest. So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, so long lives this and this gives life to thee."
Rosie is a symbol of human love. [1:15:21]
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