[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V3 #27

arms-d@ucbvax.ARPA (05/06/85)

From: Moderator <ARMS-D@MIT-MC>

Arms-Discussion Digest Volume 3 : Issue 27
Today's Topics:

		       We're Back on the Air
		Laymen's perceptions of intelligence
		   Making it easy for the Soviets
	     Star Wars studies and conflict of interest

From: The (new and old) Moderator
Subject:  The Return of Arms-D

With the aid of many people, Arms-D distribution has been improved,
and I hope to get about one issue out a day.  I thank the group of
moderators that have maintained the list for the last few years, and
thanks you all for waiting patiently for the last week.

					- Harold


Date: 26 Apr 85 11:00:24 PST (Friday)
From: Hoffman.es@Xerox.ARPA
Subject: Laymen's perceptions of intelligence

Jeff Miller makes the point that more sources are better than fewer,
and U.S.  intelligence analysts have the most sources, public as well
as private.  I tend to believe him on both points.  

But I'll tell you this layman's perceptions of intelligence:
Intelligence, AS REVEALED TO THE U.S.  PUBLIC, is just the same as a
single source like Cockburn and his 'former intelligence official'.  I
believe the public is only told what the Administration wants to make
public, and that is quite predictable, and, to me, usually
unbelievable.  The Administration gets to choose what they reveal;
they don't have to tell sources, they don't have to mention even the
existence of any opposing intelligence or interpretation.  THAT's why
I don't trust what they tell me.  

If I had access to the professional intelligence analysts' reports
BEFORE the Administration edited them, THAT I would believe over, say,

--Rodney Hoffman


Date: 29 Apr 1985 12:15:44 EDT (Monday)
From: Jeff Miller AMSTE-TOI 4675 <jmiller@apg-1>
Subject: Laymen's Perceptions of Intelligence - Response to Hoffman

     Mr. Hoffman has championed my point, although I 
suspect nothing was furter from his intentions.
     I've never contended that the information released 
by government leaders be used as a yardstick of the 
quality of intelligence used to formulate defense 
     My point has been that one can  find much more 
fertile grounds for criticizing defense policies than a 
source like Cockburn, because the intelligence upon 
which he bases his conclusions is often at great 
variance with current all-source intelligence. I am 
aware of a number of inconsistencies in his work.
     I must confess that I have been thunderstruck that 
reasonably intelligent people cannot assume that, when 
they read an open source work, a lot of the information 
inside is not the last word in intel methods or 
     Nowhere in the functions of intelligence is there a 
function or a responsibility to inform the public. That 
is the job of the national leadership, which will always 
be influenced by political motives. I can tell you that 
very little of what is released is unaltered. This often 
occurs because senior intelligence officials tend to 
fight doggedly against release, usually compromising 
only after information is altered. This is not done, as 
some would believe, because these men are liars, but 
because they are justifiably ferocious in protecting 
sources. I often wonder at information that is 
deliberately not released - especially when such release 
would work to the advantage of the administration. For 
instance, ( war story ) I was the second senior officer 
in the technical intelligence operations during Urgent 
Fury. I ran the collection, identification, inventory 
and evacuation of all captured equipment. I know by 
heart what quantities of which types of weapons were 
captured. I can only say that the figures publicly 
released by the government are extremely low, in the 
neighborhood of less than a tenth of the real numbers. 
And as for the stories about "antique" weapons, yes, 
there were a few thousand WWII vintage and older 
weapons, and these made up perhaps as high as 10% of the 
weapons found.  The rest were the same kinds of modern 
weapons that are in use every day in Beirut, Cambodia, 
Nicaragua, Namibia  etc.
     Why does the story persist that there weren't many 
weapons captured, and that those that were turned out to 
be museum pieces?
     Journalists, living in hotels in, St George as 
opposed to living in the Frequente warehouses, who 
spent perhaps a total of two hours milling around the 
warehouses ( which we had half emptied by the time they 
were permitted on the island ) saw half-empty warehouses 
and some stacks of Lee Enfield rifles. Military 
spokesmen for some reason had nothing to say, so the 
story came out based entirely on that evidence available 
to the newsmen. It was wrong.

     I've often wondered why the administration did not 
capitalize on the amount of materiel captured, but I'm 
not concerned, because , again, it is not the 
responsibility of intelligence to inform the public.


Date: Fri, 26 Apr 85 18:28:57 EST
From: Herb Lin <LIN@MIT-MC>
Subject:  Making it easy for the Soviets

    From: Lin

    Please provide an analysis that says that ERWs are the good way to
    kill tanks. (paraphrase)

    From: Jeff Miller AMSTE-TOI 4675 <jmiller at apg-1>

             In depth analysis not necessary. 

This says it all.  I wish that people *would* do serious analysis,
because mostly their judgments are based on unsupported opinion.

    Simple concept. ERWs 
    kill tank crews and open infantry by use of "fast" neutrons 
    produced in fusion.  Unlike currently deployed (and apparently 
    more acceptable to pacifists) fission weapons, ERWs would not 
    emit as tremendous heat, blast and fallout, since they use only a 
    minimum of fissile material as a trigger.

True that ERWs are less dangerous to surrounding people/villages than
ordinary fission weapons.  Why wouldn't an equal investment in
precision-guided antitank weapons be (a) more effective and (b) more
politically acceptable?  No peacenik dupe that I know of (e.g., Robert
McNamara) would arge that better anti-tank weapons would be a good

I await a serious analysis.


Received: from apg-1 by MIT-MC.ARPA; 29 APR 85 13:36:21 EDT
Date: 29 Apr 1985 13:28:28 EDT (Monday)
From: Jeff Miller AMSTE-TOI 4675 <jmiller@apg-1>
Subject: More dupe-to-dupe explanation.
To: Herb Lin <LIN@MIT-MC>
Cc: arms-d@mit-mc, jmiller@apg-1

     When it comes to providing our ground and air forces with 
advanced anti-tank weapons, I will gladly carry you on my back 
through the halls of Congress to push it through, if that would 
do it. It would of course mean overall increases in force levels, 
which would help balance the threat in Europe. Nuclear weapons of 
any kind are merely bargaining chips, valuable in their sinister 
way,only by deterrance and trade-off. I harbor an ex-soldier's 
unshakable instinct that tactical nuclear weapons of any type, 
rather than offseting numerical superiority, will lead to intra-,
and intercontinental escalation. I welcome any motion to expand 
our conventional forces.
     My sarcastically expressed concern is not over the ERW as 
"the ultimate anti-tank weapon", rather, over the fact that this 
highly useful bargaining chip, which was greatly feared by the 
Soviets ( FACT; if you want to hear more, I suggest we get 
together in a public place), was effectively cancelled by a 
large-scale intelligence campaign.
     This is not to say there is anything wrong in being anti-
nuke. This is not to say the Soviets use only liberal cause 
groups as their "dupes", as you like to say.( They use anybody, 
to include the KKK. So the argument that goes: "so what if the KGB 
is influencing my cause as long as its right?" is empty because 
it fails to recognize that the KGB isn't helping fund and 
organize because it is concerned with peace or morality, but 
because it is a handy means to harm the US.)
     Final point; I've been going back through the ARMS-D 
archives. Herb Lin complaining about somebody not providing 
substantive analysis!  What a hoot!!


Date:  1 May 85 02:17 EDT
From: Andy.Hisgen@CMU-CS-A.ARPA
Subject: Star Wars studies and conflict of interest

This comes from the N.Y.Times, Tuesday, April 30, 1985:
By Wayne Biddle
     Washington, April 29 -- Military contractors that stand to 
profit the most from developing a space-based antimissile system
have been assigned the task of deciding its feasibility, a private
study has charged.
     The Council on Economic Priorities said the program was "rife
with potential for conflict of interest."


Date: 26 Apr 85 12:02:20 PST (Fri)
From: Laurinda Rohn <rohn@rand-unix>

From: alice!wolit@UCB-VAX.ARPA

>> From: Laurinda Rohn <rohn@rand-unix>
>> Estimates of casualties range from down in the thousands for attacks
>> like #4 [Leadership attack] to a million or so for
>> #1 [Counterforce] to upwards of 10 million for #3 [Countervalue].
>> [#2 = Countermilitary, #5 = C3 attack.]
>> The reason the media doesn't talk about things
>> like #1 or #4 is that those attacks aren't nearly so gruesome or
>> sensational as the country being blown to bits.

>Gimme a break, Laurinda!  Casualties "down in the thousands" for an
>attack that takes out "the White House, the Pentagon, and Congress"!!!
>We're talking about several million people who live in D.C., unless
>you envision an attack by a human wave of Iranian teenagers, or something...
>Similarly, the estimates I've read of the results of a counterforce
>attack run from more like several tens of millions just from fallout alone
>up to the whole shebang if you believe -- as does the Pentagon -- in
>nuclear winter.

It would make discussions much more interesting for all concerned if
you would read the postings *before* you start, ah, commenting on them.
Nowhere did I say or even imply that these were MY estimates.  What I
*did* say was that I was simply describing the basic sorts of strategic
attacks and jargon used by analysts in the nuclear strategy field as
someone had questioned in a previous digest why estimates of casualties
were so different.  There are very wide ranges for casualty estimates
for any type of attack.

>                 As for 10 million dead in a countervalue [nice euphemism
>for city-busting] attack, you could easily generate that with, say, 5
>bombs each on NY and Chicago, which is more like what RAND strategists
>consider to be "communication of intentions" rather than serious

You apparently didn't notice that I said "upwards of 10 million".  Again,
there are many estimates.  Just out of curiosity, how many RAND strategists
have you talked to who say 10 million dead would not be "serious war-

>             Besides, it is already widely acknowledged that AUTHORITY
>exists well below the level of the residents of the White House, the
>Pentagon, and Congress for launching nuclear attacks in their absence,
>and the ABILITY exists right down to the level of the individual sub
>captain, bomber pilot, or missile crew, so it's all but 100% assured
>that a #4 or #5 will degrade to a #2 and #3 in a matter of hours,
>making the casualty figures for such attacks mere fantasies.

I'd like to know your sources, especially for your first statement.  I
doubt seriously that it's "widely acknowledged."  And nothing is 100%
assured except death and taxes....

>I'm glad that you don't consider your opinions to be those of "any
>resonable entity," since they're clearly not!  After the last world war,
>we hanged those who expounded the theories that inspired the
>prosecution of aggressive war (which included political assasination
>-- your "#4 attack").  What size necktie do YOU wear?
>Jan Wolitzky, AT&T Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ; 201 582-2998; alice!wolit
>(Affiliation given for identification purposes only)

Again, it would improve your arguments if you would read what you're
arguing against first.  I don't think I was "expounding" theories; my
intent was to clarify some terminology and to provide some information
for someone who asked.  I most certainly did *not* say anything to
inspire anyone to war.  As for the personal attack(s), if you wish to
continue that sort of thing, please do so by private mail.  I really
don't think it's appropriate for the digest.


[End of ARMS-D Digest]