[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V0 #119

C70:arms-d (06/12/82)

>From HGA@MIT-MC Fri Jun 11 23:31:23 1982

Arms-Discussion Digest                            Volume 0 : Issue 119

Today's Topics:
                  Some sober facts about nuclear war
                            Digest Readers
                       Why the Hiroshima bomb?
                           The middle east

Date: 6 June 1982 00:06-EDT
From: Gene Salamin <ES at MIT-MC>
Subject: Some sober facts about nuclear war


               Supplement to May 1982 issue of Access to Energy
                   Copyright 1982 by Access to Energy
        Available for a stamped, self-addressed envelope from
                         Access to Energy
                         Box 2298
                         Boulder, CO 80306

     Yes, nuclear war would be terrible, and the facts below are in no
way intended to belittle its horror.  They are, however, intended to
refute the myth that nuclear war means the end of civilization, making
defense of the Free World pointless.

   Is it not true that each superpower has enough nuclear weapons to
   kill all menbers of mankind several times over?

Yes.  And the same is true for kitchen knives.

   But a single nuclear bomb can wipe out a whole city.

No, it can't.  You would need 438 megaton bombs (the power of 22000
Hiroshima- sized bombs) to destroy Los Angeles [1], and none of them
could be "wasted" on pulverising the rubble, or you would need more.

   Then how come Hiroshima and Nagasaki were each destroyed by a
   single bomb?

They weren't.  Earth-covered backyard shelters were undamaged at 100
yards from ground zero, and the photo shows a woodframe house at
exactly 1 mile from ground zero at Hiroshima [2].  [The photo shows a
2 story frame with most of the walls gone, and the upper story
partially toppled. - ES] The day after the blast the bridges were open
to traffic, the second day trains were operating, and the third day
some streetcars resumed service [3].  The people in the two cities had
neither warning nor basements; yet in Dresden, where they had both,
about as many were killed in the air raids of 13 February 1945 as in

   But the Hiroshima bomb was 1000 times less powerful than the
   H-bombs used in today's warheads.

The distance of equal destruction varies as the third root of the
released energy; 1000 times more powerful means the same destruction
at 10 times the distance.  An earth-covered shelter would be undamaged
at 1000 yards from ground zero, and a wooden house as above would be
comparably damaged at a distance 0f 10 miles rather than 1 mile.
Grim, but not the end of the world.

   But the radiation from nuclear bombs would leave the earth a
   radioactive inferno for decades, and the survivors would die of
   cancer, leaving genetically damaged offspring.

This, paradoxically, is wishful thinking: if it were so, no one would
contemplate nuclear war.  In fact, only a few hundred of Hiroshima's
70,000 dead were victims of radioactivity, and no genetic damage could
be detected against the normal background among the survivors, though
they (and even their chromosomes) have been examined with
extraordinary thoroughness for decades.  This is not surprising, since
ordinarily only those who suffer unprotected exposure to the initial
radiation will receive a dose high enbough to be lethal (400 rems will
kill half the exposed victims, 1000 rems virtually all of them).

   But the fallout will eventually kill eyerybody.

No, it won't.  In essence, the highly radioactive isotopes will soon
spend themselves, while the long-lived isotopes do not radiate
intensely (though some can be dangerous if they get into the body).
Shelters can protect from early fallout and filtration can prevent
ingestion of radionuclides such as strontium and iodine.  Iodine is
typical for scaremongering: the defeatists fan hysteria for levels one
thousand times lower than those at which radioiodine is given to
healthy patients for diagnostic purposes [4].

   But that would mean spending years in shelters.

No, it wouldn't.  Use the rule of seven: For every sevenfold increase
in time, the radioactive level due to fallout decreases by an order of
10.  If the level 1 hour after detonation was 1000 units/hour, it will
decline to 100 units/hr in 7 hours, and to 10 in 49 hours, or about
two days.  The level measured 1 day after detonation will decline to
1/10 in a week, to 1/100 in 7 weeks, and to 1/1000 in less than a year
(7^3 = 343 days).

   And how does one live without food or water for 343 days?

One does not have to.  Food and water are not contaminated by fallout
radiation, only by the particles themselves.  Dust-proof packed food
remains uncontaminated, and radioactive particles can be filtered from
contaminated water.  For details, see Kearney's "Nuclear Survival
Skills" [5].

   But instead of all these gruesome details, is it not better to keep
   the peace by the "balance of terror" via "Mutually Assured

There is nothing balanced or mutual about this doctrine; it is the
root of America's present predicament.  Under the MAD strategy of
unilateral self- deterrence, the US dismantled its anti-aircraft
missile defense, canceled its anti-ballistic missile system, and
deliberately let its civil defense die, all under the assumption that
if the civilian populations were defenseless hostages to nuclear
destruction, it would deter war.

   And it didn't?

To the contrary, it brought war much closer.  The Soviets were not so
stupid as to accept the MAD strategy.  While America disarmed, they
feverishly built up their forces and turned civil defense into a
weapon of war: their grandiose evacuation plans would allow them a
first strike against US missile silos, risking the loss of only a few
million people (peanuts to the fanatics in the Politbureau) in a
retaliatory strike by the US; but such retaliation would not come, for
no US president could agree to losing more than half of America's
population if the Soviets threatened a second strike in return.

   What has prevented them doing that?

Insufficient accuracy for pinpointing US missile silos (or oil
refineries and power plants, or similar jugular points) [6] and an
unwillingness to gamble.  Once they have achieved the necessary
accuracy, they will believe (with good reason?) that America will give
in without resistance under the Chamberlain- Carter-Kennedy mentality.

   What, then, WILL prevent war?

What has unfailingly deterred war through the ages: the will to fight
and the capacity to win.  In time, America's technological superiority
might let it regain the capacity to win; but it is the will to defend
itself that is now being dangerously sapped by defeatists, demagogues
and fear peddlers.

   But there has never been a war as terrible as nuclear war.

There has never been a war as terrible as the next one.  Yet there
have always been men and women who stood up to evil and risked their
lives for their liberty.

   But the losses in nuclear war would be so terrible that defense for
   whatever reason becomes immoral.

The morality of war does not depend on the weapons with which it is
fought.  You have exactly one life to risk in the defense of
everything that makes it worth living, and it matters little whether
you lose it to a spear, a bullet, or nuclear radiation.  Your
forefathers risked, and often gave, that one life for your life,
liberty and pursuit of happiness.  You have no right to squander their
heritage, to invite war by weakness, and to leave your children to the
demeaning cancer of serfdom.

[1] Interview with Gen. J. K. Singlaub, "Survive", May/June 1982.

[2] "The Effects of Nuclear Weapons", 3rd ed., US Dept. of Defense, 1977.

[3] L. W. Beilenson, "Survival and Peace in the Nuclear Age", Regnery/Gateway,

[4] "Doctors Against Health" and "The Radiation Bogey", Golem Press.

[5] Caroline House Publishers, 920 W. Industrial Dr., Aurora, IL 60506.

[6] "The Effects of Nuclear War", Office of Technology Assesment, May 1979.


Date: 6 Jun 1982 1807-EDT

If we're so worried about the Soviet readers of arms-d, why not worry
about the Defense Department readers as well?  At least the
"pacifists" (I would dare call myself one) will not conduct covert
investigations of those whose comments may prove unduly of interest.

			Will Doherty (WDOHERTY@BBNG)


Date:  7 June 1982 2115-EDT (Monday)
From: David.Smith at CMU-10A (C410DS30)
Subject:  Why the Hiroshima bomb?

Here is an interesting piece out of a letter to the editor of the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, by Charles Tichy, President of the
Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association, printed June 7, 1982.
(The letter is a response to the sports writers' condemnation of the
University of Pittsburgh's intention to require foreign language

    "It is even this attitude [refusing to learn other languages and
    cultures] which contributed to the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.
    Specialists of Japanese have commented that that first nuclear
    weapon may never have been dropped had the word "mokusatsu" been
    correctly translated during the Potsdam surrender ultimatum.  It
    was assumed incorrectly that the word meant "ignore," thereby
    forcing the United States to proceed with the nuclear bombardment.
    Correctly rendered the phrase means "withholding comment pending


Date: 10 Jun 1982 0831-PDT
From: Jim McGrath <CSD.MCGRATH at SU-SCORE>
Subject: The middle east

Do people think Israel can, through its recent military actions (which
we all know will enable them to grab whatever territory and kill
anyone they want) secure a lasting peace?  Particularly, can they
establish a secure and independent government up north, something that
has not existed for at least 6 years?



Date: 7 May 1982 1029-EDT
Subject: SSDII

The Japanese Peace Petition calling for "No More Hiroshimas" (which
will be presented to the United Nations Second Special Session on
Disarmament) contains 35 million signatures, weighs 20 tons, and must
be transported by three jumbo jets.  Warehouse space is now being
sought in NYC to store it.

People around the world have confirmed their plans to attend the June
12th (sorry, not the 14th as I said before).  The numbers to date are
overwhelming:		Canada and Alaska	2000
			Near East		 100
			Africa			 100
			British Islands and Ireland
			Central and South Europe 500
			Central and S. America   250
			East Europe		 500
			Scandinavia		 500
			Japan			1000
			Pacific Rim (including Hawaii)

It will be interesting to see the reaction of the Reagan
administration to the general uproar over present nuclear arms


End of Arms-D Digest