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Sunday, 24 December 2017 22:50

Doomsday Machine

Written by  Bob Serody

Many years ago, a movie by Stanley Kubrick talked about a ‘doomsday machine’ that would wipe out all life on the planet. The movie was called Dr. Strangelove or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb, and it had quite an impact at the time as a satire where American military leaders could unleash a global nuclear war, assuming a breakdown in the chain of command. The ‘doomsday machine’ referred to in the movie was the Soviet Union’s retaliation for a massive U.S. attack, where all nuclear bombs under its control would be simultaneously detonated, thereby activating a nuclear winter. At the time, I don’t believe that people took the movie that seriously, because it emphasized a scenario based on an unbelievable level of incompetence and outright stupidity. Recall for instance that at the end of the movie, Slim Pickens rode a hydrogen bomb on its way to a large city dropped from a US bomber as he waved a cowboy hat screaming “Yahoo”!

Daniel Ellsberg, the author of The Pentagon Papers, has just come out with a book entitled Doomsday Machine that discusses some very unsettling points, including the fact that the president has had too much power. Dr. Strangelove was released in 1964, just one year after the Kennedy assassination, and shortly after the world came within a cat’s whisker of all-out nuclear warfare. When two nuclear-armed world leaders confronted each other over the Cuban Missile Crisis, we were faced with the unthinkable: one of these men either had to blink and back down, or a world holocaust would be released.

In discussing this very close encounter, Ellsberg mentions that U.S. military leaders actually had a plan in place where, in the event of nuclear war, we would use our nuclear arsenal to target every Soviet city with a population of at least 26,000 people. This action would release so much radioactive material and soot into the upper atmosphere, that the light from the sun would be reduced by 70%, followed by the destruction of the world’s food supply within a decade. Suddenly, the doomsday machine in Dr. Strangelove no longer seems that strange.

We are told that the North Koreans have made substantial progress in their ability to launch ICBMs that can reach the United States. President Trump’s threats to destroy North Korea only exacerbate an already dangerous situation. Ellsberg brings up the fact that a preemptive strike on North Korea will not prevent its ability to retaliate indirectly by delivering a nuclear bomb to an American port on a ship and detonating it with a radio signal. Missteps can also drag China and Russia into a confrontation with the United States that would heighten the prospect of the doomsday scenario. How can we prevent life from being terminated on our planet?

The United States, in spite of the dangers associated with an overly emotional and seemingly uncontrollable President, must rely on Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which states that only Congress can declare war. It’s time for Congress to re-exert its authority as stated in the Constitution before it’s too late.


 Bob Serody is a member of Space Coast Progressive Alliance.

*ED. NOTE: The views expressed here are solely those of the author. SCPA does not endorse candidates and welcomes commentary on a wide range of issues, including political campaigns, local, regional and national. If interested in contributing commentary, please contact SCPA

Last modified on Tuesday, 20 February 2018 20:17
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