Daniel Ellsberg


Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, discusses his article “For nuclear security beyond Seoul, eradicate land-based ‘doomsday’ missiles;” the slow pace of nuclear weapons reductions, despite much lip service from every US president since Carter; the surprising low number of hydrogen bombs required to cause nuclear winter and effectively end life on earth; redefining nuclear deterrence in terms of dozens of missiles instead of thousands; why everyone loses in nuclear war, even the nation to get a “first strike;” and the complete list of references for the scientific studies, data, and historical incidences mentioned in the article.

Update: Your host was apparently wrong. The footnote I was thinking of was this report [.pdf] which does not refer to 14 nukes anywhere. Sorry.

MP3 here. (47:19)

Daniel Ellsberg is the author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. His upcoming book is titled The American Doomsday Machine.

In 1959 Daniel Ellsberg worked as a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to the Defense Department and the White House, specializing in problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. He joined the Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs), John McNaughton, working on Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department in 1965 to serve two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, evaluating pacification on the front lines.

On return to the RAND Corporation in 1967, he worked on the Top Secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, the Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.

25 thoughts on “Daniel Ellsberg”

  1. But we´ve got the Pentagon Office For First Strike Plans. According to Der Spiegel 49/2011 everything will be ready by 2020 leading to Launch On Warning and Accidental Nuclear War. Bloody fools in the Pentagon ! Only Bob Aldridge -www.plrc.org-realized it´s suicidal, resigned and wrote First Strike! The Pentagon´s Strategy For Nuclear War (also available in German, French and Danish).

  2. According to Bob Aldridge the US Navy can track and destroy all enemy submarines simultaneously (Nuclear Empire, ch. 9 and research papers on http://www.plrc.org). And there´ll be no burning cities. For 40-50 years the Pentagon has been aiming to achieve a disarming first strike capability. For that reason the warheads on MX and the D5 on Trident-2 were designed to minimize nuclear winter effects if used against missile silos according to Professor Paul Rogers. They think they can make a First Strike and avoid Nuclear Winter ! For that reason General Harbottle said to me when I interviewed him for a radio programme: "They are bloody fools in the Pentagon !" Professor J. Edward Anderson: The deployment of anti-missile missiles in Eastern Europe is part of a first-strike strategy. The MX and D5 warheads are designed to minimize nuclear winter effects by First Strike against silos. The MX was cancelled but the warhead was put on Minuteman-3 ? But with Launch On Warning it never makes any sense at all, so the good General Harbottle stated "they are bloody fools in the Pentagon" and Bob Aldridge resigned because pursuing a disarming first strike capability is suicidal.

  3. That was the reason Navstar (now known as GPS) was developed, for midcourse corrections of Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 to get an accuracy of less than 30 meters, necessary to destroy missile silos.

  4. The missiles in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland are to take out the Russian second strike force, i.e. the missiles surviving First Strike by Minuteman-3 and Trident-2. The missiles in Eastern Europe is an anti-retaliation force.

  5. Thanks Claus for your diligent and never ending efforts to expose the insane nature of U.S. nuclear posture available to us….

  6. Ultimate first-strike

    Come gentlemen, let us design a control system that would give us the option of aborting our nukes in mid-air, even after an all-out nuclear attack. Here are my facts, you take it from there:

    (1) A hydrogen bomb needs an A-bomb to explode it, and an A-bomb needs an explosive trigger devise.

    (2) So, if an ICBM were fired at an enemy and a decision was made to abort, its flight path could be changed to land near our submarine and the three key elements dropped separately and so far apart as to not ignite each other.

  7. NATO GS Anders Fogh Rasmussen claims the anti-missile missiles in Eastern Europe have nothing to do with Russia, they are defense against Iran and North Korea ! The Russian NATO-Ambassador asked in Washington: If people from Mars had disarmed Iran completely, would you still deploy the missiles in Eastern Europe ? And they answered: Yes, that will go ahead as decided ! A Disarming/Unanswerable First Strike Capability is suicidal. And by the way, launching Minuteman-3 under any circumstance is suicidal because of Nuclear Winter. But as Professor J. Edward Anderson-authot of Nuclear War Fighting Means First Strike-indicates they don´t really believe in Nuclear Winter in the Pentagon or that they can somehow get around that problem also.

  8. That it´s suicidal anyway made General Harbottle call them "bloody fools" in the Pentagon, why can´t they adhere to MAD (and that´s mad enough) and give their children at least a minimal chance of survival RESIGN, RESIGN as Bob Aldridge did. The Pentagon must stop pursuing a first strike capability. Are we no more than lemmings ? Does it happen now and then -www.mcremo.com ?

  9. First-strike — Now made obsolete by abort-strike

    See my post above, surely anyone who disagrees with me is a paid actor posting garbage confusion here to protect excessive wealth.

  10. First-strike — Now made obsolete by abort-strike

    See my post above, surely anyone who disagrees with me is a paid actor posting garbage confusion here to protect excessive wealth.

  11. CND Information Officer David Guinness suggests a US Disarming First Strike Capability is "only" for Blackmail but that doesn´t make sense either. Are they just nuts in the Pentagon ?

  12. Forget “first-strike” — Star wars is in full force and effect

    Have we not put humans into orbit and from outer space returned them safely, with pinpoint accuracy rubber tires rolling to a stop on concrete runways? Surely, and doing it with nuclear warheads is less then half as demanding.

    Keep in mind that 90% of the reason a nation’s leaders build nuclear weapons is to enhance their ability to gain fearful submission from the public, to in essence terrorize the public. What the stupidity of first strike is all about, the illusion that all is now hopeless because our military has committed an irreversible error that no technical advance could overcome.

    For science is infinite, science locking us into a blind alley is not the problem, its our desire to plunder the world that has us headed toward an irreversible problem.

  13. do you have proof of doing that or are you repeating what the telly told you?

    3d3d, you are the man! but no one can take out the latino out of latin “americans” as the can’t take midleeast out of middle “east”.

    @stoop id : why would ‘die gut’ need you to do his bidding if he was that powerfull.

  14. Since 1970 the Pentagon has been working overtime to replace MAD with Disarming First-Strike Capability. Because it´s suicidal, the great Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge -www.plrc.org-resigned and wrote The Counterforce Syndrome. The reason GPS was made, was to hit Russian missile silos accurately. Its original name was NAVSTAR. The warheads on Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 are designed to minimize nuclear winter effects if used against silos.

  15. Very Enjoyable! I hope you write more on this subject! Wow, that was pretty interesting. Inspiring, as well. Thanks for sharing such inspiring experience with us. Great blog, congrats! This is a nice post in an interesting line of content.Thanks for sharing this article, great way of bring such topic to discussion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.