[ RadSafe ] RE: Belgian activists breach nuke site

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Mon Feb 8 11:58:57 CST 2010

Hi, Clayton.


As I said in part of my post you didn’t quote, “The politics, strategy, and tactics around nuclear weapons is complex, with many layers of though the general public is unaware of.”  Part of the politics and strategy is using nuclear weapons as a deterrent, to convince those who would attack you that you will respond with devastating violence, to the point where they cannot “win”.  If they are adequately convinced, they will find other pathways to advance their policies.  There are many parts to making deterrent strategy work, but a key part is making sure your potential enemies are certain that the people responsible for actually using the weapons are reliable, and will neither use them without proper authorization, nor refuse to use them when legal orders require them to.  


You are welcome to not like nuclear deterrence, I find it a sub-optimal way to run a world, myself.  But it has the advantage that it does not require either side to actually trust the other side to do anything more than act in its own self interest.  It bought us (the world-wide us) enough time for political and economic factors to change the world, mostly for the better.  


The world has continued to change, and there is fair reason to wonder about the value of nuclear deterrence in the current situation.  That is why we and the Russians have stood down and dismantled big chunks of our programs.  But I suspect that there are still, and will be in the future, nations whose leaders (at least some of them) believe they could improve their positions by damaging ours.  I believe that in at least some cases their actions will be restrained by knowing that our response would be overwhelming.  


Just because I and my brothers-and-sisters-in-arms have reached different conclusions than you have, don’t think that we have not thought as long and as hard and as deeply about these things as you have.   




From: Clayton Bradt [mailto:dutchbradt at hughes.net] 
Sent: Sunday, February 07, 2010 3:38 PM
To: Brennan, Mike (DOH); radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: Belgian activists breach nuke site


Mike Brennan said:

"As to whether or not those American men and women charged with carrying out lawful orders to launch their weapons would do so; be free of doubt. Know in your heart that my brothers and sisters in arms have the resolve, and fully aware of the consequences, would carry out their orders. I know this in mine. I speak not for other countries."

Speaking for myself, I'd feel better with more doubt about anyone carrying out orders to launch.  When one's actions will result in the destruction of Western Civilization along with tens of millions of lives, what solace can be taken in the legality of the orders?  Mike, your confidence in the resolve of our fellow Americans to blow up the world if ordered, must shake everyone else's confidence in our humanity ( and sanity).


Clayton J. Bradt

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