November 25, 2005

Surprise! Nixon had qualms about mass nuclear destruction.

The NYT reports:
Widely considered a military hawk, President Richard M. Nixon fretted privately over the notion of any no-holds-barred nuclear war, newly released documents from his time at the White House reveal.

The recently declassified papers, from the first days of the Nixon presidency in 1969 until the end of 1974, show that Nixon wanted an alternative to the option of full-scale nuclear war - a plan for a gentler war, one that could ultimately vanquish the Soviet Union while avoiding the worst-case situation.

The papers provided a glimpse behind the scenes at efforts to find choices other than "the horror option," as the national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, called the worst-case scripts for all-out nuclear war that were then in place.
It would be surprising if Nixon didn't have qualms. It's a long crazy step from "military hawk" to feeling at ease with the prospect of killing millions of human beings.
The documents reveal Mr. Kissinger's chilling insight that government budget-crunchers would prefer complete nuclear warfare because it was already planned for and would be cheaper than recasting American capabilities to permit limited strikes.

"They believe in assured destruction because it guarantees the smallest expenditure," he said in August 1973 at a National Security Council meeting in the White House Situation Room. "To have the only option that of killing 80 million people is the height of immorality."
This is what is shocking.


theMickey's said...

Even Richard Nixon has got soul-NeilYoung

Meade said...

Mickey: One of Young's most misunderstood songs.

Recall - Tin soldiers and Nixon coming... we're finally on our own...

PatCA said...

Do I detect another liberal canard here, that 'military hawk' equates to 'someone who wants total nuclear war'?

John Thacker said...

A preference for a limited war was a fairly common thing for hawks. Reagan was famously disturbed by MAD as well, and believed both in missile defense and in finding ideas for a limited war.

Most of the large center in foreign policy disputes and arms control believed in MAD and opposed ideas of looking for limited wars. They believed that MAD would keep the big nuclear parties from starting wars against each other, and that if we came up with a plan for a successful limited war, a winnable war, that would make war more likely, not less. Therefore, the moderate establishment actively fought war plans that weren't predicated on MAD.

Hawks were more likely to believe that a limited war must be possible, and to favor finding ways to prevent mutually assured destruction. While the left tended to also be disturbed by MAD, the peace faction favored getting around the problem by laying down our own arms.

Buck said...

A brief, but good, history of the "Counterforce" and MAD strategies may be found here:

Sorry...haven't figured out how to post clickable links yet. But I will figure it out eventually.

XWL said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
XWL said...

DOH! on a post where I was instructing on how to link properly I screwed up the link, second try:

Buck,for your edification:

to post links you use the html tags which are as follows (just substitute the less than (<) or more than symbols (>) where I have indicated brackets, if I include the correct symbols it will think I'm linking)

[a href="http:(the url you wish to link)"] the words you wish to appear as the link [/a]

Hope that clarifies things for you.

And as example click here(link goes to article you had wished to link)

(2nd time is usually the charm)

tefta said...

Ann, consider the source, The NYT reports:

theMickey's said...

meade-I was referring to the tune"Campaiqner." not 'Ohio', dig?

Enlighten me..

Meade said...

Mickey: Just that Neil Young's lyrics are full of contradictions, goofiness, and nonsense. Can you make sense of Campaigner? I can't.

theMickey's said...

Meade- My interpretataion of it is:
NeilYoung 'is' Richard Nixon. i.e. his philo is`nt that diff from Nixon`s cuz he can see where Nixon was coming from...not unlike his(neil) former gop views; plus I think he`s just trying to(maintain) his mystique, like Nixon.
He, unlike Nixon, has managed to do so...thats the "secret."
Nixon taught him alot, what not to do.
`Course, I`ve been known to be full of it...