U.S. Nuclear War Policy
How many times have we come close to destroying the world? You don’t want to know. In this discussion, Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg review the disturbing historical record. They talk about the phony bomber and missile gaps that were used to justify more military spending. Today dangers are increasing. So much so that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its doomsday clock to two minutes before midnight. In response to the question of, What can we do? Chomsky says, “We can do a lot, if people understand that in every single one of these crisis situations there are feasible, peaceful solutions. North Korea, Iran, Russian border, new START Treaty, cutting back nuclear weapons. In every one of these cases there are very clear diplomatic options. With enough citizen dedication, activism, and pressure, I think governments can be compelled to pursue those options.”
Recorded at the University of Arizona.
Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” He is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 89, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World Works, Power Systems and Global Discontents with David Barsamian.
Daniel Ellsberg was a company commander in the Marine Corps. In 1959 he joined the RAND Corporation as an analyst. In 1964 he was recruited to serve in the Pentagon under Robert McNamara. He precipitated a national political crisis in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study of U.S. government decision-making about the Vietnam War. He is the author of Secrets and The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.