“Either side could back down after a limited response” \(a limited response – that means having killed several million feel that its opponent did not get away scot free. Some degree of both honor and deterrence might thus be preserved by the use of such limited threats and actions. In addition. even a small and not overwhelmingly credible threat of escalation to t h e higher rungs might still provide enough deterrence in most situations.” And one more sentence: “Nine out of ten chances are pretty good odds in a situation where war has become only immoral and not unthinkable.” SO GO AHEAD and fight it, because it is “only immoral.” War is unthinkable; but it must be made credible. Could we have a more contradictory policy? It is unreal, it’s a game. It is not a policy at all, nor does anyone know exactly what it is, and it is changing every month. Well, what does it mean? Whatever policy there is, what does it mean? First of all it is totally vulnerable to all the things that are now common knowledge, such as accidents. Twice, I read in the Austin papers, even in the Austin papers, of enlisted men shooting their .45s into the bombs over which they had charge, in hopes that they could set the damn things off. Of course, they didn’t go off. The men were foolish enough to think a .45 would do the trick. But next time the enlisted man will be a little smarter. He’ll realize that he should not shoot his .45, but take some other action. The authorities have taken steps to make sure that unbalanced enlisted men no longer get that close, let alone unbalanced officers. But, of course, there are always better mistakes to be made, and that is the whole question. Who knows whether that is a stray airplane or a deliberately sent airplane that trips off the whole radar system up in Alaska, and the sirens go off all the way down to Austin? Who knows what is going to happen in the so-called nth power situation, when other countries develop their bombs but are not controlled by our supposed “deterrents”? They might drop a little bomb somewhere, and we would think that the war had started. There is a whole series of possible accidents, and no one can see the end. Think of the extent to which we are victimized, hypnotized by Our technology. Just let anyone come down the pike with a proposition that we will now, through nuclear devices, try to control weather, or control the tides, or devise a doomsday machine. \(With a doomsday machine it isn’t even cities any morewe blow up the entire earth. We work long enough and invest enough money to blow this planet into smithereens. It can be designed, and there have to be listened to. Research must be done in these areas. They can get money from congress, and money is being given to these things, because if we don’t, we might be in trouble. This is not a policy. This is a gun at our backsa gun of our own invention. But the, worst thing of all is that out of all of this expenditure, research, and thinking, we achieve no defense, and no security. Nuclear weapons are entirely offensive. Almost every honest expert doubts that there will ever be an effective anti-missile missile, because as we perfect something that might hit the missile, there will be better missiles, or they will be in outer space, or there will be different devices. There is no possible way of defending ourselves, nor can we dig deep enough into the ground to protect ourselves. To speak of this as “security” is merely hog-wash. There is no defense. The only real way we can use these weapons is to attack first, which is unthinkable, or to set up a system so that if we’re attacked, our weapons go off by themselves and wipe out the Russians. Afterwards not much would be left of the human race. Is this a defense? Is it a policy? We have chosen a policy of mounting risk, of the greatest possible accumulation of risks, and we call it security. We have a defense budget of more than 50 billion dollars now, with seven billion going into research. We have huge industrial complexes like General Dynamics that are almost totally dependent on military spending and exist outside any normal “market.” And these monsters take our best administrators, our best engineers, Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Bill Brammer, Chandler Davidson, J. Frank Dobie, Larry Goodwyn, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Jay Milner, Willie Morris, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Dan Strewn : Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. Subscription Representatives: Amarillo, Mrs. Imogene Williams, Rte. 3, Panhandle \(Williams Pecos, HO 5-1805; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; Fort Worth, Mrs. Jesse Baker, 3212 Greene St., WA 7-2959;, Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Cliffwood Dr., PA 3-8682; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 4-2825; Rio Grande Valley, Mrs. Jack Butler, 601 Houston, McAllen, MU 6-5675; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 2-7154. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who arc associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility and many of our best scientists. They devote their brains and their energies to designing the weapons that are forming our policy, which is no policy. And what is the product of this enormous effort? Much of it is hardware that will become obsolete overnight and will have to be bull-dozed into the ocean. No use can be made of it at all. There were other ages when civilizations produced useless things, but usually they had some justification. Like the pyramids. They were a total waste, but at least they represented a religious hope. They were supposed to preserve the souls and bodies of the royalty buried there, and they still have an aesthetic appeal. And the Eiffel Towerabsolutely useless, but wonderful. It was, after all, a cultural project. At least it is not destructive. Can you say the same thing of a tank or of an atomic bomb, or of one of the jet bombers that go over Austin every evening? AND NOW let’s look at the most devious myth of all: “We hate the military budget, but our economy needs it.” Like tailfins. If we let defense spending go, we’d have .a depression. There would be poverty all over. The Austin papers tell us monthly how many thousands of dollars Bergstrom Air Base pumps into the local economy. It usually goes into that unfortunate box on the front page: Good News! Well, this is something which should be thought over at great length. First of all, most defense spending begins by corrupting the economy. It has been awarded until very recently on a cost-plus basis, which means no competition, only a guaranteed profit. The money is received by certain favored establishments called corporations, and they make weapons for it, bilking the government in many too many cases. It’s our money that pays. This is the contribution the defense budget makes to our free enterprise system. with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. The Observer solicits articles, essays, and creative work of the shorter forms having to do in various ways with this area. The pay depends; at present it is token. Please enclose return postage. Unsigned articles are the editor’s. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5.10 a year for subscribers living in Texas \(this iners living elsewhere in the U.S. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c; prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin 5, Texas. Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new addresses and allow three weeks. THE TEXAS OBSERVER An Independent Fortnightly Vol. 55, No. 15 746W June 28, 1963
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