Dismantling the Nuclear Doomsday Machine With Daniel Ellsberg

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Dismantling the Nuclear Doomsday Machine With Daniel Ellsberg
–book review of The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017)
Reviewed by John Lewallen
I love Daniel Ellsberg, and am having a delightful time struggling for a human future with him. I recognized him as a true colleague in the peace movement in the 1980s. Ellsberg was in all of the nonviolent direct action blockades of Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab I took part in, and he always stayed until the last holdouts were released from Santa Rita prison, knowing his notoriety and popularity were protecting us all.
The Doomsday Machine should be required reading for all government officials. It’s an awesome achievement of research and analysis, showing that the U.S. nuclear posture relentlessly drives the world closer to the brink of nuclear war, a war which could destroy all life on Earth.
Ellsberg and I agree that one of the greatest threats to the survival of the U.S. homeland is thermonuclear attack provoked by an aggressive first-strike U.S. nuclear strategy, combined by a “launch-on warning” system of thousands of nuclear missiles on hair-trigger alert.
We both believe it is urgent to move the U.S. from a first-strike threat nuclear posture to deterrence only to avoid nuclear attack. Nuclear “weapons” are not weapons in any ordinary sense of the word. Nuclear bombs are instruments of omnicide, capable of destroying everything.
Ellsberg notes that while it would be fast and easy to change the U.S. nuclear posture and eliminate weapons that only increase the threat of omnicidal war, it is extremely difficult organizationally and politically. Amen!
The advent of a U.S. President who actually may be a megalomaniac who wants to start a nuclear war, and a military-political elite willing to go with him as he tries to restart the Korean war, is forcing us all to take a cool look at nuclear weapons and confrontation.
Ellsberg takes us inside the strategy rooms during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is very similar to the Trump Korea Crisis now white-hot in that it is a public, high profile threat of nuclear attack against North Korea unless it eliminates its nuclear weapons. In that crisis, the U.S. public became disgusted with being used as hostages in a no-win game of nuclear blackmail. Ellsberg listed 25 U.S. specific threats of nuclear attack, none ever carried out, most done low-profile or secretly.
There are several books in this 420-page hardcover volume. Ellsberg’s “Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner,” the subtitle of The Doomsday Machine, really show how vital it is that thinking citizens be part of the management of nuclear weapons. As an outsider watching the “insiders” who control nuclear weapons policy, I believe they really are insane and limited in their thinking, in ways that endanger us all.
I’m overjoyed that Daniel Ellsberg “lost” the trove of secret documents exposing U.S. nuclear policy, and that he is releasing his memory of them now. He is worth more to life as a free man in a free country. He doesn’t have any sins to “confess” in my book; he has been trying to avoid nuclear war the whole way. I believe it is vital to respect all strategic points of view that are focused on avoiding nuclear attack on the United States.

Quick Bio: I'm urgently offering this site to provide accurate information on the current hot nuclear confrontation between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean Government, focused on basic information on nuclear weapons and strategy today, and worldwide efforts to avoid nuclear war. I am a 75-ish rural resident in Mendocino County, CA, with time to indulge my obsession with awakening the public to the ongoing danger of nuclear war. I've made a special study of the race to develop high-altitude nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapons, only one of which could disable electronic civilization over wide areas, possibly worldwide. I've written extensively on this topic, and am also the author of "Ecology of Devastation: Indochina" (Penguin Books, 1972). With my beloved wife Barbara, we operate the Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company, hand-harvesters of delectable wild seaweeds, and work constantly for world peace and harmony.

2 thoughts on “Dismantling the Nuclear Doomsday Machine With Daniel Ellsberg

  1. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any points for novice blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    1. Dear Tyrell Varnedore, Thanks! I’m a complete novice blogger but long-time writer and student of nuclear confrontation. Having some impact just posting; now learning how to communicate. My email is . Advice: get a site and begin! John

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