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Tuesday, November 29, 1983
The Michigan Doily
Sailing happily into the nuclear sunset
By H. Michael Buhler
The scrolling at the end of The Day
After finished with' these three words:
".. the fateful day." The implication
is that a nuclear catastrophe will occur.
So a person subscribing to The Day Af-
ter theory can look forward to new
ways of fixing dinner. And others, un-
der the influence of War Games will
eventually aspire to a sanatorium, ter-
minally neurotic from the ponderance
of a stalemate.
Ever been in a power failure? The old
question, "where were you when the
lights went out?" can be a source of
humor, or a chance for those with a
mundane story to relate it. Supposing
you could somehow be signalled that
the failure was coming?
MAYBE you'd do something with the.
food in the freezer, perhaps buy some
candles before the cash registers go
down-or better yet-get to the money
machine, simply to have some cash.
But aside from some precautions, the
power still went off. You're defenseless,
and can only sit tight and wait for the
disruption. And what would be dif-
ferent, besides scale, of a nuclear war?.
Seriously. If you're really honest with
yourself, could you think beyond a test
or paper? Regimentation is a great
cure for a crisis-like the lady
preparing for the wedding.
Okay, so maybe you can function:
what action will you take? Phones will
be off-can't call home-and the streets
will be jammed with those who think
they can purchase a can of Dinty Moore
Stew. So your choices are to run around
and scream, try to drive, until elec-
tromagnetic pulsation knocks out your
car's electronic ignition, or sit back
with a still-cold Stroh's and a few warm
So who wants to listen to the wail of a
civil defense siren? Or the piercing tone
of the Emergency Broadcast System?
These sounds merely reinforce the
existence of the approaching onslaught,
and raise your blood pressure. I'd
rather put on some Neil Young or Steely
Dan. And just flat-out give up.
PICTURE your reaction in these
familiar surroundings, and plan your
moves, if you don't get confused.
Throughout The Day After the various
media were keeping Lawrence, Kansas
acutely aware of the world situation.
And most of the populace was keeping
posted. When the Minuteman missiles
made their spectacular launches,
however, broadcast news suddenly lost
importance while many watched and
The silos around Ann Arbor contain
The real choices, then, are to watch a
live, mini-cam report on television,
catch a running commentary on the
radio before that incessant tone yields
to "official information," or find a
refuge in a favorite album-either
phonographic or photographic. Which
is why I'd wince and acquiesce.
At least that is my prognostication.
Ideally, I'd head for a major body of
water (how about Lake .St. Clair?),
commandeer a sailboat, and leave the
safety of land and port. Take the
escapist route. The assailed cop-out.
LIKE everyone else. You see, if you
get into a car, what are you doing?
Escaping. And to where? The first in-
tersection, where a decision about
direction is required. About that time,
you'll discover the futility of running -
like trying to lose your shadow. In-
stead, you can climb into a bomb
shelter and escape the immediate
dangers: for how long? Your residence
probably doesn't have one anyway.
Eventually a very tough decision must
be made. That is why I opt for the
The sailing is so appealing because,
well the wind is guaranteed. Granted, a
violent, brief, variable gust, but it will
push the boat. And the water: Some
may boil off, but it won't turn ashen and
dusty for a while. If Fate chooses for
me to survive, the nylon, fiberglass,
and aluminum will carry me
somewhere. If Fate be against me, I
enjoy the glory of a Viking funeral.
Either way I retain my relative sanity
and enjoy my life to the last.
Survival of the fittest is what faces
us, and whether we'll be fit when we
survive. Rather than battle it one the
streets of Ann Arbor, debate how things
started, and join in the chorus condem-
ning the nuclear age, I'd like to be at
peace in the company of a few.
The Day After really only told us
about ourselves, and how we'll react.
And it got me thinking how I'll react.
In the interim preceeding the "fateful"
day, the War Games-ers can debate the
strategy of disarmament, while. I
choose my spinnaker.
Buhler is a senior majoring in
Daily Photo by BRIAN MASC
What to do? Nuclear warheads have been launched and are on the way to
your city. Skip the bomb shelter. Skip the last-second flight by auto. Better
to just take to the water and enjoy your last moments of life.
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCIV-No. 68
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor,. MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Deploying world safety
DEPLOYMENT has begun. The
North Atlantic Treaty
Organization now is installing Per-
shing .I1 and cruise missiles in
Western Europe. President Reagan
and others promised the deployments
would make the world safer - a new
nuclear strategic balance between the
Soviet Union and the United States
would be struck. So, Mr. Reagan,
please explain, if you will, how the
world is becoming safe.
Bear (as in Soviet bear) in mind
that the Soviets have walked out of
talks aimed at limiting and reducing.
the number of medium range missiles
deployed by both sides. Consider, too,
that the 'Soviets announced they are
beginning new deployments of more
SS-20 missiles - the type of missile the
Pershings and cruises are meant to
counter. They also have threatened to
deploy submarine-based cruise
missiles off the coast of the United
Bear in mind that there is a deep
sense of animosity and mistrust bet-
ween the two principals which has not
been this strong since the Eisenhower
And bear in mind that having new
missiles on both sides capable of hit-
ting targets deep in the opposition's
territory in fewer than ten minutes
may force the sides to move to a
"launch on warning" mode. That
means if one side detects that the other
has launched a missile, computers will
automatically launch missiles in
response. Moving to a launch on war-
ning mode increases the chance of an
accidental nuclear war.
So it appears, Mr. Reagan, that
deployment of the Pershing II and the
cruise missiles in Western Europe may
be one of the major mistakes of the
nuclear chess game that began after
World War II. This latest mistake
ranks up there with U.S. development
of multi-warbead missiles and the op-
portunity to ban them Richard Nixon
and Henry Kissinger missed in the
late 1960s and early 1970s. It ranks up
there with John Kennedy and Nikita
Kruschev's missed opportunity to gain
a comprehensive test ban treaty (in-
stead of the limited ban) in 1963. And it
ranks up there with the Soviet
deployment of the SS-20s in 1977 that
triggered the current U.S. response..
It is quite clear that both the Soviet
Union and the United States are stuck
in a mindset that dictates one con-
clusion: more nuclear missiles and
warheads equals a more stable world.
Once-that mindset is reversed - when
the powers that run the "great"
nations of the world today come to un-
derstand that more is not safer -
serious discussion and then reductions
in nuclear arms can occur.
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GO, WE A14-. GO, COMRADE,~'
LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Weaker NA TO; don 't nix first use
' 4ti S,
To the Daily:
The new strategy for the defen-
se of Western Europe which Vice
Admiral (ret.) John M. Lee
proposes in the Daily for Novem-
ber 11 strikes me as very
dangerous. It is much more likely
to result in a large-scale nuclear
war than is the current U.S.
Lee proposes that the U.S. an-
nounce, and presumably adopt, a
policy of no first use of nuclear
weapons, not even tactical
weapons. And he proposes a
corresponding change in the
military strategy for the defense
of Western Europe, including
'some buildup of conventional
forces to carry the whole combat
load." But in fact this com-
bination of changes would be ex-
tremely provocative and volatile.
Consider the following sequen-
ce of events (in the modern
jargon, a "scenario"):
1) The U.S. adopts and announces
a No-First-Use policy;
2) Soviet officials become con-
vinced that the U.S. really will
not use tactical nuclear weapons
3) Encourlged by this develop-
ment, and relying on their
massive armored forces, their
much shorter supply lines, etc.,
the Soviets launch a conventional
attack on Western Europe;
4) Beefed-up NATO forces fulfill
Admiral Lee's expectations. They
would sweep them away. They
would therefore be under
tremendous pressure to do
something, anything, to avert a
But what to do? By hypothesis,
NATO conventional forces are
winning. Compared to that
prospect, the top Soviet leader-
ship-would have little to lose per-
sonally by risking a nuclear war.
And they may well reason that,
since we have renounced the first
use of nulear weapons, we will
not make second use of them
either. And so, a likely con-
tinuation of the scenario is:
5) The Soviets use tactical
nuclear weapons to get their of-
fensive rolling again.
According to Lee, however, "If
nuclear weapons are used, on
whatever scale initially and by
whichever side, there is a
prohibitively high probability of
catastrophic destruction of the
involved nations.. . ''Assuming
that Lee is right, then, the next
6) All-out nuclear war ensues,
due to the "almost certain
process of escalation.'
But step six is presumably just
what we were trying to avoid.
If, therefore, we adopt a policy
of No-First-Use in order to lessen
the possibility of a nuclear war,
then we must not couple that
move with a strengthening of
conventional forces. We must
....... ... ... x-
rather weaken NATO defenses,
to guarantee that they cannot
withstand a Soviet conventional
onslaught. By renouncing the fir-
st use of nuclear tactical weapens
we would greatly increase (be
probability that the scenario will
proceed at least to step three.
Only by weakening NATO to a
level of unquestioned impotence
could we reduce to a tolerable
level the likelihood of a transition
from step three to step five.
-George I. Mavrodes
Unsigned editorials appearing on the left side of this page
represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board,
Letters and columns represent the opinions of the individual
author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the attitudes or beliefs
of the Daily.
by Berke Breathed
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