12. THERE IS NO WAY TO PREPARE FOR A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST
The futility of preparing a nation to survive a nuclear holocaust is
perhaps best seen by looking at how we plan to save our leaders from
such a disaster.
At one time, top-secret command posts were carved out of mountains
to provide bombproof working quarters for the President and other high
ranking officials. Then, as early as 1970, these "secret"
facilities were discovered and have since been referred to as "the
government's worst kept secret." Further, the government also realized
that "hardened" underground sites did not provide the necessary
protection because of vulnerability to sophisticated targeting techniques
and the more powerful ICBMs developed by the Soviet Union.
So the doomsday planners devised an ingenious new scheme, Instead of
going underground, they would go up. They decided to outfit seven Boeing
747 jumbo jets with super-sophisticated computers and communications
gear to become flying bunkers for the President and other officials.
Unfortunately, this solution also led to problems.
First was the cost. Defense Department spokesmen have admitted that
"the contractors and the Air Force applied less than perfect management"
to the flying bunker program and the cost for the seven planes soared
from $428 million to $1.1 billion.
Second, it probably wouldn't work anyway. Originally, the strategic
planners assumed they would have a 30-minute warning to evacuate the
President. Because of the possibility of a nuclear submarine attack,
the lapse time between launch and impact has been reduced to 12 minutes.
There was at least one simulated White House evacuation drill during
the Carter administration that produced a response time so slow that
the leader of the free world probably would have been left dead in the
Another problem demonstrates a fundamental weakness in the plan. This
is known as electromagnetic pulse (EMP) or the "radio flash"
of nuclear weapons exploded in space which would disrupt sensitive electronics
and communications equipment. Thus, the Commander-in-Chief could well
be totally out of touch with all his military forces.
The failure of the media to expose the true insanity of trying to prepare
for nuclear survival, even for the President, qualifies this story for
nomination as one of the "best censored" stories of 1981.
SOURCE: Inquiry, 2/2/81, "Going Underground" by Robert Walters.