Q: In some ways the Government's civil defense programs have the opposite
effect from what was intended; they make many Americans more opposed to the
nation's nuclear policies than they had previously been.
DG: Nuclearism is the government policy developed under Truman which makes all
information about nuclear war and nuclear strategy top secret. And the people
are told that "We can't tell you about the weapons and the policies and the
strategies and how many bombs that we have and where we're going to drop them
and all those things, because if we did, it would threaten your life. It's
necessary to protect you, to keep it all top secret." And that is the
nuclearism policy. And nuclearism means the destruction of democracy as we
know it, because a democracy, the base of a democracy is an informed electorate
which can then study issues and vote as they believe best. If everything is
top secret, you don't know anything about nuclear strategy or nuclear weapons.
And the civil defense program was the first and the only federal sponsored
program that was part of nuclear strategy, in which the public had to be
informed. You had to win over the support of a public. You had to tell the
public something. And when you talk to the public about civil defense and
explain what it is, you get all these folks, these other-- these experts who
rise up and say, "This is stupid. This is silly." You get Governor Minor and
Linus Pauling and middle class women protesting. You know. In other words, a
debate begins. A national bate--debate begins, again, destructive of the whole
idea of secrecy and nuclearism.
And I think that the government recognized that quite early, in the early
sixties and during the fifties. And the civil defense program had to be closed
because it caused too much trouble. It caused too much debate, caused too much
protest. It created arguments at the, you know, nationally heard arguments.
People talked about it and debated it, and you can't do that with a nuclear
strategy. Nuclearism means top secret. Only we few can know, in order to
protect the lives of you, the public. And that is not only the essence of a
militarist state, but it is also, in a very real sense, an incredible blow to
democratic structures and principles, because the public must be informed in a
democracy in order to know how to vote.
back to Interview Transcripts