Nukewatch Quarterly Spring 2022
By John LaForge
Rhode Island U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Democratic chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reportedly said on March 23 that if Putin used a nuclear against Ukraine “there would be consequences,” adding that radioactive fallout from such a detonation could drift across nearby NATO countries and be considered an attack on NATO. (New York Times, March 23, 2022)
Senator Reed’s warning partly explains why nuclear weapons must not be detonated for any reason. Radioactive fallout from nuclear bomb test explosions is notorious for traveling long distances on the wind — sometimes around the world — and has indiscriminately contaminated far-off countries of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
The fallout from nuclear weapons blasts has been scrutinized extensively by military analysts, who have known about its deadliness for decades.
In his 2017 book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg of The Pentagon Papers fame, reports that he and other nuclear war theorists in the Pentagon had estimated in the 1960s that “we would kill every European, a hundred million Europeans, without a single U.S. or Soviet warhead landing on West Europe” [emphasis added].
“Just from the fallout of the attacks we were planning on Russia and East Europe. One hundred million.…”, Ellsberg wrote. The estimate illustrates the self-destructive consequences of nuclear weapons detonations, and the fact that military officers planning war with nuclear weapons have known for decades that they are devastating boomerangs that cannot be used without destroying the people and the territories being defended.