Friday, December 26, 2008

Kaufman and Kennedy

If he deserves the credit, he gets it:

"William Kaufmann, 90; MIT political scientist reshaped Kennedy's defense strategy" by Globe Staff | December 26, 2008

William W. Kaufmann, a longtime MIT political scientist and defense analyst who led an effort to reshape the Pentagon's Cold War nuclear defense strategy in the early days of the Kennedy administration, died Dec. 14 at Hearthstone at Choate, an Alzheimer's disease care center in Woburn. He was 90....


Before John F. Kennedy took office, the policy of the United States called for a complete and overwhelming nuclear response to any direct conflict with Soviet troops. The United States would immediately launch all of its 3,423 nuclear missiles; every major city and military facility in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China would be targets. Such a retaliation would kill 285 million people, studies estimated.

Related: War, Peace, and the State

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles publicly described the approach as "massive retaliation" in 1954. Dr. Kaufmann and many of his colleagues at the Rand Corporation think tank privately described the approach as insane, and possibly suicidal. "You're just signing your death warrant," Dr. Kaufmann later observed, "if you go through with this tremendous spasm attack."

Believing that a major war with the Soviets in the next decade was not only possible but probable, the group set out to establish an alternative.

Their plan called for a much more nuanced response: First, conventional weapons and forces must be bolstered to deter Soviet aggression, particularly in Europe. If the Soviets still attacked after such a buildup and Western forces were unable to halt them, the United States would launch a portion of its nuclear weapons, targeting only strategic military sites. Washington would then demand that the Soviets surrender, vowing to obliterate their cities one by one with reserve nuclear weapons if they did not. Instead of nuclear annihilation for both nations, the Soviets might be expected to, at most, retaliate with its nuclear weapons against only US military targets because they knew US superior tactical weaponry was more capable of wiping out major population areas, Dr. Kaufmann conjectured.

Seems like where we are headed right now (shudder).

The drawn-out process would also give the adversaries several opportunities to step back from the brink. Dr. Kaufmann and his Rand colleagues called their plan "Counterforce/No Cities." In hindsight, it was the first comprehensive articulation of what has become known as a limited nuclear war.

Actually, I don't think we are headed there, either: The Globalist Solution to Nuclear Arms

Kennedy's secretary of defense, McNamara, endorsed the plan after meeting with Dr. Kaufmann.

For others, however, it was a tough sell. Several generals of the Air Force, ascendant among the armed forces because of the reliance of "massive retaliation" on bombers, denounced the plan. General Thomas S. Power, commander of the Strategic Air Command, interrupted Dr. Kaufmann two minutes into his four-hour briefing: "Why do you want us to restrain ourselves?" Power bellowed, according to people who recalled the episode to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Fred Kaplan. "Restraint! Why are you so concerned with saving their lives? The whole idea is to kill the bastards!"


After several more minutes of the briefing, Power finally said, "Look. At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win!" Dr. Kaufmann retorted: "Well, you'd better make sure that they're a man and a woman."

I'll bet the two Americans would end up being gay!!


Nuclear weapons, Dr. Kaufmann wrote, made the 20th-century notions of all-out war, decisive victory, and vanquished loser not only outdated, but delusional and dangerous. The specter of nuclear annihilation shadowed both the victor and the vanquished, he wrote. Instead, the military must develop strategies to fight limited nonnuclear wars to protect essential interests, wars in which a stalemate could be considered a success.... It also proved to be a basis for the proxy wars of the Cold War....


Go ask some Africans, or Latin Americans!!!


The question is, did he change JFK'S thinking, or was JFK way ahead of everyone.

I know what I believe.

"Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet... we all breathe the same air... we all cherish our children's futures... and we are all mortal." -- JFK, at American University, 1963

That is why they cut him down!


"Commencement Address at American University in Washington, June 10, 1963

.... I have, therefore, chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived -- yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.

What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women -- not merely peace in our time but peace for all time. I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by 11 of the Allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use the is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles -- which can only destroy and never create -- is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war -- and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task....

Let us reexamine our attitude toward the Soviet Union.... No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue.... For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.