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Present Danger?

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(The following was originally printed in the Journal of Civil Defense: June 1978)

Excerpts of a statement given by Eugene V. Rostow of the Committee on the Present Danger to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget (March 1, 1978)

Nothing could be more useful to the nation now than a serious public discussion about the nature of Soviet policy and the problems it poses for us . . .

We believe that prudent and resolute action by this session of the Congress, substantially increasing the Administration’s Defense Budget, could mark one of the finest hours in its long and glorious history. . .

But Secretary Brown seems to suggest that we have to do no more now than keep the situation from getting any worse than it is. We emphatically disagree . . .

There is no harmony between the words and the music of the Administration’s budget. The Administration’s proposals do not meet the implacable arithmetic of the problem. The budget does not meet the Secretary’s stated goal of maintaining the status quo. It therefore fails both as a diplomatic signal and as a security measure. It simply isn’t enough to restore our deterrent strength, both strategic and conventional. Moreover, it fails the most important test of a Defense Budget: to give us full confidence in our ability to protect our national interests in peace. The Administration’s budget proposals would leave the Soviet Union’s military effort still growing more rapidly than ours, thus further increasing their lead -in many important categories of military strength . . .

The government is in a strange mood, a mood which reminds me of the ‘thirties,’ when we and the British hesitated between action and inaction until it was too late to prevent World War 11 . . .

This time we must not wait for a new Pearl Harbor to arouse us. The risks of such a course are too grave to be contemplated. In this situation of incipient crisis, we should follow one of-Parkinson’s most perceptive laws-his observation that the success of a policy is measured by catastrophes which do not happen. The budget proposed by the Administration does not meet Parkinson’s standard . . .

If the Secretary of Defense is wrong in his assessment of the present situation, we may well face the prospect that the Committee on the Present Danger identified in its 1976 statement: “Our alliances will weaken; our promising rapprochement with China could be reversed. Then we could find ourselves isolated in a hostile world, facing the unremitting pressures of Soviet policy backed by an overwhelming preponderance of power. Our national survival itself would be in peril, and we should face, one after another, bitter choices between war and acquiescence under pressure.” . . .

Four fundamental and adverse developments have taken shape since 1972, when the SALT Agreement was signed. The Soviets have made extremely rapid progress in MIRVing their missiles. Since their missiles have more throw weight than ours, this raises the first problem-how many warheads are they deploying per missile? What is the destructive power of each warhead? And what is the accuracy of these warheads, and what will it be in the future?

The second great change since 1972 is that the Soviets have made some of their ICBMs mobile, despite what the Senate was told on that subject when SALT I was ratified. The President has said that the Soviet Union is already deploying mobile ICBMs. The experts agree that it is in a position to deploy them on a large scale and quickly.

Third, recent reports of Soviet progress in antisatellite satellites-killer satellites-threaten our chief means of intelligence, communications and control. There is no need to underscore the importance of this development.

Fourth, we must note the significance of the Soviet civil defense programs. Even if imperfect, these programs reduce the effectiveness of our deterrents.

These four developments alone-and there are others-transform the problem of strategic deterrence . . .

No President of the United States should ever be put into the position of having to choose between holocaust and the surrender of vital American interests.

About:  Eugene V. Rostow, executive committee chairman of the Committee on The Present Danger, is Professor of Law at the Yale University Law School. He was formerly under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

The Military: making a difference

A not so well known story from the Pentagon on 9-11-2011 (Author Unknown)

Military Man Hugs Daughter

During a visit with a fellow chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon, I had a chance to hear a first-hand account of an incident that happened right after Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. The chaplain told me what happened at a day care center near where the impact occurred.

This day care had many children, including infants who were in heavy cribs. The day care supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do. There were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the cribs. There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers. Just then a young Marine came running into the center and asked what they needed. After hearing what the center director was trying to do, he ran back out into the hallway and disappeared. The director thought, ‘well, there we are—on our own.’

About two minutes later, that Marine returned with 40 other Marines in tow. Each of them grabbed a crib with a child, and the rest started gathering up toddlers. The director and her staff then helped them take all the children out of the center and down toward the park near the Potomac and the Pentagon. Once they got about 3/4 of a mile outside the building, the Marines stopped in the park, and then did a fabulous thing – they formed a circle with the cribs, which were quite sturdy and heavy, like the covered wagons in the Old West. Inside this circle of cribs, they put the toddlers, to keep them from wandering off. Outside this circle were the 40 Marines, forming a perimeter around the children and waiting for instructions. There they remained until the parents could be notified and come get their children.

The chaplain then said, “I don’t think any of us saw nor heard of this on any of the news stories of the day. It was an incredible story of our men there. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The thought of those Marines and what they did and how fast they reacted; could we expect any less from them? It was one of the most touching stories from the Pentagon.

Remember Ronald Reagan’s great compliment: “Most of us wonder if our lives made any difference. Marines don’t have that problem.” God Bless the USA, our troops, and you. It’s the Military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It’s the Military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It’s the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the military, please re-tell this story, and pray for our men and women who have served and are currently serving our country, and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.