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Mutually assured destruction. Could it have happened? Would you have pushed the button?

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posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:06 PM
So I was listening to a radio show last year about the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction, and during the discussion they interviewed a high up British official during the cold war who was with of the people who "Had his finger on the button" so to speak. He was one of the go-to guys who could authorize a nuclear launch.

Now an old man long retired with no reputation or political consequences to worry about, not to mention now a staunch supporter of multilateral nuclear disarmament he quite freely admitted that if he had gotten news that an all-out nuclear attack was launched at the UK from the Soviet Union, he would not have retaliated.

But why?

I want to ask you what you would do. Right now, hypothetically put yourself in the position of power in your own nation (And give them nukes if they don't have them) with ultimate, unquestioning authority over the use of nuclear force. What you says goes and no one at any level can contradict or over rule your orders on this matter.

You are woken up at 3am by your Secretary of Defence letting you know that a Soviet/NATO/Chinese/Indian nuclear attack is heading to every major city in your country, absolutely assuring the death of 50% of your population from the blasts with a further 40% expected to die from the ensuing fallout and disruption in the next 30 days. The attack will hit within the next 3 hours, and he needs your authorization to launch a retaliatory strike.

What do you do? The knee-jerk reaction is "Light 'em up!" But, think about it logically. You are put in an interesting moral position. You and everyone you know is going to die thanks to the decisions of a few unhinged politicians thousands of miles away, and now you can respond in suite to get back at them.Although, that would also mean murdering hundreds of millions of innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with these missiles and would probably be quite opposed to them being launched in the first place had they known.

Or you can accept your fate, tell your wife and children you love them, not retaliate and spare the lives of perhaps billions of people. Your inaction might even give mankind a future that exists beyond extinction. Although it sets an uncomfortable precedent and it ultimately is letting the belligerent bad guy win.

Christians. Didn't Jesus say to turn the other cheek? Within your religion, would God have mercy for you if you chose to retaliate against a nuclear attack?

A lot of the people I asked amongst my friends concurred that they would in fact not push the button. That they would welcome the oncoming nuclear holocaust and wish the world the very best rather than bringing it down with them. But that brings me to an interesting notion.

How many men of power during the cold war would have actually not have chosen to retaliate in a nuclear strike?

How many men of power today share that notion, and would see the virtue of non-retaliation considering all that was at stake?

Is perhaps, the reason that we never went to nuclear war with the Russians despite several false positives from early warning systems during the 40 year long cold war because at the end of the day, only a minority of people would actually do it when push came to shove?

**P.S. I spent well over an hour just now looking for who exactly it was I am referencing to at the beginning of my post but, considering it was from a year-old radio show I couldn't find out. Sorry. Although I suspect it could be one of the many former Secretary of Defence's who are now members of anti-nuclear weapon societies.**

posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:12 PM
I personally could never under no circumstance kill another.

I also believe everything happens for a reason and accept the fact that atrocities happen.


posted on May, 14 2012 @ 03:07 PM
Well, there's another argument. If those people are crazy enough to launch one nuclear strike, what's stopping them from doing it again to other countries? By pushing that button, you may be killing millions, but saving the world in the process. It's a tough call to make.

posted on May, 14 2012 @ 03:21 PM
reply to post by sajuek

Very interesting question.

Personally, I would push the button and retaliate.

“Why,” you ask?

It’s the obligation of the military to protect its country. An unanswered attack will open the door for full blown invasion for those who survive. Would you rather be “nice” and refrain and then face a firing squad at the hands of your enemy. Or watch your wife and daughter raped and beaten by the enemy before they gun you down. Or maybe spend your remaining days as a POW?


Besides, there is one military medal I never want to wear; Obama’s Courageous Restraint Medal!!

posted on May, 14 2012 @ 03:25 PM
I for one could not do it, I would accept my fate, apoligize to the populace my inaction, was about decimate, and say goodbye to my closest loved ones. In the event of an actual nuclear war this world, would never be the same.

Areas unihabitable, death and sickness abundant, I would not want to be a part of the aftermath, I would not want to be responsible, for the likewise scenario my retaliation would bring upon others.

It's sick to say but in the event of a nuclear war, I really do hope for the entire destruction of our everything, so that no one person is tasked with picking up the pieces of this failed civilization.


IMHO only an absolute psychopath, i feel could wield the power, and actually, without regret be responsible for so many people perishing.

posted on May, 14 2012 @ 03:34 PM
reply to post by SaneThinking

I for one could not do it, I would accept my fate, apoligize to the populace my inaction

While I respect your opinion and your decision to stand down, I must ask the obvious question. What happens when you and your loved ones DO survive (along with 70% of the country)? You will be at the complete mercy of those who attack you. Your chance to retaliate effectively will likely have been diminished or completely destroyed. Then what…Suicide?

I believe your “fate” is what you make it. Is there anything worth fighting (killing) for or is it best to always accept death at the hands of any aggressor who challenges you?? I’m not being sarcastic. I believe there are things worth killing for and I’m just trying to understand your mindset.

posted on May, 14 2012 @ 03:43 PM
This argument isn't so much about nationalism, as it is about duty. The expressed sense of duty would be to those that duly elected me to such a position, and the only way to honor their decision would be by following through. It is highly probable that ninety percent of them will die, and it would be up to me to insure that the remaining 40 million had a fighting chance against a hostile invasion. If it's not God's Will, the button won't work.

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